Carnage on Mt. Everest

Sid

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At $11,000 just for the permit and another $35,000+ for the rest of the costs, few are going to blow that cash & chance to reach their personal achievement to help someone who is all but dead. Sad....unimaginable for most of us, but should not be surprising.

It is not Hyde Park or Central Park up there. It is very steep and huge parts of the mountain slopes are not accessible.
The air is so thin that helicopters can't be used to rescue people or retrieve corpses.
It is totally not like for instance at the Mt Blanc in the Alps (another highest top on every climbers wish list), where rescue helicopter teams are at work every single day during the season.
And even there people die on the mountain.
 
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Argent Stonecutter

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Beebo Brink

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From what I understand they are already dead and the question is about retrieving the bodies.
No, over the years many climbers in distress were left to die because no one around them had sufficient oxygen to help them. There were two similar incidents described in the OP.

Chad Gaston, another climber who successfully reached the peak, described the difficulty of passing incapacitated people as he ascended, including a man wrapped “like a mummy with ropes tied to him”. He wrote: “The climber was non-responsive and I never saw him open his eyes.”

Further up he saw a man “holding his chest and bent over”. Gaston said: “I waited for a moment and after he didn’t move, I approached him. He said he was having a hard time breathing, even though I saw his oxygen mask was fine. He was in really bad shape, pale faced, not coherent and shaking … I’m sad to say I heard he passed, that night on the mountain.”
 

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The low oxygen levels in the Everest climbers blood give them greatly diminished capacity to make good or appropriate judgements. The whole scene of the climbers lined up to stand at the summit reflects how poor their judgement is at that point. Then, to walk by someone who is obviously dying and leave them gasping their way to death reflects powerfully on how diminished the mental capacity is of persons at that altitude.

It's just possible that they are given that advice -- to ignore those having difficulty -- but if that's the case, what are they doing on the mountain to begin with, if it's every person for themselves and devil take the hindmost?
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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My understanding is it's not so much a diminished mental capacity that keeps them from helping, but a diminished physical one. As in, by the time you're walking down from the summit, it's possible to be in a state where if you bent over to pick up like a dropped candy wrapper you may never be able to stand up straight again without help because you just don't have the muscle strength anymore, and if at any point you lose your footing and fall or deliberately sit on the ground, you're effectively doomed. I guess the obvious question then is, why would you willingly put yourself in that position, where you know you'll have to walk past the dying without being able to help them? I dunno, it's some kind of insanity.
 

Victorianna Writer

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Nepal already works with permits to climb the mountain. The permits ain't cheap (11,000 USD per person) and Nepal granted 381 people a permit this year.
And besides that, weather wise May is the month where the chances are best to reach the summit. So when the weather was good to the end of May a lot of those 381 permit holders gave it a go, knowing this could be the last chance this season.

Unfortunately 381 persons with a permit means more then 3810 people will be on the mountain in a season. Each expedition needs at least 2 camps. Which means a lot of Sherpas on the mountains as carriers and guides.

You can't impress your friends with a trip to Borneo, Bolivia or New Zealand any more. So let's climb the Mount Everest next year.
If they already have it set to get permits then the news well the guy that was telling the news was wrong. Cuz he said they were going to start doing permits, he didn't say they already do. But I see your point. (y)
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

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My understanding is it's not so much a diminished mental capacity that keeps them from helping, but a diminished physical one. As in, by the time you're walking down from the summit, it's possible to be in a state where if you bent over to pick up like a dropped candy wrapper you may never be able to stand up straight again without help because you just don't have the muscle strength anymore, and if at any point you lose your footing and fall or deliberately sit on the ground, you're effectively doomed. I guess the obvious question then is, why would you willingly put yourself in that position, where you know you'll have to walk past the dying without being able to help them? I dunno, it's some kind of insanity.
Once we can have these, I'm in. You?

 

Aztek

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From what I understand they are already dead and the question is about retrieving the bodies.
I am referring to the those who have summited and on the way back, do not have enough O2 or condition for the descent. Of the 11 who have died the past 2 weeks, almost all died of altitude sickness and were descending. Waiting in queue for hours like a teen in line for concert tickets means more O2 needed & critical time at that altitude. There was recently a story of hikers walking past some of those 11 who were dying and continuing on because, there's 'not a a lot you can do for someone who is dying & freezing to death" and stopping could mean death for yourself.

