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Home > Abandoned - Explained, Amazing, Asia, Creepy, Explained > Over 200 Dead Bodies on Mount Everest

Over 200 Dead Bodies on Mount Everest

As of mid-2011, Mount Everest has claimed the lives of over 216 known mountain climbers. The area above 26,000 feet is called “the Death Zone”, where breathing fresh oxygen from canisters is necessary for all but the most experienced climbers.

The atmospheric pressure is about a third of that at sea level, meaning there is about one third the amount of oxygen to breathe.  The air is so thin recovery of bodies has proven impossible.  Given this, many victims lay where they took their last breath.

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Tensing Norgay and Edmund Hilary on Mount Everest, May 28 1953

Tensing Norgay and Edmund Hilary on Mount Everest, May 28 1953

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Sergei and Francys Arsentiev

“PLEASE don’t leave me,” the dying woman cried.  Two climbers heard the screams of Francys Arsentiev, an American climber who had fallen after succumbing to snow blindness and found herself separated from her husband.  They were in the death zone, they were low on oxygen, and the woman was on the side of a steep cliff; carrying her was not an option.  The trip just to get down to her would be a risk of their own lives. Despite the risks, the two climbers – Ian Woodall and Cathy O’Dowd – climbed down to her and did what they could to give her assistance.

But it was too late.  Ian and Cathy administered oxygen and tended to Fran, but there was nothing they could do. They returned to base camp to seek help and report their findings.

Eight years later the two climbers would return (above). In an attempt to give Francys a makeshift high-altitude burial, they would place an American flag on her body along with a note from her family.

At the time of Francys’ death in 1998, no one knew what had happened to her husband and climbing partner Sergei. He had been climbing with her and had disappeared around the same time; all that had been found were his pick axe and rope. On the day Francys died, other climbers had last seen Sergei far ahead of Francys on the descent after the two had accidentally become separated.

Everest-Francys-4

Sergei & Francys

Looking for his wife, Sergei later backtracked toward the summit despite knowing he did not have enough Oxygen to last. His exposure to the harsh conditions on Everest so far had been all he could handle, and he was beginning to suffer from frostbite. Still, Sergei would not leave his wife behind.

Sergei had made his way back to Francys, and descended toward the cliff she lay on as she screamed for help. Sadly, he fell to his death trying to reach his wife.

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

Everest-Francys-2 Everest-Francys-3 Everest-Francys-1

Francys Arsentiev before her death; Francys memorial

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Green Boots

PaljorPossibly the most famous body on Everest is that of “Green Boots,” an Indian climber named Tsewang Paljor. Paljor was a Constable with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police who took his last breath on the 10th of May during the famous 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. Paljor was part of a three-man group that was attempting to be the first Indian team to ascend Mt. Everest from the Northeastern route. The weather that season was worse than otheryears and 1996 proved to be one of the deadliest seasons for Mount Everest climbers. When the storm rolled in, visibility went to zero and the temperature dropped considerably.  Separated from the climbers in his group and suffering from the cold, Paljor found a small cave and huddled inside for protection from the elements.  Little did he know that would be his resting place for the next 15 years. (below)

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George Mallory

One of the more storied climbers that met his fate on Everest was George Mallory, a famous English Mountaineer.  In 1924, Mallory fell to his death during a storm while attempting to be the first to reach the summit of Everest. His body was discovered in 1999 during the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition. Decades earlier, Chinese climbers had reported seeing a “European body” laying face down on a shelf off the main trail. Given the description and the date of the find, experts had always assumed it was the body of Andrew Irvine.  Irvine was another famous English Mountaineer who had attempted the ascent of Everest with Mallory and perished in the same storm.

During a 1933 Everest expedition, climbers found Andrew Irvine’s axe and rope.  Because of this, it was widely believe to be Irvine’s body discovered by the Chinese. When the body was found during the 1999 search expedition, it was discovered to be that of George Mallory, not Irvine.  Mallory was found face down in a bunch of shale with his arms spread out and up.  His skin was in remarkably good condition but was tanned from 75 years of sun exposure.  After examining the body, experts hypothesized that Mallory’s rope had failed as he was found with a short severed rope tied around his waist.  He was also found with a golf ball-sized hole in his forehead, indicating he might have suffered blunt force trauma from striking a sharp rock.  Andrew Irvine has never been found.

Video of the Mallory Body Find on Everest:

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The morbidity of seeing hundreds of bodies along one’s ascent up Mount Everest is only trumped by the fascination of the levels of preservation of many of the bodies.  The temperatures are ideal for long-term preservation; perhaps some of these corpses will serve as studies for generations thousands of years from now.

Or maybe not?

The Nepalese consider Mount Everest sacred, and do not want it to become a graveyard.  Many parents of those who have perished have asked for the bodies to be left as they were when they died, but this is against Nepalese law.  As soon as a body can be reached for retrieval, it is and then is brought down for identification and burial. Those too high for retrieval will have stone tombs (called cairns) constructed around the corpses to shield them from the elements and the view of other climbers.  A few corpses located on shallow ledges were rolled off to be buried in the snow below, away from the trail.

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

 

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David Sharp

A more recent story is that of David Sharp.  David was an English mountaineer who, in 2005, ascended Everest in a group but attempted the final climb by himself.  At one point he stopped in a small cave and eventually froze to the point he could not move.  As he lay near death below the summit, he was passed by over 40 other climbers both on their way up and their way down.

