The same people that reported 4 bodies – 2 Sherpas, 1 foreign woman and 1 foreign male – were found at the South Col now say they got it all wrong.
I spoke live with both key sources last night.
Managing Director at Seven Summit Treks, Mingma Sherpa, who provided the the information to Himalayan Times reporter Rajan Pokhrel who wrote the story. Both now say it was a mistake and were no 4 new bodies.
I also confirmed with another Nepali operator Navin Trital plus long time Everest climber and guide, Willie Benegas of Benegas Brothers contacted me from the South Col and said no new bodies. He said he checked every tent.
Too Many Bodies?
The best explanation is that the Seven Summits Treks Sherpas somehow “confused” seeing one body and thinking it was four. Assuming good intentions here, perhaps an analogy with the “fog of war” is apt.
the six Sherpas were were sent to the South Col to retrieve the body of Slovak climber Vladimir Strba who died between Balcony and South Col while climbing as independent with no Os. That retrieval was successful.
Seven Summits Treks was also involved in retrieving body of West Bengal climber Gautam Ghosh from the South Col.
Another body retrieval will soon start for Indian climber, Ravi Kumar, 27, who reportedly died from a fall near the Balcony after summiting. He became separated from his guide from Arun Treks.
The original article on finding four bodies at the South Col reported:
At least four climbers including a woman mountaineer were found dead inside their tent at a high altitude camp on Mt Everest taking the death toll on the world’s highest mountain in the spring climbing season to at least nine in Nepal side, the base camp officials have confirmed.
Sherpa climbers from Seven Summit Treks who were there to recover the body of a Slovak mountaineer spotted four more dead bodies inside a tent, Managing Director at Seven Summit Treks Mingma Sherpa quoted the rescuers as saying over the phone from the incident site. Though the precise details of the incident are not available yet, the cause of death could be suffocation inside the tent, the rescuers reported.
Multiple sources at the base camp also confirmed that four persons belonging to a new trekking company have gone out of contact since Sunday after they were last seen near the Balcony area. “We are trying to verify all shreds of evidence before naming the victims,” a liaison officer at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said.
There were four deaths over this past weekend:
- Vladimir Strba, 50 Slovakia, died between Balcony and South Col on south side, climbing as independent with no Os
- Francesco Enrico Marchetti, 54 Australia, at 8300m after summit from Tibet with Thamserku Treks and Expeditions
- Ravi Kumar, 27, from fall on Nepal side near Balcony after summit, separated from his guide from Arun Treks
- Roland Yearwood, 50 from USA Alabama climbing with SummitClimb
While all this has created worldwide headlines, I am grateful there are no new deaths to report in addition to the current six.
The other good news is that the mistaken report has generated a conversation about the experience of climbers and the qualification of guides. And that is a good subject to further explore.
25 May was another good day on Everest’s Nepal side with over 40 new summits including the Benegas Brothers and International Mountain Guides. Both reported superb weather conditions.
On the Tibet side, several climbers seeking to summit without supplemental oxygen have moved to the higher camps. Heavy snow is now predicted for Saturday, so best if they can get up and down before then.
Memories are Everything