KATHMANDU, May 21: Four climbers died between Saturday and Sunday during their descent from Mt Everest, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation confirmed, while a Czech climber died on Monday while descending from Mt Lhotse.
Dr Eberhard Schaaf of Germany and South Korean Song Won-Bin died on Saturday while Nepal-born Canadian Shreya Shah and Chinese Winryi Ha passed away on Sunday, according to Tilak Pandey, the ministry´s liaison officer at the Everest Base Camp.
Pandey said the identitiy of the Czech national is yet to be confirmed.
The German died near the South Col (7,906 m) while the other three died in the region between South Col and the peak (8,848 m), informed Pandey.
“They must have died of altitude sickness and fatigue,” he said. “We have not been able to bring their bodies down, but are doing everything possible to rescue other sick climbers who are stranded,” he added.
Over 150 mountaineers had ascended the peak on Friday and Saturday, with over 100 on Saturday alone, as the weather cleared for the first time in the spring climbing season. But the weather began to deteriorate from Saturday afternoon, according to Pandey.
“There was a sort of jam at the top on Saturday and the climbers had to wait longer for their turn,” he said. Climbers are generally advised not to head for the summit after 11 in the morning as weather can deteriorate in the area above South Col nicknamed the "death zone" for the steep slope and treacherous conditions.
“The fact that the dead persons were at the area between South Col and the peak well after afternoon points that they may have died for being late,” Pandey surmised.
Officials say many climbers who carry limited oxygen anticipating timely ascent suffer if they are forced to stay longer due to inclement weather or other reasons.
“It usually takes 10-12 hours to reach the peak from Camp IV. But it took up to 15 hours for some climbers on Saturday,” he added.
He informed that the climbers did not attempt for summit on Sunday and Monday due to poor weather conditions which is expected to last till Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Prakash Dahal, son of Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and other members of the Lumbini-Sagarmatha Peace Mission are still at the Everest Base Camp and will climb further from Tuesday. “They hope to reach the peak on May 25 or 26 when the weather is expected to be clear,” Pandey said.