Sharp had stopped to rest and protect himself from the elements in the same cave Green Boots had used.  Since David was not moving, the 40 climbers that passed by had either not seen him or assumed he was Green Boots.  A group of sherpas in a later expedition on the way up to the summit noticed Sharp just off the trail, alive and moaning. When the sherpas reached David, he was not coherent and badly frostbitten – but he was able to say his name and which party he was with.

After giving David some oxygen, the sherpas attempted to help him climb down but he could not stand under his own power. Realizing Sharp was not going to be able to move, the sherpas pulled David into the sunlight hoping the sun exposure would warm him up.  By the time the sherpas returned to camp to report their find, David was dead. The last party to see Sharp alive was the documentary crew filming the ascent of double-amputee Mark Inglis.  Since they were filming, they had cameras rolling when they approached David and the footage was used in the documentary.

“Dying for Everest” – a short documentary outlining the David Sharp case including video of Sharp next to Green Boots:

Below: David Sharp’s memorial, David Sharp, and Green Boots’ Cave where David Sharp was found

  

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Some died peacefully in their sleep, while others (who fell and/or became injured) were left to die slowly of hypothermia.  Until recently, the statistics were nearly one in four climbers dies attempting to reach the summit.  Advancements in technology and experience have led to a better survival rate of climbers.  Currently about 1,000 climbers a year attempt to reach the summit, and on average 15-20 perish.

Expeditions are the primary source of income for Nepal, and licenses to ascend start at around $25,000.  If you have lesser experience and want to ascend with an experienced group, several companies will lead you to the top with a team of sherpas for prices starting around $40,000 per person.

Quick video of a discovered body:  

Satellite & Map: here

* May the climbers who have perished on Mount Everest rest in peace. *

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  1. jessev12
    July 18, 2011 at 09:44

    Count me out for ever wanting to climb Mount Everest

  2. king_hil
    July 19, 2011 at 08:28

    fascinating! i feel a great deal of respect for the preserved bodies scattered about.

  3. mr"T"
    December 18, 2011 at 02:25

    I’m also looking for pictures of rainbow valley. I have looked everywhere for Mt Everest pix from 2006 and on and can’t find any. let me know..Thnx

  4. MadMcLachlan
    January 19, 2012 at 13:33

    Awesome. I want to climb to the summit of Everest then just sit there till I die.

  5. ALG
    January 19, 2012 at 14:19

    You don’t walk past someone who is dying.

    I don’t care what you want to tell yourself to alleviate the guilt, the truth is, you don’t disrespect life like that.

    It is not alright or socially acceptable to ignore someone dying.

    • Garth Johnston
      January 19, 2012 at 15:17

      Oh it’s easy to say that sitting at a desk, but it is very literally physically impossible to save someone who has gotten into trouble up there. That is echoed by many who have summited, time and time again. For all intents and purposes, the person in trouble might as well weigh 1000 pounds; when it takes 4 breaths to take every step, there is just nothing you can do to help get someone out of that environment. So, it’s a strong and valiant opinion, but it’s just not based in reality.

    • Kevin
      January 20, 2012 at 08:17

      As a fireman, we are faced with that very choice. We run into burning buildings sacrificing out lives so that others may have a better chance at theirs. We do have the ability/right to determine if a structure is unsound and unsafe to enter. No matter how bad the building looks, we always have remorse for those we cannot save. When asked how many people I have saved in structure fires, I can only hear those screams for help that will haunt me until my time comes. As for these mountaineers who have successfully climbed Everest, I cannot even begin to imagine their pain/remorse they feel for those they had to pass up helping so that they may live. Congrats to those who have returned and may those who will not rest in peace.

      • Iain Roberts
        September 27, 2013 at 04:49

        With greatest respect to you and your amazing work, I do feel that the decisions you are forced to make in the line of your profession is in a very different context to choosing to go with a group of people and place yourself in an area of great potential danger in the pursuit of leisure. I agree with the first post, I could not walk on in the knowledge that someone in my party was about to die, no matter how much I wanted to achieve my individualistic goal. Respect for the lives of others, no matter what poor choices they have made has to come first for me.

        • Tox
          October 24, 2013 at 23:01

          Then you would be next to the body, accompanying him for eternity. That would be your choice nothing wrong with that…

      • Patrick Dempsey
        April 22, 2014 at 15:24

        Well said my fellow firefighter !

  6. Bill
    January 19, 2012 at 15:21

    I have a deep repect for those who are will to giive up that most precius thing we call life in pursuit of their dreams.

    Without that mentality, we would still be hunter/gatherers!

    May eternity embrace their brave souls.

  7. January 19, 2012 at 15:27

    Wow, this puts things into perspective. Hard to believe that 15-20 still die every year with all the fancy equipment and science. Everest is still on my bucket list though. Thanks for putting this together.

  8. Brian Wilder
    January 19, 2012 at 16:18

    Just think how much money you could get if you brought all that gear back to REI

  9. chris
    January 19, 2012 at 16:35

    its not always ok to do something you love when it can affect other peoples lives like your spouse or your children, its an unnecessary risk and its selfish

    • gabriela58blue
      March 17, 2012 at 20:14

      I agree. Many thrill seekers, risk takers, whatever you want to call them, also endanger the lives of the people who come to their rescue.

