Everest Diary

Tsewang Paljor’s Everest Quest: Mystery Behind Famous Green Boots

The Fateful Day of 10th May, 1996

Mount Everest is one of the attractions of the world. With its alluring height of 8,848 meters above sea level, it has become a magnet for adventure-seekers and mountaineering enthusiasts for a long time. There have been thousands of ascents on this mighty mountain, and the successful ascents have been noted as one of the greatest achievements. It is considerable since climbing Mount Everest is difficult – with its towering height, high altitude, extreme climate, and strenuous routes.

Till 2022, around 6,098 climbers have successfully scaled Mount Everest from 11,346 summit ascents. Of the attempted ascents, 320 people died on Everest, the dark side of the Everest Expedition. The main reasons for the death of climbers on the tallest peak in the world are extreme weather and uneven topography. If you analyze the route to Everest from the Nepal side, you can see many dead bodies still lying unmoved throughout the years. Many famous people have died on Everest, including George Mallory, Andrew Irvine, Rob Hall, David Sharp, Scott Fischer, Francys Arsentiev, and more.

Out of them, one of the ‘Green Boots.’ The Green Boots is one of the most famous corpses lying on the route to the top of Mount Everest. It surely haunts the minds of those who dare to climb through Everest’s icy slopes. And on top of that, it has also contributed to several heated ethical debates and controversial practices within the mountaineering community. In this blog, we will go through detailed information about the ‘Green Boots’ and know who he is. Let’s explore more in detail:

Green Boots Real Name And Bio

Green Boots is one of the most famous dead mountaineers who took his last breath on Mount Everest. Many people are not familiar with the term ‘Green Boots,’ and even mountaineers think that it is a landmark en route to the summit of Mount Everest. But in fact, Green Boots is a famous mountaineer from India.

The real name of Green Boots is believed to be Tsewang Paljor, an Indo-Tibet Border Police. He was part of the 1996’s Everest Expedition, which launched the climbing campaign from the North Face of the tallest peak.

Tsewang Paljor died on May 10, 1996, after a severe blizzard struck the mountain. He and his crew members, Dorje Morup and Tsewang Smanla, also died from the tragic mishap. Paljor and his teammates were three of the eight climbers who died in the severe disaster on Mount Everest in 1996. It was the same day when two famous climbers, Scott Fischer, and Rob Hall, also took their last breath.

Who is Green Boots?

Mount Everest Green Boots - Deaths of Everest

The harsh and treacherous path to the top of the world has claimed more than 318 lives from 1992 to May 2023. Green Boots is also another Mount Everest dead body that perished on the slopes of the mighty mountain.

Everest green boots a.k.a Tsewang Paljor, was from a small village called Sakti. Before his expedition to the tallest snowy peak in the world, he had submitted several other mountain peaks.

From his expedition to Everest that claimed his life, Paljor had expected to bring some benefits to his family. Paljor didn’t want his family to know about the Everest expedition, he wanted to let them know after successfully reaching the summit of the top of the world, also known as the Third-Pole.

However, by chance, the news of the climb reached the ears of his family, the mother of Green Boots, Tashi Angmo, who in particular begged the officer not to go on the expedition. But his response to the loving mother was,

I have to.

According to Paljor’s mother, Angmo, the brave Indo-Tibetan border officer, might have thought that if he was able to summit Everest on the patriotic mission, it would bring benefits to the family. Sadly, his heart filled with ambitions and well-wishes to bring comfort to his family perished on the ferocious slopes of the mountain.

The border officer’s brother-in-law, Namgyal, was the last one to see the face of the brave soldier, he had to come to see Paljor off in Delhi, India before the expedition.

The Legend of “Green Boots”

The Green Boots is a lifeless body on Mount Everest’s Northeast ridge route. His nickname ‘Green Boots’ originated from his mountaineering boots. The boots appear to be green in color, and to identify him, mountaineers call him ‘Green Boots.’ Not only that, mountaineers make it a sad landmark while seeking their climb to the top of Everest.

The lifeless body of the Green Boots has not been officially identified, but it is believed to be Tsewang Paljor. The body lies in the limestone cave and has earned fame as ‘Green Boots Cave.‘ It is one of the grim waypoints for many climbers – some take it as a reference point to the summit of Mount Everest, while some take it as a symbol of the potential risks and dangers associated with mountaineering.

Green boot cave is the name given to the small, where Paljor used to rest.  

