What would happen if Mount Everest collapsed?

Rush to the highest peak in the world : Why so many climbers die on Mount Everest

On his Facebook page, mountaineer and filmmaker Elia Seikaly provides an eyewitness account of the dramatic events on May 23rd on the highest mountain in the world - when hundreds of people rushed to the summit. “I can't believe what I saw up there: death, slaughter, chaos, standing in line,” writes the documentary filmmaker.

He saw dead bodies lying both on the way to the summit and in tents in Camp 4. “People who tried to repent and who eventually died; People dragged down. ”And bodies to step over.

Eleven climbers have died on Mount Everest in the past few days. This makes the current season one of the deadliest on the mountain. Over 500 people reached the summit in the third week of May. Not all of the dead can be traced back to the traffic jam around the summit.

At least four deaths could have been avoided if fewer people had been on the summit. The Mount Everest chronicler Alan Arnette writes in his blog "alanarnette.com".

Too long waiting times as the reason for the unlucky series?

Four Indians died of altitude sickness independently of one another in different places and in different expeditions. You may have spent too much time over 8,000 meters due to the crowds and progressed too slowly, believes Alan Arnette.

On Monday, family members reported the death of a 62-year-old American who was killed during the descent from the 8848 meter high Mount Everest, as the newspaper "Denver Post" reported.

Most recently, more than ten people died in one season on Mount Everest in 2015. At that time, however, an avalanche was responsible. Everest expert Arnette sees four main reasons for the deaths this season: Too many people; too little time window to reach the summit; too many inexperienced climbers, as well as insufficient support and poor equipment.

Because of the difficult weather conditions, the top of Mount Everest can only be climbed for a few weeks in spring. The best times are usually between mid and late May. Usually these so-called weather windows are limited to two to three per season. The time is accordingly short for everyone to catch the right moment.

Especially on May 23, the mountaineers jostled for the Everest summit. “There were only short weather windows, and everyone wanted to go up at the same time,” says a manager of the trekking agency “Peak Promotion”, describing the situation at an altitude of almost 9,000 meters. Foreign mountaineers pay the equivalent of around 9,000 euros for the permit to climb up - Himalayan tourism is an important source of income for Nepal. Nepal issues a corresponding number of permits.

The numbers are increasing every year, as are the traffic jams. “That won't improve either,” says mountain guide Lukas Furtenbach of the “New York Times”. “There is a lot of corruption in the Nepalese authorities, they take what they can get.” The Austrian has meanwhile moved his expeditions to the Chinese side of Everest, the northern route is not yet so overcrowded.

"Nobody thinks of those who collapse"

The number of inexperienced mountaineers who dare to undertake this adventure is also steadily increasing. There are no specific rules in Nepal as to what skills someone needs to have in order to rise to the roof of the world. “You have to qualify to take part in the Ironman,” says Alan Arnette of the “New York Times”, “but you don't have to qualify to climb the highest mountain in the world? What is wrong with this picture?"

The material is also sometimes insufficient. Mountaineers report leaking or exploding or insufficiently filled oxygen cylinders on the black market.

As long as the conditions do not change, scenes like those experienced by the experienced Lebanese mountaineer Fatima Deryan are likely to repeat themselves. Around 150 climbers tried to reach the summit at temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius. The oxygen was running low, some collapsed right in front of her.

"Many people panicked, worried about themselves - and nobody thinks about those who collapse." She initially offered help, but then did not want to put herself in danger and went on to the summit. On the way back she had to fight her way through the crowd again. “It was terrible,” says Fatima Deryan. (with dpa)

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