Three Mount Everest climbers died over the weekend, including a American, an Australian, and a Slovakian. Authorities confirmed a fourth climber, who is from India, has been missing since Saturday.
According to reports, a record number of mountaineers have attempted to reach the infamous summit this season. Although the conditions are rarely “ideal,” witnesses said the weather was particularly bad over the weekend.
Tendi Sherpa, who is a seasoned Mount Everest guide, said the region was struck with inclement weather and strong winds. Although “several teams got lucky,” Tendi said “many climbers… had to turn around half way to the summit… ”
As reported by the Washington Post, rescue crews were busy throughout the weekend. In addition to frostbite and snow blindness, dozens of climbers were rescued by helicopter and treated for altitude sickness.
Officials confirmed the weekend’s casualties include Roland Yearwood, Enrico Marchetti, and Vladimir Strba. Ravi Kumar remains missing and his condition and whereabouts are unknown.
American doctor Roland Yearwood was a seasoned climber, who previously reached Everest’s summit in June, 2016. As reported by Metro, the mountaineer narrowly escaped death in 2015 — when he survived a devastating avalanche that killed at least 18 others.
It is unclear whether Yearwood reached the summit during his 2017 climb. However, authorities confirmed the 50-year-old man was in the infamous “death zone” when he died.
AL.com reports Roland Yearwood worked at Georgiana Medical Center in Butler County, Alabama. He is survived by his wife, Amrita, and two daughters.
Australian climber Francesco Enrico Marchetti had not yet reached the peak of Mount Everest when he began suffering from altitude sickness. As reported by The Himalayan Times, the 54-year-old man began descending as soon as he realized he was ill. Unfortunately, it was simply too late. Marchetti passed away at approximately 24,600 feet on the Tibetan side of the mountain.
Slovakia mountaineer Vladimir Strba also suffered from severe altitude sickness while attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest. According to reports, the 50-year-old man was carried to the South Cal camp by his fellow climbers. However, he did not survive the descent.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 21, 2017
Indian climber Ravi Kumar went missing on Saturday near Balcony. Witnesses said the 26-year-old man had reached the summit and was descending Mount Everest when he became separated from his sherpa guide. As reported by Reuters, several sherpas are currently looking for the missing man. However, they have not made contact at this time.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 21, 2017
With a summit reaching 29,035 feet, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. Unfortunately, it is also one of the deadliest. As of 2016, an estimated 280 climbers have died while ascending or descending the mountain.
ThoughtCo reports an estimated 6.5 percent of those who attempt to climb Mount Everest will die. Interestingly, a majority of those deaths occur during descent.
Although avalanches, extreme weather, and falls are responsible for dozens of deaths on Mount Everest, most climbers are killed by non-traumatic causes. Statistically, a majority of mountaineers simply die of exhaustion or excessive fatigue. However, many are also killed by altitude-related illnesses — including high-altitude cerebral edema and high-altitude pulmonary edema.
Despite the dangers, and the exorbitant cost of a climbing permit, hundreds of mountaineers attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest each year. In 2017 alone, 375 permits were issued for the climbing season.
Although three people were killed over the weekend, and another remains missing, 60 climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest on Sunday. Tendi Sherpa confirmed several other teams are currently ascending the mountain and expect to reach the summit on Monday.
At the end of the 2016 climbing season, a total of six people died on Mount Everest. This year, there has been a total of five confirmed deaths so far.
[Featured Image by Travel Stock/Shutterstock]