Expeditions to Everest have
claimed 212 lives
Dec 10 (IANS) Expeditions to Mount Everest, the world loftiest
peak, have claimed 212 lives between 1921 and 2006, including
192 above the base camp.
of these deaths occurred above 8,000 metres during descent
from the 8,850-metre-high summit.
team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators,
conducting the first detailed analysis of such deaths, identified
factors like high altitude cerebral edema that appear linked
know that climbing Everest is dangerous, but exactly how and
why people have died had not been studied," said Paul
Firth of the MGH department of anesthesia who led the study.
had been assumed that avalanches and falling ice - particularly
in the Khumbu Icefall on the Nepal route - were the leading
causes of death and that high-altitude pulmonary edema would
be a common problem at such extreme altitude. But our results
do not support either assumption."
majority of those who have died on Everest were in the prime
of their lives, with families and friends left bereft,"
stressed Firth, according to an MGH release.
most associated with the risk of death were excessive fatigue,
a tendency to fall behind other climbers and arriving at the
summit later in the day.
of those who died developed symptoms such as confusion, a
loss of physical coordination and unconsciousness, which suggest
high-altitude cerebral edema, a swelling of the brain that
results from leakage of cerebral blood vessels.
research team, comprising investigators from three British
hospitals and University of Toronto - reviewed available records
including the Himalayan Database, a compilation from all expeditions
to 300 major peaks in the world's highest range.
detailed analysis was conducted on deaths occurring above
8,000 metres during the past 25 years. Deaths were categorised
as traumatic, from falls or external hazards such as avalanches;
nontraumatic, from high-altitude illness, hypothermia or other
medical causes; or as disappearances.
climbers were classified as either 'climbers', individuals
from outside the Himalayan region, or 'sherpas' - high-altitude
porters, most of them ethnic Sherpas or Tibetans, hired to
transport equipment and otherwise assist the climbers.
overall mortality rate for Everest mountaineers during the
entire 86-year period was 1.3 percent; the rate among climbers
was 1.6 percent and the rate among sherpas was 1.1 percent.
report is scheduled for publication in December issue of the
British Medical Journal.