Climbers stranded on Everest after cornice collapse causes disappearance of British man | World News

A crowd of mountain climbers were left stuck on the summit of Mount Everest as snow and ice slid off the world’s highest peak, leading to the disappearance of two climbers, including a British man.

Videos and photos on social media show what appears to be hundreds of people on the Hillary Step, a nearly vertical rock face near the top of Everest at around 8,800m.

Disaster struck when the cornice – an overhanging mass of hardened snow overhanging the edge of a precipice – could not stand the weight and collapsed, dragging some climbers down the side of the mountain.

Vinayak Malla, an International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) guide climbing Everest on 21 May, said on Instagram that reaching the summit “felt different than my previous experiences”.

She said: “After summiting, we crossed the Hillary Step, traffic was moving slowly then suddenly a cornice collapsed a few meters ahead of us. There was also a cornice under us.

“As the cornice collapsed, four climbers nearly perished yet were clipped onto the rope and self-rescued.

“Sadly, two climbers are still missing. We tried to traverse yet it was impossible due to the traffic on the fixed line.”

Pic: Instagram / @malla.mountaineer

Dan Paterson, a 40-year-old British climber, and Pastenji Sherpa, his 23-year-old Nepali guide, are still missing after the cornice collapsed.

The founder of 8K Expeditions, a guiding company that both men used, noted that they had searched for the pair after they “heroically” reached the peak of Everest at 4.40am (11.55pm in the UK).

Lakpa Sherpa said however: “Despite exhaustive search efforts, we regret to confirm that Daniel and Pastenji were unable to be recovered.”

A fundraiser, set up by Paterson’s partner Becks Woodhead, has raised more than £88,000 in a bid to launch a search and rescue operation for the British climber.

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Overcrowding on the world’s highest mountain has been blamed for increasing deaths, with climate change also being blamed for making the journey more perilous.

Kul Bahadur Gurung, general secretary of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said in 2019 – when 11 people died in the March to May climbing season – that “there were more people on Everest than there should be”.

At least 12 people died climbing the mountain last year, according to online outlet Outside. The figure meant 2023 had the fourth-highest amount of deaths in Everest history.


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