Melting glaciers reveal dead bodies on Mount Everest

As European students are striking and protesting against the poor climate policy, the effects of global warming are becoming increasingly clear. For example, today in Nepal people are tearing their hair out. Global warming has caused even the lowest temperature measured at the glaciers on Mount Everest to rise to -3.3 ° C (26,6°F). This causes the top layer of the glaciers to slowly melt, which creates a nasty side effect. The dead bodies of dozens of climbers are slowly appearing on the surface.

Photo taken during our Everest Base Camp Trek of Base Camp and the Khumbu Icefall, where most bodies are appearing on the surface

Since the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1924, about three hundred climbers have died on the highest mountain in the world. Two hundred of them are never brought back to the valley and have found their eternal resting place on the mountain. People who are planning to climb Mount Everest are not only physically trained for this tough adventure, but also mentally they can count on a good preparation. Every climber knows that he may be confronted with a dead body along the way. It may sound gross, but some of the bodies that have remained on the mountain forever serve today as real landmarks to guide climbers on their way to the top. The remains are, as it were, beacons that tell passers-by how high they have already climbed.

On our way to Everest Base Camp

For example, every alpinist knew that when he passed “Green Boots” he would be entering the so-called “death zone”. In the death zone there is only one third of the amount of oxygen in the air compared to the air at sea level. Green Boots was the name given to the deceased Indian climber Tsewang Paljor, after his brightly colored shoes. However, Green Boots has gone missing since 2014 and nobody knows what exactly happened to him.

Because glaciers are constantly moving, the appearance of dead bodies has always been a problem. People who want to climb Mount Everest are always warned about this. But where – apart from the landmarks – confrontation with a corpse during the climb was previously an exception, it is now due to the melting of the glaciers becoming the rule. In 2017, two bodies already surfaced at Camp 1, but since then reports have continued to rise. Especially on the Khumbu Glacier many dead bodies are revealed, but even on Base Camp bodies of dead climbers have been found. Today the authorities are sounding the alarm because the number has become remarkably high. The question arises as to who must pay for salvaging these bodies.

On our way to Everest Base Camp

Removing a body from Mount Everest is not an easy job. Sometimes people are risking their own lives trying to get to the location of the body. The frozen body has to be dug out of the snow and ice before it can be carried down on pure manpower. The costs involved should not be underestimated either. Recovering a dead body on Mount Everest costs on average between $ 40,000 and $ 80,000.

Salvaging a body on Mount Everest is not an easy job

That these corpses are not a pleasant sight will need no further explanation. Yet not everyone agrees that the dead bodies must be salvaged. It is often the wish of alpinists that their bodies stay on the mountain if they die during the ascent. The real question therefore might actually be, whether it is ethically justified to remove them against their will.

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