Melting glaciers on Everest reveal bodies of dead explorers that have been buried there for years
Mar 22, 2019
Glaciers on Mount Everest have been melting at a rapid pace over the past few years.
Now authorities have begun removing some of the estimated hundreds of bodies that once lay buried beneath the ice, and they say more and more have begun to emerge because of global warming, according to the BBC News.
- “Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast-melting and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, according to BBC News.
- “We have brought down dead bodies of some mountaineers who died in recent years,” Tshering Sherpa said, “but the old ones that remained buried are now coming out.”
Since 1922, when the first deaths on Everest were recorded, more than 200 mountaineers have died on the peak, according to CNN.
Tshering Sherpa told CNN that his own company has brought down seven dead bodies since 2008, some dating back to a British expedition in the 1970s.
Why?: Glacial thinning in the Everest region is increasing those numbers, CNN reports.
- In 2017, the hand of a dead mountaineer was found above ground at Camp 1, one of the campsites on the mountain, BBC reports. Later that same year, a body surfaced on the Khumbu Glacier, where most dead bodies have been discovered in recent years.
- A government official in the area told the BBC that hands and legs of dead bodies have also appeared at the base camp during the past few years and that the ice levels have a lot to do with it.
- A team of researchers drilled into the Khumbu Glacier last year and found the ice warmer than expected. According to the BBC, the ice recorded a minimum temperature of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius (minus 37 degrees Fahrenheit), with the coldest ice clocking in at a full 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the average annual air temperature.
- Another reason bodies emerge on the peak is because glaciers shift from time to time, causing everything buried beneath them to move.
The future: A study conducted in 2017 by Research Gate concluded that several trails in the Himalaya area will be impassable by 2020 and that rockfall activity is likely to increase on the mountain as snow and ice melts, requiring changes to climbing routes on peaks in the area.
According to the BBC, it costs $40,000 to $80,000 to remove dead bodies from the peak and can be very difficult if bodies are found higher up.
More than 4,800 people have scaled Everest, according to the BBC.