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South Col Route
Original at Mt. Everest Route Maps - Alan Arnette |

During the first weather window in May 2012, more than 200 climbers ascended the ropes up the Lhotse Face.
Source:Field Test: On Everest - Photo Gallery - Pictures | National Geographic Magazine

View of north side from Tingri in Tibet

Himalayas | Mt. Everest Region Map | Relief map | Mallory's presumed route from Camp VI (Step 2 and 3)

See: Everest at NOVA (PBS): QTVR (360°) view from summit.

Himalayan Experience Climbs to North Col - 26 Days - $6,500,
Himalaya Inc. climb to summit - 60 days - $6,000

Nepal for S. Col route
Western guide services charge about $65-$75,000 for full logistics support, 4 nights in Katmandu, trek to Base Camp, shared gear, food, cooks, Personal Sherpa, oxygen, mask and regulator, permits/fees.
Travel: $2,500-$6,000
Personal Equipment (down suit, high altitude boots, sleeping bags, etc): $7,000-$10,000
Helicopter evacuation from EBC-South: $5,000 or Evacuation insurance $500+
Misc: Katmandu personal expenses, Sodas, beer, bottled water, internet, and assorted "extras" during the trek in (8-10 days).
Other: Mobile phone bills, tips for Sherpas, ... $2,000-$4,000 Total: $75,000 - $85,000 Some say it can go over $100,000 including training.

Tibet/China - Prior to 2012 it was much cheaper to climb from the China (North side), but they raised their fees so it is about the same now.

How much does it cost to climb Mt. Everest?The Blog on
Guided Mount Everest Climbing Expeditions by Mountain Trip
How Much it Costs to Climb Mount Everest |

Everest Names Chomolungma (Tibetan), Jomolangma, Sagarmatha (Nepalese)
Qomolangma Feng (Chinese)

Image from - Wikipedia

At altitudes of 25,000 feet and beyond, the effects of low atmospheric pressure upon the human body are so severe that really difficult mountaineering is impossible and the consequences even of a mild storm may be deadly.

In many cases it is too difficult to remove a dead body so it is left there.
As of 2020 there were about about 200 bodies on Everest.

In the Death Zone, above 8,000 m (26,000') your body can not metabolize food and starts eating itself.
The atmospheric pressure at the top of Everest is about a third of sea level.

The effects of low atmospheric pressure, low temperatues (-40° F) and high winds are so severe that really difficult mountaineering is impossible and the consequences even of a mild storm may be deadly.

British climbers had expeditions to Everest in 1921, 1922 and 1924. On June 8, 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, both of the United Kingdom, made an attempt on the summit via the North route from which they never returned. Mallory's body was found in 1999 and there is speculation that he might of made it to the top and died on the way down.

In 1953 the first confirmed ascent (and of course, safe descent) of Everest was accomplished by by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, who went up the south side.


Thru 2012 season
19,474 Summit attempts
 6,206 Total summits (by 3,698 different people)
   240 deaths (4%)
   Source:, May 2013
80% of deaths occur on the way down.
Yearly Averages
Decade Summits Deaths Death
20's 0 11 100%
30's 0 1 100%
50's 6 1 17%
60's 18 6 33%
70's 78 28 36%
80's 183 59 32%
90's 883 59 7%
2000's 3,380 47 1.4%
** This is the ratio of deaths per successful summit; deaths per attempt are lower.
As of May 2022, 311 people have lost their lives in their attempt to reach the peak.

In 1993 Nepal and China removed the restriction on the number of permits issues resulting in a dramatic increase See: Summits and Deaths by year
Everest 2013: Has Everest Become More Dangerous?


Fall 64
Avalanche 48
Exposure/Frostbite 26
Acute Mountain Sickness 22
Illness 17
Icefall collapse 15
Exhaustion 8
Total 231
Khumbu icefall 61
North Col to Summit 49
South Col to Summit 29
Other 139
Source: Outside Magazine, April, 2012

1996 was the worst year for deaths with 15 out of 98 summits (15%).

