Climbing Mount Everest has long been the ultimate challenge for adventure seekers and climbers around the world. But climbing the highest mountain in the world is dangerous. As more people try to climb, the number of deaths on Everest will inevitably increase. The rise in mortality on Everest has left some with the question of whether the death toll is too high. At what point should climbing Mount Everest be banned?
The history of mortality while climbing Everest dates back to 1922. British climbers trying to be the first to reach the summit were caught in an avalanche that killed seven people. In the decades that followed, more than 280 people lost their lives climbing Everest. Since 1977, at least one person has been killed each year.
Questions about the safety of climbing Everest arose in 1996, when a blizzard killed eight climbers. Four other climbers died in separate incidents that year. At the time, it was the deadliest year in Everest history.
Similar incidents have been repeated many times in recent years. In 2014, an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas. In 2015, an earthquake triggered a severe avalanche that killed 19 people. Even without these catastrophic events, climbing Everest would lead to a significant number of deaths. The following year, 2016, seven climbers on Everest lost their lives. Causes of death include falls, altitude sickness, heart problems, stroke and exposure.
These catastrophes can be exacerbated by several factors. For the first time, there are often several simultaneous trips to the mountains. This can lead to so-called “traffic”, where many climbers try to take the same routes to the summit. When the weather is bad, this large group of climbers are all vulnerable.
The large number of climbers and subsequent traffic could also mean that climbers have been stuck near the summit for a longer period of time. This exposes climbers to the elements for a long time and increases their risk of death. Due to the high altitude near Mount Everest, it is impossible to survive for more than a few hours. Any delay at this height can be fatal.
The number of companies that help climbers has also increased. It is common for climbers to use guides, often local Sherpas, to help them navigate the mountain and reach the summit. But with increasing demand for these services, the number of companies has also increased. Not all of these companies are reputable. Some use inexpensive equipment and hire guides who are not prepared to help climbers. These cost-cutting measures mean lower prices for climbers, but at what cost?
Inexperienced guides and cheap equipment mean more danger for climbers on a dangerous journey. Climbers have called on the Nepalese government to increase regulations and safety measures for climbers on Everest. In 2015, after two consecutive years of deadly disasters, Nepal announced new requirements for those seeking permission to climb Everest. Since 2016, climbers have had to prove that they have other large mountains by their side. Very young, old and disabled climbers were also banned.
With the new regulations, we are likely to see a reduction in mortality on Everest. However, nothing can completely prevent these deaths. People who climb Everest do so because they want to challenge themselves. They want to feel proud to reach the top of the highest mountain in the world. Climbers need to be aware of the dangers associated with Everest and consider these dangers and make the decision to climb. Instead of asking for a complete ban on climbing Everest, climbers should take responsibility for their decision to take a dangerous trip.