Sunday, April 14, 2019

Mount Everest’s Frozen Dead, Part l

*  Warning photographs of dead bodies.

Dreams turn to nightmares quickly on the world’s tallest mountain.

Mount Everest
Thousands of mountaineers travel to Nepal every year to climb Mount Everest. Over 250 men and women have died trying to reach its’ summit-- known as the “top of the world.”

"Top of the World"--the summit.
Most of their bodies remain frozen, in the position they died, on this mountain.

Climbers fighting a brutal storm.
Storms come up making the climb more dangerous, some fall to their deaths, or avalanches carry them off the edge, many more succumb to altitude sickness.

Ladder of Death
The higher they climb the chance they will survive decreases. The area between 26,000 feet and the summit is known as the “Dead Zone.” More deaths happen here than anywhere else on Everett.

It is at this altitude that the body starts to rebel. Climbers begin to feel fatigued, sluggish—everything becomes ten times heavier. Because of the lack of oxygen at this height climbers become disoriented.

Tired they sit down and fall asleep many do not wake up.

The hikers are encouraged to carry extra oxygen. But countless deaths have occurred because climbers drop these tanks to reach the summit, without this weight. Others have found themselves trapped in storms and run out of oxygen.

“Summit Fever” is attributed to many deaths. It is when climbers become so desperate to reach the top they forget about their safety. Examples of this include separating from their team, continuing when there is a storm advancing, or it is after nightfall, etc.

Since Mount Everest is a high altitude graveyard, it has been nicknamed, EVER REST.

Retrieval of these bodies is an arduous task. Members of recovery teams have died while trying.

Carrying a dead weight down the mountain is almost impossible, lack of oxygen, severe weather conditions plus these bodies are often frozen into the mountains’ rocky terrain, are all factors that make it harder than it would seem to the outsider.

Recovery efforts also cost anywhere from $25,000 to $80,000.

Green Boots and the Rainbow Valley
So most bodies remain where they died—with one exception—Rainbow Valley. This valley is below the main route up the mountain. Hikers for years have stepped over the bodies that died on the main trail—so many of these corpses have been tipped off the edge into this valley—to make the way less hazardous.

It is called Rainbow Valley because of the deceased’ bright clothing and equipment—that is often worn and used by climbers.

One body, known as “Green Boots” has been used for over twenty years as a morbid landmark. Climbers know when they pass this body; they are getting closer to the summit.

The North Face route.
Click to enlarge
In Part ll of Mount Everest’s Frozen Dead, I share several stories about the ghosts Sherpas and climbers have seen on this mountain.

No comments: