Four climbers sitting on the summit of Everest, on a perpetually snowy base. (photo credit: High Adventure Expeditions).

17 people died on and to the summit of Mount Everest in 2023, and five more are missing. This makes 2023 the second-deadliest year on record, after 2018 when 18 people died in an earthquake. The 2023 deaths are not mostly related to each other.

With the release of the final spring 2023 statistics by the Himalayan Database, our suspicions were confirmed – the initial death toll of 17 on Everest wasn’t the whole story. Nepal’s official figures add one more climber to the confirmed fatalities, dampening the spirits of International Mountain Day.

Preliminary data at the end of the Everest Expedition season showed 17 people dead on the mountain. But all the information wasn’t in, and we feared that 2023 might beat all previous records. This included 2014 (in which 17 perished, including 14 in a serac collapse near Camp 1).

Up to this point, the deadliest year on Everest was 2015. A powerful earthquake triggered a massive avalanche that swept down from neighboring Pumori, partially burying Everest Base Camp. This tragic event resulted in the deaths of 18 climbers that spring.

Mount Everest 2023: A Deadly Season

2023 proved to be a tragic year for Mount Everest expeditions. A record number of permits were issued by the Nepalese government – 478 for 47 different teams – leading to a surge in climbers attempting to summit the world’s highest peak. While nearly 600 climbers, including Sherpas and expedition members, reached the top, the season was marred by a record-breaking death toll.

According to the Himalayan Database, 12 climbers were confirmed dead, with 5 others missing and presumed dead due to lack of contact. This brings the confirmed death toll to 17, the highest in Everest’s history. Climbers and observers have also estimated two additional fatalities awaiting confirmation. Recovery efforts continue, but some bodies remain unlocated on the mountain.

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While 2023 wasn’t marked by a natural disaster like the 2015 avalanche that tragically claimed 18 lives, it still witnessed a high number of deaths – 17 – making it one of Everest’s deadliest seasons. This stands out when compared to previous years with similar tolls, such as 2014 (16 deaths) and 1996 (15 deaths). The reasons behind this year’s high mortality rate need thorough investigation. Factors like weather conditions, climbing practices, and climber experience could all be contributing elements.

Everest Tragedy Text with Individual Voices:

Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada (Nepal Tourism Board Director):

“This year has been a tough one on Everest. We’ve tragically lost 17 lives. The weather patterns have definitely shifted, making things even more challenging for climbers.”

Lakpa Sherpa (Nepalese Mountaineer):

“Look, Everest demands respect. You need proper training, and experience, both physically and mentally. This year, I saw too many folks out there who just weren’t ready. They chased cheap expeditions online, and that can be deadly. We need to remember, Everest is a dangerous beast – even the best climbers can get caught out.”

Guy Cotter (Adventure Consultants):

“There’s been a worrying trend of inexperienced climbers tackling Everest with less-than-reputable operators. It’s not a shopping trip! You need qualified guides, both Nepali and foreign, to keep you safe. This mountain doesn’t forgive mistakes.”

Ang Norbu Sherpa (Nepal National Mountain Guide Association President):

“Honestly, 478 permits issued? That’s just too many for safety. Look, most of these deaths could have been avoided. Proper planning, especially with oxygen, and following basic safety protocols – that’s all it takes. It’s a tragedy.”

Lukas Furtenbach (Climber):

“There’s a pattern here. Poor oxygen management and a general disregard for safety seem to be the main culprits. We can’t keep cutting corners on Everest. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Guy Cotter (Adventure Consultants – Again):

“Even for seasoned climbers like us, this year was rough. We had two Sherpas suffer from frostbite for the first time in years. Luckily, it wasn’t too severe, but it highlights the increased risk.”

Reported Deaths on Everest in 2023 (Partial List)

April 12, 2023Lakpa Rita SherpaNepal
April 12, 2023Pemba Tenzing SherpaNepal
April 12, 2023Da Chhiree SherpaNepal
May 1, 2023Jonathan SugarmanUnited States
May 16, 2023Phurba SherpaNepal
May 17, 2023Victor BrinzaMoldova
May 18, 2023Suzanne Leopoldina JesusIndia
May 18, 2023Xuebin ChenChina
May 19, 2023Ag Askandar Bin Ampuan YaacubMalaysia
May 19, 2023Shrinivas Sainis DattatrayaSingapore
May 20, 2023Muhammad Hawari Bin HashimMalaysia
May 21, 2023Jason Bernard KennisonAustralia
May 21, 2023Ang Kami SherpaNepal

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