The bodies of hundreds of people who died on Mount Everest have been uncovered as glaciers melt.
The victims had previously been trapped in ice around the mountain, but as global warming causes temperatures to rise, the ice is melting away and exposing the deceased climbers.
According to the BBC, almost 300 people have died while trying to conquer Everest since the first attempt in 1922, and it’s believed two-thirds of the victims are still buried under snow and ice.
More than 4,800 climbers have scaled the mountain, which is the highest peak on Earth, measuring 8,848 metres.
As the spring climbing season gets underway, authorities are starting to remove newly uncovered bodies from the Chinese side of the mountain.
Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), explained:
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.
We have brought down dead bodies of some mountaineers who died in recent years, but the old ones that remained buried are now coming out.
A government officer, who worked as a liaison officer on Everest, spoke about his own experiences removing victims:
I myself have retrieved around 10 dead bodies in recent years from different locations on Everest and clearly more and more of them are emerging now.
Officials from the Expedition Operators Association of Nepal (EOAN), explained dealing with the dead bodies is made difficult by the country’s law, which requires government agencies to be involved, the BBC report.
Dambar Parajuli, the president of EOAN, said:
This issue needs to be prioritised by both the government and the mountaineering industry.
If they can do it on the Tibet side of Everest, we can do it here as well.
It’s expensive to remove victims, with experts reportedly saying it can cost between $40,000 and $80,000. It’s also a difficult task, especially from higher parts of the mountain.
Ms Sherpa recalled one particularly difficult situation:
One of the most challenging recoveries was from the height of 8,700m, near the summit.
The body was totally frozen and weighed 150kg and it had to be recovered from a difficult place at that altitude.
Though sometimes bodies have to be moved from the climbing route or removed due to a family’s request, experts have said deciding what to do with the victims can also be a very personal issue.
Noted mountaineer Alan Arnette said:
Most climbers like to be left on the mountains if they died.
So it would be deemed disrespectful to just remove them unless they need to be moved from the climbing route or their families want them.
Hopefully authorities will come up with a safe and respectful way to deal with the newly uncovered bodies.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.