Why So Many People Were Are Dying On Top Of Mount Everest

    
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    Why So Many People Were Are Dying On Top Of Mount Everest

Mt. Everest. It is big. It is dangerous. And more and more, it is crowded. Its the traffic jam atop the world. A record number of mountaineers waiting for hours in the harshest conditions on the planet to reach the 29,000-foot mountain top.2019 is shaping up to be one of the deadliest years in decades on Mount Everest.And so those in the climbing industry, it is a business problem.It is like a stock portfolio. You have got 15 climbs around the world that your running.Some are making more money, some are less.Some might be closed for political reasons, some might have a volcano erupt.So that one off the charts.Were moving to other areas. Soas a business model you need all these mountains to really make you work for yourself.

Otherwise, your forced to maybe run a trip you dont want to run or have a problem canceling a trip.I mean weve canceled trips for five days before they left, knowing that there's other mountains that we do to support that.But I think if youre doing one or two mountains, youre relying on that, it puts you asa business person in a really difficult situation where if I dont run the trip I couldbe out of business or going broke.

And you don't want to be there.In late May 2019, social media images surfaced showing what looked like a human traffic jam at 29,000 feet, in the upper troposphere.An image now emblematic of a deadly new normal, droves of climbers waiting for their chance to summit Mount Everest.But dark details soon became apparent from the image.Several people died on the mountain that day. Reports then surfaced of long lines leading to the summit and climbers burning through oxygen as they waited for inexperienced climbers to be helped off the mountain or forothers to take selfies at the top of the mountain.Even with these things going on were getting calls like, I heard about the disasters.But hey, what does it take to climb Everest?

You know well give them a three or four year routine but also, unfortunately, people are doing one or two smaller climbs.They felt like they done well.They are contacting up an outfitter saying Can I give it a try with this kind of experience and theyre saying yes.So a combination I think of people misreading what it takes to climb Everest and perhaps some of the guide services misreading what should be expected from clients before taking them on this mountain.

Mount Everest has become big business for both climbing companies and the local tourist industry. Those kinds of images are putting certain business practices under scrutiny.The Nepalese government makes a lot of money from Mt.Everest.According to several media reports the government makes $300 million from climbing eachyear. It sells permits to foreigners that allow them to climb the Nepalese side of Mt.Everest.

They cost $11,000 and nearly anyone can get one. Nepal does not cap the number of permits it issues, and it issued a record 381 permits in2019.I certainly would like to reduce the volume up there.But there a better way to look at who should be going up on what day and how to spread that out on a case-by-case basis. Reaching the top of Mount Everest is so dangerous with its brutal winds and lack of oxygen that there are only a few windows each season in which climbers can hope to reach the summit. And there are more and more climbers from around the world trying to check Everest off their bucket lists.India and China have gotten much wealthier in the past 20 years, and mountaineering ingeneral has gotten more popular across the world.

Thats opening up Mt.Everest to as many self-proclaimed adventurers who can afford the steep price of entry.Well, we can say that the interest in Everest has always increased, but in these past fewyears its increased, I dont know, you know 10 fold.Were seeing a 10 percent increase probably for the past 10 years.But the increased demand isnt coming with increased quality controlClimbers who lack the endurance and training needed to summit Everest slow everyone elsedown, increasing the time other climbers spend in the dangerous summit.

And even if one climbing company does go above and beyond in vetting its clients, theycan be on the mountain with any number of climbing companies that dont, trying to summitthe mountain at the same time.Mount Everest is a big tourist attraction for Nepal.Nepal is a poor country, landlocked in tough but beautiful geography.It needs tourism, and Mount Everest, even if youre not a climber, is a big draw. During the climbing season, base camp becomes a mini city.Even actress Mandy Moore recently visited so if calls to cap the number of permits Nepal issues to potential Mount Everest climbers come to fruition, the government there stands to potentially lose millions of dollars.That also means lost livelihoods for Sherpas, the local guides who make their livingguiding climbers up and down the Himalayan mountains.

Andthe local adventure tourism industry set up around Everest in the Himalayas.Its expensive to climb Everest using an established mountaineering company.Newer local companies in Nepal, for example, charge tens of thousands of dollars less.We cant tell what kind of fitness youre in beforehand.Why arent you vetting these climbers forfitness? By what? By making them go up the mountain a week before?

Theres no way to vet how much time people have put into their fitness training,and thats a lot of it when said the system of how were going to evaluate people.We dont know until they get there.It becomes the responsibility of the guide to more turn people around.And thats pretty hard.God, just gave you a $50,000 check and your trip is over on day three.But that is part of the job of a guide and a guide service, if its not right.

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