Bodies remain on Mount Everest. Why?

I’ve seen estimates of the number of bodies left on Mt. Everest, after climbers succumb to the elements, that run as high as 200. Many of these deaths are events where the body is recoverable, not forever lost in some crevasse, they are basically on the trail. These just remain where the climber died, for eternity.

Why are the bodies allowed to remain there, laying on the surface, in plain sight of all who pass going up or down? It seems that common decency would dictate that those remains are removed for burial.

If you’re really interested can click the link below. It’s work safe, but probably something you may not wish to see.

Makes no sense to me.

They are all at an altitude the makes them too dangerous to remove. Just hiking up and back is risking your life.

For the most part, because it’s simply too difficult. It’s extremely difficult just to move your own body in the Death Zone on Everest - and you are risking your life every moment you are there. Carrying the weight of a body would make the task that much harder.

The part that puzzles me is that several articles I have read indicate they aren’t completely sure who some of these stiffs are. Green Boots, one of the more famous ones, isn’t positively ID’d for example. These are people who died fairly recently and who were parts of expeditions that had surviving members.

:smack:Some bodies are removed if the climber’s family can afford it. It’s very dangerous and expensive and there’s no “common decency” fund to pay for the massive logistical operation behind removing and repatriating 200 bodies, not all of which are identified. The summit is much more accessible now than it was 100 years ago but it’s not exactly a city park. I’m sure many fallen climbers would be thrilled to know they’ll remain on Everest forever, too.

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

They are more concerned with trash and human excrement than the bodies.

Climbers are now required to bring down more trash than they bring up there, so in a few years they will run out of trash to pick up and maybe start bringing down the corpses.

I had a thought a month or so ago that if everyone dragged every corpse a few yards, then within a few years they’d be down. Then I remembered the crevasses.

what’s “indecent” about it? The bodies are frozen and dry out, they don’t smell or rot, they mummify. Climbing Everest is not some everyday tourist jaunt, the bodies there make people take it seriously as they should.

Also why should sherpa’s risk their lives to recover bodies?
“A Nepalese police inspector and a Sherpa who tried to recover Hannelore’s body in 1984 both fell to their deaths.”

What it costs to climb Mt Everest. Now multiply that by the number of people necessary to bring a body back. Now find that number of people willing to risk their own lives in order to bring back a frozen sack of meat. The logistics of dealing with Everest are pretty well understood by now. And well-prepared climbers who take all the precautions still die.

There’s no shortcut. Vehicles barely work at that altitude. The terrain is ridiculous for ground transportation, and even specially modified helicopters are at high risk of crashing at anything close to summit height.

If you’re so concerned about the bodies there, when are you going to start your campaign to start recovering them? I figure you’ll need about a quarter-million $US per body, including fundraising and publicity fees, and you will, of course, be going on the expedition, since you think it’s a worthy and achievable cause.

Why not use the corpses as a meal station during your ascent? Then you wouldn’t have to carry as much with you.

What’s the point of bringing them down?

My cousin’s parents never accepted his death (his father died this year, his mother is still alive; both pretty much entombed themselves in their flat after his death) but then, they’d never accepted his lifestyle either. He was almost 40, his mother still talked about him as “my baby” (he was the eldest of four, but the other three always got treated as spares for the golden boy). They wouldn’t have accepted it any better if they’d had the corpse to bury. For the rest of the family, it’s a case of “he died as he lived, his tomb is in the place that was his Home” - there was no reason to go through the risk and expense to bring him from his Home to ours just so we could bury the remains. Let him rest where he lived.

I like you. Do you have a newsletter that I can subscribe to?

I’m far too lazy to make a newletter, and this makes the world a better place for all.

I think the answer is embarrassing in the kind of obvious way that makes it impolite to mention to many folks, unfortunately. Everyone who hikes past a corpse on Everest has a choice: Is it better to bring this person who lost his/her life further down the mountain so that the corpse has a chance to have some kind of last rites or is it better to ignore that option in order to have a stronger shot at getting to the top. People who climb Everest have answered that question over and over.

How much time have you spent climbing above 25,000 feet? I’ve climbed above 15,000 feet and that was bad enough.

I think it’s very easy for people who haven’t experienced conditions in the Death Zone to minimize how hard it might be to move a weight of 150+ pounds any significant distance. And what would be the point of moving the corpse only part way down the mountain, unless there was a coordinated effort to involve other parties to also help move it? And how do you decide which corpses to move?

People who climb Everest are well aware of the risks, and one of those risks is that if you die your corpse may remain unburied. I don’t think there’s any moral obligation on the part of others to do anything about it.

last rites are for the benefit of the living, not for the dead. You can have a funeral with an empty casket if it makes people feel better. Considering that there is a pretty significant chance of death from climbing Everest I’m assuming that those that chose to climb make peace with their relatives before they start the ascent.

Your link gives the cost of a complete climb to the summit. Most of the bodies are well short of that.

Well, the only serious attempt to land a helicopter on the summit was successful. Operations at lower altitudes could be done with reasonable safety (assuming they wait for good weather, as would naturally be the case here).

There’s also the factor that people who spend less money (and who presumably come from families with less money) are more likely to die. “Discount” expeditions lower costs by bringing less back-up equipment. And the north side of the mountain is more difficult to climb than the south side - but Nepal charges $10,000 for a permit to climb the south side while China charges $4000 for a permit to climb the north side.

The Swiss have a lot of expertise in high mountain rescue. Among other things, they use a long-line rescue system:

However, this is in the Alps, not in the Himalaya. Can helicopters even fly that high? An operation to recover bodies from such a remote region as Mt. Everest would probably be prohibitively expensive.