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.

What is altitude sickness?

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. AmazedinFL

    lol truebob, good one!!!

    May 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AmazedinFL

    Suzanne, the choice of risking their own life is one thing, but I don't believe the choice to leave garbage is one that they have any right to make. It's utterly irresponsible. If you can't climb the mountain without leaving garbage for others, i.e., if you can't climb the mountain in a way that is being responsible in your actions and not spitting all over one of the world's greatest natural treasures–then don't climb the mountain.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • suburbancowgirl24

      I would climb Mt. Everest. I totally "get" it. If my life was lost...I would have made the conscience choice to do so and risk it. Everyone has their "Everest"...they just need to be brave enough to actually DO IT. However, I believe a clean up effort should be made to recover the waste and bodies. I realize that people would be risking their lives to recover those who are no longer with us. But, the Earth deserves better than to be a "dumping ground" for the risk takers. How to do it? I don't presume to know.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hatruth

    Just like CNN to not mention the Israeli who helped a Turkish man survive after the Israeli saw him unconscious 300 m from the summit. It's great that someone chooses to save a life, rather than climb to the top of a mountain.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. skeletor

    The dead bodies and garbage should be removed. A surcharge on the tour companies would cover that.
    When the sherpas have no work they can work on the clean up.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cindy

    People fail to use common sense when it comes to climbing Mount Everest. This has been going on for years. The bottom line is money.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Erin

    Any place that has corpses as mile markers should not to be explored. I would never climb Everest.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. shawna

    This is for those complaining about the trash on everest...Have you ever took the time to look around where you live? I bet theres some form of trash laying around your yard, street, schools, etc. Do you take the time to try and clean it up...I bet you dont!

    May 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeanie

      in our community citizens clear sections of roads & beaches of trash. And I do not littler

      May 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • SciGuy73

      Gee, you're right. Nevermind. Leave as much trash as you like on Everest. And don't worry about the dead bodies in my yard.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. shawna

    @Gumby you mentioned about how people walk by the hurt and injured just so they themselves can make it to the top. How many times have you seen someone out and about in need of help?! Do you stop and ask them if they need help or assistence I bet you dont so until you do shut up and stop posting about it. This is for those posting complaints about the trash on everest (im not condoning it) but have you ever took the time to look around where you live? I bet theres some form of trash laying around your yard, street, schools, etc. Do you take the time to try and clean it up...I bet you dont! So until you do you shouldnt complain about whats left on a mountain!!

    May 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jeanie

    Lincoln Hall was rescued off Everest by 2 guys who chose to give up their appempt to 'summit' and rescue him. They got the help of 8 sherpas and they got hiim down..this is after the guy had survived a night on the mountain having been left for dead. The guy who decided to let go of his chance to 'summit' said there's always another year to climb but if I had gone by, I would have to live with that the rest of my life. Obviously the rest of these climbers are all too narcissistic and too lacking in empathy,..as they don't go through the rest of their life burdened by their choice to not help a climber in distress. Ryan. Look up Lincoln Hall. Yes. I do expect HUMAN BEINGS to put another human in distress ahead of climbing a mountain.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Whatever

    If a person continued to experiments with hard narcotics for the unbelievable highs it may bring them and “shockingly” they overdosed, would it still be considered admirable and would it be appropriate to comment that "at least they died doing what they loved".

    May 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jeanie

    Wellcraft19, look up Lincoln Hall and Dainiel Mazur It is NOT true that people can't be saved on Everest. (though I'm sure there are people in locations which would make it nextto if not actually impossible)

    Look up Lincoln Hall and then tell me its impossible.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jimmy the Mick

    In responce to Simmer Down Now, I do what i do for a greater understanding of Tornado,s . In my research it helps people in learning , how to respond, what they could expect, etc. I am so sorry for my writing, i guess that comes along with having a education, and the pursuit of continuing my studies to receive my P.H.D. !
    All i have been saying all along is: These people knew their chances of survival. It cost them 1 whole Hell of a lot,
    myself on the otherhand, just became puzzled on the how, why & what can be done to aid hundreds, if not
    thousand's if they were to be caught in a Tornado { Not a Thunderstorm} and to help them in their chance
    of living, rather than their body being found miles away in the top of a tree. And YOU do what to help mankind
    risking your life ? Clock punching & performing the same old step & fetch does not count :(

    May 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TRAVELO

    Sometimes you get the bear,,,,,sometimes the bear gets you...........

    May 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jeanie

    I'm not just speaking for the person who will die if not helped, but for the charactor ot he person who chooses to wwalk past and get the stisfaction of 'summitting' rather than coosing to help another human being. I think those kids of choices destroy part of human empathy and do not do them any service..we have enough narcissits and sociopaths as it is.

    PLEASE people, look up Lincoln Hall and Daniel Mazur. It is a false statement to say people can't be rescued on Everest. It just means enough people have to decide it's important to rescue someone in distress. (although I agree that while there are spots and times when it truly is impossible, there are other times and spots and times when it is not impossible, just a choice) How much 'higher' can you get than the mood altering state of saving another human being's life?

    May 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jeanie

    sorry about my horrible typing mistakes

    May 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21