  10. Cortney
    January 19, 2012 at 18:23

    I think it’s at least fair to assume, based on the article, that the people who undertake such an endeavor are above average in physical fitness; in other words, they aren’t amateur thrill seekers, but rather skilled or semi-skilled climbers who are well aware of what they are getting themselves into. They believed that they were fit to make the climb, that doesn’t make them dumb. Especially in an instance where it was faulty equipment that served as the impetus for their eventual demise. I can’t speak from experience, but I have to admit that I would have a hard time walking past the dying person. True, I know nothing of the elements up there, but I can’t help but feel like just giving these people a few good shoves down the mountain would have even helped their situation, especially considering that they were basically seen as already dead anyhow. It’s likely a foolish position, but I stand by it.

  11. Chris Ulate
    January 19, 2012 at 21:00

    Great story. I see it as being 50/50. It could serve as a drain for courage, or it could make you want to persist and summit for the fallen.

  12. January 20, 2012 at 03:48

    Pay 40,000 dollars $$; to walk thro a cemetery; that only goes up just to die on a mountain; every 4-5 person dies; and get left where you die as a beacon of ones life was worth; as your ghostly image; you pass countless reminders of why you are where you are; to summit
    the worlds highest graveyard. These familys that lost loved ones; want them just left where they are; Mallory was well known and his family wants him left like that.
    I think they should have a grave detail; either into the ground or as David Sharps Memorial detailed; final resting place of????? Or bag and tag; either a lasting memorial or bring them down; tac on 5000.00 onto the 40K for retrieval; heck set up a burial site down below; you know like a large cemetery; I mean 216 have perished; you know they may have something to talk about in the “here after” or “afterlife”. It just seems Morbid that you litter a beautiful mountain with ornaments of fallen climbers; without giving them a final resting place; like a grave…….Rest in Peace (RIP) Climbers; if I had a million I would give as many of you a proper burial I could…. Sincerely; Daveg

  13. John
    January 20, 2012 at 04:10

    I would put climbing Mt. Everest in the “not a good idea” category. If you pull it off, Naive people will respect your bravery while wiser people will question your motives and be put off by your undeserved inflated ego. My brother jumped off from the roof when we were kids but I wasn’t impressed that he happened to not break his legs. We still considered it foolish.

  14. January 20, 2012 at 04:10

    Cortney, Thank you; very well said. It would be hard to walk by a man or woman in trouble;
    whether it was high on a mountain or a brisk walk down a street; point them down and a few good shoves to a warmer place; A well placed sled for those sick climbers could make all the difference in the world.
    I always felt bad for “GreenBoots”; I am not sure what happened to his climbing partners; I do believe they perished also and just how many people/climbers walked past David Sharp in his hours of need; pack him on a sled and head down. It was said 40 or more people walked by David; when he first started having trouble. Just suspend what you are doing and save a life instead; my god you forty or so people you could have saved a life; just what were you thinking!!! Daveg

    • Emma
      March 19, 2012 at 19:49

      You’re insistence of seeing the best in people worries me…

      Anyways, It’s been said that you have to practically step over Green boots. But it doesn’t matter, words and blaming won’t bring anything back…

    • September 10, 2012 at 17:35

      All due respect, but you should really read more about the experiences of those who try to climb Everest and especially those who make it as high as David Sharp was. Someone who weighs only 200 pounds would weigh a lot more when you are breathing half, or 1/3 oxygen, and exhausted. From what I’ve read, some climbers did stop to help, and give him oxygen. Some sherpas tried to help him, and try to get him to move, but he was already frozen in his limbs and couldn’t walk. Every time i see this story on the web, there are different details that people who wrote it(not saying that’s the case here), or people who complain about the situation, leave out. Like, how steep the mountain was, the weather, the condition of Sharp when they found him and realized he was in danger, etc…

      And, to sit and comfort someone when every minute you are using up your own oxygen and strength. You are only risking your chances of making it back alive. Sure some did it, but for those who didn’t, let’s not be so quick to judge them. Not to mention, again, the weather conditions, the lack of oxygen, the exhaustion, etc…

    • chris
      January 19, 2013 at 08:47

      DS died was when he decided to climb on his own with no radio. So when he didn’t come back from the summit who was on the radios telling all the other climbers to look out for a missing person? No-one. The only people that knew he was up there were down in ABC but with no radio and no idea where DS was on the mountain. He only had support to ABC, He decided to do that, He didn’t bother taking a radio because he knew that his support at ABC had no way of mounting a rescue. He was photographed from afar, alone and pushing for the summit suicidally late the previous day.

      Picture yourself climbing the next morning. Cold, wind and dark; snow rock and ice around you, nothing but an LED head torch, clipped to a rope at the top of a 6,000ft cliff – where is your attention? The rope and your feet or the contents of a nearby cave where some body died?

      May the person with no sin in their life come forward and cast the first stone….. anyone….. ANYONE!

      • dirrly
        January 19, 2013 at 09:33

        A few of ther persons passing by maybe really didn´t see him. And I don´t want to blame anybody. But there´s a video of some persons seeing him alive and passing by to reach the summit. And that´s not ok in my eyes. Although there´s no help for the nealry frozen person, as long as he is still alive i can stay at him for a while to help him, so he/she has not do die alone. I think this would be help enough.

        • chris
          January 20, 2013 at 17:17

          You dont know what its like there.

