KATHMANDU, Nepal – Four mountaineers – an American, a Slovak, an Australian and an Indian – perished while trying to climb Everest on one of the most dramatic weekends since the 2015 avalanche that killed 18 people.
A dozen other climbers had to be rescued in the past three days due to difficulties on the “Roof of the World”, the rescuers told the Washington Post.
Deaths this weekend, most likely related to acute mountain sickness (MAM), bring to six the number of mountaineers who perished on Everest since the beginning of a season marked by a very changing weather, winds Very strong and unusually low temperatures.
The weather conditions subsided over the weekend, and a window opened to try to climb the summit which peaks at 8848 meters.
Despite the large number of climbers on the ground, no one has reported long lines of mountaineers who can delay climbing and become dangerous because climbers lose strength and unnecessarily waste their oxygen in this expectation.
More than a hundred mountaineers are expected to rush on Monday to the summit on the south face, to take advantage of this window that is likely to close quickly, according to forecasts.
“It may be that up to 150 mountaineers are racing today from the Nepalese side, which is not a record,” Ang Tsering Sherpa, chairman of the Mountaineering Federation of Nepal .
In 2012, 255 people had launched the same day of the two slopes for the ascent.
Ueli Steck dead in April
The Slovak Vladimir Strba was found dead on Sunday a few hundred meters from the summit, said Kamal Parajuli, from the Nepalese Department of Tourism.
It was above the 8,000 meters, in the “zone of death” -that area where altitude and oxygen deficiency deteriorate the functioning of the organs and where the terrain is particularly difficult- American physician Roland Yearwood.
A 54-year-old Australian who was trying to climb on his Tibetan slope was also killed, according to local media quoting the Tibetan Mountaineering Association. The man, presumably affected with MAM above 7500 meters, died trying to go down.
The Indian mountaineer Ravi Kumar, 27, reached the top Saturday, but has been missing since then, since his contact had been lost.
His Nepalese guide managed to get back down to Camp 4, just below 8,000 meters, suffering from severe frostbite.
“Rescuers have recovered his body,” Thupden Sherpa of Arun Treks and Expeditions said, adding that the remains had been located 200 meters from one of the ascent paths and that the rescuers were studying The possibility of recovering the remains.
The Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck died at the end of April during a climb on Mount Nuptse, facing Everest, when he slipped and fell more than 1000 meters.
An 85-year-old Nepalese, who was trying to recover his oldest climbing title to conquer Everest, also died early May in a base camp of the mountain.
More than 120 mountaineers have reached the summit on the southern side since the beginning of the season, and about 80 others have done so since the Tibetan slope.
Hundreds of others are waiting to start before the monsoon arrives in early June, which will mark the end of the short mountaineering spring season.
In 2016, five mountaineers died on Mount Everest. A total of 640 people reached the summit.
On April 25, 2015, an avalanche caused by the earthquake in Nepal struck the base camp of Everest, killing 18 people.
Since the first successful ascent of Everest in 1953, more than 300 people, mostly Nepalese, have died in the Himalayan mountains.
Althia Blair is Strange News Chronicle’s overseas bureau chief, and hosts our weekly podcast. Before joining trange News Chronicle in 2011, Althia worked as a national political reporter for Postmedia News. She has covered many political events on and off since 2006, writing for Sun Media, and producing for CTV and for NPR.