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Next Year, Climbers Face New Rules at Mt. Everest
It’s always been risky climbing Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain above sea level. The Himalayan mountain has claimed the lives of more than 300 people (that we know about, that is) in its history – but the 2019 climbing season, which only lasted a few weeks, was particularly deadly.
One Colorado climber stepped over newly dead bodies to summit the mountain this year, when a total of 11 people died. The tremendous number of climbers and odd weather patterns that shrank the number of opportunities climbers actually had to reach the summit contributed to the staggering number of deaths. People packed the path to the summit, causing tremendously dangerous conditions for everyone – especially in the “Death Zone,” which is the oxygen-deprived belt above 26,246 feet.
Part of the problem, too, is that Everest expedition companies are after the almighty dollar.
“A lot of them – ultimately in the quest for more money – have dropped that requirement [for interested climbers to have previously and successfully summited a 26,000-meter peak] or will drop it in some cases, so you’re seeing a lot more inexperienced climbers on the mountain, especially with the lower-budget operations who have not just inexperienced climbers, but inexperienced staff on the mountain,” said Jake Norton, an accomplished mountaineer from Colorado. “Those cheaper companies, they tend to get into a herd mentality. They get in that weather window and they see other companies going for it and they won’t back off.” (You can watch comedian John Oliver’s interesting coverage of the 2019 Everest climbing season here, although it’s NSFW.) Climbers may face new rules going into the 2020 climbing season. A report by a Nepalese government committee recommends that climbers must have previously scaled peaks higher than 21,320 feet, undergone proper training, and possess certificates of good health. The report also success that climbers should have insurance that would cover rescue costs, as well, because sometimes people simply can’t make it back down the mountain.
What Do You Think?
Did you realize that Everest had become so crowded? Did you follow the climbing season on the news? I’d love to hear what you think about this, so please share your thoughts on either of my social media pages: