3 Worst Disasters on Mount Everest

These are the three worst disasters to have happen on Mount Everest as of the end of 2014.

1: 1922

Against the medical opinion of Thomas Longstaff, Harold Somervell and Arthur Wakefield decided it was ok to make another attempt on reaching the summit of Mount Everest despite most of the expedition climbers being either ill or exhausted from the earlier two failed attempts.

George Mallory, Howard Somervell, Arthur Wakefield, George Finch and Colin Crawford with fourteen porters left Base Camp on the 3rd June. All apart from George Finch arrived at Camp 3 two days later.

On the 7th June the fourteen porters headed up the slopes of the North Col led by George Mallory, Colin Crawford and Howard Somervell. They were divided into four groups and roped together. Up front while breaking trail George Mallory heard and saw a large piece of snow brake away. The leaders had caused an avalanche on the icy slopes, George Mallory, Colin Crawford and Howard Somervell got caught up in it and became partially buried but some how managed to dig themselves out, the porters down below them were not so lucky.

Having been hit by a 30 meter avalanche the porters were buried under a huge mass of snow, with some being pushed into a near by crevasse. Out of the fourteen porters seven had been killed.

George Mallory was devastated by this accident and this brought the 1922 British Mount Everest expedition to an end.

The porters who had lost their lives were:

Dorje

Tupac

Norbu

Pasang

Pema

Sange

Temba

2: 1996

During the mid nineteen nineties commercialization had arrived on Mount Everest where climbers from all walks of life could pay a very large sum of money with the hope of standing on top of the world.

On the 10th and 11th May a storm caught many climbers out while high on Everest, this storm would kill eight of them but by the end of the season fifteen people had died.

Late on the 10th May many teams left the safety of there high camp for an attempt at the summit. Not long into the climb they soon encountered problems. There had been no ropes fixed above the Balcony leaving them waiting around for nearly an hour. Having reached the famous Hillary Step again they discovered there were no ropes fixed for them to ascend. Bottlenecks built up while paying climbers waited for the guides to put the rope in place, this again took nearly an hour.

With these hold ups many climbers did not reach the summit before 2pm which is used as the last safe time to turn around and descend and reach high camp before darkness falls.

It was noted by one climber that at around 3pm it had started to snow and the light was diminishing. Sherpas descending from the summit at approximately 3pm came across a client still climbing upwards, they ordered him to turnaround but he did not respond. One guide who was exhausted and becoming ill did not reach the summit until 3.45pm, his Sherpa and client arrived much later.

By now the weather had become a blizzard making it difficult for all to descend to high camp. Visibility was very poor and fresh snow had buried the fixed ropes making route finding near impossible.

By now most of the late climbers were in a life or death situation, being stuck out in a raging storm and loosing all sense of direction they became lost on the South Col. They had wandered around until midnight looking for the route to the high camp, exhausted, they sat down and huddled up.

During the early hours the blizzard had cleared just enough for them to see the tents at high camp. Those who were able too headed for the safety of the tents and also to get help leaving the others behind. On their descent they meet a climber who had come up to look for them. He took the walking wounded back to the safety of camp but was too exhausted to go out for another search. There are lots of reports saying who went searching for the missing climbers and who didn’t for whatever reasons.

Those who were left behind never made it off the mountain alive although one climber did some how come back from the dead and eventually staggered into camp but with dreadful frostbite.

It was amazing that anyone had survived the terrible storm, some would suffer for the rest of their lives through flashbacks, frostbite etc.

There have been many books written about what had happened high up on the slopes of Mount Everest during those fatal twenty four hours.

The eight climbers who perished in the storm were:

Andrew Harris

Doug Hansen

Rob Hall (Guide)

Yasuko Namba

Scott Fischer (Guide)

Subedar Tsewang Samanla

Lance Naik Dorje Morup

Head Constable Tsewang Paljor

3: 2014

At approximately 06:45 local time on the 18th April, an avalanche on the south side of Mount Everest killed sixteen Nepalese guides.

The avalanche had occurred in the ‘Popcorn Field’ area between Camp 1 and Camp 2. There were twenty five men, mostly Sherpa guides in the area when the avalanche happened. They were preparing the route by fixing ropes for paying climbers from all around the world.

The deadly avalanche was caused by a large serac breaking off an ice cliff, the ‘Popcorn Field’ is known for its large over hanging blocks of snow and ice that could break off at any moment.

Sixteen had died in the avalanche and nine other guides were injured, three of these needed intensive care in hospital.

The guides who had lost their lives were:

Mingma Nuru Sherpa

Dorji Sherpa

Ang Tshiri Sherpa

Nima Sherpa

Phurba Ongyal Sherpa

Chris Decker Sherpa

Chhiring Ongchu Sherpa

Dorjee Khatri

Then Dorjee Sherpa

Phur Temba Sherpa

Pasang Karma Sherpa

Asman Tamang

Tenzing Chottar Sherpa

Ankaji Sherpa

PemTenji Sherpa

Aash Bahadur Gurung