Inexperienced climbers are causing dangerous traffic jams on Mount Everest
A British mountaineer and climbing officials in Nepal are warning that conditions could get more dangerous for trekkers heading to Mount Everest this year.
Tim Mosedale, who has climbed the world’s highest peak five times now, published a Facebook post last week pointing out a "toxic mix" of more and more climbers who are scaling the mountain without proper experience or safety techniques.
“Yesterday as we descended through the Khumbu Icefall, we encountered some fairly strange and indeed dangerous activity,” Mosedale wrote on the post. “People not adhering to some fairly basic safety principles and by inference endangering themselves, their staff, and everyone around them."
According to The Washington Post, officials are expecting that the mountain will start seeing traffic-jam conditions that could be dangerous to climbers starting mid-May, as winds start to settle around this time, giving travelers a small peak period to make their ascent.
The publication pointed out that the Nepalese government gave out a record number of 371 permits for foreigners looking to climb the mountain this year, the most it has given since 1953.
With the inclusion of Sherpa mountain guides, that number can reach as high as 800, leaving climbers and officials worried about what these large crowds and potential delays on the mountain could mean for their safety.
“We are of course worried about the high numbers,” Mingma Tenze Sherpa, a Nepali guide, told The Washington Post.
These concerns come after he was caught with clients in a delay of up to four hours last year due to the crowds, resulting in two of his clients losing their toes due to the chilling conditions that climbers can face in such high altitudes.
This, in combination with the thinness of the air, can become highly dangerous for climbers trying to maintain their oxygen levels.
“Everest is hazardous enough as it is without complete novices being looked after by inexperienced Sherpas from teams with a poor sense of professionalism,” Mosedale wrote in his post.
He recommended people only climb the mountain if they have been able to previously achieve high-altitude ascents without oxygen, have a climbing Sherpa by their side with oxygen, or have a spare mask and regulator to be able to apply oxygen and continue their ascent if conditions get bad.