Everest queues: Limit numbers

Picture: Nirmal Purja.

Shocking photographs have emerged of queues of climbers on Mount Everest. One shows more than 100 people bunched together on the narrow ridge that leads to the summit — a place so high and with air so thin that it is known as the “death zone”, where the human body struggles to function.

At least 10 people died on the mountain this year, the deadliest climbing season in four years. Most succumbed to exhaustion, exacerbated because a crowded route to and from the summit has led to delays.

Last week, a search was called off for Irishman Seamus Lawless while Kevin Hynes, another Irish climber, died while descending the mountain.

Overcrowding is killing people but Nepal, which governs part of Everest, is reluctant to curb the number of climbers as they are an important source of revenue for the country.

In that event, the onus is on expedition organisers to band together and limit numbers. Since the 1950s, 250 people have died climbing Everest and 120 dead bodies remain on the mountain.

Those figures should give any serious climber pause for thought.

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