Ethical Debates and Dilemmas

Green Boots is one of the major topics of controversies and dilemmas in the history of mountaineering. It somehow questions the ethic of climbing Mount Everest to the global mountaineers. The only question that always surfaces when anyone dies on mountains is, “Should the body be left as a permanent marker, honoring the deceased’s sacrifice, or should it be respectfully recovered and laid to rest?” And the same questions revolved around Tsewang Paljor’s ‘Green Boots’ demise. This has been one of the heated discussions within the mountaineering community.

But there are two-way answers. Since rescuing dead bodies from Mount Everest is very challenging, many bodies remain on the mountain, unharmed and unmoved by any human force. As we know, Everest features one of the most treacherous weather patterns in the world, with a high probability of avalanches and rock falls. Due to the lack of visibility, the helicopter rescuing campaigns are also highly affected, which adversely affects bringing down the dead bodies to the base camp.

And, sometimes, the families of the dead ones wish their bodies to be on Everest. Since most of the dead climbers were mountaineering enthusiasts, it has been found that their families wanted them to be laid to rest under the arms of the mighty Himalayas.

His Mother Begged Him Not To Go To Expedition

Tsewang Paljor was picked as one of the crew members to scale Mount Everest in 1996 by Indo-Tibet Police. It is said that Tsewang did not tell his family about the true destination where he was heading to. His mother begged him not to go on the expedition; however, he mentioned it as a must-go destination, which he wanted.

It is said that Tsewang always thought that if he could successfully climb Mount Everest that year, it would be financially beneficial to his family. Namgyal, his brother, was the last person to see him alive just before he headed toward the expedition. Who knew that he would never return from Mount Everest? But it is fact that his loss heavily affected his family and near ones.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s Successful Mt. Everest Scaling

Everest Expedition Route

At around 5:45 p.m. on 10th May, Subedar Tsewang Samanla radioed back to the expedition leader and broke the news of the successful summit by him, Head-Constable Teswang Paljor, along with Lansnayek Dorje Morap.

It was the first successful scale of the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest (8,849 meters) from the north side by the Indians. The expedition leader, Mahendra Singh shared the happy news of the successful summit to Delhi, a joyous celebration of the successful conquest swarmed over mountaineering and army quarters all over the country.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s expedition team created a history in mountaineering and a record for their country. But, joyous celebrations in the base camps and advanced base camp were suddenly taken over by terror and distress upon hearing a deadly blizzard hit multiple expedition teams on the mountain.

10th May 1996 turned out to be one of the most disastrous days in mountaineering history that took the life of 8 climbers and injured many on the same day. A disastrous blizzard ravaged the several expedition teams scaling the mountain, trapping them in the high-altitude region (death zone). Including the Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s expedition team other expeditions from the Adventure Consultants team led by Rob Hall, the Mountain Madness team led by Scott Fischer, and a Taiwanese group were pushing for the summit on the disastrous day.

Euphoric is considered one of climbers’ most fatal mistakes in the death zone (an altitude above 8,000 meters). The condition is also defined as ‘summit fever’ where the climbers don’t care about any environmental circumstances or their own and all they want to do is keep pushing for the top of the peak.

At such points, the mountaineers are overwhelmed by the emotions that they even overlook the vital safety concerns. You might have heard stories about the climbers who spent too much time on summits and died of exhaustion on their descent.

The climbers on the expedition from Indo-Tibetan border police are speculated to have gone through similar circumstances.

Seeking Aid From the Japanese Furukawa Team

After the snow blizzard in 1996 hit, the expedition team at the base camp lost communication with the Ladakhi advancing climbers. But, the team was still very hopeful as the three brave soldiers had also come out of deadly situations while serving in the force.

At around 8 p.m. the expedition leader Mahendra Singh decided to ask for help from the professional Japanese team from Furukawa who were also on an expedition to scale the mountain. Koji Yada, the leader of the Japanese expedition team contacted his advancing team at Base Camp VI and described the ongoing situation. Yada assured the Indo-Tibetan expedition team leader that the Japanese advancing climbers would help the out-of-contact Ladakhi climbers.

The Japanese advancing team left Base Camp VI early in the morning at 9 a.m. on 11th May after the blizzard stopped. It was reported that the Japanese team did spot the fallen Indo-Tibetan climbers lying in the snow severely frostbitten, but they didn’t render any help to them.

Japanese Furukawa Expedition Team Re-claiming Their Honor?

After the reports of two Japanese Furukawa climbers and their three Sherpa guides passed, the frostbitten two Indo-Tibetan climbers and left them to die went viral. In June 1996, the Japanese expedition team held a conference in Fukuoka, and team leader, Katsutoshi Ikebe told press that the accusations were baseless. Another Japanese expedition team member Takanori Saita in the press release said:

“We want to recover our honor by clarifying the facts” 

According to the reports, advancing Japanese team members, Hiroshi Hanada and Itsuki Shigekawa and one of the three Sherpa guides Dorje Sherpa had spotted two Indo-Tibetean force climbers severely frostbitten on the slopes. But instead of helping, they pushed on for the summit.

