Mount Everest: A Deadly Yet Rewarding Summit

Ryan Nadiak | ClimbingClimbing
Mount Everest
A long line of climbers near the summit of Mount Everest this past December. Unfortunately, multiple deaths were related to this congestion. Credit: Boston Herald

The prospect of climbing Mount Everest draws many but turns away many others. Everest is not for the faint of heart considering the numerous dangers that you may encounter along the way. Avalanches, icefall, exposure, altitude, high winds, and even a simple fall are all likely causes of death upon the world’s highest summit.

Raising to 29,029-feet above sea level Mount Everest used to attract only the most skilled mountaineers, but now with a lot of money, many others can attempt this peak. As a result, more and more people are flocking to the base of the mountain and attempting to summit.

Mount Everest
The famous Green Boots body on Mount Everest. An unsettling sight that almost all climbers pass on the route to the summit. Credit: Wikipedia

But how many people summit and how many have died since the first summit back in 1953? Thanks to Alan Arnette, the numbers have been crunched to deliver this data upon analyses of The Himalayan Database. *An important side note, some believe that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were the first to reach the summit in 1924 but there is no solid evidence to back this.

23,917 Attempts have been made through December 2019

10,155 Summits, through December 2019

306 Deaths, from 1924 to December 2019

Mount Everest
Prayer Flags in the foreground of Mount Everest. Left for fallen mountaineers and for a prayer of safe travel. Credit: Kalle Kortelainen | Unsplash

These are some sobering numbers if you are planning on spending 10s of thousands of dollars on climbing a mountain that less than half of the attempts result in success and some end in death. Even though the death numbers are high the mountain has become safer to climb over the years. Before the 1990s one in 50 climbers died on Everest, this statistic has now changed to only one in 240 climbers die on the mountain.

Considering the attraction of this iconic peak it is understandable that people migrate towards it from around the world even though the success rate is a messily 29%. As with all mountains, it deserves respect and without that, the death toll will only continue to rise.


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