Global mountaineering community raises concerns about fatalities on Mount Everest

2019 season has recorded the maximum number of deaths since the earthquake in 2015

author_img J Joy Published :  31st May 2019 03:26 PM   |   Published :   |  31st May 2019 03:26 PM
Traffic Jam on Everest

Traffic Jam on Everest Photo: Nirmal Purja/Project Possible/AFP

One would imagine that a trip to the high Himalayas is about being 'far from the maddin crowd'. But, recent photographs from Mount Everest has been breaking the internet for its ridiculousness. The higher ridges on the tallest mountain in the world are seen crowded with lines of climbers waiting to summit. This has also proved fatal for climbers, with casualties hitting 11 death—the highest since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake triggered avalanches on the mountain in 2015.

Global mountaineering community is speaking up against the Nepal government for giving out so many climbing permits. The country has issued a record number of 381 permits this season.

Many climbers had to wait for hours for the route to clear to begin their descent, including Indian Ameesha Chauhan who suffered frostbites. While in treatment, she had mentioned that their team had encountered many climbers who lacked basic skills and put the lives of others at risk. 

Canadian adventurer and filmmaker Elia Saikaly, who summited the mountain for the third time this season while making a documentary with a group of Arab women athletes, has put up various Instagram posts about the crisis on Everest.

He says that even though the narrow weather window and the excessive number of permits did cause trouble, what must be examined is the experience of the climbers and also the logistics providers.

"I write this with the utmost respect for those that lost their lives and their loved ones, but it needs to be said: PLEASE remember, economizing on Everest puts you, your teammates, your Sherpa support system and everyone else on the mountain in danger. When you cut corners someone is paying for it. Not only are you risking your own life, but the lives of the great Sherpa people and other tribes who work on Everest. So much of this could easily have been avoided," Elia wrote in an Instagram post.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The queue of climbers heading to the summit of Mt. Everest on May 23rd. . We raced down the Hillary Step as fast as we could after reaching the top, swapped out our depleted oxygen cylinders, climbed up the south summit expecting a smooth descent and this is what we saw. A very long line-up of climbers all heading for the top at 830am. . I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Half the teams were still on their way up. . Descending was a careful and calculated clip and unclip process. Everyone was sandwiched together in the line leaving very little space to pass. In general, most have empathy for your exposure, some help you pass, some hang onto you to protect you as they know that they too will soon be descending and taking the same risk each time. Others, who are likely exhausted and possibly hypoxic and nervous, make it a little bit more difficult. . PK and I raced down, at times connecting our safety lines to one another, releasing ourselves from the main lines in order to lose elevation quicker. . Because of the media storm surrounding Everest, many are blaming the 'traffic' for the problems people faced above 8000m. If 'traffic' was the main factor then why did our team and several others summit problem free? . Too many issued permits certainly contributed to the problem, as did a narrow weather window, but where we really need to be looking is at the experience level (and lack thereof) of some climbers and the choices made by those individuals in terms of their logistic providers. We climbers all know which local company carries the burden of the highest loss of life. They happen to offer very cheap pricing which is enticing for some. . I write this with the utmost respect for those that lost their lives and their loved ones, but it needs to be said: PLEASE remember, economizing on Everest puts you, your teammates, your Sherpa support system and everyone else on the mountain in danger. When you cut corners someone is paying for it. Not only are you risking your own life, but the lives of the great Sherpa people and other tribes who work on Everest. So much of this could easily have been avoided. . . #Everest #summitclimb #Everest2019 #traffic #lineups

A post shared by Elia Saikaly (@eliasaikaly) on


 

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