For those who dream of climbing Mount Everest to its summit, the high risk of death and injury greatly outweighs the sense of pride and accomplishment. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity is a small one. The month of May usually provides the only “ideal” conditions for reaching the summit. This year, it didn’t happen until this past weekend, on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19. The result was a traffic jam of eager climbers, pursuing their dreams despite warnings to not attempt a summit after 11 a.m. Over 150 climbers forged ahead into the “death zone” until as late as 2:30 p.m. Many of them did not have adequate oxygen for the longer wait. 3 climbers died and 2 more are missing.
The missing climbers are a Chinese national and his Sherpa guide. Traditionally, Sherpas are well-versed in climbing the majestic mountain and assist climbers in their quest by carrying belongings. Those who perished were from Germany, Canada and South Korea. All 3 most likely succumbed to exhaustion and altitude sickness. No word as to whether they had managed to reach the summit before passing away. At the very least, they died while pursuing their dreams.
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, found in the Himalayas. It beckons to those seeking the ultimate climbing adventure. Sir Edmund Hillary is considered the first to have reached the summit, back in 1953 with Sherpa Norgay Tenzing. Thousands have managed to do so since then, using better equipment. Hundreds more have perished in their attempts. The worst day ever was May 10, 1996 when a snowstorm caught climbers off-guard killing 5. Many books have been written about the disaster, including Into Thin Air by journalist and writer Jon Krakauer.