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. chasley51

    hey scubasteved you forgot that your friends underwear would have been full at 92 sitting on his porch too! many would prefer to go on the bike......he never knew what hit him i can tell you that from personal experience. i survived somehow.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Schadenfreudean Psychologist

    Roseanne said it best years ago on the Johnny Carson show: "Try looking a 30-year mortgage in the face, you sky-diving wimp." (But, then, there's Henry David Thoreau: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.")

    May 23, 2012 at 5:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Alan K

    I can think of a thousand other things I would enjoy doing without depriving my body of essential rest, nutrients and oxygen. If you want to see the world from a different perspective, join the space program.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:00 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • bg

      Pretty sure there is an oxygen issue in space.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      And that Alan is what separates you from people who strive to do something special, something unique, something that not everyone can say they did.....

      May 23, 2012 at 6:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Al Bundy

    When a 73 year old woman has done it, it is not that cool anymore.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Maria Chadam

    I don't understand the people who have spouses and children back at home, the risks they take. Sure, it is exciting and challenging. But also seems a narcissistic, elitist "sport". Leave the mountains alone, leave your trash at home. Find a good Nepalese charity to donate the thousands of dollars it takes to go on these expeditions.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Maggie1308

      Maria , I totally agree with you!

      May 23, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. SuperDave

    I have just begun the new "lay down in the middle of interstate 95 club". Oh no! Some brave soul was struck by a truck and died! How sad, tragic, and brave! At least he died doing what he loved to do!
    This is ridiculous that anyone would care about these people. They are stupid to risk their lives.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Paul

    Maybe they should just leave the bodies there. That way, climbers can see all the bodies pile up and question if their ego is really that important. I climb mountains, but the only reason to climb Everest is ego... it's like a disease.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • MIke

      Um, they DO leave the bodies there.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ron

    Barely five miles up and there isn’t enough air for a human to survive. Few seem to grasp how thin and fragile Earth’s atmosphere really is. Perhaps this lack of insight is why we get drawn down into arguments when the sightful few try to warn us of the world-wide danger of burning 90 million barrels of oil, 40 million tons of coal and 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas every single day.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • mike

      I guess volcanos and other natural elements have nothing to do with it?

      May 23, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. mark

    See they could have gone to the local morgue instead

    May 23, 2012 at 7:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kegor

    Nothing is ever said about how many times a sherpa has made the climb to the top, or their ages.
    How much do they get paid.?

    May 23, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Partsfreak

    I prefer the depths of the oceans than the hights of the mountains. Inner space has been much less explored. Sure there is dnager but I would rather drown than freeze or lose body parts to frostbite.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. joe

    It's too bad when an item on someones bucket list becomes the bucket.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. kevin @ superdave

    so are you saying soldiers in iraq dont deserve respect? are they stupid as well? They are doing what they want right? superdave, get fisted loser

    May 23, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Nick Bruiser

    Climbing Mount Everest has a risk of death? Boy, who would've known. Glad this has been reported!

    May 23, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. SeeNN1

    You'd think the sight of dead bodies along the way would be a clue to not proceed any further. If a person feels the need to risk their lives unnecessarily so they can climb a mountain, that's their perogative. Just don't complain, or send for help and risk other lives once you get in trouble. I have zero pity for them.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
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