Concerns raised over traffic at summit of Everest as death toll rises

Concerns are being raised over traffic jams at the summit of Mount Everest as the death toll on the mountain continues to rise.

Galway man Kevin Hynes died in his tent on the mountain yesterday, just a week after Trinity Professor Seamus Lawless from Wicklow went missing.

As many as seven people have died on the mountain this week, while stunning images show hundreds of climbers lining up to try to reach the top of the world's tallest peak.

Everest mountaineer and author, Pat Falvey, says that kind of congestion can create lethal conditions for climbers.

"It is creating great danger, I don't know if there is anything they can do about that other than to restrict the numbers every year

"But it is the cash cow for both Nepal and Tibet in relation to getting fees.

"I am also torn with the fact that should there be restrictions on Mount Everest in numbers because as long as it is the highest mountain in the world, people will want to ascend it."

Yesterday, father-of-two Kevin Hynes died in his tent at 7,000 metres after turning back before reaching the summit.

He was part of a group from UK-based climbing company 360 Expeditions which was attempting to scale the world's highest mountain.

The company said Mr Hynes reached Camp 3 at 8,300 metres on Wednesday.

But on Thursday, while other climbers in the team headed higher, Mr Hynes began his descent accompanied by experienced Sherpa Dawa Sangee, who had himself made the summit of Everest South twice, Everest North and Makalu twice.

"Kevin passed away in his tent at the North Col at 7,000m in the early hours (Nepali time) of the 24th May," the company confirmed.

His wonderful wife, Bernadette and two children, Erin and James are comforted by all the communication that Kevin sent out from his expedition, letting them know that, 'this was proving the most fun he had had on any one of his expeditions and the team was amazing and that he was loving being with (mountaineer) Rolfe Oostra'.

The company added: "Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with all Kevin's family and his friends.

"He really was a wonderful man and it was a great privilege to have him on our team."

Mr Hynes' death comes a week after Trinity College professor Séamus (Shay) Lawless, aged 39 and from Bray, Co Wicklow, fell during his descent from the peak having achieved a lifetime ambition of reaching the summit.

Séamus Lawless
Séamus Lawless

The search for Mr Lawless has been called off.

A Trinity statement said: "It is with deep sadness that we have learnt this evening that the search for our friend and colleague, Seamus (Shay) Lawless, has been unsuccessful.

"While the experienced search team has made every effort to locate Shay, the extremes of operating at high altitude and the sheer range of the search area ultimately proved too difficult and based on expert advice the Lawless family have decided to call off the search rather than risk endangering anyone's life in the treacherous conditions."

Additional reporting by PA

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