by Geir Mjosund 23/11/2014
Over 200 people have died in Mount Everest’s “death zone.” It does not stop new adventurers from wanting to triumph the highest summit in the world.
Because it’s there
So simple expressed adventurer George Mallory their desire to climb the world’s highest summit in an interview with New York Times in the early 1920s.
8848 meters above sea level rises the summit of Mount Everest. Adventurers like Mallory has over the last 100 years had an tremendous urge to climb this mountain, known as the “third pole“, but it would go decades of failed attempts and many deaths before the summit was climbed by humans.
Mallory and his expedition was in the beginning of the 1920s the first who tried. The four Englishmen encamped in a 8300 meters altitude, before Mallory and his companion Sandy Irvine continued towards the top.
The two were killed and Mallory’s deep-frozen body were found as late as in 1991 by an expedition in search of the remains of the first Everest adventurers.
Whether the two mountaineering comrades had actually climbed the mountain and were descending when they died, remains one of history’s greatest mysteries.
Mount Everest Record Chase for 60 years
The breakthrough came when Nepal was opened to foreigners, so that one could climb the mountain from the southern side.
Since then around 3000 climbers repeated the accomplishment, and during the over 60 years many records have been set and milestones reached.
- In 1975, Japanese Junko Tabei was the first woman who reached the summit of Mount Everest, and three years later Italian Reinhold Messner the first to climb the mountain without the use of added oxygen. Two years after, in 1980, the same man the first ascended peak alone.
- The fastest expedition has covered the stretch in just over eight hours.
- Apa Sherpa (Nepal) holds the record for the number of summit. In addition to several failed attempts, he has 21 successful expeditions to the summit.
- Recently, the Japanese Yuichiro Miura, 80 years old became the oldest person to climb the mountain. American Paul Romero (13) was in 2010 the youngest who have completed the same accomplishment.
“The feeling of being on top is pretty insane. It is something you have planned for many years. Then you have a maximum of 20 minutes at the top. It is an emotional moment because we have spent so much time and effort preparing” – Lars Oma (Norwegian that reached the summit in 2009)
Despite today’s climbing equipment and knowledge, to climb Mount Everest still is a deadly physical trial, and Mount Everest is still called “death rock”.
Well over 200 people have died in the attempt, the annual number has increased after 1980. Due to difficult weather and road conditions there are over 100 dead bodies still on the mountain – many of them are clearly visible from the common routes. Most deaths occur over 8000 meters, where there is very little oxygen.
First one critical to today’s climbers
In recent years, several of the most experienced climbers questioned Everest climbers ethics.
Englishman David Sharp’s death in May 2006 triggered particularly debate. Sharp tried to reach the summit of the mountain alone and rather poorly equipped. Sharp died 450 meters below the vertex.
According to eyewitnesses up to 40 climbers passed a very tired Sharp before he died. Nobody took him further.
This got the first one to the top, Sir Edmund Hillary, to react vigorously:
– In my expedition nobody would never leave a man under a rock to die, said Hillary to the New Zealand press in 2006.
Some weekends, when the weather is good, up to 200 people to climb the mountain together.
Hillary is critical that many climbers will reach the top at any cost, even humanly speaking.
– I think the whole attitude to climb Mount Everest has become rather hideous. People will just get to the top.
This said, after speaking to most the Sherpa’s that actually was climbing with the people who died in the “death Zone” they always say they did not listen to their advice and it was mostly due to arrogance.
23/11/2014 / mountains / 8000ers / mount everest / mtxplore.com