Traffic jams, the bane of city life, have found their way up the mountains too! Reports of the Mt. Everest being congested with climbers have been in the news for the last couple of days and this particular jam in the Everest “death zone” was blamed for two of four new deaths reported, heightening concerns that the drive for profits is trumping safety on the world’s highest peak. They include two Indians, a Nepali and an Austrian on the way down on the northern Tibetan side.
The peak of the world’s tallest mountain got so overcrowded this week that there was a long queue of people waiting to reach the summit and the photo of this incident is going viral online. Shared by Nirmal Purja on Instagram, the viral picture shows a long queue trying to reach the summit and it has left Twitterati in shock.
According to Nirmal, when he neared the summit there was roughly a crowd of 320 people there. This horrifying situation led to the many deaths.
Nepal has issued a record 381 permits costing $11,000 each for the current spring climbing season, bringing in much-needed money for the impoverished Himalayan country. But a small window of suitable weather before the short season ends has in recent days triggered bottlenecks of hundreds of climbers wanting to achieve for many — although perhaps not for purists — the ultimate in mountaineering.
Kalpana Das, 52, reached the summit but died on Thursday afternoon while descending, as a huge number of climbers queued near the top. The other Indian, Nihal Bagwan, 27, also died on his way back from the summit.