As the attraction with Everest grows, so have the crowds, with newcomer climbers faltering on the narrow passageway to the peak and causing deadly delays, veteran climbers declared.
After 11 people died this season, Nepal tourism officers have no intention of limiting the number of permits issued, instead of motivating even more tourists and climbers to come “for both pleasure and publicity,” said Mohan Krishna Sapkota, secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Nepal, one of the world’s poorest nations, relies on the climbing business to bring in $300 million every year. It doesn’t cap the variety of permits it problems or controls the pace or timing of the expeditions, leaving that to tour operators and strategy guides who take advantage of brief clear climatic conditions whenever they come, leading to pileups close to the peak.
On May 22, a climber snapped a picture from a line with dozens of hikers in colorful winter season gear that snaked into the sky.
Climbers were loaded crampon-to-crampon along a sharp-edged ridge above South Col, with a 7, 000-foot (2, 000-meter ) fall on either side, all clipped onto just one line of rope, trudging toward the top of the globe and risking death as each one minute ticked by.
“There were lots of people on Everest than there should be,” declared Kul Bahadur Gurung, general secretary of the Nepal Mountaineering Organization, an umbrella group of all expedition operators in Nepal. “We lack the terms and conditions that say how many people can actually go up and when .”
The death toll this season is the highest since 2015. Many of those who died are assumed to have suffered from altitude illness, which is caused by low levels of oxygen at high elevation and can cause headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental frustration.
Once only accessible to well loaded elite mountaineers, Nepal’s booming hiking market has driven down the cost of an expedition, opening Everest up to hobbyists and adventure-seekers. Nepal takes climbers to have a doctors’ note deeming them physically fit, but not to prove their strength at such extreme heights.
Due to the altitude, climbers have just hours to reach the top before these are at risk of pulmonary edema when the lungs fill with liquid. From Camp Four at 8, 000 meters (26, 240 feet ) to the 8, 850-meter (29, 035-foot ) peak, the final push on Everest is known as the “death zone .”
The problems are so intense at such times that when a person dies, no one can afford to expend power on carrying the body down from the mountain.
“Every minute counts there,” declared Eric Murphy, a mountain guide from Bellingham, Washington, who climbed Everest for a third time on May 23. He said what should have taken 12 hours took 17 hours because of struggling climbers who were obviously exhausted but had no one to guide or help them.