          DS was alive for at least 15 hours after they passed (still alive when they were coming down) – although completely immobile and not even really conscious. You’d sit there for 15 hours to keep him company even though he doesn’t even know you are there????? Sit there for 15 hours and then there is two frozen corpses. 15 minutes and all your fingers and toes are at risk, an hour and you are going to need rescuing yourself.

          Plenty of people stopped “a while to help” but you cant help…. Wait to die too? Wait an hour and then have to get rescued yourself? Thats not helping is it?

          Anyone who goes there knows that if they are high on the mountain and cant move on their own they will almost certainly die.

          Sure there have been some rare examples where the manpower has been there and high rescues have been made but usually its not. All the teams, sherpas and so on are not near enough in the right numbers or are exhausted already or are helping people who CAN be helped.

          I know that sounds harsh but thats the reality.

          Some one is drowning, so another person dives in to help – now there are two people drowning. So three people dive in to help them and now there is five people drowning.

          • dirrly
            January 21, 2013 at 01:14

            Yes you are right. I don´t know how it is there. But although i don´t fully aggree with you. What i want to say is, that in my eyes it is not ok that passing by the person and reach the summit is more important to the people than stay at the dying person, give mental help that he feels he´s not alone (as long as possible without to much own risk) and than go back down. It´s a question of humanity in my eyes. (Sorry if the grammar is not all over correct, english is not my native language)

            • Tox
              October 24, 2013 at 23:10

              @dirrly… there would be two bodies instead of one. You would accompany him for eternity. It’s your choice nothing wrong with that…

          • thegirl
            August 9, 2014 at 20:09

            Everything about young Mr. Sharp’s actions suggest a suicide bid, to me; from how late he started, ensuring that any rescue attempt would be staved off by the nighttime conditions, to his self imposed radio blackout to the acceptance of his death in his mother’s sole interview.
            I really don’t get the impression that David Sharp intended to come down that hill.

      • kt
        February 23, 2013 at 03:15

        God gave us the smarts to see the dangers of this stupid ego gratification. I have sinned many times in my life but also been humiliated by choice in apologies and/or repentance. Pride comes before the fall, to paraphrase God’s word…why would one throw away God’s gift of life so cavalierly by trying this nonsense? Especially when wife is having a baby who needs a (rational) father and financial support…toss the idealism and the conquering notion…we all have bigger responsibilities to our families than to engage in EXPENSIVE deathwish ego gratification. How far toward the baby (the one born to the DEAD man’s wife). Couldn’t that $40,000 USD have gone for the child…but no money brings your pop(sicle) back to life to help raise her…poor wife and child…

    • Asif mahfuz
      June 3, 2013 at 01:28

      Dave g
      all the members of the green boot died in the same storm, but even if they did not, they couldnt have saved paljor( green boots) he was from a indian mountain police team. and sleds????? to bring body???
      yap at 28000 ft on ledge thats hardly 1 to 2 feet across, bringing some one 2000 feets , onn death zone?

  15. wesley
    January 20, 2012 at 05:48

    There are many activities that kill. The only difference with Everest is there are no morgue vans to collect the bodies. Imagine if we left all the people who died in car accidents in the streets. Would you drive?

  16. Altitude Sick
    January 20, 2012 at 06:13

    I’m an Infantry Soldier and at the time was in great shape when I tried to summit MT Rainier. I turned around from altitude sickness at (I want to say) just over 11,000 feet (just abobe camp Muir(?)). It’s a good thing I did rather than taking the “macho” way and pushing on. Had I pushed on, I’d have put at least three other people’s lives at risk in a very dangerous place.
    That’s HALF – if that – the altitude of MT Everest so don’t presume to know what you could/would do for these people. Most of you who do would probably quit after the first mile and say “I cant go on” while TRYING to carry loads Infantry guys carry 12 miles. Those loads don’t equate to 115(+) pound climbers. Carrying them two miles down? Yeah right. A strategically placed sled? OK. Think about that for a minute and then go to a local ski resort and watch how much training and effort it takes to lower an injured skier down a ski route.

    • Tox
      October 24, 2013 at 23:17

      Many people giving opinions here don’t understand because they’ve never been… it’s easy to speak or judge without knowing. I’ve been at above 11k feet. Young and foolish I ran to get to the summit of an inactive volcano, without knowing the lack of oxygen there is at that altitude, can’t imagine 29k. They just don’t know…

      • thegirl
        August 9, 2014 at 20:02

        Or they are just naturally problem solvers, optimistic if uninformed.
        I saw a kid on YouTube propose a slide, like the evac slides that pop out of the side of aircraft, as a method of rescue. All I could tell him was, “Go build that shit, dude. The medical personnel on the mountain would appreciate your efforts if it were successful.”
        You just can’t discourage some people from their desire to save the world, Tox.

  17. Altitude Sick
    January 20, 2012 at 06:24

    Point being, ALL these climbers knew the inherent risks involved. If they didn’t, then they were indeed idiots. If they did, it was a conscious choice to take their chances.
    I knew I didn’t feel right at that attitude and the funny thing was, I got worse on the way back down to Muir.

  18. Brian Weiss
    January 20, 2012 at 11:37

    Very interesting article, thank you!

