Deaths of British Climber & Guide Highlight Overcrowding Concerns, Total Toll Reaches 7 This Season

Deaths of British Climber & Guide Highlight Overcrowding Concerns, Total Toll Reaches 7 This Season


Recent deaths of a British climber and his guide, a Kenyan banker, and a Nepalese climber on Mount Everest have reignited concerns about overcrowding on the world’s tallest peak on Friday. Additionally, this week has seen multiple incidents on Mount Everest, including an ice collapse in one of its most dangerous zones.

On May 21, days after the ice collapse, British climber Daniel Paterson, 39, and his Nepali guide, Pas Tenji Sherpa, 23, are still missing. Climbers were dragged down the crowded mountainside by the cornice. Several videos that appeared online before the collapse showed the crowding on the route to the summit of Mount Everest.

As per the report of India Today, Paterson and his Sherpa climbed to the 29,032-foot summit of Everest with a group of fifteen people. The expedition’s organiser, Mount Everest adventure company “8K Expeditions,” acknowledged on Instagram that they were unable to locate the two. “Caught in a sudden cornice fall which impacted the group of climbers,” the statement read.

Mount Everest: Deaths Of British Climber & Guide Highlight Overcrowding Concerns, Total Toll Reaches 7 This Season

The Hillary Step saw a rush hour following the May 21 collapse, which occurred at 4:40 a.m. (local time). At an elevation of over 26,000 feet, the area is referred to as Everest’s “death zone” due to the potentially fatal oxygen levels and air pressure that can be experienced there for prolonged periods of time.

In another incident, Kenyan climber Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, 40, was found dead while his 44-year-old guide, Nawang Sherpa, remains missing after they disappeared on the mountain on Wednesday, May 22.

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According to The Himalayan Times, Sherpa had reported to the Everest base camp that Kirui was exhibiting “abnormal behaviour” and refused to “return or use bottled oxygen” before they both went missing. Communication with the pair was lost shortly after. Kirui’s close hiking friend informed the BBC that Kirui died from a fall, and his body was found over 60 feet below Everest’s peak.

These are not the only fatalities affecting the Everest expedition. A Romanian climber was found dead in his tent on May 21, and two Mongolian climbers died on the Hillary Step while descending, India Times reported quoting The Himalayan Times.

Following a deadly week on Everest, several videos have surfaced on social media showing overcrowding on the mountain. A video taken on Monday, May 20, depicted a long queue of climbers in the ‘Yellow Band’ area.

Avalanches Caused 40% Of Deaths On Mount Everest In Recent Years

The peak hiking seasons for Mount Everest in Nepal are between March and May, and again from September to November, when the weather is more modest, as per the South China Morning Post. However, unexpected snowstorms can disrupt communication and visibility even during these times. Additionally, mountain sickness can become a concern even before reaching Everest’s dangerous zones.

This year’s climbing season started later than usual, near the end of April, due to deteriorating ice on the Khumbu Glacier. Now, with May concluding, the season is about to end.

The Himalayan Database highlights that avalanches have caused 40 per cent of deaths on Mount Everest in recent years. Notably, an avalanche in 2016 resulted in 16 deaths, marking one of the worst accidents on the mountain.

Despite these challenges, the thrill of summiting the world’s tallest peak continues to draw more travelers to the Himalayas. The South China Morning Post, citing the Nepal Tourism Board, noted that over 128,000 tourists arrived in Nepal by air in March, a 28.9 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

According to India Today, ExplorersWeb anticipated that between 150 and 200 people reached Mount Everest’s summit on May 19 and 20. The Himalayan Times reported that 100 people summited on May 19 alone. Many climbers and exploration operators shared their summit achievements on social media between May 19 and 22.

In March, Kanchha Sherpa, 91, the last surviving member of the expedition that first summited Everest, told The Guardian that the mountain has become “too crowded and dirty” and should be protected as a sacred place. He suggested reducing the number of climbers to prevent littering and environmental degradation.

Kanchha Sherpa was part of the team that supported Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in reaching the summit on May 29, 1953.

Mount Everest expeditions are a significant source of revenue for Nepal. The government has faced criticism from Western climbers for allegedly allowing anyone who can pay the $11,000 permit fee to attempt the climb. However, the Nepalese government denies this claim. Sherpas reported that each climber typically spends over $20,000 on an expedition, covering permit fees, food, guides, local travel, and gas.



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