Tags: mount everest | circus | climbers | die

Mount Everest Climbers: 4 Dead in 4 Days in 'Circus' at Summit

Image: Mount Everest Climbers: 4 Dead in 4 Days in 'Circus' at Summit

International trekkers pass through a glacier at the Mount Everest base camp. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa, File)

By    |   Monday, 23 May 2016 12:52 PM

Four deaths within four days on Mount Everest have rattled climbers of the world's highest mountain. Two others have gone missing as the climbing season – called a "circus" by one mountaineer – comes to a close.

The deaths include 25-year-old crew member Phurba Sherpa, who fell to his death on Thursday; 36-year-old Eric Arnold of the Netherlands, who died Friday on his return from the summit; 34-year-old Maria Strydom of Australia, who died Saturday after suffering altitude sickness and failing to reach the top; and 44-year-old Subash Paul, who died Sunday, CNN reported.

Two others from Paul's team — Paresh Nath and Goutam Ghosh — went missing Saturday night.

"Everest is a mountain of extremes," said climber Jon Kedrowski, per CNN. "At altitude, the body deteriorates on a certain level."

The mountain has claimed more than 200 lives since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first reached the top in 1953. Climbing halted until April after a deadly earthquake hit Nepal last year. That tragedy came after an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas in 2014.

While climbing the mountain is inherently dangerous, the recent deaths have raised concerns about planning failures and overcrowding, The Associated Press reported.

"This was a man-made disaster that may have been minimized with better management of the teams," Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association told the AP. "The last two disasters on Everest were caused by nature, but not this one."

Frostbite and altitude sickness have affected about 30 climbers in recent days, said the AP.

Almost 400 people have reached the summit since May 11, bringing the total number of climbers to reach the top since 1953 to more than 4,000. Rising demand and competition for expedition organizers is leading to compromises, Tshering told the AP.

"Teams are hiring raw guides that have no knowledge of responding to situations of emergency," he said.

Eric Arnold and Maria Strydom were part of a group led by what some described to be "one of Nepal's cheapest and riskiest trekking companies," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

"It has deteriorated into a circus with so many people up there," Mountaineer Andrew Lock told the network down under. "The environment has changed. It was once an environment where only skilled and experienced climbers dared to tread. Now because of the unregulated commercialization there are inexperienced people being led up by inexperienced people and it's a recipe for disaster."

Strydom, a vegan, was attempting to prove that vegans can "do anything," and dispel the notion that vegans are "malnourished and weak," the BBC reported.

She had already climbed Denali in Alaska, Aconcagua in Argentina, Mount Ararat in Turkey and Kilimanjaro in Africa, CNN said.

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Four deaths within four days on Mount Everest have rattled climbers of the world's highest mountain. Two others have gone missing as the climbing season – called a "circus" by one mountaineer – comes to a close.
mount everest, circus, climbers, die
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2016-52-23
Monday, 23 May 2016 12:52 PM
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