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AFP
May 25, 2019

4 more deaths on traffic-jammed Mount Everest

Top Story

AFP
May 25, 2019

KATHMANDU: A traffic jam of climbers in the Everest “death zone” was blamed for two of four new deaths reported on Friday, heightening concerns that the drive for profits is trumping safety on the world’s highest peak.

Nepal has issued a record 381 permits costing $11,000 each for the current spring climbing season, bringing in much-needed money for the impoverished Himalayan country.

But a small window of suitable weather before the short season ends has in recent days triggered bottlenecks of hundreds of climbers wanting to achieve for many—although perhaps not for purists—the ultimate in mountaineering.

The four latest deaths reported on Friday, taking the toll from a deadly week on the overcrowded peak to eight, include two Indians and a Nepali on the Nepal side and an Austrian on the way down on the northern Tibetan side, officials and expedition organisers said.

Ang Tsering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said the weather window to summit this season was narrow, meaning that many teams had to wait to go up. “Spending a long time above the death zone increases the risk of frostbite, altitude sickness and even death,” he said.

Kalpana Das, 52, reached the summit but died on Thursday afternoon while descending, as a huge number of climbers queued near the top. The other Indian, Nihal Bagwan, 27, also died on his way back from the summit.

A 33-year-old Nepali guide died at the base camp on Friday after he was rescued from Camp 3 for falling sick. Wednesday claimed the lives of an American and another Indian. Donald Lynn Cash, 55, collapsed at the summit as he was taking photographs, while Anjali Kulkarni, also 55, died while descending after reaching the top. Kulkarni’s expedition organiser, Arun Treks, said heavy traffic at the summit had delayed her descent and caused the tragedy.In happier news, two Sherpa widows, Furdiki Sherpa and Nima Doma Sherpa reached the summit of Everest on Thursday.

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