All About Everest Ep 3: 1996 Deaths on Everest Part 1

This episode of the All About Everest Podcast is about the 1996 deaths on Mt. Everest and the 1996 Everest disaster. Part one is going to be about the deaths on the south side of Everest and next week, part 2 will be about the casualties on the North side.

This is a recap of Episode 3. I try to keep these short, because they are supposed to be notes. However, the notes for the most part have become detailed and klong articles.

1996 Deaths on Everest – South Side in Nepal

At the time, 1996 was the deadliest year on Mt. Everest with the deadliest day and the deadliest season. There were a total of 15 deaths on Mt. Everest in 1996, with 8 of them on May 11, 1996. This episode gives background information about the 1996 deaths on the south side of Nepal. Episode 4 covers the North side of Everest in Tibet.

What Caused the 1996 Everest Deaths

There are several reasons why 1996 and the spring season were the deadliest at the time. As with anything on Mt. Everest, there are many different opinions so I like to give my readers and listeners as much information as possible so they can decide for themselves. Particularly, the main contributors to the deaths on Everest during the 1996 Everest Disaster were the following:

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  • Severe and unexpected blizzard
  • Miscommunication and planning regarding fixed ropes and planning
  • Lack of experienced climbers
  • Commercialization of Mt. Everest
  • Bottlenecking
  • Summit fever
  • Late turnaround time

Because of this, the spring of 1996 was a very bad season on the the mountain.

As always, the main causes of death on Everest are:

  • Falls
  • Hypothermia
  • Exposure
  • Avalanches
  • Hypoxia

There were a total of 11 deaths in 1996 on the South side of Everest, and 4 on the North side.

1996 Deaths on Everest on the South Side of Nepal

The 1996 deaths on Everest in Nepal are listed in chronological order. Of the 11 deaths on the South side for all of 1996, 8 of them were during the spring season.

Chen Yu-Nan

Yu-Nan was the first casualty on Mt. Everest in 1996. He was a member of the Taiwanese team, from Taiwan. While getting ready for the day, Yu-Nan stepped out of his tent without his crampons. He was not attached to the fix ropes. Because he was not wearing his crampons, he slid right off the mountain. Yu-Nan died on May 9, 1996.

Scott Fischer

Fischer was the owner of Mountain Madness and was a well-known American climber. He led a team of 18 to Mt. Everest in 1996. He was caught during the 1996 blizzard on his way down from the summit. His cause of death is considered to be caused by exhaustion, and possibly HACE/ HAPE.

Rob Hall

Hall was the owner of Adventure Consultants. The New Sealander mountaineer had summited Mt. Everest three times before and was leading a commercial team of climbers in 1996. Many of the climbers had little or no experience climbing 8000 meter peaks. Hall summited late in the day when he was well behind the rest of his team because we was helping Doug Hansen. The pair didn’t head down until the blizzard had already started. Both passed away on May 11, 1996 from exposure.

Doug Hansen

Andrew Harris

Yasuko Namba

Bruce Herrod

Ngawang Topche

Yves Bouchon

Lopsang Jangbu


Books and Movies About the 1996 Everest Disaster

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