Three mountain climbers have died and two more are missing after a windstorm hit a "traffic jam" of climbers trying to descend from the summit of Mount Everest over the weekend. More than 150 people scaled the peak of the mountain on Friday and Saturday, when the weather was clear, but a spokesman for Nepal's Mountaineering Department said the crush of people mean that climbers took longer than usual to reach the top, which means they spent more time than they should have in the most dangerous higher altitudes. When conditions worsened on Sunday, they became stranded and succomed to exhaustion and altitude sickness.
Just last week, The New York Times published an op-ed about Mount Everest, warning about the dangers that have a risen due to the sheer numbers of people who attempt the climb each season. There are so many expeditions up the mountain — 32 this season, involving about 750 foreign climbers and dozens of local sherpas — that the route to the top has become an permanently maintained trail. The author argued that the "groomed" conditions have climbers belie the dangerous conditions on the mountain while the changing climate and crowded conditions make the situation worse than ever.
The world will probably soon hear of great triumphs on the peak, and there is equal capacity for great calamity. May the shrewdest and most independent decision of the season [to not climb at all] not go unnoticed.
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