Courtesy: Alan Arnette
Mt. Everest is the most famous mountain in the world. Drawing climbers for almost a century, it is know as Qomolangma Peak in Tibet and Mount Sagarmatha in Nepal.
The north side was first attempted by a British team in 1922. They reached 27,300′ before turning back. The 1924 British expedition with George Mallory and Andrew Irvine was notable for the mystery of whether they summited or not. Mallory’s body was found in 1999 but there was no proof that he died going up or coming down. It was a Chinese team who made the first summit from Tibet on May 25, 1960 by Nawang Gombu (Tibetan) and Chinese Chu Yin-Hau and Wang Fu-zhou who is said to have climbed the Second Step in his sock feet.
However, the first summit of Mt. Everest was by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary with a British expedition in 1953. They took the South Col route which is used by the majority of modern expeditions. At that time the route had only been attempted twice by Swiss teams in the spring and autumn of 1952. They reached 8500m well above the South Col. Of note, Norgay was with the Swiss thus giving him the experience he used on the British expedition. The Swiss returned in 1956 to make the second summit of Everest.
Today, hundreds of climbers from around world try to stand on top of the world.
Recent years have been tragic with 16 Sherpas killed in the Khumbu Icefall by a serac release on April 8, 2014 and 19 people killed on April 25, 2015 at Everest Base Camp from an avalanche triggered off Pumori’s ridge by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake almost 200 miles away in Nepal.
The Grand Dame of all Everest statistics, Ms. Elizabeth Hawley reports on the Himalayan Database that there have been 7,001 summits of Everest through August 2015 on all routes by 4,093 different people. 953 people, mostly Sherpa, have summited multiple times totaling 3,861 times (included in the 7,001 total summits). The Nepal side is more popular with 4,421 summits compared to 2,580 summits from the Tibet side. 193 climbers summited without supplemental oxygen through August 2015, about 2.7% 14 climbers have traversed from one side to the other. About 60% of all expeditions put at least one member on the summit.
282 people (169 westerners and 113 Sherpas) have died on Everest from 1924 to August 2015. Of the deaths, 102 died attempting to summit without using supplemental oxygen. The Nepalese side has seen 4,421 summits with 176 deaths through August 2015 or 3.98%. The Tibet side has seen 2,580 summits with 106 deaths through August 2015. or 4.1%. Most bodies are still on the mountain but China has removed many bodies from sight. The top cause of death was from a fall, avalanche, exposure and altitude sickness. Summits stats will be updated as soon as available from Himalayan Database probably in late 2016 but about 600 people summited in Spring 2016 from both sides and there were 5 Everest deaths.
From 1923 to 1999: 170 people died on Everest with 1,169 summits or 14.5%. But the deaths drastically declined from 2000 to 2015 with 5,832 summits and 112 deaths or 1.9%. However, two years skewed the deaths rates with 16 in 2014 and 19 in 2015. The reduction in deaths is primarily due to better gear, weather forecasting and more people climbing with commercial operations.
Annapurna remains the most deadly 8000 meter mountain with one death for every three summits (69:211) or 32% thru 2014