Overcrowding not ‘sole reason’ for Everest death toll rise: Nepal government

The rise in deaths of climbers on the Mount Everest this year is not solely due to overcrowding, the Nepal government has said, citing other factors, including adverse weather conditions

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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PTI

The rise in deaths of climbers on the Mount Everest this year is not solely due to overcrowding, the Nepal government has said, citing other factors, including adverse weather conditions.

The current death toll is eight, according to Dandu Raj Ghimire, Tourism Department's Director General.

However,16 people have been reported dead or missing so far, including eight Indians, according to expedition officials in Nepal.

A total of 381 people had ascended Everest's 8,848-metre peak this spring but as periods of fine weather had been short, the number of people on the routes had been "higher than expected", Ghimire was quoted as saying by the BBC.

One Nepalese, an Austrian and an American are also among dead or missing, reports say. Photos of long queues near the summit have been widely shared as record numbers ascended the mountain in May.

Their deaths have been attributed primarily to a long queue of both ascending and descending climbers, forcing many to wait for hours at 8,000 metres plus altitudes.


Ghimire offered "heartfelt condolences to those who have passed away and prayers to those who are still missing".

"Mountaineering in the Himalayas is in itself an adventurous, complex and sensitive issue requiring full awareness yet tragic accidents are unavoidable," he said.

'Traffic jam' occurs on Mount Everest when many climbers vie for the summit at the same time, and can be especially dangerous above 8,000 metres known as the 'death zone'.

Nepal has issued a record 381 permits costing USD 11,000 each for the current spring climbing season. It opened the climbing route to the world's highest peak on May 14, when a team of eight Sherpas successfully scaled the Mount Everest, becoming the first team to reach the summit.

Hundreds of climbers flock each year to Nepal - home to several of the world's highest mountains, to scale Himalayan peaks during the spring season that begins around March and ends in June.

According to Nepal Department of Tourism, more than 4,400 people have scaled the summit since Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain in 1953.


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