Three Indian climbers have died of exhaustion while descending the crowded slopes of Mount Everest, while an American man who also made it to the top died of probable altitude sickness during descent, mountaineering officials said on Friday.
More than 120 climbers scaled the world’s highest mountain on Thursday, but some of them were caught in the crowd of people on the slopes, leading to exhaustion, dehydration and death, they said.
Nihal Ashpak Bagwan, 27, from India’s western city of Pune and Anjali Sharad Kulkarni, 54, from the commercial capital of Mumbai, died on the way down from the summit, at 8,850 metres.
“Bagwan died of dehydration, exhaustion and tiredness after being caught in the jam of climbers,” said Keshab Paudel of the Peak Promotion hiking agency that handled the climber’s logistics.
Lhakpa Sherpa of another agency, Arun Treks and Expeditions, said his client, Kulkarni, died of weakness while coming down to Camp IV on the South Col of Everest.
The deaths were confirmed by Mira Acharya, an official of Nepal’s tourism department.
Acharya added that 49-year-old Kalpana Das, from India’s eastern state of Odisha, also died on Thursday during the descent from the peak, but the exact cause of death was unclear.
American Don Cash, 55, died of probable altitude sickness on his way down after reaching the summit on Wednesday, mountaineering officials said.
The climber from Utah died near the Hillary Step, at about 8,790 metres, despite receiving treatment by two Sherpa guides, officials said.
The deaths take to seven the number of dead or missing climbers on Mount Everest in the past week. Nepal has issued permits to 379 climbers on Mount Everest in the season, which ends this month.
Hiking officials say between five and 10 climbers die on Mount Everest in an average climbing year.
A total of 15 climbers have died or are missing on different Himalayan peaks in Nepal, seven of them Indians, since the start of the climbing season in March.
A Swiss climber identified only as Ernst died at 8,600 metres on the Tibetan side of the mountain on Thursday, according to Everest blogger Alan Arnette, who cited a Swiss operator, Kobler & Partner.
“The winds have returned, plus the routes are extremely crowded on both sides, due to few summit weather windows this spring,” Arnette said on his blog.
“On the Southeast Ridge, the climb from the South Col (where Camp 4 is located) to the Balcony is the start of problems. Large teams start off bunched together, going too slow. With only one fixed line, everyone gets jammed up, unable or unwilling to pass,” he wrote.