  19. pi
    January 20, 2012 at 18:36

    To those of you who commented on how sad it is that Sharp was left by all those people, go reread the article! It mentions that climbers tried to help him, he couldn’t move on his own! .The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one! Should they really have added 40 to that death count just so he didn’t have to die alone?! Would you expect 40 people to commit suicide just because you might die?While I agree that his death is tragic, as is the rest of those who have perished on the mountain, death is a risk that ALL climbers are WELL aware of before the expedition even begins! Ignorance really is bliss, isn’t it?

    • Mark
      March 4, 2012 at 00:07

      Yeah. They moved the body later, when they could schedule enough people to go up during optimal weather and time of day. The strategic silliness of expecting a dozen or more people to notice the guy was alive, stop, gather together, forfeit their own chances to summit, formulate a coherent plan, and risk their own lives getting him down, probably getting stuck on the mountain at dark (few people survive a night that high, in case you didn’t know) is just strategically silly. Give Mr Sharp a little credit. He knew what was up, and he took his chances. I don’t think anybody who makes it that high, except maybe Tim Medvetz, expects the world to wipe their butt for them.

      • Mbk
        August 25, 2012 at 00:23

        Well said. I have only climbed 14ers, and cannot imagine having to haul someone virtually lifeless down a non-technical, dry clear trail, let alone a snowy, windy, technical route in a suit much like that of the little brother in A Christmas Story. Let me put it another way, just recently it took 8 climbers 9 hrs to retrieve a dog stranded on Mt Bierstadt. And that was the 2nd attempt! Now double the weight of the injured and double the altitude.

        Why don’t climbers pay even more to climb Everest and pay for a sweep team of Sherpas whose only job is to find injured climbers and either help them down or radio down for help? I am sure it’s been thought of, and probably difficult to implement if at all possible.

  20. SH
    January 22, 2012 at 22:39

    I am fascinated by people who climb Mt Everest, but I will never understand why they risk death to do it.

  21. JJ
    January 25, 2012 at 03:16

    Out of morbid curiosity I would love to see more footage/pictures of the fallen climbers. I’m not sure why more pictures don’t exist… ‘respect’ I guess. I think if I died up there, I would like to be remembered, and even used as a land mark like ‘green boots’. Hell, if you have enough love for mountaineering as these climbers must, I’d imagine that would be a pretty cool way to go/be remembered.

  22. Mary Ann Sultemeier
    January 27, 2012 at 09:31

    Interesting article. What a video showing Mallory being found.

  23. evobsessed
    January 27, 2012 at 09:51

    Any new books out re Everest?

    • Mbk
      August 25, 2012 at 00:26

      There is a new book about the tragedy on K2 in 2008 called Buried In The Sky. I am reading it now. Fascinating. I have read lots on Everest, including Into Thin Air, and this one is right up there with Krakauer’s book.

  24. Fiona
    January 27, 2012 at 17:03

    It is quite sad that people are arguing about people doing what they want! People who want to climb Everest know exactly what risks they are taking on ( to some extent.) It is obviously their ultimate dream to conquer the mountain. They are not forcing us to join them and they are not making us pay for them to follow their dream. At least ” the normal” working tax payer does not have to fund these people,,,,, but by god we are ” obliged “to pay for many that we don’t have any power over.

  25. pkane
    January 30, 2012 at 14:42

    Does anyone know what happened to David Sharpe’s body? Was it removed?

    Also, how close to the “trail” is Green Boots? I’ve read that climbers have to “step over” Green Boots, but I don’t know if this is literal or figurative.

    How come Green Boots can’t be moved? I’m not being critical, I’m just curious. If people were able to get in and out of the cave to try to aid Sharpe how come, logistically, Green Boots can’t be at least pushed out of view or down the mountain or at least covered up?

    • Liz
      February 1, 2012 at 19:42

      In the book “Dark Summit: The True Story of Mount Everest’s Most Controversial Season”, the author states that in 2007 Russell Brice arranged for David Sharp’s mother, father and brother to join his expedition to base camp. There he erected a mound for David’s memorial plaque, and gave them a chance to say goodbye, which they did in private. Then, later in the season, Brice had his Sherpas move the body and inter it on the mountain.

      From what I’ve read and watched on video, Green Boots (Tsewang Paljor) is right beside the trail and impossible to miss, but climbers do not necessarily have to step over him because he’s tucked into the alcove somewhat. I’ve never been there however, so I could be wrong. As to why he hasn’t been moved, I can only speculate that it’s because he’s been there so long, and since there was no real controversy over his death, nobody felt obligated to take on the responsibility. Had David Sharp died in relative obscurity, I doubt anyone would have moved him either since it seems to be a monumental and risky task at that altitude.

      One person did express intent to move Green Boots; the controversial climber, Ian Woodall, who had to leave Francys Arsentiev as she was stranded and dying in 1998. He went back in 2007 to cover and move her body for the family, and had originally intended to move both Green Boots and David Sharp as well. However, I’ve since read that while he was able to succeed with Francys, he was not able to move Green Boots, and Brice had already taken care of David.

      Finally, another point worth noting is that many families of Everest victims request their loved ones be left exactly where they died. Perhaps Tsewang’s family did just that, and this is why nobody has disturbed him in all these years.

  26. Impartial
    March 4, 2012 at 16:46

    Liz :
    Finally, another point worth noting is that many families of Everest victims request their loved ones be left exactly where they died. Perhaps Tsewang’s family did just that, and this is why nobody has disturbed him in all these years.

