Every year, hundreds of people attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest.  While more than 4,000 people have made it successfully, many others died trying.

150 Confirmed Dead

Most bodies cannot be recovered, due to harsh weather conditions, without putting others in significant danger.  So they lay frozen on the mountain in the position that they died in, preserved by the icy cold.

Many of these bodies have become landmarks for climbers to track the progress of their own climbs.

  • Green Boots Cave is a popular stop off and waypoint for climbers inside the Death Zone. Green boots cave contains the body of Tsewang Paljor, a climber known for the bright green boots he wore.
  • David Sharp was another mountaineer. He stopped to take a rest but soon found himself to be frozen in place. Later, a group of travelers passed by him, thinking him to be dead until one of the climbers saw him breathe and then whisper “help me”. It was too late for him to be moved or saved. They had to leave him there to die, as a rescue in that part of the mountain would be nearly impossible.
  • Francys Arsentiev was the first American woman to climb Everest without the aid of bottled oxygen. She was climbing with her husband, Sergei, and they made it to the summit.  Sadly, they were separated on their descent. In a desperate attempt to locate his wife, Sergei climbed back up the mountain.  He never returned, falling to his death in the search.  Unfortunately, Francy died as well. A team of people had located her and tried to assist her in descending the mountain, but she couldn’t be saved. Two members stayed with her until her death. She was quoted as saying over and over again “Don’t leave me here to die.” She is now known as Sleeping Beauty.
  • Hannelore Schmatz is located in an area known as “The Rainbow Valley”, which is named due to the number of bodies and their colorful clothing that are speckled throughout the area. During her ascent, she took a rest, leaning against the ground.  She never left that spot.
  • The most famous climber left on the mountain was George Mallory.  In 1924, while attempting to be the first to reach the summit, he fell to his death. Mallory wasn’t found until 1999, when he was located face down in a pile of shale with his arms spread out, with tanned skin from 75 years of exposure.  He was discovered with a tattered rope around his waist, confirming a hypothesis that Mallory’s climbing rope had failed.

Mount Everest is a beautiful but dangerous place, and climbing it is either foolish or incredible.  The bodies that line the paths to the peak serve as a grim reminder of the potential price to pay for such an endeavor.

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