In Nepal they call it Sagarmāthā, while in Tibet it’s known as Chomolungma. To the rest of the world, it is and perhaps will always be Mount Everest. Towering at the unimaginable 8,848 m, (or 29,029 ft) it is our planet’s highest physical point. The mere thought of it is simply awe-inspiring, conjuring pictures of majestic wilderness, complete solitude, or utter desolation and loneliness. Being there (as many pictures go to show) can be an experience of sheer beauty, but it can just as easily be an eerie one. Mount Everest is, among other things, a graveyard, laid open. More than two hundred people found their doom there. Their death took on many faces – an avalanche here, hypothermia there… Some even suffered the agonizing and humiliating death – begging other climbers, who were hell-bent on reaching the top for help, realizing that sometimes the human heart can be colder than the mountain.
Yes – reality can be chilling like that. The infamous Everest death zone (reachable past 26, 000 feet) is littered with the bodies of the ill-fated, who dared challenge the mountain. The blood-freezing part is that the dead are just left there, frozen in the positions they were as their spirits left their bodies. A horrific sight and a warning to everybody to see.
The following 10 stories, chilling as they may be, are nothing, but a fraction of the horrors of Everest.
1. The Green Boots of doom
Alright – we’ll start with one of the most infamous landmarks that mount Everest has to offer – “Green Boots”. Quite obviously named that, because of the color of the dead man’s boots. His identity is still unknown, but there’s a sound theory on the subject. In 1996 an Indian group of climbers attempted to get to the summit and judging from the story of the only survivor (a man by the name of Harbhajan Singh), they were successful.
On their way down, however, they got lost in a blizzard. The combination of exhaustion and the ferocity of the elements were more than enough to seal their fate. It’s believed that the “Green Boots” was a member of that group and his name was Wsewang Paljor. His body was moved from its original position, to a more reachable, lower area, so that it (and the green boots he wore) can be visible for everyone. I don’t know for you, but it seems to me that a man should be remembered for more than the footwear he was sporting when he died.
H/T – Source
2. Sleeping Beauty (sadly, not the fairytale one)
Climbing can be extremely dangerous pass time on its own. A million things can go wrong at any second and that’s why people who do it (even the experienced ones), usually prepare as best as they possibly can.
One such experienced couple were the Francys and Sergei Arsentiev. Together they successfully climbed a lot of Russian peaks, one of which they got to name (since they were the first to get to the top). That peak is now called Goodwill. But on 17th of May, 1998 they started their ascend to mount Everest, not knowing they would never return. Their lack of supplemental bottles of oxygen was, perhaps, the defining element to seal their fates. On the 19th, they successfully reached Camp 6 (at 8200 m) and Sergei radioed that they would make the final attempt the next day. After two failed tries, they did a third one in the morning of May 22. Somewhere along the way they got separated.
On the 24th, a group of Uzbek climbers were on their way up when they saw Sergei, who was slowly making his way down. That’s the last time anyone has ever seen him. Later that day they found the body of his wife and brought it to a lower area. One member from that team returned years later to recover the body of Francys, later to be known as the sleeping beauty.
3. The code of mountaineers
I’ve always thought that humanity is at its best when facing overwhelming danger. It’s true. But what’s also true is that humanity can be at its worst in those same moments.
Case and point – David Sharp and his untimely death. David was a climber from Britain who made three attempts at getting to that summit, on the third of which, he was successful. When he started to go down, though, he fell too weak to continue and was able to only get to a small cave (Green boots’ place) where he fainted, with no strength left in him to continue on.
Several other climbers passed David’s position on their way up, one of which was Mark Inglis. None of them helped the dying man in any way, instead opting to continue on. David Sharp was begging for his life every single one of them.
Climbers say they all abide by unwritten rules, one of which is that a quest is to be abandoned, if a person’s life is in danger. Well, I guess, it’s time to write this sucker down.
H/T – Source