Monday, May 23, 2016

4 climbers die in 4 days on Everest

By Phurba Sherpa and Madison Park, CNN

(CNN)Four people have died within four days on Mount Everest, including a Sherpa, while two others have gone missing.
Danger is inherent in climbing the world's highest peak -- 29,035 feet. There has been at least one fatality every year since 1990, according to Nepal's tourism department. And more than 200 climbers have died since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first official ascent in 1953.
    May is the most common time to attempt a climb because there tends to be less wind. Regardless, the climate on the mountain is brutal. Temperatures range from -31 to -4 Fahrenheit.
    But the recent deaths -- coming so quickly on the heels of one another -- have rattled climbers who are now beginning their descent as the climbing season comes to an end.
    April was the first month of climbing since all ascent was halted after the catastrophic earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 and a deadly avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas in one day in 2014. The Sherpa people are an ethnic group from Nepal who have lived in the high altitudes of the Himalayas for generations. They have long served as guides whose local expertise has been invaluable for foreigners attempting Everest climbs.
    "Everest is a mountain of extremes," said Jon Kedrowski, a geographer and climber. "At altitude,the body deteriorates on a certain level."
    Kedrowski summited Mount Everest in 2012, another brutal year on the mountain, when overcrowding combined with a dangerous weather pattern to strand climbers in the "death zone" below the summit. Ten people died.
    There have been many more deaths over the years. Between 1922 and 2010, 219 lost their lives trying to conquer Everest.

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