Updated August 16, 2019

Scaling the Mount Everest was once an unimaginable feat; accomplished only by a handful who were brave enough to take on the task. Things have drastically changed over time, an excessive inflow of climbers at the Mount Everest has led to overcrowding and traffic jams shockingly leading to the death of 10 individuals, reports The New York Times.

The deceased include an Irish climber, a British climber, and four climbers from India and one each from the United States, Austria and Nepal. An Irish mountaineer is presumed dead after slipping and falling close to the summit.

The ‘death zone’ where climbers are lining up, unable to move ahead, is where most people are dying. Sherpa guides on the Nepali side of the mountain have explained how the good season is bringing in many more tourists; which is turning out to be dangerous.

mount everest traffic jam

Main causes for the death of climbers at Mount Everest

“Many climbers who moved to the summit without extra supplement oxygen bottles suffered the most. They suffered because of the traffic jam, not because of wind and coldness,” said Tshering Jangbu Sherpa; a guide who summited Everest on May 22.

Government tallies have indicated that the total death toll for the climbing season in the Himalayas, including Everest has reached 17. The number of permits issued by Nepal’s tourism ministry has also increased this year. Permission was granted to a record 381 climbers this season; each at a cost of about $11,000 as compared to 346 in 2018.

The Tourism Ministry is denying the fact that overcrowding is the main cause of the high number of casualties. Danduraj Ghimire, director-general of the Tourism Department said, “It’s not because of traffic jam. The number of climbers was a bit high this year, and most climbers wanted to climb within a short weather window”. In recent years, there has also been a growing concern over expedition organizers who use old equipment and reuse oxygen cylinders to save costs.

Also Read: The Impact of Overtourism on the Environment

UPDATE: After multiple deaths earlier this year at Mount Everest, Nepal has decided to implement measures for those wanting to obtain a climbing permit. In the future, to obtain a permit, climbers must have prior experience in climbing at least one Nepalese peak over 21,000 feet.

They will also have to submit a certificate of good health and physical fitness. A Nepali panel – made up of government officials, climbing experts and agencies representing the climbing community- was set up to come up with these restrictions. Travel with a trained Nepalese guide is also mandatory.


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