Four more summit-bound climbers have died climbing Mt. Everest after packed conditions have forced dozens of mountaineers to wait in lines for hours at a time, facing risks of frostbite and altitude sickness.
A photo captured earlier this week shows hundreds of climbers in a massive line akin to one seen at Harry Potter World – except it’s at an elevation of almost 9,100 meters (30,000 feet) in Nepal. A fair weather window opened up on Wednesday, allowing teams from both the China and Nepal side to attempt to summit the world’s tallest peak, but the bottleneck has some worried that priorities of profits over safety are driving the decision, reports Agence-France Presse (AFP).
"Spending a long time above the death zone increases the risk of frostbite, altitude sickness and even death," Ang Tsering, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told AFP.
After having to wait to go up due to poor weather conditions, the busiest day of Everest climbing this year resulted in the death of a 52-year-old man and a 27-year-old, who both died on their descents, one of whom “was stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted,” said Keshav Paudel of Peak Promotion. A 33-year-old died at base camp after being rescued due to illness. Additionally, a 55-year-old man died as he was taking photos and a 55-year-old woman died during her descent.
"She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend," said Thupden Sherpa. "She couldn't move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down."
An Indian climber died last week and an Irish mountaineer is presumed dead after slipping near the summit.
May and June mark peak climbing seasons at the mountain, where 381 permits have been issued by Himalayan officials at the price tag of $11,000 each. The number of issued permits could set a new record for total mountaineers in a given year, surpassing 807 people from last year. So far, 550 have reached its peak.
[H/T: AFP News]