the blog post from The Smithsonian last week which sensationally declares that "there are over 200 bodies on Mount Everest, and they’re used as landmarks." The very brief post then goes on to reveal a few of the more famous – or infamous – bodies that are visible along the route to the summit.
I read the story when it was first posted and figured it was little more than link-bait from a source that I traditionally respect and admire. For me, it wasn't really worth commenting on however as I didn't want to provide more attention to a post that was clearly designed to pull traffic in the first place. (Hint to The Smithsonian bloggers, it would get a lot more hits in the spring!)
It seems that Alan Arnette has read the same article and earlier today he posted his own response to the story. As usual, he has done a far better job than I could have in providing context, history and facts about the bodies on Everest, of which there are indeed many. Alan has been on Everest several times and has summited from the South Side. He not only shares his experience on what he saw there, but also insights from other climbers who have gone up along the North Side as well.
Alan also discusses the challenges of removing bodies from the mountain, not to mention the expense. He estimates that it costs in the neighborhood of $30,000 to bring a body down, making it far too costly for most to afford. Of course, it isn't just the expense however, as it is also dangerous, time consuming and physically demanding to bring those corpses down. The bulk of that work falls on the backs of the local Sherpas of course, who have suffered the most causalities on Everest in recent years.
It is an interesting and informative read that helps to shed a bit more light on this topic which is always a morbid one. Alan helps to dispel a few myths and educate us on a topic that is anything but black and white. Definitely a must read.