Photo by   Lloyd Smith

Photo by Lloyd Smith

As the world’s tallest mountain, and arguably its most iconic, Mount Everest (8,848m/ 29,029 ft) is the ultimate challenge – in more ways than one for some.

At least every year since 1996, a number of climbers have take their final climbs on these slopes, never to return safely to their friends and families below.

Between 1924 and August 2015 (the typical end of the Everest climbing season), 282 people are known to have died on Everest. 169 of these climbers were western visitors and 113 were local Sherpas. 

152 of the deaths have occurred since 1996, as Everest was gaining popularity with western commercial adventure companies. Before 1985, only one expedition per route was permitted annually.

Common ways people die include: avalanches, exposure, falls related to altitude sickness, delirium and exhaustion (above 8,000 m/ 26,000 ft) is the ‘Death Zone’) and, recently, accidents related to overcrowding. The worst single accident occurred in 2014, when 16 high-altitude workers (including 13 Sherpas) died in an avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall.

Climbing from the Tibetan side is marginally more dangerous, statistically. 106 deaths have occurred in return for 2,580 summits, giving a death rate of 4.1%. From the Nepalese side there have been 176 deaths, but with 4,421 summits this gives a death rate of 3.98%. 

To put this in context, the world’s most dangerous mountain, Annapurna (8,091m/ 26,545ft), has a death rate of 35%. 

Given the terrain, many bodies remain where they fell on the mountainside. 

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