To be able to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, is a remarkable feat indeed. So much that this year, more than 300 permits were released by the Nepali government to allow foreigners to climb the mountain. You think this is good? According to experts, it's actually not.
A handful of Nepali climbing officials and some concerned experienced mountaineers all seem to agree that the climbing conditions of Mount Everest this year can be more strenuous because of the crowds. "Traffic jams" while climbing the mountain can be a possible life-and-death situation, which can take place in mid-May, according to Travel and Leisure.
If you add in the number of Sherpa mountain guides to the 371 would-be climbers, the number of people that will climb Mount Everest this season can go up to 800. Nepal, mountain climbing associations, and the mountain's officials are already bracing themselves for the list of things that could get problematic once the climbing season commenced. Extreme weather conditions and lack of oxygen supply while trying to reach the summit are just some of the dangerous factors experts are getting ready for.
According to Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association through Washington Post, "On average, every climbing season there are about three to four good days with appropriate weather conditions to allow a safe summit climb." The high amount of would-be climbers this season can cause a traffic jam while trekking the icy and narrow slopes of the world's highest mountain, which has already caused casualties on last year's climbing season.
A Nepali guide, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, who has already reached the summit six times, detailed in a phone interview how the team he was leading last year was delayed for four hours on their way to the summit because of traffic. It also didn't help the hour they spent waiting at the "Death Zone", the mountain's most dangerous area. Because of the ordeal, one of his climbers lost two toes due to frostbite.
That's why this year, he and other experts are worried. "We are of course worried about the high numbers," he said. "Our discussions around base camp are often focused on the same issue: what to do if traffic-related problems occur."