"In the so-called “death zone,” at altitudes between 26,000 and 29,000 feet, “we are literally racing against the clock and will die if we don’t descend,” Freer wrote in an email. “Bad weather, snow, difficult terrain, crowds impeding ascent or descent on a fixed rope, an otherwise minor injury—anything that slows us down can be potentially deadly.”

To put it another way: “You’re slowly dying above 18,000 feet,” says Peter Hackett, a clinical professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Pulmonary Sciences. “But when you get above 26,000 feet, you start dying much more quickly.” "

 

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Brenda Archer

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I’ve had impaired oxygen because of pulmonary embolism.

In that state neither your mind nor your body are right - and you may not realize how much until later, if at all.

For someone to willingly go into that state is beyond my understanding. Or perhaps they really do not know what they’re about to do?
 

Arilynn

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I wrote out a long post about the deaths on Mt. Everest and then deleted it. I have sympathy for the people they leave behind, but the climbers knew or should have known the risks.

In 2018, Harvard Med School estimated that 45,000 Americans die each year due to a lack of health insurance. There is a tower of other equally appalling stats to choose from. I know people are able to be concerned about more than one issue at a time. But the Everest deaths have received so much attention and discussion while legions more suffering and dying is status quo in the U.S.

(This is why I have avoided the news for a while. I’m by nature an optimistic, but I’m finding hard to be optimistic during these times. I should probably also stop spreading this around the forum. My apologies.)
 

Victorianna Writer

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They definitely have permits, they have for a LONG time. The thing is, there's no other requirement for obtaining a permit besides being able to pay the fee. It's that last point that Nepal is considering changing.
Maybe they were referring to setting it for those that are more experienced rather than just giving permits to just anyone. I know they mentioned about those that are experienced compared to those that are not.
 
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Brenda Archer

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I wrote out a long post about the deaths on Mt. Everest and then deleted it. I have sympathy for the people they leave behind, but the climbers knew or should have known the risks.

In 2018, Harvard Med School estimated that 45,000 Americans die each year due to a lack of health insurance. There is a tower of other equally appalling stats to choose from. I know people are able to be concerned about more than one issue at a time. But the Everest deaths have received so much attention and discussion while legions more suffering and dying is status quo in the U.S.

(This is why I have avoided the news for a while. I’m by nature an optimistic, but I’m finding hard to be optimistic during these times. I should probably also stop spreading this around the forum. My apologies.)
Please don’t feel bad. It’s actually reassuring to those of us who have been in some of those statistics to know we’re not forgotten. If I had always had consistent health care access there’s a lot of life threatening events and damage I could have avoided. And there are so many of us. The most depressing thing is the patient blaming propaganda I know is coming from the insurance companies and other for-profit outfits. Because helping actual sick people is bad somehow.
 

danielravennest

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Once we can have these, I'm in. You?
I'm waiting until they have pressurized gondolas to go up, and a revolving restaurant at the summit. Look, I've been higher than Mt Everest in an airplane, and they have pressurized cabins with a view, and food. Why would I go for an inferior experience where I have to walk the whole way?
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

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I'm waiting until they have pressurized gondolas to go up, and a revolving restaurant at the summit. Look, I've been higher than Mt Everest in an airplane, and they have pressurized cabins with a view, and food. Why would I go for an inferior experience where I have to walk the whole way?
They have 4G service, so that's a start. :)
 
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Brenda Archer

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It seems to me the real elite athletes in this whole scenario are the sherpas, but of course they are being thought of like part of the scenery. The whole scenario just has too much cheesy “Great White Explorer” attached to it.
 

danielravennest

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They have 4G service, so that's a start. :)
By the way, when I lived in Seattle, and was much younger, I did hike up Mt. Rainier to the snow line, which was ~7500 ft elevation. That was quite enough mountain climbing. One thing I did not expect was how noisy it was. The glaciers that flow down the mountain grind the rocks underneath against each other. So you hear frequent crunching noises.

 

Stora

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Everest deaths: Four reasons why this climbing season went wrong

Over the past two decades, the average annual death rate of climbers on Mount Everest has remained at about six.

But this spring, at least 10 people have already been reported dead or missing on the world's highest peak.

This is also the season that saw a record 381 climbing permits issued by the Nepalese government.

In reality, this means about 600 people were preparing to embark on the climb, with permit holders accompanied by support staff up the mountain.

While overcrowding has been blamed for the increase in the number of deaths, there are also other factors at play.




Four reasons why this Everest season went wrong