Three people died over the weekend climbing Mount Everest and two others are missing.
A 43-year-old Indian climber died as he was helped down the summit, or peak of the mountain, said Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal on Monday.
Two others died on Mount Everest within hours of each other this weekend. The first was Dutch citizen Eric Arnold, 35, followed by Australian Maria Strydom, 34.
All the climbers reportedly died from altitude-related sickness, or a lack of oxygen. The area near Mount Everest’s summit has been called a “death zone” because the air is so thin, many people cannot survive without oxygen from a can.
Two other Indian climbers – Paresh Nath and Goutam Ghosh – have been missing since Saturday. Wangchu Sherpa said it is not likely they could survive Mount Everest’s extreme weather conditions.
The latest tragedies continue safety concerns about companies that assist climbers on Mount Everest.
The head of the non-profit Nepal Mountaineering Association, Ang Tshering Sherpa, said some companies offer cheap packages to get business. But they use poor equipment.
“Climbers with well-managed companies employing experienced guides are safe,” he said.
Many people are trying to reach the summit at the same time, he said. Some climbers are delayed going up or coming down. This puts those climbers at more risk for sickness and death.
“This was a man-made disaster that may have been minimalized with the better management of the teams,” he said. “The last two disasters on Everest were caused by nature, but not this one.”
Tshering referred to last year’s earthquake and avalanche on Mount Everest that buried at least 19 people at a base camp. The other came in 2014, when 16 guides were killed while crossing a difficult part of the mountains.
Both disasters halted climbing on Mount Everest for two years and raised concerns about the stability of mountain trails.
But just last week, officials were upbeat about the rest of the climbing season after more than 200 people reached the summit in the previous 10 days. The base camp was busy with climbers preparing for trips before monsoon rains in June.
The return of climbers to Mount Everest after two years has been good for the tourism economy in Nepal.
Climbers pay for many services to help them reach the summit. They hire Sherpa mountain guides, cooks, porters and medical teams. They also pay for official permission, or permits, to hike.
These expenses bring in millions of dollars for Nepal.
Now Nepal tourism officials will have to re-evaluate the climbing season as they wait and see how the latest deaths on Mount Everest affect future business.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Words in This Story
base camp – n. a camp from which mountaineering trips begin
summit – n. the highest point of a hill or mountain
porter – n. a person hired to carry luggage or other loads
altitude – n. the height of an object or point
underline – v. to emphasize something, such as a position
cheap – adj. very low in price
stability – n. the quality or state of something not easily changed
evacuation – n. the act of emptying a person or place
minimize – v. to reduce something to the smallest possible degree
upbeat – adj. cheerful, positive, optimistic
reevaluate – v. evaluate again or differently