    That is correct but I read on BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8633058.stm) that the Nepalese government want the Everest to be cleared of both all the rubbish such as abandoned tents, oxygen bottles etc. that the climbers often leave behind and the dead bodies as far as they can be either removed from the mountain or at least moved out of sight through glacier burials or stone without risking the lifes of the Sherpas who are going to do that gruesome work.
    The reason is that the Nepalese see the Everest as a holy mountain and they do not wish to let it become an open graveyard.

  27. Cambo
    March 13, 2012 at 18:46

    I do suspect that if someone were to finally fulfill a task that they had risked to death in order to complete, their feelings after the task’s completion would reach a point of satisfaction many other human beings rarely experience.

    The promise of this level of satisfaction in itself might make the entire experience seem worthwhile. I don’t have a lot of climbing or mountaineering experience so feel free to totally ignore this post if you feel like my words don’t mean anything, or that my opinion isn’t in any way valid. But my advice to anyone who wishes to climb Everest would be to not only be as fully aware as they could be of the personal risks that they take on when doing so, but to also to be fully aware of how their tragic misfortune on Everest could affect the day to day lives of the people they love.

    I say this because I imagine I would be thinking of these people in my final moments, despite the extreme conditions (although I’ve never been in such a situation before, so its hard to tell: it can’t hurt to be mentally prepared for when these thoughts arrive, if they arrive). It truly looks to me like it would be an irreplaceable journey, awesome stuff. Has anyone on here done it before and, if so, would they say the end result was worth the hardship?

  28. Roughcoat
    March 14, 2012 at 23:18

    Inglis and his companions could have halted their ascent to assist Sharp. Some 30-40 climbers were just below the cave where Sharp lay, and they could have have worked together to take Sharp down the mountain.

  29. LL
    March 19, 2012 at 11:26

    Assuming the wikipedia article is accurate, Lincoln Hall was left behind on the mountain while his group descended to camp (so that they would not all die on the mountain). He was found on the mountain by another group, thankfully, but a rescue team still had to be sent from the camp by his original group. That is what happened in every case listed in the article, but none were as lucky as Hall. Most importantly, none could still walk like Hall could.

    I agree that it would be truly horrible for someone to find a person on the mountain and continue their ascent. However, nothing in the article suggests that this has happened. In every case where the person was spotted, the climbers turned back toward camp to get a rescue team sent out.

  30. LL
    March 19, 2012 at 11:40

    Correction: I watched the “Dying for Everest” and it seems the documentary crew did continue their ascent, and some others may have as well. That is terrible.

  31. Schlaumeier
    March 21, 2012 at 09:58

    A look at the website reveals that the person probably comes from Belgium.

  32. Ric
    April 17, 2012 at 22:39

    I’ve thought about the individuals who climb everest and those that have perished on the mountain. My first thought was these people are nuts taking on such a risk but if you truly think about what they are after its very inspiring. These people are living there life the way they want to live, they died attempting something that most of us cannot even begin to comprehend. They are true adventures and I tip my hat to them and there ability to know what they wanted in life and the courage to go for it.

  33. fred flinstone
    April 19, 2012 at 21:35

    People who have families, young children, wives, sons, and daughters need to think about them before they climb and risk everything. It is a very selfish and narcissistic act to do this and leave them behind. This doesn’t impress me anymore. people raising healthy families does. Try climbing that challenge, Everest is a peice of cake in comparison.

  34. ryan
    April 22, 2012 at 00:43

    ok people. First of all Nepal is not a wealthy nation, I am not a expert, but I would say that probably alot of them live in poverty. That said Mt. Everest expeditions account for a huger income for the Nepalese people. As far as people wanting to climb mountains, its built into us as humans to explore, and go places that no one has before. Sure man may have no business on the mountain, but thats exactly why he does it, to push himself to places that no one thought possible. How do you think we made it to the moon? Not by saying we have no business there. Most people die of old age, or cancer, or some other form of illness, but to die like this is to truly live.

    • T Dalton
      May 21, 2012 at 14:39

      I’ll take old age over suffering from hypothermia in a cave while climbers climb around you and reaffirm the fact that your are utterly hopeless and helpless, but I won’t pretend my choice is any more valid than anyone else.

  35. Betzeroff
    April 22, 2012 at 19:20

    Good Lord folks, just chill. While I can’t condone people leaving their friends and family to mourn for what seems to some as an ego trip, I try to remember not everyone thinks as I do. There’s nothing wrong with respectful and unheated disagreement. The corpse issue is out of control; that’s an opinion (mine). Recovering the bodies risks lives; that’s a fact. Other than that, leave the heated condemnation behind and rejoice that some people have the choice to take risks like this. Freedom often means the freedom to get yourself killed.

  36. Mickey
    April 26, 2012 at 00:51

    What gives anyone the right to proclaim a place “sacred” and exclude the rest of the human race? We’re just bugs crawling on the surface of this planet. None of us own it.

    That “much older civilization” makes a good living hauling stuff up the mountain for us. Why don’t you go to Nepal or Tibet and explain to them that they’re wrong, since you have so much “respect” for them. From where I’m sitting it looks like you consider them to be mere wayward children who cannot make their own decisions. If it’s “sacred” to them, then how they respect that “sacred mountain” is up to THEM, not you.

