How Mt Everest is turning deadlier with traffic jam

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"They suffered because of the traffic jam, not because of wind and coldness," said Tshering Jangbu Sherpa, a mountain guide, referring to the recent tragedy en route Mount Everest.

With the increase in the number of people trying to reach the peak of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain, the path to it has become even more dangerous due to "overcrowding." Many face their ends, as they are stuck in the crowd, widely referred to as 'traffic jams', very close to the peak.

Everest is located on the border of Nepal and Tibet, its peak being about 8,848 m from the sea level.

A climber can summit the majestic Himalayan mountain from two sides. One, being the southeast ridge from Nepal and the other, the north ridge from Tibet. The route from the Nepalese side is usually taken, as it is considered easier and one has to spend less time at high altitude. Moreover, the Nepalese government issues more climbing permits than the Chinese government which is in charge of the Tibetan side. This is precisely the problem, as everyone follows the "same single file line," which affects everyone climbing behind a person who may move slowly.

"With a single route to the summit, delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal," said Robin Fisher, a British mountaineer.

"There can be two lines of people - one going up, and one going down the summit. Everyone is hanging onto this one rope," says Norbu Sherpa.

This overcrowding results in climbers having to wait a long time "queuing" in the death zone (8000 m). These jams are dangerous as climbers are already tired, fighting altitude sickness, which makes one dizzy and nauseous, and also the climber may run short of oxygen, not having enough for the descend.

Andrea Ursina Zimmerman, an expedition guide, says this situation is also caused by "unprepared climbers who do not have the physical condition for the journey."

In all 807 people is reported to have reached the summit last year, the number increasing this year. As per the forecast by liaison officials of the expedition, 122 people were supposed to summit on May 21, 297 on May 22 and 172 on May 23.

A climber only needs to pay for the permit if one is accompanied by a Sherpa guide. While this may seem as a lucrative business, it is important to take strict actions to prevent such tragedies. The Nepalese government had issued nearly 381 permits recently, each fetching it $11,000.

There are no safe routes to the top and death lurks every step, but with the death of 11 people this season due to the sheer number of climbers curbs could be in the offing.

"Only trained climbers should be granted the permit to climb Everest," says Ameesha Chauhan, who recently survived the "traffic jam" on Everest.

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