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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/#!/sandraclimbing/status/204867301152014336%5D

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

[tweet https://twitter.com/#!/obsolete29/status/204993129554788352%5D

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.

[tweet https://twitter.com/#!/BearGrylls/status/204966551584116736%5D

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. doc

    People get cell phone reception on Everest?

    May 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patrick Howard

    Just sounds like it is a world class ego trip, with potentially bad side effects.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sam

    I climbed it back in 1980. Or I humped a really fat girl...I can't remember for sure which.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • RussTnuts

      How did you keep from falling into a crevasse on the way down?

      May 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizen9

      Was her name Everett?

      May 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      You too hahaha

      May 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • i was there

      iIt was a fat girl remember? You had me hold that camera for you to take pictures. We both laughed at the mess you made when you "planted the flag".

      May 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    I would give it a shot. If I died leave me on the mountain or roll me down one side it was my choice and I knew what could happen. However what would it feel like to be at the top of the world? Some people mow the grass and feel like they have down something special, you could say I climbed Everest I did something great!

    May 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Feed some hungry people; teach somebody to read; save a life. That's special. Everest is just a mountain; any jet plane flies higher.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rational

    Lots of strong opinions...My hat is off to those who climb Everest–that is a life experience unmatched by any other. However, they are playing for high stakes, and sometimes they lose. That is the possible price–all climbers know it, and should accept it.

    I guess I knew that all the bodies still had to be up there, as it would put another person at risk to bring each one down. But hiking past them on the trail must be a bit sobering.

    The fact that there is so much trash up there is a bit disturbing, though. I imagine that, as a climber, you think you are heading up into this uninhabited, dangerous, and extreme environment–open to only the most adventurous. It must be a shock to see that the place is littered with discarded junk.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      IIf you have to resort climbing on a rock to prove something to your self....Then good for you...

      May 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. danny

    climb K2, and then I will be impressed

    May 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NukeTim

    In another million years they will discover oil on Everest. Along with that, the ashes of Jack Nicholson and Morgan freeman....


    May 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Robin Bray

    It has been done and now it is just another rich tourist trek. But the sad part is that many who shell out so much for these attempts let poor judgement take over and press on when it is clear they shouldn't. Egos make deadly partners. Almost every story of a death has a survivor telling of the warning signs that were ignored because they thought they could beat nature. It's more dangerous than trying to run across eight lanes of traffic and most of us would never try to do that.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Too many people run across eight lanes of traffic these days, putting other people at risk. I'm impressed when a life is saved, not spent looking in the mirror.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dan

    Sounds like the mountain is being desecrated for the sake of money. Obviously, there are too many climbers. The sherpas seem the unsung heroes. They score the touchdowns, but let the climbers spike the ball.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dennis

    For 60k , you too can died on Everest.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anonymous

    What this says to me, is that the human race is nothing more than a bunch of idiotic, egocentric individuals who care nothing for the beauty of this world. You're climbing a mountain for the supposed "glory" of saying, "Lookie at what I did!" Really, you want a cookie with that? Leave the mountain untouched, unpolluted, and stop adding corpses, because quite frankly, climbing a mountain isn't an accomplishment, but helping to save our environment, so that future generations can enjoy it, is.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      So true. Or save a few mountains from being "mountain-topped," destroying habitat and polluting the water supply. If every one of those people spent as much money on charity, the world would be a much better place.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rick49

    any fool with a doged will and in good shape could get to the top...the real trick is knowning what ur limit is and where to turn back and get down alive. If u don't make it down, u didn't die doing what u loved, u blew it, and u blew it in a very very bad way.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      If more people spent time learning grammar and teaching literacy, the world would be a much better place.

      May 22, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. citizen9

    Does anyone realize how difficult it is to breathe at 29,000 feet? I would recommend a vacation to Destin Florida instead.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jenny

    ...recent days one Sherpa has been killed on Everest and another, who was hit by an avalanche, broke his back after being swept down a crevasse.

    Got this from another article. Do you think those Sherpas will get any money for their injuries or will their families get anything for them having risked their lives? Not bloody likely. Funds go to support the teams, not the Sherpas who will have no kind of health insurance.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Bardo insurance: a good next life. It reminds me of other similar insurance sold in churches (I can say that because I go to church).

      May 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pierce

    People who skydive, ride motorcyles without helmets, who defy death.

    I grieve for people who die in everyday life, instead.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
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