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Mad dash for Everest: Video shows huge ‘traffic jam’ of climbers crawling up ice-covered slopes in ‘peak hour of weather’ as they disappear two more days after Briton, 40, and Sherpa go missing near summit


The road to the top of Mount Everest is full of eager climbers frantically racing to reach the world’s highest point – although several adventurers and their guides have been killed or disappeared this week.

A shocking video shared on social media showed a chain of dozens of climbers sneaking through a glacier in the high-altitude ‘death zone’ – so-called because the air is so thin that most must rely on supplemental oxygen to survive.

The «human traffic jam», captured on May 20, came when the mountain had a «weather window» – a short period of clear conditions in which successfully reaching the summit is a less dangerous task.

Forecasters expect the golden window to close by the end of the week, meaning the route to the summit is likely to be flooded with would-be summiteers desperate to achieve their dream for the next few days.

But climbers face worrying odds even under favorable conditions. Authorities announced this morning that a Kenyan climber died near the summit yesterday and his Nepali guide is missing.

Meanwhile, British climber Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, and his guide Pas Tenji Sherpa, 23, also remain missing after successfully reaching the summit on Tuesday morning, only to be caught in an icefall on their way down just minutes later.

A shocking video shared on social media showed a seemingly endless line of climbers creeping up a glacier in the high-altitude ‘death zone’ – so-called because the air is so thin that most must rely on supplemental oxygen to survive.

The

The ‘human traffic jam’, captured on May 20, came when the mountain had a ‘weather window’ – a brief period of clear conditions

Since climbers can only summit in small windows, queues can form on the mountain, substantially increasing the risk of death

Since climbers can only summit in small windows, queues can form on the mountain, substantially increasing the risk of death

This photo taken on May 3, 2024 shows climbers on the Khumbu Glacier during their ascent to the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal.

This photo taken on May 3, 2024 shows climbers on the Khumbu Glacier during their ascent to the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal.

British climber Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, and his guide Pas Tenji Sherpa, 23, also remain missing after successfully reaching the summit on Tuesday morning, only to be caught in an icy fall just minutes later on their way down.

British climber Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, and his guide Pas Tenji Sherpa, 23, also remain missing after successfully reaching the summit on Tuesday morning, only to be caught in an icy fall just minutes later on their way down.

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Kenyan Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, 40, and his Nepalese guide Nawang Sherpa, 44, went missing on Wednesday morning and a search team was deployed to the 8,849 meter high mountain.

«The team found the Kenyan climber dead between the summit and the Hillary Step, but his guide is still missing,» Khim Lal Gautam, head of the tourism department’s field office at the base camp, said this morning.

It was reported that Kirui wanted to attempt the summit without supplemental oxygen – a feat that only 221 of the 6,664 people who have reached the summit of Everest have managed to achieve, according to the latest count in January 2024.

Rescue teams are also continuing to search for Briton Paterson and his guide, who were both caught in a sudden icefall on Tuesday.

The shocking collapse reportedly occurred on the Hillary Step, a nearly vertical rock face just below the summit of the world’s tallest peak.

«The ledge broke and washed away several climbers including Daniel and his guide towards the Tibetan side,» a team member at Everest Base Camp told The Times.

None of the climbers has yet been confirmed dead, but hope that anyone could survive more than a day in the «death zone» is fading.

Paterson’s partner Beck Woodhead said yesterday she had not heard from her partner and was waiting to hear from their families.

The fitness enthusiast dedicated his climb to a late friend from Wakefield Crossfield Club, who he co-owns, and recently announced that members had raised £10,000 for her family.

A keen mountaineer, he trained in the Himalayas last year and said he was emotional when he saw the summit of Everest, telling his followers: «It will always be my dream to climb this.»

A Sherpa with Paterson’s group said yesterday that the expedition had successfully reached the summit before sharing news that two men had gone missing during the climb.

«Eyewitnesses said the incident occurred between Summit Ridge and South Summit and some climbers were swept away in Kangshung Face,» he said.

