At this writing the deaths of four climbers from various expeditions have been confirmed and a fifth climber remains missing on the upper levels of Mount Everest. The French news service lists the climbers as originating from China, Canada, South Korea and Germany. The news stories attribute the deaths to complications from altitude sickness and the delayed ascents of many of the teams due to the jam of climbers on the mountain over the weekend.
The sad news comes as the North Face/National Geographic team sets out on its ascent. National Geographic confirmed this morning that the team led by Conrad Anker left base camp this morning in hopes of summiting on the 25th. The North Face confirms that the team is now at camp 2 on the mountain, the first stop on the way up.
The deaths occurred in what has come to be called the “death zone” – the highest section of the mountain where humans cannot live very long without oxygen. We’ll have a further explanation of the dangers of this location in our next post.