This spring climbing season of Mt. Everest has turned out to be one of the deadliest years on record for casualties on the mountain. Despite precedent years’ record high casualties numbers of 15 in 1996, 16 in 2014, and 19 in 2015, just the death rates on the tallest peak of the world have been estimated to be around for the 2023 spring season.
With 13 confirmed deaths of the mountaineers on the expedition to the top and 4 still missing, presumed dead, or have not contacted their respective expedition team for more than 5 days.
Mount Everest Deaths- Are the Deaths on the Slopes of the Tallest Mountain in the World Related to Climate Change?
Despite the far-exceeding technological advancements for tools related to weather forecasting and effective rescue mission, the casualties rates are record-high in just the spring climbing season of Everest.
The weather at the higher altitude of the tallest snowy peak is so variable that it is getting hard for guides and climbers to precisely determine their actions. The director of the Nepali Tourism Department, Yuba Raj Khatiwada, confirming the weather condition stated that the primary reason for losing the 17 people on the slopes of Everest was weather change.
Global warming/climate change is taking an immense toll on the environment of the high-altitude regions. Making the opening climbing season in the Everest region one of the worst on record for casualties.
Despite being one of the most challenging and treacherous routes, the Mt. Everest summit expedition draws tons of mountaineering enthusiasts from all over the world. For the 2023 March to May spring climbing season alone, Nepali authority issued a record-high 478 permits for climbing Mt. Everest.
How Many Deaths on Mount Everest?
The slopes of Everest have claimed 17 confirmed life in the 2023 spring climbing season. On 1st May, An American doctor Jonathan Sugarman died at Base Camp II, and a Nepal Army’s Clean-up Campaign participant, Phurba Sherpa died near Base Camp IV.
Similarly, Moldovan mountaineer Victor Brinza, Chinese climber Xuebin Chen, Indian Suzanne Leopoldina Jesus, Malaysian Iskandar Bin Ampuan, Jason Bernard Kennison, Ang Kami Sherpa, and Pieter Swart are confirmed deaths among others.
Mount Everest Death| Spring 2023 Season
|Pemba Tenzing Sherpa||12th April|
|Lapka Rita Sherpa||12th April|
|Da Chhiree Sherpa||12th April|
|Jonathan Sugarman||1st May|
|Phurba Sherpa||16th May|
|Victor Brinza||17th May|
|Xuebin Chen||18th May|
|Suzanne Leopoldina||18th May|
|Askandar Bin Ampuan Yaacub||19th May|
|Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya||19th May|
|Muhammad Hawari Bin Hashim||20th May|
|Jason Bernard Kennison||21st May|
|Ang Kami Sherpa||21st May|
|Petrus Albertyn Swart||25th May|
|Szilárd Suhajda||25th May|
|Ranjit Kumar Shah||25th May|
|Lakpa Nuru Sherpa||25th May|
Similarly on the missing side, Hungarian climber Suhajda Szilard, No-O2 climber has been missing since 24th May. He was out of contact at 8,795 meters after he was pushing solo for the summit from Base Camp IV. The search for the Hungarian mountaineer concluded after a final helicopter SAR mission above Base Camp II.
Another climber, a Malaysian hearing-impaired mountaineer, Muhammad Hawar Hashim is missing on the slopes of Everest since 19th May. After making history in the Malaysian mountaineering as the first-ever physically challenged Malaysian to successfully summit the tallest mountain in the world on 18th May.
The hearing-impaired Malaysian climber went out of contact on 19th May from Base Camp IV. The search for Hashim is still going on the SAR teams are proceeding with the help of Sherpa mountain guides and two search drones at Base Camp II.
This Season Mt Everest is a Chaotic Mess
Breaking the precedent year’s record high of 408 permits for climbing with 478 this year, the climbing scenarios this season have been described as a chaotic mess. The multiple reports of deaths, and missing climbers at different altitudes of the slopes and even from the base camp have been pouring throughout the climbing season.
According to the data from ‘The Himalayan Database’ the annual average of deaths on the slopes of the tallest mountain in the world is approximately five climbers. The 30-year average from 1993 to 2022 shows that the average annual death of climbers on the mountain is 6.2 deaths.
However, the 2023 spring climbing season alone far surpassed the double average death rates margin. The data from 1922 to May 2023 shows that a total number of 193 climbing members and 125 Sherpa guides have died en route to the summit of Mt. Everest.
Exhaustion, and AMC (Acute Mountain Sickness), are considered the general cause of death while scaling a mountain region. But, bad weather, frigid temperatures, limited supply of oxygen, falling, and prolongated routes, or going astray with snow blindness are among the top reasons that have elevated the fatality rate in recent years.
Nepali Authorities Urged to Tighten Mt. Everest Climbing Rules to Cut Death Rates
With the climbing death rates, the Everest climbing this season has been deadly even in comparison to the precedent deadly tragic years that caused more than a dozen deaths. Mt. Everest, one of the most popular mountain expedition destinations for mountaineering enthusiasts has now worrisome deadly slopes and has raised concerns in mountaineering communities all over the globe.
‘Weak climbers being led to the dangerous slopes of Mt. Everest by guides who lack sufficient experience’,
is what the mountaineering experts are saying about the most deadly season on the Mt. Everest expedition.
69-year-old, Guy Cotter, a noted mountaineering guide from New Zeland who has scaled Mt. Everest five times stated that the weakest clients with less experienced operators are part of the problem which has caused record-high death rates on the mountain.
According to the expertise, climbers should have at least climbing standards, it’s not like a Sunday walk in the park. Tightening the rules about letting anyone in the expedition just because they ‘want to’ is what has caused such tragic deaths in the high-altitude region.
Cotter also suggests climbers should have at least priors ascending experience before coming for an expedition on Everest. As the Nepali authority regulates individual permits for the climbers, the operators and guides also need to meet the minimum requirement for equipment and staff according to the 69-year-old New Zealander.
An official from the Department of Tourism that oversees climbing in the Himalayas, Bigyan Koirlara, stated that the government was considering more regulations for climbing mountains but didn’t provide further details on the subject.