During the week beginning May 20, crowds of climbers became stuck in a queue to the summit, above the mountain’s highest camp at 8,000 meters. Most people can only spend a matter of minutes at the summit without extra oxygen supplies, and the area where mountaineers have been delayed is known to many as the “death zone.”
Another mountaineer has died after summiting Mount Everest, bringing the death toll for the 2019 climbing season to 11 people.
American attorney Christopher John Kulish, 62, died on Monday after reaching the top of Everest on the Nepalese side of the mountain in the morning. Also on Monday, an Austrian family confirmed the death of one of their relatives.
62岁的美国律师Christopher John Kulish周一早在尼泊尔一侧登顶珠峰后死亡。同一天，一家奥地利家庭确认，有亲属在攀登珠峰时身亡。
This season’s summit crowds - the worst since 2012 - had been exacerbated by unsettled weather which meant there had been only five possible summit days in May so far, compared with between seven and 12 in recent years. This had caused hundreds of climbers to converge on several notorious sections where they can only pass one at a time.
Mountain guide Adrian Ballinger told CNN many see Everest as the “ultimate challenge” but the problem he has seen is the “lower level of experience of the climbers trying to come here and also of the companies that are trying to offer services on the mountain.”
He continued, “That lack of experience, both with the commercial operators and the climbers themselves, is causing these images we see where people make bad decisions, get themselves in trouble up high and end up having unnecessary fatalities.”
Experts say crowds at Everest have also increased in recent years because expeditions have become more popular.
Many expedition guides stress that reaching the top is immensely rewarding - but being physically prepared, and choosing the right time to ascend, go a long way towards reducing the risk.
More than 200 mountaineers have died on the peak since 1922, when the first climbers’ deaths on Everest were recorded. The majority of bodies are believed to have remained buried under glaciers or snow.
Norbu Sherpa has reached the summit seven times. He adds that the most dangerous part is often the descent.
A lot of people push themselves to the summit, but, once they reach it, “lose their motivation and energy on the way down”, especially when they realize it’s a long, crowded journey.