    What I cannot accept is the idea of leaving someone alive but in trouble in order to summit. I couldn’t do it. We’re all mortal, so gambling your life can be an acceptable risk. But gambling your humanity is a different matter entirely.

    • Tim
      May 30, 2012 at 15:39

      im guessing you wouldn’t be opposed if someone took over ‘your property’ and began living there

  37. Ed
    May 1, 2012 at 05:06

    I can’t comprehend how climbers have this attitude that if you see another climber suffering on the mountain, you just have to keep moving. Listening to climbers that have climbed Everest it seems to be less about their own survival and more about the ‘goal’ of reaching the summit. There is a narcissistic streak in most who climb everest. David Sharp was a classic example… 30 people passed him, and many agreed that they had to keep moving on. They later justified their selfish acts as just life and death at the top…Saving a life would top climbing everest a million times.

    • James
      May 1, 2012 at 11:42

      The problem is that even a temporary stop is enough to die. They have limited oxygen and very limited timeframes to do anything and trying to slide a stiff 200lb+ sack down a slippery, steep slope in those conditions is asking to die.

      • Tim
        May 30, 2012 at 15:41

        not to mention the thousands of dollars that would be wasted if they stopped to help someone and not summit

    • T Dalton
      May 21, 2012 at 14:40

      David Sharp took his hands in to his life, decided to try to conquer on his own and paid the ultimate price for it

  38. May 1, 2012 at 22:10

    What a beautiful way to go…minus the cold.

  39. nick
    May 4, 2012 at 12:21

    I sure would rather die up there than on my way home from work…. and its a grave with a killer view.

  40. rahul
    May 14, 2012 at 03:32

    Ed.. Sharp would have got help, he was misidentified as ‘green boots’ who was an indian climber whose body has been there since 1996. A few descending team did try to help him by giving oxygen, but he was too fatigued to even sit upright and the team was fatigued to carry him to. an ascending team which had a newzealander could have helped him but they chose against it thinking he wouldnt have survived. Also up there in those extreme conditions every man is responsible for himself. Sharp was also not equiped properly.he didnt have proper gloves nd radio.

  41. historygeek
    May 15, 2012 at 08:13

    to the retards calling the climbers and dead bodies on Everest “Stupid”. You should know that Nepal needs the revenue that climbers bring in every year. Its very VERY expensive to climb Everest especially if you need aid to go with you, its about 40,000 dollars per person climbing with aid. They do not go up there with the intent of dying and creating a graveyard. They go up because it is a HUGE undertaking and they have balls made of fucking steel! All you can do is sit at your computer and bad mouth them as if you could do what they have done! That is very disrespectful guys and you should be ashamed of yourselves!

    • SidV
      May 25, 2012 at 06:19

      If you’ll take the time to actually read about what is going on there you’ll find that many of these “adventurers” don’t really have “balls made of steel” at all. Many wealthy socialites pay their $50K+ to get their saggy butts dragged, yes dragged, to the top by the sherpas. There are indeed some who do it the right way, but there are way too many unprepared, out of shape, bucket listers who are doing this for the wrong reasons. Read “Into Thin Air”. Also, the argument that Nepal needing revenue is justification for rich Americans risking their lives to limb is ridiculous. Ethiopia needs revenue as well – should we line up to go wrestle lions? Probably about the same survival rate.

  42. Rick
    May 21, 2012 at 11:40

    Isn’t it sad that some people just don’t get it? Clearly most of us know why. They can’t dare to dream or be creative. What is the difference between the Wright Brothers first flight, and the first men in space or on the moon, or a race car driver at Indy or someone who wants to swim a channel or be the first to go around the earth in a balloon or by boat alone? Nothing is different. These are all the people who dare to dream what man can and shall concur in his fears and against the elements. Can you imagine Columbus saying he was too scared to cross the oceans only to find another continent, or Armstrong saying he was too scared to go into space or someone trying to break a land speed record? No, I cannot imagine anyone who dares to go that extra length, that extra mile, that extra second to achieve the unachievable. Where would we be today without these men and women who didn’t have extraordinary courage and fortitude? Simple minds think of simple things and great ones never stop being great. So for those who just don’t get it and never will….go pound sand into dust and for those who strive for that cutting edge, God bless you. We would not be living in the greatest times man has ever known without all those great achievers! The Moral of the story here is, don’t pay attention to those who can’t dare to dream or do what man can…..

  43. Vicarious
    May 21, 2012 at 18:17

    Honestly, I don’t understand the name-calling and derogatory comments being exchanged here. It does nothing but diminish any impact your views might have, were they delivered with a tone of respectful disagreement. Nevertheless . . .

    Climbing is big business. As such, it has opened the door to climbers who are inexperienced but are able to come up with the hefty fees required to join an expedition. I am not suggesting that many of those who run the expeditions put money before safety. Indeed, during many climbing seasons, climbers have been forced to forfeit their dream (and their money, since there is no guarantee when you lay out the cash) of summiting – or even setting out for the summit – when those in charge of an expedition have called it off because of unsafe conditions.

    That doesn’t change the fact that the business of climbing has allowed onto Everest climbers who probably shouldn’t be there. But if relative novices can participate (and I’m not saying they shouldn’t, so please don’t attack me for a view I do not hold), then perhaps the numbers allowed during each season should be scaled back.

    It has been strongly suggested, again and again, that the swelling ranks attempting to summit on any given day, days that are few and therefore taken advantage of by all who understand that “today might be our only chance,” are probably upping the danger.

