Overtourism has reached a new low on the highest mountain peak on earth. Mount Everest has had one of the deadliest climbing seasons in years, largely attributed to an excess of inexperienced climbers on the mountain. Anyone with $40,000 and a desire to risk their lives can make the attempt at scaling Everest. This year the Nepali government issued a record number of 381 permits. The overcrowding has resulted in more deaths and a zoo like mentality as climbers reach the summit pushing and shoving each other for that perfect selfie.
Ed Dohring, a doctor from Arizona reached the summit a few days ago. He told the New York Times “it was like a zoo.” Climbers were pushing and shoving to take selfies. The flat part of the summit, which he estimated at about the size of two Ping-Pong tables, was packed with 15 or 20 people. He even had to step around the body of a woman who had just died.
Veteran climbers aren’t blaming bad weather for the deaths but instead taking aim at too many people being on the mountain including many inexperienced climbers. Some climbers are placing blame with the Nepalese government who have issued more permits than Everest can handle all for the sake of extra climbing dollars in their pockets.
According to Sherpas, many of the deaths were caused by people waiting in long lines on the last 1000 feet of the climb. Some climbers were not able to get up and down fast enough to replenish their oxygen supplies while others were not fit enough to be on the mountain in the first place.
When Dohring reached the summit people were aggressively jostling for pictures. He was so scared of losing his footing he actually sat down and had a photo of him taken holding a sign saying “Hi Mom, Love you”. On the way back down the mountain he passed two more dead bodies in their tents.
Over 8000 people have attempted to reach the summit and of those, around 4500 have been successful. It’s estimated that around 300 people have died trying to climb Everest and 200 bodies still remain on the mountain.
On the Tibetan side of Mount Everest, the government puts limits on the number of people that can attempt the climb each season.
Morton believes it has come to a point where the Nepal government needs to limit the number of climbers and operators should be certified before being able to organize trips up the mountain including being responsible for vetting of clients.