With glaciers melting under the threat of climate change, the pristine visions of the icy-Everest are occasionally showing eerie glimpses of perfectly preserved dead bodies.
Mountaineering expeditions continue to claim many lives every year. But it is every mountaineers’ dream to reach the summit of the highest mountain in the world. The mighty Mount Everest with 8848 meters has had its share of the tragic loss of lives in its vicinity. But that is hardly a reason to stop passionate climbers back.
Avalanches, frostbite, health issues, serac collapse, continues to be the major reasons why mountaineers lose their lives while climbing up or down Mount Everest. In recent times, however, dead bodies have been showing up on the paths of Everest owing to the rapid melting of glaciers, BBC reports.
What is the recent deal of bodies uncovering from under snow?
Over the past few years, there have been many incidents around the Nepal region of Mount Everest related to melting ice cover. Glaciers are melting at an unprecedented level in many places including Alaska and Antarctica. So it is no shock that glaciers in Mount Everest (which lies in the sub-tropical belt of our planet) are melting fast.
Due to this phenomenon, some from the 200 bodies of mountaineers that are resting somewhere buried under the snow in Mount Everest, are finally surfacing in numbers. According to an ex-official of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, speaking to BBC:
“Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast meltings and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed. We have brought down dead bodies of some mountaineers who died in recent years, but the old ones that remained buried are now coming out.”
David Sharp and John Mallory’s body caused quite a stir after being found in the ice. John Mallory’s body was found 75 years after he went missing.
Interesting Trivia: Experts are still confirming with limited circumstantial evidence whether Mallory and his partner Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine were actually the first to scale the summit back in 1924.
The frozen and mummified body of a mountaineer presumably Tswewang Paljor, has been serving as a landmark for mountaineers trying to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain range. The body was wearing neon green snow boots earning him the nickname “Green Boots”.
Coming to the fact of ‘un-snowing’ dead bodies from the Everest vicinity, it is wrong to completely hold global warming the reason. Many times, the glacier’s natural path shifting phenomenon has led to the uncovering of bodies in the mountain.
Hikers and climbers, mostly are mentally prepared to witness a dead hand or feet protruding out from the snow at different places in their track.
Why are so many bodies left in the snow still?
More than 200 bodies still lie buried in the snow somewhere in the Everest. Many questions why. Well, there is more than one reason for that.
- Firstly, climbing mountains are not as dreamy and romantic as the idea seems to most. Mountaineers are aware of this harsh reality and most of the time, they are prepared for any unforeseen events that might lead to a sudden loss of life. Thereby most mountaineers add a disclaimer that if they die somehow while climbing, that their bodies be left in the mountains.
It also reflects their passion for the mountains as well as their practical understanding of the whole situation. In order to honor the last wish, most of the bodies that go missing are hardly looked for.
- Secondly, it is a very expensive task to retrieve bodies that lay buried in thick snow or are found in really dangerous locations. Something between 40,000 to 80,000 dollars expense to arrange for search operations are not the most frequently taken choices, especially for developing countries like Nepal that is responsible for most of the trekking route that lies within their borders.
The mention of Irvine, the climbing partner of Mallory is perhaps the most awaited find from the expansive list of missing mountaineers. His body might hold important information long-frozen back in time as to how far they really went in their fateful climbing journey. Or whether they actually scaled the summit long before Norgay and Hillary.
(Cover image via Commons)