The Everest expedition is among the most popular and adventurous tasks worldwide. But it is fatal and quite risky. You must have heard about how the mountain is filled with dead bodies. Naturally, you are here looking for the answer to why do they leave bodies on Everest. There are many reasons why bodies are left on Everest.
Currently, there are above 200 bodies lying en route to the mountain’s peak. These bodies have been piling up ever since Everest has been open for the ascent. One of the oldest dead bodies not to be recovered is of George Mallory. He attempted to climb Everest back in 1924 and aimed to become the first to summit it. However, he had disappeared and was never heard of until 1999 when people discovered his body.
Although Mallory might have been the first to lose his life and be left at such remote heights, he is not the first. More than 300 people have died while scaling the mountain, and more than 200 are left there. It is a standard protocol to leave dead bodies back in the mountain, especially above the death zone. There are several reasons for this protocol. Stick with us to understand them very simply.
The death zone
The simple answer to why are bodies left on Mount Everest is because people die during their ascent. Even simpler treks as low as the base camp of Everest are quite tough and come with a lot of risks. Climbing Mount Everest is quite literally a life gamble. You need to be a very skilled mountain climber with years of training.
Everest climbing comes with the infamous death zone. As you ascend the height of 8000 meters of the peak, you are in the death zone. The oxygen levels at this point are so low that you will feel like you are breathing through a straw. Such low levels of oxygen will trigger a myriad of health issues. Illness like cerebral edema, heart attack, and sudden lapse into a coma is very common occurrences. Saving one from such an ailment at such a remote height is almost impossible. Such health issues will likely lead to death.
Hence, getting an illness in the death zone is basically a death sentence.
Not only is the death zone notorious for causing health issues, but its geography is also very tricky. Climbing Mountain Everest requires all sorts of walks, hikes, climbs, and otherworldly tricks. Accidents due to technical issues and while walking through steep icy crevasses are also very probable. Due to such high levels of risk, death during the Everest ascent is likely. Dead bodies at such a remote place at such a high altitude are almost impossible to recover. Hence one of the main reasons why bodies are left on Everest.
Rescuing bodies from Everest
There are many reasons why people might lose their lives during the Everest ascent. So there are some rescue measures in play. The most common ones are helicopter rescues. Helicopter rescues in mountain climbing are very common. In the Everest region specifically, there are helicopter rescue services too. These services will be available to as high as Camp 2 of Everest.
Flights up to the 6400-meter height in Everest are operated. However, flights higher than this altitude are quite difficult to operate for rescue operations. Camp 2 is the highest point, with a flat surface that allows helicopters to land. This point is also relatively safer, considering atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels.
Therefore, helicopter rescues might be able to immediately evacuate you and take you to medical care up to Camp 2. However, the higher you go, the chances of saving you become slimmer. That is why if you fall sick or lose your life, you will remain in the mountain forever. This is one of the primary reasons why bodies are left on Everest.
There is almost no other alternative to rescue operations for saving people from Everest expeditions. Up to certain heights, it is possible, but after that, it’s impossible. Climbers or Sherpas cannot carry you back on such dangerous routes. They, too, would definitely lose their life while attempting to carry a weight of above 50 kg from Everest.
Along with the heavyweight, most of the time, the dead bodies on Everest are difficult to locate. Snowfalls and avalanches cover them up, and it’s difficult to search for bodies in heaps of snow on the mountain. Some bodies just fall off ridges and are impossible to locate or rescue. This is the reason why there is a protocol for leaving bodies back in the mountains.
Your answer to why do they leave bodies on everest is quite simple and done for practical reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t helicopters recover bodies from Everest?
Due to the atmosphere and thin air at higher altitudes, operating helicopters is quite tough. Helicopters might be able to rescue dead bodies from lower altitudes. But they cannot recover bodies from the higher altitude of Everest due to the physics of operating a helicopter will not allow it.
How many dead bodies are found on Mount Everest?
There are around 200 dead bodies piling up en route to Everest.
Is Green Boots still on Everest?
Green Boots is a significant dead body encountered during the Everest ascent. The body is still in the same place on Everest.
What is the biggest cause of death on Mount Everest?
The biggest cause of death on Mount Everest is the lower levels of oxygen and its subsequent illness. You might suffer from ailments like cerebral edema, a lapse in a coma, a heart attack, etc. Other bigger causes of death include avalanches and accidents.
What is the oldest dead body on Everest?
The oldest dead body on Everest is George Mallory. He died back in June 1924 during one of the first attempts to summit Everest.
How long will the bodies on Everest last?
The bodies on Everest will likely last for a long, long time as the temperature of the region is frigid. The bodies of people like George Mallory, who died in 1924, were still preserved up to the 90s.