Even for the world’s tallest mountain — it’s been a deadly season this year.
After just three deaths on Mount Everest during the 2022 season, various separate incidents in the last few weeks have taken the lives of climbers hoping to reach the summit — and sherpas helping them get there.
Four climbers have died on the mountain since Tuesday, The Himalayan Times reported. The incidents include:
- Thursday, May 18: A Chinese climber with 8K Expedition Pvt Ltd died near the South Summit while pushing to reach the top. The climber, still unidentified as of Thursday afternoon, was trying to change his eyeglasses and drop his oxygen tank in the death zone (26,000+ feet) before “he fell down,” sources told The Himalayan Times. A rescue operation continues for two other climbers from the same expedition.
- Thursday, May 18: A 59-year-old Indian woman from Mumbai also died Thursday morning after 6 days of illness at base camp. Suzanne Leopoldina Jesus was “forcibly airlifted to Lukla” after refusing to leave base camp, saying she “had to climb Mount Everest at any cost,” The Himalayan Times reported in a separate story.
- Wednesday, May 17: A man from Moldova died at Camp IV on Wednesday after falling ill at the South Col, according to several sources, including The Himalayan Times. Initially identified as Victor Brinza, the Everest climber was called Victor Melnic by TVR Moldova. Melnic posted photos from Everest base camp on his Facebook page.
- Tuesday, May 16: Phurba Sherpa, climbing with Nepal’s Army team, reportedly died on Tuesday during his descent from the summit, ExplorersWeb reported. Details of his death remain unclear.
Deaths Continue on World’s Tallest Mountain
These tragedies follow four other deaths that have already occurred on Mount Everest this spring.
Jonathan Reuel Sugarman, a retired doctor who had practiced in the Seattle area, perished on May 1 at Camp Two, GearJunkie reported. Sugarman, 69, arrived on the mountain as part of a guided group with Washington-based International Mountain Guides. He had been “feeling well” after “training diligently,” Everest expert Alan Arnette wrote.
In April, three sherpas died in the notorious Khumbu Icefall, GearJunkie reported. Da Chhiree Sherpa, Lakpa Tendi Sherpa, and Lakpa Rita Sherpa were buried under tons of ice when a serac collapsed on them. The icefall, with its maze of dangerous crevasses, poses great risk. That’s especially true for the sherpas who install the fixed ropes used by most of the mountain’s paying clients.
This year has seen a large spike from Everest’s 2022 climbing season, when just three deaths were reported on the mountain, according to Arnette’s blog. Business as usual continues on the mountain this year, with more than 175 climbers moving toward the summit on Wednesday, Mt. Everest Today reported.
Among all the tragedy, there was a bit of brightness: 53-year-old Kami Rita Sherpa summited the 29,032-foot mountain for his 27th time, The Guardian reported. It’s the current world record for the most ascents of Mount Everest.