How Many People Died on Everest Each Year?

February 17, 2024

Everest, the world's highest mountain, is an unforgiving and treacherous place. Despite its fame, it is not an impossible peak to summit with the right guide and equipment, but a number of people have lost their lives trying. It is hard to know exactly how many people die on the mountain each year, as it's often difficult or even impossible to retrieve the bodies of those who have died. It is, however, possible to get a rough idea of how dangerous the climb can be by looking at data from previous years.

This map shows the number of deaths on Everest each year since the beginning of the 20th century. The number of successful summits, meanwhile, is on the rise.

While this is good news for climbers, it's not so great for the Sherpas who make their living on the mountain. The more climbers there are, the more pressure on Sherpas to keep them safe. Overcrowded routes can lead to shoving, pushing, and traffic jams that put both experienced and inexperienced climbers at risk.

Many of the deaths on Everest happen in the 'death zone' above 26,000 feet, where frostbite, low atmospheric pressure, and lack of oxygen can wreak havoc on the frail human body, leading to altitude sickness and severe conditions like pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and brain swelling. Some of the other dangers on Everest include avalanches, falling rock, and crevasses. Allan Cohrs, a professional mountain guide who has worked on Everest for more than 30 years, tells the Guardian that sherpas are killed at a much higher rate than climbers because of their work in the area above Base Camp.


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