The quest to reach the top of Mount Everest is as tempting as it is dangerous. In recent years, overcrowding on the mountain’s path to the top has resulted in many deaths. In May 2019 alone, 11 people have died, up from 2018’s total of just five deaths.

Since 1922 there have been 308 deaths on the trail, averaging in around three deaths per year. The most recent year in which no deaths have been reported was 1977, when only two climbers reached the summit. The mountain is located on the border of China and Nepal. Visitors of all ages like Fisher travel from all over the world to brave the harsh conditions in hopes of reaching the glorious mountain peak.

The causes of death stretch from altitude sickness and exhaustion on the descent from the mountain top which are common, as well as falls which are surprisingly less common considering the steepness of the trail and the icy conditions.

The second most recent man to die on the trail, British climber Robin Haynes Fisher, posted about the overcrowding on the trails before dying on the trail just six days later from apparent altitude sickness.


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Climbed up to camp 3, 7500m but the jet stream had returned closing the summit after only 2 days so I descended to basecamp. Around 100 climbers did summit in those 2 days with sadly 2 deaths, an Indian man found dead in his tent at camp 4 and an Irish climber lost, assumed fallen, on his descent. A go fund me page has been set up for a rescue bid for the Irish climber but it is a well meaning but futile gesture. Condolences to both their friends and families. Both deaths happened above 8000m in the so called death zone where the majority of deaths of foreign climbers happen. Around 700 more people will be looking to summit from Tuesday the 21st onwards. My revised plan, subject to weather that at the moment looks promising, is to return up the mountain leaving basecamp Tuesday the 21st 0230 and, all being well and a lot of luck, arriving on the summit the morning of Saturday the 25th. I will be climbing with my Sherpa, Jangbu who is third on the all time list with an incredible 19 summits. The other 4 members of our team decided to remain on the mountain and are looking to summit on the 21st. My cough had started to return at altitude so I couldn’t wait with them at altitude for the window to open without the risk of physically deteriorating too much. Furthermore as I had missed due to sickness the earlier camp 3 rotation best practice was for me to descend to allow my body to recover from the new altitude high so I could come back stronger. This was not an easy decision as the 13 hours climbing from basecamp to camp 2 in a day was the hardest physical and mental challenge I had ever done, now I have it all to do again. Finally I am hopeful to avoid the crowds on summit day and it seems like a number of teams are pushing to summit on the 21st. With a single route to the summit delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal so I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people. Unless of course everyone else plays the same waiting game. #everest #everest2019 #lhotseface

A post shared by Robin (@1c0n0clast22) on May 19, 2019 at 1:15am PDT

As shown below, long lines to reach the summit form, increasing the wait time and exposing climbers to harsh conditions for longer periods of time.

“Before you reach the summit, you have to wait and every minute counts at the height,” said Krishma Poudel of Peak Promotion, a mountaineering agency in Nepal, while speaking to NBC News. “Waiting for hours at that kind of height really takes a toll.”

All this as singer Mandy Moore reached the base of Everest for her own group climb.


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