However, as per the Japanese expedition team, the accusations were not true and they offered as much help as possible in the aid of the Indian climbers who were caught in the middle of the deadly blizzard. They also debated the fact that the advancing Japanese expedition team indeed had located finding several climbers near the summit but initially, they couldn’t tell if anyone was in trouble or not.

So, the fact that, after the deadly blizzard that claimed 8 lives of climbers, nothing seemed unusual for the Japanese advancing team was another controversy in itself. The Japanese team also pointed out that the death was due to the sloppiness of the Indian expedition team.

In the press release held at Fukuoka, the Japanese insisted that the Indo-Tibetan expedition team didn’t try to rescue their own climbers who were caught in the deadly blizzard. According to an Indo-Tibetan Border Police adviser, two of the three advancing climbers could have been saved if the Japanese team had stopped and helped them on 11th May.

Tsewang Paljor a.k.a Everest Green Boots separated from the team crawled and took shelter in a small cave at 8,500 meters where he took his last breath.

How Did Green Boots Die? – Story of the Conquest- Indo-Tibetan Border Police Expedition

Mahendra SIngh Tsewang Paljor Tsewang Samanla

The story of the Green Boots expedition on Everest starts from 1996 when the Indo-Tibetan border police picked an elite group of climbers to claim victory in the Mt. Everest conquest. Born on 10th April 1968 in Ladakh, India, the 28-year-old officer who grew up around the mountain was picked for the climb.

The Indo-Tibetan border expedition team member included Head-Constable Teswang Paljor, Deputy Leader Harbhajan Singh, other officers, Subedar Tsewang Samanla, and Lansnayek Dorje Morap. Commandant Mahendra Singh was the leader of the Everest expedition team.

Commandant Singh had hand-picked the Ladakh native because of his strength and enthusiasm for the adventure that sit well with the other officers excited for the summit from the Indo-Tibeatn Police Border Force. Paljor was one of the favorite subordinates of Commandant Singh who loved rock climbing and used to voluntarily take on tasks in the force.

“Roasted chicken was Paljor’s favorite food, and in his free time, he used to sing to lighten up the mood of his fellow comrades in the force”.

The Fateful Day

Indo Tibetan Border Police Team Tsewang Paljor Green Boots Expedition on Everest

On 10th May, the fateful day, the expedition team from the Indo-Tibetan border force had a late start. Although they were supposed to push for the summit of Mt. Everest at 3:30 am, due to unfavorable weather and oversleeping, the team had to commence their scaling at around 8 am. Despite the 2 o’clock rule in Mt. Everest, which recommends the climbers not push for the summit in the latter part of the day, it was evident that the border force wouldn’t make it all the way to the top during the safe hours.

The border force expedition team that was scaling the mountain from the Tibetan side, which has relatively less snow than the South side of Nepal but is considerably harder, decided to turn back. Without risking the summit, the team members decided to return to the death zone from advancement with a fixed rope.

However, due to the surprisingly quick advancement of the expedition team, they had covered a lot of distance. Expedition leader Mahendra Singh had given strict instructions to the advancing team not to push for the summit from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. onwards and for them to return no matter what situation they were in.

Deputy leader Harbhajan Singh who was far behind the three Ladakhi youth climbers on their way to the summit, signaled them to fall back at 2:30 p.m. But, the three advancing climbers didn’t see the signals from the deputy leader or ignored them to keep pushing for the summit.

Suffering from frostbite, Harbhajan Singh descended back to Base Camp IV following the expedition leader’s instructions. At around 3 p.m., Subedar Teswang Samanla radioed expedition leader Mahendra Singh at the advance base camp, telling him that they would keep pushing for the summit, to which the expedition leader strongly contradicted, pointing out the worsening weather conditions. But the advancing team, along with Samanla and Paljor, requested the expedition leader to let them continue pushing as the summit was right in front of them.

Mahendra Singh requested the advancing team not to be overconfident and return back to Base Camp VI before sunset as risks on the slopes increase with nightfall. Samanla handed the radio over to Head Constable Paljor who requested the expedition leader to let them push for the summit, and the connection suddenly cut off.

Are There Any Alternatives For Leaving Bodies on Everest?

The Green Boots controversy is just one of many debates around the mountaineering community. But some, several people and groups believe that leaving bodies to freeze on Everest is not ethical since they could be rescued and brought to their families for proper burial.

