Deaths of British climber and guide highlight overcrowding concerns, bringing total deaths this season to 7

The recent deaths of a British climber and his guide, a Kenyan banker and a Nepali climber on Mount Everest on Friday revived concerns about overcrowding on the world’s highest peak. In addition, there have been several incidents on Mount Everest this week, including a snow collapse in one of its most dangerous areas.

On May 21, several days after the ice collapse, British climber Daniel Patterson, 39, and his Nepalese guide, Pas Tenji Sherpa, 23, were still missing. The climbers were dragged down the slopes of the crowded mountain. Several videos that surfaced online before the collapse showed crowds on the route to the summit of Mount Everest.

Patterson and his Sherpa climbed the 29,032 feet high peak of Everest with a group of fifteen people, reports India Today. The organisers of the expedition, Mount Everest adventure company “8K Expeditions” admitted on Instagram that they were unable to find the two. “The group of climbers was affected by a sudden cornice collapse,” the statement said.

The accident, which occurred at 4:40 a.m. (local time) on May 21, has led to a rush to the Hillary Step. This area, at an altitude of more than 26,000 feet, is known as Everest’s “death zone” because oxygen levels and air pressure can be fatal for long 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 since he went missing on the mountain on Wednesday, May 22.

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According to the Himalayan Times, Sherpas had reported to Everest base camp that Kirui was “behaving abnormally” and was “refusing to turn back or use bottled oxygen” before they both went missing. Contact between the two was lost shortly after. Kirui’s close hiking friend told the BBC that Kirui died in a fall and his body was found 60 feet below the summit of Everest.

These are not the only deaths to affect Everest expeditions. On May 21, a Romanian climber was found dead in his tent, and two Mongolian climbers died while descending the Hillary Step, India Times reported, citing the Himalayan Times.

After a dangerous week on Everest, several videos have emerged on social media showing the crowdedness on the mountain. A video taken on Monday, May 20, shows a long queue of climbers in the ‘yellow band’ area.

Avalanches have caused 40% of deaths on Mount Everest in recent years

According to the South China Morning Post, the best season to climb Mount Everest in Nepal is between March and May, and then again from September to November, when the weather is more pleasant. However, unpredictable blizzards can disrupt communications and visibility even during these times. In addition, mountain sickness can become a concern even before you reach the dangerous areas of Everest.

This year the climbing season started later than usual, in late April, because of poor snow conditions on the Khumbu Glacier. Now, as May draws to a close, the season is drawing to a close.

The Himalayan Database has reported that in recent years, 40 percent of the deaths on Mount Everest have been due to avalanches. It is worth mentioning that in 2016, 16 people died in an avalanche, which was one of the worst accidents on this mountain.

Despite these challenges, the thrill of climbing the world’s highest peak is attracting more and more tourists to the Himalayas. Citing the Nepal Tourism Board, the South China Morning Post reported that more than 128,000 tourists arrived in Nepal by air in March, an increase of 28.9 percent compared to last year.

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

In March, 91-year-old Kancha Sherpa, the last surviving member of an expedition to climb Everest, told The Guardian that the mountain had become “too crowded and dirty” and should be preserved as a sacred place. He suggested reducing the number of climbers to prevent littering and environmental degradation.

Kancha Sherpa was part of the team that supported Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in reaching the summit on 29 May 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 pays the $11,000 permit fee to climb. However, the Nepalese government denies this claim. Sherpas report that each climber typically spends over $20,000 on an expedition, including permit fees, food, guides, local travel, and gas.