Reports of "tourists" climbing over corpses in Everest traffic jam

I wrote a few days ago about concerns being expressed about the traffic jam on Everest and the danger it posed. The danger was evidently real – four climbers have been confirmed dead on Everest this week

Leanna Shuttleworth, a 19 year old British student, has become the youngest British woman to summit Everest. She is obviously to be congratulated.

But as she describes the experience one begins to wonder

Leanna Shuttleworth is reported to have said:

“There were casualties from the day before, which was tragic and horrendous. There were quite a few bodies attached to the fixed lines and we had to walk round them. There were a couple who were still alive.”

Mr Hinkes,  the first Briton to climb the world’s 14 highest mountains (with peaks above 8,000m), said: “There have been bodies I have stepped over myself. A lot of them do get removed or moved off the mountain.

“You have got to keep moving or die at this extreme altitude. If someone has died, there is not much to do about it.”Mr Hinkes said the guides, who assisted one of the injured people, would know what help could be provided.

“There was nothing realistically that she could have done,” he said.

Mr Hinkes said responsible firms helping people climb Everest warned people of the risks, but some people climbed the mountain without understanding all the risks.

Read more on the BBC News website

The Daily Mail reports that Leanna Shuttleworth said

‘There were casualties from the day before which was tragic and horrendous.

‘There were quite a few bodies attached to the fixed lines and we had to walk round them.

‘There were a couple who were still alive. Our Sherpa helped one of the people but a couple were so far gone they didn’t even know we were there. It was the most horrendous thing to see.’

The traditional mountaineering code of ethics appears to be breaking down although it has recently been restated ‘UIAA Mountain Ethics Declaration’

“6. Emergencies, Dying and Death
We must be prepared for emergencies and situations which result in serious
accidents and death. All participants in mountain sports should clearly understand
the risks and hazards and the need to have appropriate skills, knowledge and
equipment. They need to be ready to help others in the event of an emergency or
accident and also be ready to face the consequences of a tragedy. It is hoped that
commercial operators in particular will warn their clients that their objectives may
have to be sacrificed to assist others in distress.

The Sunday Times reported Iain Peter ” a guide who led a client to the top in 2007″ as saying that many were inexperienced amateurs unable to save a climber in trouble.

“What people are doing there is not mountaineering. What a lot of them are doing is just ticking a box for their ego. It’s becoming a kind of  thrill ride for folks.”

Professor Chris Imray, a specialist in altitude sickness who has also climbed to the summit of Everest, told the Today programme that many people try and climb the Everest without the correct experience.

It is difficult to bring rules and regulation to climbing, he says, but trying to limit the number of people on the mountain at any one time “would make sense”.

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