Overcrowding continues to be a persistent issue on Mount Everest, resulting in tragic deaths due to oxygen deprivation during lengthy waits.
In May 2019, a distressing scene unfolded as hundreds of climbers queued on the trail, enduring freezing temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius while awaiting their turn to ascend Mount Everest. This widely publicized traffic jam claimed the lives of 11 individuals, succumbing to exhaustion and oxygen deficiency. Lukas Furtenbach, the owner of an Austria-based travel agency, notes that climbers are aware of the dangers associated with Everest but are nonetheless drawn to the lethal challenge of reaching the summit and standing atop the world.
Mr. Furtenbach emphasizes the critical need for climbers to have sufficient oxygen supply during their ascent. Furthermore, he suggests that organizers should effectively manage the usage of oxygen tanks to avoid protracted traffic congestion.
In early June, a similar scenario played out once again. A brief TikTok video capturing a long line of climbers painstakingly inching their way through treacherous snowy mountain paths on the “roof of the world” garnered over 3 million views and circulated across various social media platforms.
According to the Himalayan database, the number of deaths on Mount Everest during this year has already surpassed the toll of 11 fatalities recorded in 2019. As of June, there have been 12 confirmed deaths, with an additional 5 individuals reported missing on the mountain.
Australian news site News reported that Jason Kennison, an amateur mountaineer from Australia, was the most recent casualty, losing his life three weeks prior due to severe altitude sickness. Kennison had managed to reach the summit but began displaying signs of exhaustion. Despite rescue efforts to bring him to a rest area near the summit, Kennison was already deceased.
The problem of traffic jams significantly contributes to the high mortality rate among climbers on the journey to conquer the world’s highest peak. Waiting in sub-zero temperatures at an altitude exceeding 8,000 meters poses numerous risks, particularly for inexperienced climbers.
Near the mountain’s summit, often referred to as the “death zone,” climbers rely heavily on oxygen supplies to complete their conquest. Consequently, prolonged waits lead to the depletion of oxygen reserves in their tanks, exacerbating the dangers they face.
Traffic congestion on Mount Everest can be attributed to two primary factors: the sheer number of climbers and adverse weather conditions. The disastrous events of 2019, claiming the lives of 11 climbers, occurred amidst prolonged queues caused by extreme weather conditions, including heavy snowfall and strong winds. Another contributing factor is the increasing number of individuals seeking to conquer Everest without adequately assessing their physical fitness and accumulating sufficient mountaineering experience to confront the perils of the treacherous mountain.
Bigyan Koirala, an official from the Ministry of Tourism of Nepal, revealed that in the first five months of the year, 478 individuals were granted permission to climb Everest, representing an increase of over 100 people compared to the previous year.