Everest Base Camp: Tallest mountain on Earth

Deadliest Season: 17 Deaths Reported in Mount Everest, Officials Blame Climate Change | dubaiNepal

The Mount Everest Expedition has been making headlines this year with high permit numbers and record-breaking deaths. The Nepal government issued 478 permits for a single season in 2023 for 47 different teams. And Everest recorded one of the highest numbers of summits, with almost 600 summits, including both sherpas and members. On the other side, 12 people have been reported dead while attempting to climb the highest peak, and 5 are missing, presumed dead, as no contact has been made, according to the Himalayan Database.

12 people were reported dead and 5 were missing, but different Nepalese media reported the missing as dead, taking the number of deaths to 17. With this, 2023 will be the deadliest year in Everest’s history. Also, climbers and others have estimated two more additional deaths, which are yet to be confirmed.climbers line up for summit in Everest

People in line near Everest’s summit. Photo: Oleg Ivanchenko

Without a doubt, 2023 will be one of the most chaotic and deadly years in Everest’s history. With record-breaking rescue attempts and continuous helicopter flights, Everest was super busy this year.

The current death toll is one of the highest in the history of the mountain. Only years 2015, 1996, and 2014 recorded a similar number of deaths, namely 13, 15, and 16, respectively. In 2015, an avalanche-swiping base camp set high death records. But this year there were no major natural catastrophes, yet death numbers are high.

With the unofficial end of the spring climbing season, a general statement of “Who to blame?” has been circulating. And authorities have proposed many explanations, including climate change, altitude sickness, exhaustion, falls, novice attempts, running for Mount Everest records, colder temperatures, and more. Most officials attribute the changing weather as a major reason for climbing Everest this year. Climate change is having a big impact on the mountains.

“Altogether this year, we lost 17 people on the mountain this season—the major cause is the change in the weather.” Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada is the director of the Nepal Tourism Board.

Climbers have added different potential causes of high mortality. Nepalese mountaineer Lakpa Sherpa stated that cold temperatures, harder ice between Camp 3 and Camp 4, and a lack of experienced climbers were the significant causes.

“Mount Everest is an extremely challenging and dangerous environment that requires proper training, experience, and physical and mental fitness. There has been an increase in inexperienced climbers attempting the summit without adequate preparation.” He added.

“On the mountain, there seem to be more inexperienced climbers with the least resourced expedition operators,” Guy Cotter of Adventure Consultants told Explorerweb.

“It is not a fresh problem. People go shopping for an expedition on the internet and get themselves a bargain. They only discover the difference when it’s too late. Everest is still a very threatening, serious mountain that can be fatal even to the best-prepared climbers when things go wrong. People should only go with qualified [IFMGA] guides, Nepali or foreign, if they want security,” Cotter added.

While some claims were based on an increasing number of Everest climbers, as they were in previous years, “478 permits were simply too many,”, Ang Norbu Sherpa, president of the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association, told The Guardian.

“Apart from the three Sherpas in the icefall and the IMG client, who probably had a heart attack or stroke, I am convinced that all the other deaths could have been avoided by following safety standards and having sufficient oxygen supplies at all times,” said Lukas Furtenbach. “The deaths all have a similar pattern,” he added. According to him, most deaths were the result of poor planning for oxygen needs and the lowering of general safety standards.

In addition to the deaths, Everest recorded increasing cases of frostbite and calls for rescue forces in mid-journey. Cotter estimated around 200 helicopter flights from base camp to Camp II at 21,300 feet.

“We had two Sherpas suffer from frostbite, which is the first time in 30 years that we have ever had any of our Sherpas suffer frostbite. Luckily, one case was superficial, and the other may lose the end of a finger,” said Guy Cotter, who has been climbing Everest since the 1990s.

One viral rescue that made international headlines in 2023 was that of Gelje Sherpa, who had to give up his summit push before carrying a Malaysian climber back to Camp 4. Later, the Malaysian climber was carried by other sherpas to Camp 3 and was airlifted to Kathmandu.

In 2023, every party was busy, as were members of the Everest ER Clinic in base camp. “We treated nearly 600 patients this climbing season, and, as usual, respiratory symptoms, from viral infections to HAPE, were the most common complaint. These accounted for well over 50% of our patient visits,” members of Everest ER Clinic said.

More and more things have happened on Mount Everest in recent months. Although there was a discussion going about moving Everest Base Camp, it has now been rejected by officials as an ideal location to keep everyone safe. Climate change is having a major effect on base camp as well.

The rubbish dump in Everest has also been the serious talk of the town. Mountaineer Tenzi Sherpa, who has been taking climbers up the mountain for 4 years, said he saw left-out tents, empty gas bottles, bowls, sanitation pads, and plastic at Camp Four on the South Col, 7,906 meters. “It’s the dirtiest I’ve seen,” he added.

Nepalese army has also been deployed to clean up the mountains. Some of the members from them also reported causalties.

Reported deaths on Everest in 2023

  • Da Chhiree Sherpa (Nepal), April 12, 2023
  • Jonathan Sugarman (United States), May 1, 2023
  • Phurba Sherpa (Nepal), May 16, 2023
  • Victor Brinza (Moldova), May 17, 2023
  • Suzanne Leopoldina Jesus (India), May 18, 2023
  • Xuebin Chen (China), May 18, 2023
  • Ag Askandar Bin Ampuan Yaacub (Malaysia), May 19, 2023
  • Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya (Singapore), May 19, 2023
  • Muhammad Hawari Bin Hashim (Malaysia), May 20, 2023
  • Jason Bernard Kennison (Australia), May 21, 2023
  • Ang Kami Sherpa (Nepal), May 21, 2023
  • Petrus Albertyn Swart (Canada), May 25, 2023
  • Szilárd Suhajda (Hungary), May 25, 2023
  • Ranjit Kumar Shah (Nepal), May 25, 2023
  • Lakpa Nuru Sherpa (Nepal), May 25, 2023

This is a general list of climbers who lost their lives while climbing Mt. Everest in 2023. Some names are missing or have yet to be identified.

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