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Four die on Everest
Monday May 21, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

Four people perished last weekend as 150 people made the summit causing severe overcrowding. Questions are being raised about the numbers climbing Everest though many have achieved their personal goal. Hundreds more are currently waiting to go for the summit.

It was one of the worst weekends in the history of Everest.

Four climbers from South Korea, Canada, China and Germany died.

The highest number to die in a single day was eight in 1996. That year a total of 15 people perished.

When the climbers made their summit push at the weekend the weather was good, but it suddenly closed in with high winds and treacherous conditions.

All are believed to have died from exhaustion and altitude sickness shortly after starting their descent.

It was one of the first weather windows this year to allow people to climb to the summit. 150 people made it to the top over the weekend, one of the busiest days on record.

It is reported there was a "traffic jam" of climbers around the summit and many were delayed reaching the top, thus leaving it late in the day to start their descent.

It is advised for climbers to leave the sumit no later than 11.00am, but some were reportedly reaching the top after 2.00pm on Saturday 19th.

"Asian Trekking is extremely sad to announce the death of Dr. Eberhard Schaaf of Germany at the south summit of Mt.Everest on 19th May. After assessing the symptoms, the medical staff at the Himalayan Rescue Association believe the cause of death to be High Altitude Cerebral Edema. Our thoughts go out to the family of the deceased at this moment and we offer any assistance at this difficult time," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, the Chairman of the guiding company, Asian Trekking.

One man on the mountain at the time, who did not make it to the summit is quoted on the FOX News web site.

"I counted four people that had either died that evening or probably got disoriented or basically passed out from their summit attempts on the 19th," Jon Kedrowski from the USA, Colorado told Fox News affiliate KDVR.

"[One man] was basically hallucinating, he took his hat off, his gloves were thrown away and then he kind of reached out and looked at me ... he kind of reached out to me, kind of in a zombie-like fashion," said Jon Kedrowski.

For a related PlanetSKI story on who climbs Everest and why, see here.

The British climber, Kenton Cool, is currently on the mountain. He is on the way up.

He is safe and continuing with his expedition.

A further 200 people are currently on the mountain waiting to reach the summit when the weather clears on Friday and Saturday.

It will then close in again.

Many are discussing how to avoid the bottlenecks and overcrowding of last weekend.

Kenton Cool will be making his summit attempt on Friday morning, though he has concerns about the numbers trying to reach the summit.

"There were a lot of people going to the summit on the same day and it was very, very busy I am told people were not being so good in letting others pass," said Kenton Cool to the BBC on Tuesday morning. "People are waiting two or three hours and it eats into their oxygen supply."

Kention Cool and Olympic medalKention Cool and Olympic medalHere on PlanetSKI we will be following his summit attempt.

It will be his 10th.  

We have reported on his successful climbs in the past here on PlanetSKI. Though there is some criticism from other mountaineers of his commercial style and he has been accused of being too keen on publicity.

He will be taking the 1924 Olympic medal of Arthur Wakefield to the summit.

The man was part of the unsuccessful Everest Team of 1922 and taking his medal is being done to commemorate the efforts of the 1922 team.

All members of the team were given an Olympic medal for Alpinism at the 1924 Olympic Games in recognition of their efforts.

Kenton Cool will be reporting on the event via social media and he hopes to be interviewed by the BBC from the summit.

We will be following his progress on PlanetSKI.

His team has just posted a video on You Tube from Camp Three.


One of our readers though has pointed it out that it is not quite the "once in a life time" experience as he has done it nine times before! Wink

Earlier he posted a video of the dangers in the Khumbu Icefall that is one of the first major obstacles after leaving base camp.

News Update - The four dead climbers have been named as 55-year old Ha Wenyi from China. A Nepali-born Canadian Shriya Shah who was  32. The German Eberhard Schaaf, 61, and South Korean Song Won-bin, 44.

The missing person, a guide, has made it back to base camp.

223 people have now died on Everest and the bodies of over 40 are still on the mountainside.

or the spirit of the mountains

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