Mount Everest, also known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Chomolungma in Tibet, is the highest peak in the world. Located in the Mahalangur Himal range of the Himalayas, it stands at a towering height of 8,849 metres (29,032 feet). Every year, hundreds of mountaineers attempt to climb Mount Everest, but not everyone comes back alive. Over the years, the mountain has claimed many lives, making it one of the deadliest mountains to climb. In this article, we will take a closer look at the number of lives Everest has claimed, the reasons behind these deaths, and the risks involved in climbing the mountain.
How Many People Have Died Climbing Everest?
Mount Everest has claimed the lives of many climbers over the years. According to the Himalayan Database, 334 people have died on the mountain between 1921 and 2021. The year 1996 remains the deadliest year in the history of Everest, with 15 deaths, including those in the ill-fated expedition chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air.” In 2015, a massive earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche that killed 22 people, including 16 Sherpas.
The number of deaths on Everest varies from year to year, depending on many factors such as weather, climbing conditions, and the number of climbers attempting to summit the peak. However, there has been a steady increase in the number of fatalities in recent years due to the increasing number of climbers attempting to climb the mountain.
Causes of Death on Everest
The cause of death on Everest varies from person to person. However, some of the most common causes are:
- Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS): AMS is a condition caused by the high altitude and lack of oxygen. It can lead to severe headache, dizziness, nausea, and even death.
- Avalanches: Avalanches are a common occurrence on Everest, especially during the climbing season. They can be triggered by weather conditions, earthquakes, or the movement of other climbers.
- Falls: Climbers are at risk of falling while ascending or descending the mountain. The chances of a fall increase when a climber is tired or fatigued.
- Exposure: The harsh weather conditions on Everest can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and other medical conditions that can be fatal.
- Altitude-related illnesses: Climbers are at risk of developing altitude-related illnesses such as High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). In severe cases, these illnesses can be fatal.
Why Do People Risk Their Lives to Climb Everest?
Despite the risks involved, many people still attempt to climb Everest every year. There are many reasons why people are drawn to this mountain:
- The challenge: Climbing Everest is one of the most challenging physical and mental feats a person can attempt. It requires months of rigorous training, physical endurance, and mental toughness.
- The glory: Climbing Everest is a significant accomplishment that brings bragging rights and a sense of pride to the mountaineer who achieves it.
- The adventure: Climbing Everest is an adventure like no other. The journey, the terrain, and the experience are all unique and unforgettable.
- The spiritual experience: For some, climbing Everest is a spiritual experience that helps them connect with nature and a higher power.
How Can Climbers Stay Safe on Everest?
Climbing Everest is an inherently risky activity. However, there are steps that climbers can take to minimize the risk:
- Proper training: Climbers must undergo extensive training to prepare for the physical and mental demands of climbing Everest.
- Choosing a reputable guide company: It is essential to choose a reputable guide company with experienced guides who prioritize safety.
- Choosing the right gear: Climbers must have the right gear, including clothing, footwear, and equipment, to protect them from the harsh weather conditions on the mountain.
- Climbing in the right season: Climbing during the right season minimizes the risk of encountering harsh weather conditions.
- Monitoring altitude sickness: Climbers must monitor themselves and their teammates for signs of altitude sickness and take appropriate action if necessary.
Climbing Mount Everest is a dream for many climbers around the world. However, it is essential to remember that it is an inherently risky activity that has claimed the lives of many people. Before attempting to climb the mountain, it is crucial to undergo proper training, choose the right guide company, and have the right gear. Climbers must also be aware of the risks involved and take appropriate precautions to stay safe.
Most Common Questions and Answers
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Everest and their answers:
- Q: Why is Mount Everest so difficult to climb?
- A: Climbing Mount Everest is difficult due to the combination of high altitude, severe weather conditions, and the technical challenges of climbing the mountain.
- Q: How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?
- A: Climbing Mount Everest can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, depending on the guide company and the level of support required.
- Q: How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?
- A: Climbing Mount Everest takes about two months, including time for acclimatization and summit attempts.
- Q: What is the best season to climb Mount Everest?
- A: The best season to climb Mount Everest is the spring season (April-May) and the fall season (September-November).
- “The Himalayan Database.” The American Alpine Club. https://himalayandatabase.com/
- “Mount Everest.” National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/mount-everest/
- “Climbing Everest: The Ultimate Guide.” BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-22480254