Kathmandu: Nepal’s tourism authority has denied accusations that the rise in Mount Everest deaths is solely due to “overcrowding” and said factors including adverse weather conditions also resulted in the deaths.
Tourism Department’s Director General Dandu Raj Ghimire said 381 people had ascended Everest this spring but as periods of fine weather had been short, the number of people on the routes had been “higher than expected”.
So far, 10 climbers have been reported dead or missing this season. But Ghimire put the current death toll at eight, the BBC reported. Four Indians including Kalpana Das, Nihal Bagwan and Anjali Kulkarni are among the dead.
Their deaths have been attributed primarily to a long queue of both ascending and descending climbers, forcing many to wait for hours at 8,000 metres plus altitudes.
One Nepalese, an Austrian and an American are also among dead or missing, reports say. Photos of long queues near the summit have been widely shared as record numbers ascended the mountain in May.
According to the BBC, Briton Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, died on Saturday minutes after reaching the summit.
Kevin Hynes, 56, from Ireland, died in his tent on Friday and Séamus Lawless, also Irish, is presumed dead after falling near the summit.
Ghimire offered “heartfelt condolences to those who’ve passed away and prayers to those who are still missing”. “Mountaineering in the Himalayas is in itself an adventurous, complex and sensitive issue requiring full awareness yet tragic accidents are unavoidable,” he said.