With the amount of climbers that have perished on Mount Everest, it is no surprise that people are asking why. What is it that has been causing all of these deaths? Is it too much to handle for some? Or is the drive to get to the top no matter what the cost the main contributing factor? The only way that we can answer this question is to take a look at the evidence that has been collected over the years and piece it together to come to some sort of conclusion.
Before certain studies, it was simply assumed that avalanches and falling ice were a contributing factor in the vast majority of the deaths on Everest. However, whilst this may have been true in some cases, it is definitely not in all of them. Another common assumption is that pulmonary edema is far from uncommon at such a high altitude. Whilst both of these things are highly possible, studies have indicated that there are many other factors that could have contributed to the death of some of the climbers that have perished on Mount Everest.
One thing that was indicated was that excessive fatigue was a contributing factor in a lot of the deaths on the mountain. This is especially true of those who had neared the end of their trek, which is not surprising at all. Another thing that was highlighted in research was that those who had died were climbers that had lagged behind the others, and also those who had reached the summit later on in the day. It has also been said that a majority of those who died on the peak had developed symptoms of high-altitude cerebral edema.
This is an illness in which the brain swells because of leaking cerebral blood vessels. What is even more surprising is that very few of those who died had experienced pulmonary edema which is most commonly associated with deaths at high altitude. The study that produced these results suggested that the vast majority of those who had died did so because of symptoms of cerebral edema rather than pulmonary edema. It also indicated that a lot of those who died were in the prime of their life, and were as fit as can be.
So, as you can see, a lot of the deaths on Mount Everest are because of cerebral edema. However, there are still people who will question whether people are dying on Everest because they have not prepared properly and do not stop when they know they should. There are always going to be risks when going on expeditions like this, especially on Mount Everest. However, some climbers seem to value getting to the top and being the best more than their own safety, or sadly in some cases, their own lives. Now that more information is becoming available about the deaths on Mount Everest it is going to be easier to prepare more of course.