Melting glaciers on Mount Everest reveal more and more corpses

The accelerated melting of Mount Everest Glaciers has unexpected and macabre effects. In recent years, with the rapid thinning of the ice, one sees appearing gradually on the highest summit of the world the corpses of the mountaineers who dead on the world’s highest mountain.

More than 4,800 people have climbed Mount Everest since the first attempt of ascent in 1921, and nearly 300 of them, mountaineers and sherpas, have died there. Two-thirds of these bodies would still be buried in snow and ice.

According to Ang Tsinging Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, although most bodies of Mountaineers who died in recent years on Everest have not been left behind, more and more older corpses are emerging from the ice .

These bodies must now be recovered, which is a challenge, according to the Expedition Operators Association of Nepal (EOAN), because of technical difficulties, but also administrative on the Nepali side.

In general, the bodies are recovered from the Chinese side of the mountain, to the north, at the beginning of the spring climbing season.

It would cost $ 40,000 to $ 80,000 to get the corpses off the summit, the cost and difficulty increasing the higher they are located.

One of the most difficult recoveries took place at an altitude of 8700 m, near the summit. The body was totally frozen and weighed 150 kg. It had to be recovered from a difficult place at this altitude.

 Ang Tsinging Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association

Members pop up from the ice

In 2017, the hand of a dead mountaineer appeared above ground at Camp Number 1. On-site expedition officials then sent Sherpas to move the body.

The same year, another body appeared on the surface of the Khumbu Glacier, also known as the Khumbu Icefall. According to mountaineers, this is where most corpses have emerged in recent years.

But here, the bodies would not only appear because of melting ice, but also glacier movement, says Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of the Nepal National Mountain Guides Association.

Corpses were also exposed at Camp 4, which is relatively flat, as well as at the base camp, where corpses’ hands and legs emerged.

The thinning of glaciers

Several studies show that glaciers in the Everest region, like most parts of the Himalayas, melt and thin rapidly.

A 2015 study found that the Khumbu Glacier ponds – which climbers have to climb to climb the summit – were expanding and meeting due to accelerated melting.

Another team of researchers found last year by drilling the Khumbu glacier that the ice that formed it was hotter than expected. Its ice recorded a minimum temperature of only -3.3 ° C, and even the coldest ice analyzed was 2 ° C warmer than the average annual temperature of the air.

Due to the water accumulated by the glacial melt, the Nepalese army had to drain Lake Imja, located near Mount Everest, in 2016, after it reached dangerous levels.

Corpses as “landmarks”

Even more macabre, some of the corpses of the higher areas of Everest have already served as landmarks for mountaineers.

One of these reference points, green boots, was located near the summit. These belonged to a climber who died under an overhanging rock. His green boots, still standing, were facing the climbing path. However, we do not know what happened to this body. Some say it has been recovered, while others, including Nepalese tourism officials, say it is simply no longer visible.

But according to Alan Arnette, a mountaineer renowned as an author on the subject, it is difficult to recover the body of a climbing mountaineer.

“Most mountaineers like to be left in the mountains if they die. It would be disrespectful to remove them unless they need to be moved off the climbing path or their families ask for them, “he says.

Aira Sindin

About the Author: Aira Sindin

As our second lead editor, Aira Sindin provides guidance on the stories TechHX reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers.  If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Aira . Jennifer received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *