Over 200 dead bodies lay along the route to the top of Mount Everest. The bodies are used as landmarks by climbers and have been given nicknames such as “Green Boots” , “Sleeping beauty” among others.
Because it’s too dangerous to retrieve the dead bodies that litter the slopes of Mount Everest, most climbers remain right where they fell while trying to summit Earth’s tallest peak. Standard protocol on Mount Everest is just to leave the dead right where they died, and so these Mount Everest bodies remain there to spend eternity on its slopes, serving as both a warning to other climbers as well as gruesome mile markers.
Why Mount Everest Is Littered With The Dead Bodies Of More Than 200 Fallen Climbers
Mount Everest holds the impressive title of tallest mountain in the world, but many people don’t know about its other, more gruesome title: the world’s largest open-air graveyard.
Since 1953, when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled the summit for the first time, more than 4,000 people have followed in their footsteps, braving the harsh climate and dangerous terrain for a few moments of glory. Some of them, however, never left the mountain, leaving hundreds of dead bodies on Mount Everest.
How Many Dead Bodies Are On Mount Everest?
The top portion of the mountain, roughly everything above 26,000 feet, is known as the “death zone.”
There, the oxygen levels are only at a third of what they are at sea level, and the barometric pressure causes weight to feel ten times heavier. The combination of the two makes climbers feel sluggish, disoriented and fatigued and can cause extreme distress on organs. For this reason, climbers don’t usually last more than 48 hours in this area.
The climbers that do are usually left with lingering effects. The ones that aren’t so lucky and die on Mount Everest are left right where they fell.
To date, it’s estimated that some 300 people have died climbing Earth’s tallest mountain and that there are approximately 200 dead bodies on Mount Everest to this day.
Famous Mountain Everest Bodies
GREEN BOOT (Pix 1 below)
One of the most famous Mount Everest bodies, known as “Green Boots” was passed by almost every climber to reach the death zone. The identity of Green Boots is highly contested, but it is most widely believed that it is Tsewang Paljor, an Indian climber who died in 1996.
Before the body’s recent removal, Green Boots’ body rested near a cave that all climbers must pass on their way to the peak. The body became a grim landmark used to gauge how close one is to the summit. He is famous for his green boots, and because, according to one seasoned adventurer “about 80% of people also take a rest at the shelter where Green Boots is, and it’s hard to miss the person lying there.”
SLEEPING BEAUTY (pix 2 below)
They called her the Sleeping Beauty of Mount Everest. She lay on her back, one arm outflung, with her head pillowed on the eternal snow. Her face, now waxy in death, seemed so perfect that the new name suited her well.
Francys Arsentiev reached the summit without oxygen on 22nd May 1998 in company with her husband Sergei Arsentiev. Following the North Ridge route they summited so late in the day they had to spend the night out above 8,600 meters. Over the next two days both of them died.