On Everest: Climber Death And Record Summits

With the Chinese torch party long over, expeditions on everest continue apace, with several parties racking up summits in the last few days. So many, in fact, that it set a new record: 74 people stood on top of Everest yesterday, according to Chinese state-run media, and as new reports roll in, the total may climb above 80. It’s like the line for freaking Space Mountain at Disney World up there.

But as most mountaineers and spectators know, the highest mountain giveth and the highest mountain taketh away. Everest regularly kills the aspirants climbing its flanks, and Swiss climber Uwe Gianni Goltz died while descending from the top yesterday. He was attempting the monumentally difficult task of climbing without supplemental oxygen, and though he made it to the summit, he succumbed to altitude sickness and exhaustion before reaching Camp 4 on the way back down. Noted climber Inaki Ochoa also died of altitude sickness on the notoriously treacherous Annapurna, despite a daring rescue attempt by Swiss climbers Ueli Steck and Simon Anthamatten.

Everest climbing teams have experienced relatively calm conditions since the Chinese ban was lifted, but a crowded field could lead to more accidents and rescues. Let’s hope the few weeks left in the season proceed without incident.

— Ted Alvarez

New record: 74 scaling Mt. Qomolangma in single day confirmed (Xinhua News Service)

Swiss man dies after climbing Everest (VOA News)