Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?
This photo, submitted by iReporter Chelsie Kozera, shows a Mount Everest base camp.
May 22nd, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?

What is being called a "deadly traffic jam" of climbers ascending Mount Everest might be a factor in the death of four people descending the world's tallest mountain.

The news came amidst the celebration of a landmark climb for Tamae Watanabe of Japan, who, at 73 years old, became the oldest woman to climb Mount Everest on Saturday morning. She broke her own 10-year-old record.

Bad weather has also been blamed. Sandra Leduc, a Canadian woman who is climbing Mount Everest, has been tweeting about the storms. She saw lightning in the distance and tweeted that the peak winds were roaring at 100 kph.

She also tweeted that two or three hours from the summit, her sherpa wanted the team to descend immediately, because it was the worst weather he had ever seen. The very low temperatures appear to have affected a regulator she was using, which also has an effect on her oxygen supply.

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But her most chilling tweet referred to those who did not survive their trek.

Michael Harley also made an observation that many are considering, perhaps for the first time.

Six people have died on Mount Everest this year, but it's not the disaster faced by climbers in 1996, the deadliest year to date for the mountain, with 16 deaths. On May 10, 1996, 10 teams were stranded by a storm and white-out conditions, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero.

Adventurer Bear Grylls, who was one of the youngest climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, shared his perspective on the tragedy.

Readers had much to say about the dangers of the climb versus the rewards. We received more than 1,500 comments on CNN.com.

Madhu: "Everest: Earth's highest graveyard."

daddy2010: "At least they died doing what they enjoy. Better than dying in a cubicle on Friday and having no one find the body till Monday."

darcechoke: "This is why I don't climb Mt. Everest. Well, this and the fact that I get winded climbing a flight of stairs."

Isocyanide: "Everest is the Disneyland of mountain climbing. Standing in line for hours and hours for the ride a million other people have taken."

Some talked not only about the dangers but about the bodies, the expenses involved and the waste left behind. The following commenter suggested a deposit to cover recovery expenses.

Unit34AHunt: "Everest has in excess of 200 known corpsicles, and massive heaps of discarded trash. Seems properly respectful of this earth to clear out all that detritus rather than allowing it to accumulate. 'They died doing what they love?' Tell it to the corpses of the ones who begged not to be left behind as they froze to death."

djfl00d: "Going up after dead bodies or trash means you bring less with you, which means you won't be carrying what you need to survive, and there's another dead body to go after."

For many, the sherpas who accompany climbers on some treks are indispensable.

MrsColumbo: "I hiked to Everest Base Camp in 95. The Sherpa's are unbelievable. They leave after you with your heavy pack, run by you get there ahead of you and have camp set up. It is not them who get paid the big bucks to take you to the top, it is the companies that sponsor them. You will not meet a nicer group of people than the Nepalese Sherpas."

Others were quite saddened by the news.

smc77: "I feel for these people and their families. I hike mountains, nowhere near this challenging, and have turned back when I thought the risk was too great. I can only imagine the draw to complete this goal, the costs (planning, physical, financial) involved, and the disappointment one must ponder when making the go / turn-back decision. I hope that all can take solace in knowing they died doing something they enjoyed and was important in their lives."

Would you climb Mt. Everest? What do these attempts say about humanity? Comment below and tell us what you think.

You can also sound off on video via CNN iReport.

soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Ted Vaill

    I have been on Mt. Everest, in 2004, to and above the Everest Base Camp, and I have no interest in going to the top. It is actually a very easy climb in good weather and with top notch oxygen equipment, and if you are in very good physical condition. Ropes are strung almost all the way to the top which can be clipped into. The problems arise when the weather gets bad, and when the objective dangers (rock falls,avalanches, the Khumbu Icefall on the south side of the peak, and pulmonary and cerebral edema) increase. The second highest peak in the world, K2, is much more difficult, and the most difficult part may be getting to the base of K2 through the increasingly inhospitable country in which the peak sits, Pakistan.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Unit34Ahunter

    Ms. LeDuc's last msg is 14 hours old. At the time, she was stuck in the Khumbu glacier awaiting more ladders. So what's the news? Did she turn around? I hope so. It looked like a bit of "Go Fever" as the astronauts used to call it had set in with her.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Chris Florida

    What I don't understand is how any/some of you can JUDGE someone for doing something they want to do or love doing. If they chose to spend the money to climb a mountain guess what it is their right to do so. They are the ones who earned it, not you, so they can choose to spend it however they want. Where does anyone get the right to say that someone should give that money away to someone you consider less fortunate. We are given the same opportunities in life to excel. You may not start in a situation to allow it, but at some point you become conscious about your decisions and can climb out of whatever hole you may be in. It's a personal choice. Most everyone has some kind of hobby they put money into, this it theirs. Are you saying they are dumb or selfish for doing that?

    May 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JD

      It's a personal choice that's true, am I saying they are dumb or selfish for doing that?.
      Well they were not climbing for me or mankind so maybe a little selfish as now others mourn their lost.
      I have little sympathy for climbers, daredevils and l listless thrill seekers.

      July 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. manoj gurung

    it may be a bad lock for them.................I am sorry ...coz i can,t do anything..........

    May 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mike Marshall

    Yes, I would climb Everest if it were not so expesive.

    May 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Steve

    I don't understand why people keep talking about rescues on Everest. Look up Green Boots on Everest and it helps to understand the environment. The pictures are sad and the articles and stories are even worse. My hats off to these climbers.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Joe

    If you think climbing Everest is hard, try climbing the north face of Siula Grande in the Andes.

    May 26, 2012 at 3:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Terry

    Walk over the dead and dying to reach the summit?...people with money to throw around do this all the time (and justify it on here too)

    May 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. zack

    I don't pitty the people who die on everest........They died doing something they loved!!!!!! I pitty those who are bigots and don't understand true happiness is doing what you love most.

    Dont you people get it?? Most of the money spent for an Everest climb is spent on getting you and your gear to the base camp. When you are above 16000 ft "the dead zone" You are basicly on your own with no one to rely on. This is why you start training to climb everest at least 5 years in advance.
    Some of you people need to stop sitting on yer butts watching TV and saying wow look at how stupid those climbers/skaters/snowboarders/ extreme sports nuts are and shed the weight and give it a shot. You might like what we do and understand us better.
    One last quote"Only a biker truely knows why a dog sticks its head out the car window". Author unkown

    June 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    November 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jennifer

    Teams have attempted to bring bodies down, and discovered they could not if they wished to survive themselves.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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