“Our specialist search and rescue teams are deployed on the ground. They are working tirelessly to find our missing climbers. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this difficult time.»

Mr Paterson previously said his dream had always been to

Mr Paterson previously said his dream had always been to «conquer» the summit of Everest

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Missing Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, is pictured on May 11 before his ascent to the summit

Missing Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, is pictured on May 11 before his ascent to the summit

Mr Paterson with his partner Beck Woodhead

Mr Paterson with his partner Beck Woodhead

The trek to Everest and the surrounding peaks is dangerous at the best of times.

On Monday, a Romanian climber died in his tent while trying to climb Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest mountain.

Everest and Lhotse share the same route until a diversion at approximately 7,200 meters.

Gabriel Tabara also wanted to climb Lhotse without supplemental oxygen, but on the morning of the planned summit attempt, his lifeless body was found in his tent at Camp 3 (located at an altitude of 7163 meters).

Earlier this month, two Mongolian climbers disappeared after reaching the summit of Everest and were later found dead.

Two other climbers, one French and one Nepalese, have died this season on Makala, the world’s fifth highest peak.

More than 600 climbers reached the summit of Everest last year, but it was also the mountain’s deadliest season with 18 deaths.

Nepal has issued more than 900 permits for its mountains this year, including 419 for Everest, earning more than $5 million in royalties.

More than 500 climbers and their guides have already reached the summit of Everest after a rope fixing team reached the summit last month.

China also reopened the Tibet route to foreigners this year for the first time since it was closed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Home to eight of the world’s 10 highest peaks, Nepal welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring, when temperatures are warm and winds are usually calm.

But Everest – the world’s highest and most famous peak – has been skyrocketing in recent years.

This has provided a welcome economic boost to Nepal and the guides who spend their lives helping climbers from all over the world prepare for and conquer Everest and the surrounding mountains.

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But it also caused shocking pollution.

Tourists coming to Mount Everest and the surrounding Sagarmatha National Park bring an estimated 1,000 tonnes of waste each year, most of which never leaves the park.

Tourists coming to Mount Everest and the surrounding Sagarmatha National Park bring an estimated 1,000 tonnes of waste each year, most of which never leaves the park.

In the spring 2023 climbing season alone, 75 tons of waste was collected from Everest Base Camp, including 21.5 tons of human waste, which was dumped into nearby pits.

At 29,029 feet (8,848 meters), Mount Everest is the world's tallest mountain and a constant draw for tourists and climbers from around the world.

At 29,029 feet (8,848 meters), Mount Everest is the world’s tallest mountain and a constant draw for tourists and climbers from around the world.

About 200 climbers congregate at Everest Base Camp (pictured) each season, creating huge amounts of waste.

About 200 climbers congregate at Everest Base Camp (pictured) each season, creating huge amounts of waste.

Experts estimate that up to 50 tons of trash can remain on the mountain, while Everest Base Camp churns out 75 tons of trash each season.

The litter problem is now so severe that climbers will be forced to carry their own poo back down the mountain.

Mount Everest itself lies in the Sagamartha National Park in the Khumbu region of Nepal.

This 124,400 hectare UNESCO World Heritage site contains some of the highest mountains in the world as well as around 200 Sherpa villages.

The number of tourists visiting the park has been steadily increasing for years, but has skyrocketed in the past decade, doubling in the three years between 2014 and 2017.

While the park itself is home to only 7,000 permanent residents, about 60,000 foreign tourists visit it annually, along with thousands more Nepali guides.

It is now estimated that between 900 and 1,000 tonnes of solid waste is brought into the park each year – the vast majority of which never leaves.

The problem became so bad that the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) was formed in 1991 to try to bring the amount of waste back under control.

The SPCC now manages waste collection from Everest Base Camp and National Park trails.

And since 2014, climbers going beyond base camp must bring back 18 pounds (8 kg) of trash or risk losing their $4,000 (2,600 pounds) deposit.



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