Mountaineering experts fear a potential traffic jam during the final ascent through the “death zone” to the summit of Mount Everest.
Mountaineering experts attribute this to the expected record number of mountaineers during the current spring climbing season.
Inexperience and overcrowding were key factors in the deaths of nine climbers in May 2019, one of the deadliest seasons in years.
Those wishing to climb Everest by the end of May should have obtained a Nepal government permit by the end of this month.
Nepal has already issued a record 463 permits to climb Everest between March and May, surpassing the 409 issued in 2021.
With more climbers on the mountain, potential traffic jams on the climbing route and fewer weather windows may lead to climbers running out of oxygen and facing exhaustion/exposure in the “death zone”, said Garrett Madison of US-based Madison Mountaineering company in a WhatsApp message from the base camp.
Some Western climbers have criticized the government’s practice of issuing permits to anyone who can pay the $11,000 fee because the Hillary Step, a steep 12m rock face just 180m below the summit, presents the greatest risk of delays.