Dispatches from the roof of the world
Dispatch #8 April 21, 2012
Tragedy on the Mountain
Mark Jenkins
At dawn, a Sherpa runs uphill across a ladder spanning a crevasse
at the top of the Khumbu Icefall.

Today we had the first climbing death of the season on Everest. Tshering Sherpa, coming down from the mountain after carrying a load from Base Camp to Camp 2, tripped crossing one of the ladders and fell 150 feet to his death in a crevasse. All of the crevasse crossings (as you can see in the photo above), are equipped with a safety line. Using a carabiner attached to a lanyard that is tied to a harness, the vast majority of climbers and Sherpas clip into this safety line before crossing over a ladder. However, it is not completely uncommon among Sherpas to skip clipping into the safety line and simply race across the ladder.


Tshering, about 25 years old, was a veteran of perhaps four seasons on Everest and was employed by the Everest guiding company Peak Freak. He was not clipped into the safety line. His crampons caught on the rungs of the ladder, and he fell. None of our climbing team knew him, but it has been a somber day at BC. Some of our Sherpas helped retrieve the body and it is expected to be flown out tomorrow. Apparently the man was a new father. The Sherpas are subdued and sorrowful, especially since it was an unnecessary death. Team leaders are all insisting that everyone clip into the safety ropes. His death is a tragic reminder of what a slim margin of error there is in the mountains—how mountains don’t forgive mistakes.

This was not the season’s first loss. Earlier this week, a climber named Karsang Namgyal Sherpa fell ill while still at Base Camp. His cause of death is preliminarily being attributed to a heart attack or altitude sickness.

Everest is a dangerous place.

For more on this story visit NG News: Everest Guide Dies After 15-Story Fall Into Ice Chasm.

More »
blog comments powered by Disqus