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'Incompetence' behind Everest deaths - mountaineer

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:11s - Published < > Embed
'Incompetence' behind Everest deaths - mountaineer

'Incompetence' behind Everest deaths - mountaineer

Stepping over long-dead bodies of frozen climbers as he sought to reach the summit of Everest was something for which Nick Hollis was mentally prepared.

But even this seasoned mountaineer could not have imagined there would be so many fresh ones.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

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'Incompetence' behind Everest deaths - mountaineer

VIEW OF CLIMBERS ON MOUNT EVEREST / DEAD BODY BEING RECOVERED / MOUNTAINEER NICK HOLLIS SAYING, OFF-CAMERA (English): "One of the sad things on Everest is the high casualty rate, and unfortunately there is a body of a climber that came down yesterday and (they're) just getting it packed up ready for evacuation.

Unfortunately, there were a number of bodies up higher on the mountain, of climbers who'd passed either that day or the day before.

Really sad, and just shows how dangerous it is up here." When 45-year-old elite mountaineer Nick Hollis ascended Mount Everest in May this year, he never imagined to come across so many fresh bodies in the snow.

11 have died this season, the worst deathtoll in four years.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MOUNTAINEER, NICK HOLLIS, SAYING: "In my view, the landscape on Everest has changed.

You have climbers now - inexperienced climbers - that are attempting to climb Mount Everest without what I consider the necessary prior experience." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MOUNTAINEER, NICK HOLLIS, SAYING: "They don't know how to put crampons on, they don't know how to put their harnesses on properly.

They need a Sherpa to clip them in and out of the ropes, to look after them the entire way.

It's utterly remarkable what is going on, on one side of the mountain." He's talking about the southern side of Everest - in Nepal - where nine of the 11 climbers lost their lives.

Hollis believes the rules are far too relaxed for climbers starting the ascent from there.

The other side of the mountain is in Tibet.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MOUNTAINEER, NICK HOLLIS, SAYING: "Now on the north side of Everest - where this year there were two deaths, I believe, on the north side - it's very different.

To actually get that permit, you need to provide a climbing CV.

So you need to have a certain level of experience before you're able to set foot on the mountain, which is utterly not the case on the south side.'' The Nepalese government issued a record 381 permits this year, each costing $11,000.

With Sherpas and guides adding to the numbers, more than 800 people were trying to reach the summit in a year of poor weather.

Slow climbers created traffic jams, which in turn leading to oxygen supply issues in the thin air.

The combination proved deadly.

For Hollis, the solution does not lie in restricting permit numbers.

He would rather see a case by case screening process.




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