An increasing number of dead bodies are being found on Mount Everest due to melting glaciers on the world’s highest peak, according to a number of concerned climb operators.
The bodies of 200 climbers are thought to remain on the mountain, but CNN reports climb operators are now discovering bodies which may have been hidden by snow and ice for decades.
Sobit Kunwar of the Nepal National Mountain Guides Association told the outlet the situation is “increasingly common and affects our operations.”
The discoveries are not just confronting but present distinct challenges, climb operators say. Climbing the peak is one thing, but bringing a body down for burial is another task entirely, and can severely risk the safety of those returning to lower elevations.
While the Nepalese government provides funding to remove exposed bodies from one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders, Ang Tshering Sherpa of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said it takes a long time to access that financial support.
He was clear about the cause of the issue.
“Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,” he told the BBC.
The concern from climb operators comes as the nation feels the impacts of climate change.
Some studies contend the frequency of cold days and nights has decreased dramatically in the past few decades, and that the quantity of ‘warm’ ice – that is, ice close enough to zero degrees that it will melt during slight temperature fluctuations – has increased in certain glaciers.
Expect more of these confronting side-effects to become apparent as the world continues to boil.