All About Everest Ep. 2: Dead Bodies on Mt. Everest

Are there dead bodies on Mt. Everest? The answer is, yes. There are over 200 dead bodies on Mount Everest. Looking at statistics, there have been between 306-309 deaths total on Everest. The numbers can’t be 100% accurate, because of the nature of the beast. Records weren’t always that accurate, and that’s one of the reasons why there is not an exact number of how many bodies are still on the mountain.

This podcast covers some of the things that cause deaths on Everest, why there are dead bodies on Mt. Everest and some of the more famous bodies.

You can listen to this episode wherever you listen to podcasts. If you can’t find it on your favorite platform, drop me a comment below and I will add this podcast to that platform.

Are there dead bodies on Mt. Everest?

The answer is, yes. There are over 200 dead bodies on Mount Everest. Looking at statistics, there have been between 306-309 deaths total on Everest. The numbers can’t be 100% accurate, because of the nature of the beast. Records weren’t always that accurate, and that’s one of the reasons why there is not an exact number of how many bodies are still on the mountain. The Himalayan Index

This podcast episode covers some of the things that cause deaths on Everest, why there are dead bodies on Mt. Everest and some of the more “famous” bodies.

Please note, this post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on those links, I may earn a small commision at no cost to you.

You can listen to this episode wherever you listen to podcasts. If you can’t find it on your favorite platform, drop me a comment below and I will add this podcast to that platform.

For further information regarding some of the topics in this podcast, check out the following:

Causes of Death on Mt. Everest

People die from all sorts of things on Everest, with over 200 deaths attributed to the death zone (the area above 8000m). Some of the common causes of death on Mt. Everest are:

  • falls
  • avalanches
  • seracs
  • exhaustion
  • exposure
  • altitude sickness

It’s extremely difficult to remove dead bodies, especially if they are in the death zone. It’s expensive and dangerous. The average cost of a recovery attempt is between $60-70,000.00. Even if you find someone willing to do it, it is very unlikely they will succeed. The majority of deaths on Everest are on the descent, or when climbers are coming down. They are exhausted and cold. Imagine having to drag a dead weight behind you after exhausting your energy to get to the top. It makes it even harder. Most bodies are usually left where the person died and have become part of the landscape, and even landmarks.

If a body can be moved, it is moved off of the path and away from sight. Too many people die on the trail. Many corpses are dropped down crevasses or even buried under rocks. However, there are bodies that were never found or ones that are exposed years later.

Famous Dead Bodies on Everest

Let’s talk about some of the “famous” bodies of Mount Everest. There are plenty of pictures that you can find online. Do note, some of the embedded clips may have disturbing images.

1. Rainbow Valley on Everest

When you think of rainbows, you may not be imagining the cold Northern ridge of Mt. Everest. The Rainbow Valley on Mount Everest isn’t just one body. It’s multiple bodies that have been dropped off the NOrthern Ridge. The “rainbow” is the brightly colored suits of deceased climbers and vibrant hues of trashed tents. The Rainbow Valley is in the death zone and it’s unknown how many bodies lay there.

2. George Mallory

Mallory perished on his third Everest expedition either ascending or descending Mt. Everest in June of 1924 on the North side of Everest. Many attempts were made to find his body, and he was initially found in 1999 by Conrad Anker. The body was mummified and left some clues to what may have happened to Irvine and Mallory. He was buried by the climbers who found him. At the bottom of this episode, is the YouTube link.

3. “Green Boots” or Tsawang Paljor

Though he has never been100% identified, it has been determined that “Green Boots” is the body of the Indian climber Tsewang Paljor. He perished in the 1996 Everest disaster. His body at one time was a landmark but appears to have been removed from the trail.

4. David Sharp

David Sharp died on Mt. Everest in 2006. He was climbing the mountain solo without support. They believe he was descending and became exhausted. He did not have oxygen and topped to rest at Green Boot’s cave. Many climbers stop but were unable to help him enough so that he could continue to descend. Sir Edmund Hillary was very critical of the other climbers on that day. He felt they were neglectful and should have been able to get him down.

5. Rob Hall and Scott Fisher

Both Rob Hall and Scott Fisher died during the 1996 Everest disaster. There were many factors that contributed to their deaths, including summiting late in the day and a blizzard.

6. Hannalore Shmatz

Hannelore Schmatz was the 4th woman to summit Mt. Everest in 1979. She reached the summit but stayed too long at the top. As she was heading down, it was getting dark and she and her partner were too exhausted. The sherpas tried to persuade her to continue down but she refused, instead bivouacking at 8300 m. Her partner dies in the night. The next day she continued her descent, stopped to rest, and just died. Her corpse could be seen for many years, with her resting against her backpack. Eventually, either her body was blown off the mountain or covered in snow. She was the first woman to die on Everest.

7. Shriya Shah-Klorfine

Shriya Shah-Klorfine was a Nepal-born Canadian who died on Everest on May 19, 2012. Her death is contributed to being inexperienced and not having enough bottled oxygen. She dies about 250 meters from Camp 4 still clipped to the fixed ropes. Her body was covered with a Canadian flag. Later that season, her body was brought down to Camp 2 and then removed by helicopter.

8. “Sleeping Beauty” Francis Arsentiev

Francys Arsentiev was the first American woman to summit Mt. Everest without bottled oxygen on May 22, 1998. Both Francys and her husband Sergei perished on the mountain. They were forced to spend two nights in the death zone and became separated. Her husband made it back to camp but she did not. CLimbers from the Uzbek team, as well as Ian Woodall and Cathy Odowd, attempted to assist her but she could not be revived. Her husband went to find her with medicine and oxygen and was never seen again. In 2007 Ian Woodall climbed the mountain. He apparently tucked a teddy bear under her arm, whispered a message from her son in her ear, and shoved her body off of the ridge.

What are your thoughts about the dead bodies on Everest? Do you think it is a problem?

People who die up there want to stay there. Don’t forget to follow us on social media @allabouteverestpodcast. Next week’s episode is about the 1996 Everest deaths, part 1.

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