First Deaths of the Season on Everest

Sadly, the Everest season has started with three climbers reportedly hit by an avalanche from the West Shoulder and now missing in the depths of the Khumbu Icefall.

With teams just beginning to arrive Everest Base Camp, it is an understandably large shadow they will begin climbing under.

Paul Teare, the Lho La, Tibet, overlooking the Khumbu Icefall, Camp 1 and Nuptse. Photo: Robert Mads Anderson

As climbers opt for pre-acclimitazation on other peaks, or using hypoxia tents at home, they are able to spend less and less time in the most dangerous areas on Everest.

Meanwhile, clients sitting comfortably in chairs at tables in their dining tents at Camp 2, using more oxygen from lower elevations and having ever larger support teams necessitate yet more trips for the Sherpas through the icefall.

While helicopters have been utilized to carry equipment for fixing ropes higher up the mountain, with the basics of life on Everest becoming less and less basic, even in the higher camps, the number of loads through the icefall increases every year.

And as much as the normal route has increasingly become a “Climbathon,” with climbers set on achieving personal goals along a well packed and established course, there are so many sections on Everest that will always be nothing less than frighteningly dangerous.

With ever more people climbing slowly through those sections, it becomes little more than a battle against the odds to repeatedly get up and down the mountain.

As Sherpas spend far more time in those dangerous areas, increasingly, the odds are against them.