Mount Everest has recently claimed 16 lives from a deadly avalanche, which makes this the deadliest disaster that the mountain has ever seen in one day. Though this is a larger-than-usual tragedy, death on Mount Everest is not a rare occurrence. Since 1922 people from all over the world have attempted the grueling climb to the top. Climbers all attempt to stay alive for the totality of the climb, though Mount Everest often has a different fate in mind, continually adding victims to its huge list.
The first climbers in 1922, General Charles Granville Bruce and George Mallory, were the first in history to make it past 8,000 meters on a mountain climb. This group was the second in recorded history to attempt Mount Everest, the first made it just past 7,000 meters one year prior. Since this first record-setting climb many people have tested their endurance and skills by climbing the mountain.
Mount Everest reaches just over 29,000 feet in height, proving to be disastrously hard on the human body due to its lack of oxygen and frigid temperatures. Many climbers experience bodily rejection to the altitude, suffering from headaches and extreme frostbite if not properly prepared. The snowstorms on the mountain are extreme, often causing avalanches like the deadly one earlier this month. Throughout history Mount Everest has added victims to its already huge list, with a total that causes many to wonder why so many attempt the dangerous stunt.
By the year 2005 a recorded total of 186 people died from attempting to climb Everest. This is not counting the many unidentified or lost victims. While the recent avalanche claimed 13 victims in one fell swoop, Everest has a few years where the cumulative death toll rose higher than this. In 1996 Mount Everest stole 15 lives and in 1982 the mountain laid claim to 11. Some of the most iconic landmarks of the mountain are dead bodies. Green boots, an unidentified climber who froze to death on the mountain in 1996, marks a close proximity to the summit. At 8,000 meters high, ironically the height reached by record-breakers in 1922, is what climbers call the “death zone;” 200 plus bodies of Everest’s victims are littered here.
Dead bodies are not all one will find on a climb to the top of Everest. Unfortunately, many climbers leave behind trash and equipment; there is also remnants of a helicopter that crashed into the mountain years ago. Due to the dangerous nature and expenses of making a climb, no one follows after climbers to pick up left equipment or trash. Everest mostly sees wealthy individuals; a single climber will spend upwards of $30,000 to attempt the feat.
While the death toll of Mount Everest does not have an exact pattern, there are not more than one or two deaths a year for decades at a time in some cases. The first year saw 7 deaths; a number that high was not seen again until 1970, with eight lives claimed. The recent catastrophe has many wondering if Everest is becoming more dangerous than previous years to attempt. It is yet to be determined how much longer climbers will have the option to attempt Everest; the world may see a day where any attempt is not in a person’s best interest. Time will be the only indicator of whether or not Mount Everest will be able to continue adding to its huge list of total victims.
By Courtney Heitter