In the spring season of the year 2023, Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, witnessed the highest number of successful ascents. However, along with this achievement, it also faced some unfortunate incidents. According to the Department of Tourism, from May 1st to the 26th, a total of 17 individuals, including 7 Nepalis and 10 foreigners, lost their lives during Mount Everest expeditions.

Citizens from nine countries, namely Nepal, India, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, the United States, Canada, and Hungary, lost their lives while attempting to climb Mount Everest. Despite adverse weather conditions and increased risks, mountaineer Kamirita Sherpa, who holds the record for the most successful ascents of Mount Everest, highlighted the importance of experienced guides. He said, “This time the weather was more challenging, and although the weather cleared up later, some inexperienced climbers faced sudden weather changes, which led to an increase in fatalities.”

According to Yuvaraj Khatriwada, the director of the Mountaineering Section at the Department, the high number of fatalities this year can be attributed to unfavorable weather conditions. He stated, “Many deaths occurred due to adverse weather conditions. Even though the weather eventually improved, sudden changes in weather during the climbers’ ascent proved fatal. The unfavorable weather this time contributed significantly to the increased number of deaths.”

Director Khatriwada mentioned that the claim made in the media about a significant increase in the number of climbers was not entirely accurate. He argued that the lack of cooperation from the weather and the resulting challenges faced by climbers contributed to the rising number of fatalities. He said, “Foreign media outlets have been criticizing us, claiming that we allowed too many climbers, but we (the Tourism Department) do not accept that.”

Khatriwada clarified that they granted climbing permits to a total of 478 climbers for a duration of 30 days, with an estimated average of 16 climbers attempting the ascent daily. He emphasized that the criticism regarding the increased number of climbers and the resultant congestion was unfounded. Moreover, medical teams, including icefall doctors, were present at base camps, assessing the suitability of the weather conditions for climbing. Giving assurance that the climbers started their ascent with proper safety measures, Gyalthen Sherpa, Executive Director of Imagine Nepal, provided the information.

The increase in fatalities and congestion on Mount Everest due to the issuance of climbing permits to many climbers has been a subject of discussion in international media. However, Ang Chhiring Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, had previously expressed concern about this issue, stating, “We are witnessing a significant increase in fatalities due to adverse weather conditions during this year’s Mount Everest expeditions. It is not any sudden or major disaster; it is primarily due to the weather that has caused significant human casualties.”

According to the department, generally, “Rope Fixing” can be completed by the end of April. Climbing continues for about a month in May. This number of climbers is the highest ever recorded on Mount Everest, surpassing the previous record of 19 fatalities during the devastating earthquake in Gorkha in 2015.

Before that, in 2014, there were 16 fatalities in the Khumbu Icefall due to an avalanche. This year, along with adverse weather conditions, high altitude has also been a contributing factor in the increased number of fatalities, as mentioned by Dawa Gyaljen Sherpa, Executive Director of Imagine Nepal.

Death of Mountaineers from Various Countries on Different Dates

In a sequence of events leading to the opening of the route for Mount Everest expeditions, three Sherpas lost their lives in the Khumbu region on April 12. According to the Department of Tourism, the deceased were identified as Dachhiri Sherpa, Pemba Tenzing Sherpa, and Lakpa Rita Sherpa, residents of Khumjung Rural Municipality-5, Khumbu Pasanglhamu Gaunpalika. They were part of an expedition organized by Imagine Nepal Treks and were carrying equipment for rope fixing up to the South Summit of Mount Everest when the accident occurred.

In the spring season of 2023, the responsibility of rope fixing up to the South Col, including the installation of ladders, was given to the Mountaineering Association of Nepal by the Department of Tourism. As part of this task, a team of nine Sherpas led by Gyalje Sherpa, accompanied by a photographer, successfully completed the rope fixing.

Among the casualties after climbing Mount Everest, there were three Nepali climbers and three foreign climbers, while 11 other climbers died in the sequence of their summit attempts. Ranjit Kumar Jha, a Nepali mountaineer who had gone for the ascent with Happy Feet Company, died on May 25. Lakpa Norbu Sherpa, a member of the Expedition Himalaya team, also lost his life on the same day. Additionally, Furbu Sherpa, who had gone for the ascent with Peak Promotion Company, died on May 16. Similarly, foreign climbers, including Edge Akasander Vin Ampuan from Malaysia and Shrinivas Sans Dutt from Singapore, both on May 19, and Jason Bernard Lelinson from Australia on May 19, lost their lives. They had climbed through the Pioneer Expedition Seven Summit Treks and the Asian Trek respectively.

Likewise, Leopold Lio Polidien from India died on May 18 in Lukla. He had gone for the ascent with Glacier Trekking Company. Furthermore, Juevin Chen, a Chinese citizen who had gone for the ascent with Atake Expedition, died on May 18 at the South Summit of Mount Everest. On the same day, American citizen John Thane Sugerman, who had gone for the ascent with Image Company, also lost his life.

On April 12, Lakpa Rita Sherpa from Imagine Nepal succumbed to death at the Khumbu Icefall. On May 21, during the second expedition of the season, an Angkami Sherpa lost his life at the South Col of Mount Everest. Canadian citizen S. Petrus Alvartayan died on May 25 at the Third Step of Mount Everest. Similarly, on May 24, Hilary Step of the Kangshung Face claimed the life of Sjilard Suhajdak, a Hungarian climber from Expedition Himalaya.

The Mount Everest climbing season of this year started on April 30 and continued until the third week of Jestha. The Mount Everest Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) had prepared the route up to the second camp of Mount Everest. According to the former president of the association, this year witnessed a higher number of deaths among climbers than any other year, following the 2014 icefall disaster and the 2015 earthquake.

Everest death 2023