Two more Indian climbers have died on Mount Everest due to an hours-long ‘traffic jam’, taking the toll to 8 of the Indian mountaineers who perished in their expedition to the world’s highest peak during this season.
Nihal Bagwan, 27, and Kalpana Das, 49, died along with two other climbers above the 8,848-meter Mount Everest while descending the summit, the expedition organisers said.
‘Traffic jam’ occurs on Mount Everest when many climbers vie for the summit at the same time, and can be especially dangerous above 8,000 metres known as the ‘death zone’.
Bagwan, who is from Maharashtra, breathed his last at Camp IV on Mount Everest on the Nepal side after he was rescued by a group of Sherpa climbers from the balcony area, said Babu Sherpa, Managing Director at Peak Promotion Pvt Ltd.
“He died at Camp IV after he fell ill near the balcony area while returning from the summit of Mt Everest,” Sherpa was quoted as saying by The Himalayan Times. Bagwan was the leader of a two-member expedition, he added.
Das, who was a member of the ‘Three Women Expedition’, breathed her last near the balcony area while descending from the summit point on Wednesday, said Gyanendra Shrestha, a liaison officer at the Everest base camp.
Das and American climber Donald Lynn Cash both died while descending the summit. Their deaths were attributed primarily to a long queue of both ascending and descending climbers, forcing many to wait for hours at altitudes above 8,000 metres, The Kathmandu Post reported.
With the latest fatalities, the deaths toll on the mountains of above 8,000 metres has risen to 16, according to expedition officials. “At least eight Indian climbers are among 16 persons killed on different mountains,” the officials said.
Mumbai-based Anjali S Kulkarni died after she fell ill while coming down from the summit point on Wednesday.
Kulkarni, 54, died above 8,000 metres in the ‘death zone’, as she was descending after reaching the summit.
Eight Indian climbers have died on different mountains during this season. Four died on Mount Everest, two each died on Kanchanjunga and Makalu.
Nepal has issued a record 381 permits costing USD 11,000 each for the current spring climbing season.