A storm on May 10th claimed eight climbers' lives including experienced expedition leaders, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer.
Journalist Jon Krakauer, on assignment from Outside magazine, was also in Hall's party, and afterwards published the bestseller Into Thin Air which related his experience.

David Breashears, a high altitude climber and filmmaker, has stood on top of Everest three times. He made the IMAX film, Everest.

Twice abandoned and presumed dead on the South Col, a bludgeoned Beck Weathers - stricken with severe frostbite, corneal lacerations, and hypothermia - was hauled down to Camp I and evacuated by helicopter.
In the next year, Weathers (himself a pathologist) underwent ten surgeries, the longest lasting 16 hours. His entire right hand and most of his left was amputated; surgeons fashioned a thumb out of muscle from his side and back.
Weathers' 2000 biography, Left for Dead, details his recuperation, including facing a battered marriage and recognizing the profound depression that he says drove him to climb.

"Mount Everest Records Deadliest Year in over a Decade" - Spiegel Online describes some of the experiences in 2012.
"This year was the deadliest on Mount Everest (11 deaths) since 12 climbers died on the mountain in 1996. But storms and avalanches were not the culprit. Instead, congestion in the Death Zone combined with inexperience resulted in a half-dozen deaths in just one May weekend."
"Anyone in halfway decent shape can book the tour to the top of Everest. High-altitude climbing experience isn't necessary, but courage [or lack of common sense. My comment.] and money are."

"More than 300 climbers set out for the summit on the weekend of May 19-20, 2012 alone. 'I've never seen so many people on one mountain,' says extreme mountain climber Ralf Dujmovits.
The crowded conditions led to congestion in the death zone. Six people died, with four of them perishing on the popular South Col route. They lost their lives because all of the adventurers, those who wanted to experience a moment of accomplishment at the highest point on earth, got in each other's way."

Often, climbers have to wait for up to two hours at the base of the Hillary Step (the steep rocky part in the picture) for climbers above to move out of the way.

The south col route is the most popular.
People usually fly from Katmandu to Lukla.
It is a 8-15 day walk (84 miles) from Lukula (9,383ft) to Base Camp (17,600ft).
The climb from base camp to the summit takes four days, but climbers must spend weeks at the mountain to become accustomed to the altitude.
Climbers usually climb through the night on summit day, aiming to hit the top before noon to give them ample time to descend.
See How long does it take to climb Mount Everest? - Yahoo! Answers
Other Trekking in the Lukla - Everest Base Camp area: (e.g. Lukula to Base camp.)
Lukla Everest Base Camp Trek - Lukla Everest Base Camp Trekking, Lukla Everest Base Camp Treks, Lukla Everest Base Camp Fixed Departure Trekking - Mission Eco Trek at eNapal Holidays
Lukla Everest Base Camp Trek - nepal tour - nepal kathmandu tour - everest base camp tour - nepal trek tour at all trek nepal

More Everest under the Tibet page
Central Himalayas
Everest Maxed Out at National Geographic, 2013
The Everest Decade: 1996-2007 at National Geographic
Expedition on Everest (2006) at the Discovery Channel
Mount Everest -
Everest Quest | Expedition '96 at pbs/NOVA
Scott Fischer's Deadly 1996 Everest Climb, full archives of story ...
Climbers guide to Everest
Everest at
The Ups and Downs of Everest - a season wrap-up (2006) on Alan Arnette's blog
Death on Mount Everest -- How Climbers Die on Mount Everest
Mount Everest death toll graphic: A chronicle of all of the lives claimed by the world's tallest point | Graphics | News | National Post
Danger Zones and Safety Nets on Mount Everest | Mountaineering |

Effects of age and gender on success and death of mountaineers on Mount Everest
Kathmandu | Everest Base Camp Trek Guide
Lukla Everest Base Camp Trek - Lukla Everest Base Camp Trekking, Lukla Everest Base Camp Treks, Lukla Everest Base Camp Fixed Departure Trekking - Mission Eco Trek


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last updated 25 Mar 2013