Mount Everest: melting glaciers exposing bodies of climbers
March 26, 2019 01:00 am
Melting glaciers on Mount Everest are exposing the dead bodies of climbers previously entombed in ice, as global warming causes temperatures to rise.
Almost 300 climbers have been killed attempting to climb the mountain since the first attempt to scale it in 1922.
As the spring climbing season begins bodies which are being exposed by the melting glaciers are being removed on the Chinese side of the peak, BBC News reported.
“Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association.
“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.”
Officials with the Expedition Operators Association of Nepal (EOAN) said they were bringing down all ropes from the higher camps of Everest and Lhotse mountains this climbing season, but dealing with dead bodies was not as easy.
Under Nepalese law government agencies must be involved when handling bodies.
“This issue needs to be prioritised by both the government and the mountaineering industry,” said Dambar Parajuli, president of EOAN.
“If they can do it on the Tibet side of Everest, we can do it here as well.”
In 2017, the hand of a dead mountaineer appeared above the ground at camp one.
Expedition operators said they deployed professional climbers of the Sherpa community to move the body. Mountaineers say in recent years most dead bodies have been surfacing at the Khumbu icefall, which has a reputation for being a particularly dangerous part of the climb, and in the final camp area, located in South Col.
Removing a dead body can cost up to $80,000 (£61,000). A study in 2015 revealed that ponds on the Khumbu glacier, which are crossed by climbers as they attempt to reach the summit, were expanding and joining up because of accelerated melting.
Nepal’s army drained the Imja lake near Mount Everest in 2016 after its water from rapid glacial melt had reached dangerous levels.
Another team of researchers, including members from Leeds and Aberystwyth universities in the UK, last year drilled the Khumbu glacier and found the ice to be warmer than expected.
The ice recorded a minimum temperature of only −3.3C, with even the coldest ice being a full 2C warmer than the mean annual air temperature.
Source: The Guardian