    There are bottlenecks of people who are forced to wait above 26,000 ft. (the “death zone”), often longer than safe. And sometimes, those waits are caused by a climbers who are injured, or who are stalled by fear when faced with, say, climbing across a crevasse: they can’t move forward or back because their fear won’t let them. So others wait, pressing their luck, hoping they won’t be forced to turn back when they are so close to the top.

    And there are fools, climbers who know they shouldn’t be climbing, because they are in less than peak form. Just watch Discovery’s “Everest: Beyond the Limit.” One climber, repeatedly flouts the warnings, pleas, and threats to ban him issued by the expedition leader. The climber climbs while injured. And he does so with less regard for other members of his team, both climbers and Sherpas, than for his need to gratify his ego. Clearly, some here believe he was merely exhibiting “balls of steel.” Perhaps. But the ego gets in the way. He’s lucky he still has those balls. But he’s merely one example. And he’s not the only “type” of climber.

    At the end of the day, I don’t want to take away the right to attempt the fulfillment of a dream. But if a climber’s burning desire to climb, for whatever reason, is to be accommodated, isn’t it reasonable to expect the climber to understand the need for concessions and conditions? If that means fewer climbers or more stringent minimums placed on experience and fitness, so be it. And if that in some way addresses the valid concerns of the Nepalese, all the better.

  44. BigDaddy
    May 22, 2012 at 07:38

    Amen brotha’!! And if any of the turds actually READ the article and/or know ANYTHING about Everest/Nepal, they would know that Everest expeditions generate MILLIONS of U.S. dollars for the Nepalese people each and every year! That’s right,…MILLIONS!! It has absolutely ZERO to do with respect (or disrespect to be more apropos), and more with BUSINESS. Which the expeditions are from a local standpoint; BUSINESS! If you like to play softball, that’s fine! If you like to scuba dive, that’s fine! Yet if someone climbs a mountain, it’s “disrespect”?!?!

    • tomcat
      May 23, 2012 at 07:39

      Exactly. If Nepalese government did not want the money from the climbers, they could have just closed the sacred mountain. climbers feed Nepalese people and not their gods

    • Terimaaki
      May 25, 2012 at 10:19

      Very well said my friend! I mean, there are so many religions and cultures around the world which respect the planet Earth and nature and yet, look at how EVERYONE and their dog treats the environment so yeah, nobody is buying the “disrespect” argument.

  45. wrxbob
    May 22, 2012 at 13:16

    1st.- some of the people leaving comments here have got to go back to school to learn how to spell.
    2nd.-every person has the right to do what they want(as long as they don’t hurt someone else)in this world.
    3rd.-if you want to do stupid things,you have every right to do so.there are a lot of people who are very wealthy,but that doesn’t make them knowledgeable,but they can still do what they want based on what they can afford.
    4th.-it is not up to us who don’t climb mountains(the highest i’ve ever been is 16,000 ft up so I can’t say how it feels being at 25,000+ ft high) to condemn those that can spend $25,000 or more,much more to do this. it is every person’s right(at least in the USA) to pursue happiness(whatever form that may take).

  46. wrxbob
    May 22, 2012 at 13:50

    just in case,you might want to read about Ed Hillary(a New Zealander)who was the first one to reach the summit of Everest in 1953 and what he thought about leaving people up there to die. It is in Wikipedia.
    I had the luck of meeting George Lowe who went on that expedition with Hillary in 1953.

    • Shaking Head
      September 30, 2012 at 15:32

      Hillary of all people should have known better than to say that. Either he was senile when he said it, or he’d just forgotten what it’s like above 8000m.

  47. Jeff
    May 24, 2012 at 21:34

    R.I.P to all the climbers.

  48. Will
    May 25, 2012 at 06:11

    I love some of these comments about people dying doing what they loved. If becoming a human pop sickle is what you love, god speed. For most Everest is just an expensive and more dangerous ticket to Disney World. They pay tens of thousands of $$ to get someone to carry them up the mountain. The problem is, you spend that kind of money you don’t want to turn back without summing even on occasions when common sense would tell you to turn back when conditions aren’t optimal.

  49. Shyler
    May 25, 2012 at 07:25

    I am NOT a thrill seeker & I don’t really get it, but to each is own. I just think it’s crazy to go up there after a certain time in the day knowing that it can be that risky!!! I have a family and wouldn’t take risks like this, so therefore I don’t not understand others that do. I guess I’m boring and just too practical. Maybe it was on their bucket list!!

  50. nkltx
    May 25, 2012 at 07:56

    I don’t get it either. If you pay to make the climb, you are taking an extremely high risk that you are paying $40,000 to go up there to die — and you’re cool with that. Each climber has their own reasons driving them up that mountain and it’s unfair to lump them all into the same “stupid egocentric” category. People risk their lives everyday for the thrill of extreme sport experiences.
    That being said, many of the climbers probably are narcissistic bucket-listers who should not be up there. Whatever. I personally can’t comprehend why people would want to do this if they are not seasoned, passionate climbers, and I still question judgement (sanity) of anyone willing to subject themselves to this experience.
    (p.s. this was submitted from my laptop in the comfort of my home. Sorry I was not typing this comment from my smartphone while repelling down a mountain or free falling from an airplane like the previous badass commenters above).

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