The world's tallest mountain, Everest, has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons so here's a recap of what's gone on.
In the last week at least 11 people have died attempting to scale the 8848 summit – more than twice the number who died last year. Inexperienced climbers and overcrowding are being blamed for this season's high death toll.
Delays from overcrowding near its peak can put climbers at risk of altitude sickness, hypothermia and other complications.
Conditions on the mountain are always dangerous, but overcrowding has led to climbers standing in line for hours in the "death zone," where they risk running out of oxygen, becoming exhausted and falling off steep cliffs.
Another major factor contributing to this deadly season has been that about half of climbers embarking on the journey are inexperienced, one guide told NBC News.
"They don't train very hard. They underestimate Everest," said Jangbu Sherpa, who has been working on Everest since 2006. "There are lots of climbers who just want to check the box so that they can say they’ve been to the top of the world." (Read the full story here).
The Nepalese tourism board denies that the deaths were a result of the traffic jam at the summit and said it has no plans to limit the number of permits it issues next year. Whether the recent spate of deaths causes fewer climbers to make the trip will likely not be clear until the start of the 2020 climbing season next spring. (Read full story here)
In a column for the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape wrote that the Nepalese government collects more than $4 million annually from climbing permits alone.
“Once the preserve of only hardened climbers relying on their own skills rather than others’ and even forging new and more difficult routes, Everest’s summit has now become a purchasable commodity via dozens of companies offering to guide the two easier routes, “ writes Tim. (See his full story here)
In some good news, An Australian man is recovering in a Nepalese hospital after he was discovered unconscious on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest.
Canberra public servant Gilian Lee's fourth attempt to scale the world's tallest mountain nearly ended in disaster as he had to be rescued high up on the northern slopes.
Tibetan climbers found Mr Lee unconscious at an altitude of 7,500 metres last Wednesday.
Mr Lee, who is recovering in Kathmandu's Grande hospital, was attempting to reach the summit without oxygen tanks. (Read the full story here)