Mount Everest’s filthy base camp, thick traffic jams in the spotlight as two climbers feared dead

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On the way to the world’s highest Instagram hotspot, climbers must navigate through heavy traffic jams, a dirty, sprawling base camp – and, increasingly, death.

Attention is once again focused on the crowds on Mount Everest, where two missing climbers are believed to have died this week after part of an ice ridge collapsed.

Social media videos appear to show a line of hundreds of climbers stranded after Tuesday’s tragic incident. British climber Daniel Paterson, 39, and his 23-year-old Nepali guide Pas Tenji Sherpa were dragged down the mountainside when a chunk of hard snow hanging over the edge of a cliff suddenly fell, the BBC reported.

The clips were just a few of dozens of images of a seemingly constant rush hour on the way to the top of the world. More than one clip on X in recent months shows climbers screaming as bodies slide past them.

Mr Paterson and Mr Tenji were part of a group of 15 who reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain. They were still missing on Sunday.

In a separate incident, 40-year-old Kenyan climber Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui was found dead and his 44-year-old guide Nawang Sherpa remained missing after they disappeared from the mountain on Wednesday.

“Everest – the highest, dirtiest and most controversial place on Earth,” wrote The Northerner on X. “People walk past corpses, let people die, ignore cries for help and make it the dirtiest place on earth with pollution and human excrement; all for the glory of the summit. When will this finally stop?!”

Indian mountaineer Rajan Dwivedi, who successfully summited Mount Everest at 6 a.m. on May 19, wrote on Instagram: “Mount Everest is no joke, it is in fact quite a challenging climb.”

“I believe (more than) 7,000 people have reached the summit since the first ascent in May 1953. Many suffer frostbite, snow blindness, or injuries of all kinds that are not recorded in any database,” he wrote in a post that included a video of the endless, winding line of climbers ascending and descending as they took advantage of a rare weather window.

“This video shows [sic] what awaits us on a rope and we have interchanges during upstream and downstream traffic! The main reason is the weather window to avoid the violent jet streams that can be 100-240 mph (160-386 km/h)! For me, the descent was a nightmare and exhausting while a huge line of climbers came up to make the most of the weather window.”

Overcrowding on Everest has been a problem for years, but in recent years the world’s tallest mountain has become a growing concern for authorities.

Despite the frequent accidents and deaths on the mountain, Everest’s popularity has not diminished.

The season is currently at its peak – hundreds of climbers are crowded together along the Hillary Step.

Mountain guide Vinayak Jaya Malla witnessed the avalanche collapse last week after successfully reaching the summit and then beginning his descent.

“After reaching the summit, we crossed the Hillary Step. Traffic was moving slowly when suddenly an avalanche broke a few meters in front of us. There was also an avalanche below us,” Malla wrote.

“When the cornice collapsed, four climbers almost died, but managed to hang on to the rope and save themselves. Unfortunately, two climbers are still missing. We tried to cross the cornice, but this was impossible due to the traffic on the fixed rope. Many climbers were stuck in traffic and oxygen was running out. I was able to start clearing a new route so that the descending traffic could slowly start moving again.”

Mr Dwivedi said he had “mixed feelings” after the climb.

“I have seen many climbers hanging on the rope in pretty precarious situations with their Sherpas trying to pull them down,” he wrote, adding that he had seen some climbers in a “sleepy/zombie state.”

“They were shaking and crying and causing a traffic jam,” he said.

This article originally appeared in the NY Post and was reproduced with permission


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