Deaths soaring on crowded Everest

The busy Everest base camp is viewed from a drone on April 23 this year. (Photo: Reuters)
The busy Everest base camp is viewed from a drone on April 23 this year. (Photo: Reuters)

The latest climbing season on Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, is set to become one of the deadliest ever.

Over the past few weeks, 11 foreign mountaineers from countries including Australia, China and Malaysia died trying to climb Everest after the Nepali government issued a record 478 permits. Five local Sherpa climbing guides have also died.

At least two climbers are still missing and the number of fatalities could surpass the total logged in 2019, when images of traffic jams at the summit spread around the world.

Permits for foreigners to climb Everest cost $11,000 (around 380,000THB) and have already raised more than $5 million for Nepal’s economy this year. The government has resisted making significant changes to limit the number of permits issued.

Nepal’s department of tourism said the government is taking the fatalities seriously. Nepal requires climbers to be at least 16 years old and they must also submit a doctor’s certificate that says they’re medically fit.

“The death rate is quite high this season because of the climate and climate change,” the tourism director said. “There is no other reason. We are trying our best to reduce the risks, but mountaineering itself is risky.”

Climbers on Everest are also getting older, which has heightened the risks. The median age of mountaineers attempting Everest is now 42, compared to 34 in 1982.

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  • certificate: an official document or record stating that particular facts are true - หนังสือรับรอง
  • climb: go up, rise, ascend - ขึ้น
  • climbing: the sport of going up or "climbing" high mountains and steep cliffs - ไต่เขา
  • fatality: a death caused by an illness, accident, crime or war - การเสียชีวิต
  • fit (adj.): healthy and strong, especially because you do regular physical exercise - ที่มีสุขภาพดี, แข็งแรง, ที่เตรียมพร้อม
  • limit: to stop something from increasing beyond a particular amount or level - จำกัด
  • median (adj.): having a value in the middle of a series of numbers; a measure of where the middle is or what is normal or usual (measure of central tendency) - จุดกึ่งกลาง, ตรงกลาง, ค่ากลาง (ทางคณิตศาสตร์), ซึ่งอยู่ตรงกลาง, ระหว่างกลาง
  • mountaineer (noun): a person who climbs mountains as a sport - นักปีนเขา
  • permit: an official document that gives you permission to do something - ใบอนุญาต
  • risky  (adj):  involving the possibility of danger, harm or failure - เสี่ยง, เสี่ยงอันตราย
  • summit (noun): the highest point; the highest point of a mountain - ยอด; ยอดสุดของภูเขา
  • surpass: to do or be better than somebody/something - เหนือกว่า, เก่งกว่า, ดีกว่า, เกินกว่า
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