Death toll grows on worlds highest summit as climbers face challenging conditions
An experienced mountaineer has described the death, carnage and chaos at the top of Mount Everest as climbers pushed past bodies to reach the worlds highest summit.
The death toll on the mountain grew to 11 in the past day after an American doctor was killed while descending from the peak. It emerged also that an Australian climber was discovered unconsciousbut had survived after being transported downhill on the back of a yak.
Elia Saikaly, a film-maker, reached Hillary Step, the final stage before the summit, on the morning of 23 May, where he said the sunrise revealed the lifeless body of another climber. With little choice at that altitude but to keep moving, his team including Joyce Azzam, the first Lebanese woman to climb the worlds Seven Summits made it to the peak a short time later.
I cannot believe what I saw up there, Saikaly said of the last hours of his climb in a post on Instagram. Death. Carnage. Chaos. Lineups. Dead bodies on the route and in tents at camp 4. People who I tried to turn back who ended up dying. People being dragged down. Walking over bodies. Everything you read in the sensational headlines all played out on our summit night.
This years Everest climbing season is so far the fourth deadliest on record, with mountaineers blaming poor weather, inexperienced climbers and a record number of permits issued by the Nepalese government, which, along with a rule that every climber has to be accompanied by a sherpa, led to there being more than 820 people trying to reach the summit.
There were 200-plus climbers making there way to the summit, Saikaly told the Guardian of his ascent. I came across a deceased climber that persons body was fixed to an anchor point between two safety lines and every single person that was climbing towards the summit had to step over that human being.