Expedition operators have warned that global warming is rapidly melting glaciers on the world’s highest mountain and increasingly exposing the hundreds of dead bodies that lay entombed in ice.
Rescuers are discovering more dead bodies on Mount Everest than in previous years as a result of climate change melting down ice on the world’s tallest peak.
Since the first Mount Everest ascent attempt in 1922, almost 300 climbers have died on the peak, with two-thirds of bodies still believed to be frozen and buried by the deadly avalanche of ice and snow, the BBC reported.
There have been more than 4800 attempts to scale the infamously challenging mountain.
Ang Tshering, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, said she has retrieved the bodies of 10 climbers from multiple locations on Everest, who have died in recent years.
“Clearly more and more of them are emerging now,” she told the BBC, especially as the spring climbing season begins.
“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,” Ms Tshering said.
The Expedition Operators Association of Nepal (EOAN) have found increasing numbers of mountaineers’ dead bodies during this climbing season, but say recovery attempts have been difficult.
Under Nepalese law, government agencies must be involved when handling bodies.
It also costs anywhere between $40,000 (A$28,000) to $80,000 (A$56,000) to bring down dead bodies from Mount Everest, due to weather complications and safety risks.
“This issue needs to be prioritised by both the government and the mountaineering industry,” EOAN president Dambar Parajuli said.
“If they can do it on the Tibet side of Everest, we can do it here as well.”
Officials and other climbers have spotted bodies near many Mount Everest areas, including Camp 1, Camp 4, and the Khumbu Glacier’s surface.
“Hands and legs of dead bodies have appeared at the base camp as well in the last few years,” according to one NGO official, active in region.
“We have noticed that the ice level at and around the base camp has been going down, and that is why the bodies are becoming exposed.”
However, not every dead body recovered is as a result of rapid glacial meltdown.
Vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association Tshering Bhote said some of them get exposed also because of the movement of the Khumbu Glacier.
“Most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight,” Mr Bhote said.