Mount Everest is so crowded that climbers are dying after being forced to queue in the 'death zone' while waiting to reach the summit, expedition companies say
- The death of at least two climbers on Mount Everest has been blamed on large crowds that have left people queuing in the mountain's "death zone".
- Expedition companies blamed the death of two climbers, an Indian woman and an American man, on exhaustion after queing in for hours at an altitude where there is not enough oxygen for humans to survive.
- Climbers and officials have complained about the effect that an increasing number of climbers have had on the mountain.
- There are typically only a few days per year with the right conditions to summit Everest and many parts of the mountain only allow one person to climb at a time, creating a bottleneck.
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Mount Everest became so crowded that climbers were stuck in the deadly "death zone" for hours, a development that expedition companies blamed for two deaths this week.
On Wednesday, around 250 climbers attempted to reach the mountain's summit, The Kathmandu Post reported, but many were forced to queue as parts of the mountain's terrain often allow only one person to go up or down the mountain at a time.
As a result, climbers were stuck in the death zone for hours, the Post reported. The death zone is an area more than 8,000 metres above sea level where oxygen is so limited that the body's cells start to die.
Expedition companies blamed the death of two climbers on this congestion, which has also been criticised by climbers.
Climber Nirmal Purja photographed the scene, which can be seen by clicking on the right arrow below. He told The New York Times: "I have had bottlenecks on mountains before but not this many people at such high altitude."
British TV personality Ben Fogle, who climbed the mountain in 2018, shared the image and said that Nepal and China, the two countries in which Everest is located, need to limit the number of climbers.
Donald Lynn Cash, a 55-year-old American, died on the summit after losing energy while waiting for the opportunity to climb up there, the head of the expedition agency he used told the Post.
Pasang Tenje Sherpa, the chairman of Pioneer Adventure, said that Cash "collapsed as soon as he reached the summit" after losing energy while waiting to reach the peak.
Anjali S Kulkarni, a 54-year-old woman from Mumbai, India, died on her way back down from Everest's summit.
Thupden Sherpa, the general manager of the Arun Treks agency that she was climbing with, told the Post that she died of "exhaustion" after she and her husband "were forced to wait for hours to reach the summit as there was a long queue on the slopes of Everest".
"The Sherpa guides supported her while coming down, but she could not make it," he said.
There are only a certain number of days where conditions are good enough for climbers can summit Mount Everest. Climbers can wait for the opportunity for weeks, and then collectively rush to the top.
Climbing Mount Everest is expensive and is often the culmination of years of dreaming and training, but an increasing number of services that make the expedition easier have brought more people to its peaks.
Jamling Tenzing, the son of the sherpa Tenzing Norgay who was the first to summit Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, said in 2003 that the mountain had "lost its spirit of adventure" because people were climbing it without the proper skill.
"There are people going up there who have no idea how to put on crampons. They are climbing because they have paid someone $65,000."
Officials told the Post before Wednesday that a queue of climbers would be unlikely because of the long climbing window and the creation of a new timetable system, but the Post reported that that system was unable to be implemented.
The increasing number of Everest climbers has already promoted officials to reduce the number of climbers allowed on the mountain in a bid to cut down on the growing amount of trash gathering on it.
Chinese authorities announced in January that they would only issue 300 permits a year in a bid to deal with escalating piles of trash.
Six deaths or cases of climbers going missing have been reported on Everest so far this year.
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