Berkeley climber reaches Mt. Everest summit same day as overcrowding photo

Bay Area

A surge of climbers attempting to make it to the top of Mount Everest is being blamed for the highest number of fatalities in four years.

“It’s always tragic at some level when you sign up to climb Everest, you have the realization but there is a chance that you could die trying,” Roxanne Vogel said.

Berkeley Nutrition and Performance Researcher Roxanne Vogel reached the summit of Mount Everest the same day the overcrowding photo was taken, which illustrates the overcrowding of climbers that some say is the reason it’s been such a deadly year on the world’s highest peak.

11 people have died this climbing season, including a 62-year-old Colorado attorney — That’s the highest death toll there since 2015.

Vogel already climbed the highest peaks of five other continents over the last seven years before attempting to make the climb to Everest’s Summit in two weeks, rather than two months.

She says she didn’t see these crowds on the south side of the mountain which is controlled by Nepal.

That’s because she made the climb from the north, which is controlled by China, and unlike Nepal, China limits the number of permits issued to climbers.

Vogel says one reason so many people were clogging the climbing route in what’s called the death zone this year is because the weather gave climbers only a few days to make it to the top, a much shorter timeframe than other climbing seasons.

More people traveling the same route means delays which can turn deadly in such high altitude because climbers have to carry extra oxygen canisters up with them to survive the tribe, and they only last a limited time.

“On some level, I understand you go through so much preparation. You’ve done so much work to get there to that point, you get a sense that I have to get to the top but this is what I prepared for. But at the same time you have to also realize you only have so much oxygen if you’re standing there for hours you’re going to run out,” Vogel said.

Vogel thinks it might be a good idea to put more limits on the numbers of climbers allowed to scale Mount Everest to give those attempting to reach the top of the world a better chance of making it back down alive.

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