Many believe that with the help of expert Sherpas and climbers, the bodies can be removed from the mighty mountain. This can be one of the effective ways to bring back the dead climbers down to the base camp. However, the weather condition plays a major role in creating obstacles. So what we must focus is on creating a team of experts and experienced climbing guides who specialize in retrieving and transporting bodies from high altitudes.

Another thing we can try is helicopter rescue. But the important thing to know here is that helicopter rescue missions can be highly affected by extreme weather, which provides a lack of clear visibility. Similarly, the uneven topography of Mount Everest makes it challenging to land on Everest, which can cause accidents and take the lives of the rescue teams as well.

Out of all these, one of the things that can be done is to create a memorial site for climbers who lost their lives on Everest. This would create a respectful spot where climbers can portray their respect to those who are deceased. As Green Boots does, they can also remind you of the risks of climbing Everest.

Everest Green Boots Body Lost for Three Years

Mount Everest Dead Bodies Green boots

After 2014, the Everest green boots was missing for over three years. The incident quite a spark as the mountaineers were used to seeing him resting in a small cave near the summit at 8,500 meters. However, many didn’t know that upon the request of Paljor’s family, his body was moved and buried with snow and rocks.

However, some of the mountaineers on the expedition to the top of Everest discovered the body of green boots on slopes nearby in 2017. Green Boot’s body still remains on the slopes of Mt. Everest and remains covered as a sign of respect.

List of Famous Mount Everest Dead Bodies

Besides, Green Boots, here are some of the most famous Mount Everest dead bodies. These people have met their tragic endings on the treacherous and harsh slopes of the tallest mountain in the world:

  1. Francys Arsentiev- The Sleeping Beauty (18th January 1958 – 24th May 1998)
  1. Green Boots- Tsewang Paljor (10th April 1968 – 10th May 1996)
  1. David Sharp (15 February 1972 – 15th May 2006)
  1. George Mallory (18th June 1886 – June 1924)
  1. Hannelore Schmatz (16th February 1940 – 2nd October 1979)
  1. Rob Hall (14th January 1961 – 11th May 1996)
  1. Scott Fischer (24th December 1955 – 11th May 1996)
  1. Shriya Shah – Klorfine (11th January 1979 – 19th May 2012)
  2. Nobukazu Kuriki (9th June 1982 – 21st May 2018)

Discover more:

FAQ Related to Everest Green Boots

Is Green Boots still on Mount Everest?

Yes, Green boots is still on Mt. Everest, however, his body was moved from the cave at the altitude of 8,500 meters at the request of his family and buried under rock and snow.

How old was Green Boots when he died?

Born on 10th April 1968 in Ladakh, Green boots was 28 years old when he died on the slopes of Everest on 10th May 1996.

Why did they name him ‘Green Boots’?

His green-highlighted climbing boots were the highlight of Tsewang Paljor’s dead body. So, the mountaineer who didn’t recognize him started calling him ‘Green Boots’.

What is the most famous death on Mount Everest?

Deaths of mountaineers like Francys Arsentiev, Green Boots Tsewang Paljor, David Sharp, George Mallory, Hannelore Schmatz, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Shriya Shah – Klorfine, and Nobukazu Kuriki are the most famous death on Mount Everest.

When did Tsewang Paljor ‘Green Boots’ Die?

Tsewang Paljor died in one of the most devastating incidents of Mount Everest’s history: The 1996’s Blizzard Incident. The tragic mishap took the life of eight mountaineers, and Tsewang Paljor, too, vanished under the huge blizzard.

Who was Tsewang Paljor’s crewmates during the mishap?

Tsewang Paljor was climbing with his crewmates, Dorje Morup, and Tsewang Smanla when the mishap occurred. Other than his team, famous mountaineers, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer also died due to the same blizzard on that date.

Where is Tsewang Paljor’s ‘Green Boots’ body located on Everest?

Tsewang Paljor’s ‘Green Boots’ body is located in a cave at an altitude of around 27,890 feet above sea level. His body rests just below the summit and is often taken as a reference to the climber’s expedition.

When were the ‘Green Boots’ removed from the route of Everest?

The Green Boots, or Tsewang Paljor, was removed from the route of Mount Everest in 2014. A Chinese expedition team initiated the lead and moved the dead body of the Indo-Tibet Police Officer to the nearest limestone cave.

Kishor Shahi

Kishor is an accomplished writer specializing in Technical, Travel, and Affiliate blogging. With a strong foundation in On-Page and Off-Page SEO, he excels in optimizing content for maximum visibility and impact. Furthermore, Kishor is proficient Google Ads and SEM, known for creating audience driving campaigns. His expertise extends to Google Analytics and HubSpot, enabling data-driven decisions and effective content strategies.

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