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Eight climbers die on Mt. Everest

Eight climbers die on Mt. Everest

Eight climbers die on Mount Everest during a storm on May 10, 1996. Author Jon Krakauer, who himself attempted to climb the peak that year, wrote a best-selling book about the incident, Into Thin Air, which was published in 1997. A total of 15 people perished during the spring 1996 climbing season at Everest. Between 1980 and 2002, 91 climbers died during the attempt.

Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay became the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, in 1953. Though incredibly difficult and dangerous to climb, by the mid-1990s technology had advanced to the point that even intermediate-level climbers could make the attempt with the assistance of expert guides. In 1996, an unprecedented 17 expeditions–hundreds of climbers–attempted to scale the Himalayan peak. One of these included Sandy Pittman, an only moderately experienced climber.

Disaster struck on May 10 as four different expeditions all attempted to reach the summit. Guide Anatoli Boukreev took his team to the top early in the day, with Rob Hall and Scott Fischer’s teamclose behind. When a powerful storm came up suddenly, the climbers were trapped in a precarious position. Even strong and experienced climbers such as Hall and Fischer, both Everest veterans, could only struggle short distances down the peak. Boukreev descended to the nearest camp without his clients, ostensibly to be in a better position to rescue them. (In his book, Krakauer was highly critical of this move. Boukreev countered Krakauer’s version of the story with his own in The Climb, published in 1997.)

Hall and Fischer stayed with their clients but the continuing storm made everyone vulnerable to death as oxygen supplies ran out. Although technology allowed Rob Hall to talk to his wife in New Zealand by satellite phone, there was nothing that could be done to save eight of the climbers, including both Hall and Fischer, who could not make it back to camp. Pittman survived with only minor frostbite. Krakauer blamed the inexperienced climbers and the guides who agreed to lead them–in return for large sums of money–for the tragedy.

Ninety-eight other climbers made it to the peak of Everest in the spring of 1996.

READ MORE: 7 Things You Should Know About Mount Everest


Mount Everest

Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth. Learn about its history, the people who live there, and the people who visit to climb.

Anthropology, Conservation, Earth Science, Geology, Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography

Mount Everest Snowdrift

Mount Everest is the highest of the Himalayan mountains, and—at 8,849 meters (29,032 feet)—is considered the highest point on Earth.

Photograph by Barry Bishop, courtesy of the National Geographic image collection

Mount Everest is a peak in the Himalaya mountain range. It is located between Nepal and Tibet, an autonomous region of China. At 8,849 meters (29,032 feet), it is considered the tallest point on Earth. In the nineteenth century, the mountain was named after George Everest, a former Surveyor General of India. The Tibetan name is Chomolungma, which means &ldquoMother Goddess of the World.&rdquo The Nepali name is Sagarmatha, which has various meanings.

The first ever recorded people to climb Everest were Edmund Hillary (a mountaineer from New Zealand) and his Tibetan guide Tenzing Norgay. They climbed the mountain in 1953 and hold the record together. The first records of Everest&rsquos height came much earlier, in 1856. British surveyors recorded that Everest was the tallest peak in the world in their Great Trigonometrical Survey of the Indian subcontinent.

The Himalayan mountains have long been home to indigenous groups living in the valleys. The most famous of these are the Sherpa people. The word &ldquoSherpa&rdquo is often used to mean mountain guide, though it actually refers to an ethnic group. The Sherpa have valuable experience in mountain climbing, which they can provide to other climbers. Most climbs of Everest would be impossible without the Sherpas&rsquo logistical help and knowledge. However, their way of life extends beyond helping Everest climbers. Traditionally, their lifestyle has consisted of farming, herding, and trade. And, because they live at such a high altitude year round, they are accustomed to the low oxygen levels.

Climbing Mount Everest has become a popular expedition for mountain climbers. However, it is a dangerous undertaking. Climbing Everest requires a lot of experience mountaineering elsewhere, as well as a certificate of good health, equipment, and a trained Nepalese guide. The snow and ice on the mountain create deadly hazards like avalanches, and there is only a limited climbing season due to bad weather conditions. But perhaps the biggest danger is the altitude. Most climbers are not accustomed to the high altitude and low oxygen levels and rely on bottled oxygen they bring along. This is why the area above 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) elevation on Everest is called the &ldquodeath zone.&rdquo Climbers who spend long periods in this region can develop altitude sickness and even brain swelling.

Mount Everest&rsquos climbing industry has become controversial. As popularity of the climb has increased, there have been more &ldquotraffic jams&rdquo as climbers spend too much time in the death zone waiting for their chance to go to the summit. With more people has also come more pollution up near the summit as climbers often discard unwanted items all along the mountain. Additionally, the Sherpa people have been exploited by climbers, and their traditional way of life has been disrupted by foreign climbers. Sherpa guides are faced with some of the highest death rates of any field of employment, for comparatively little pay. Most disturbingly, because many climbers have died along the way, and their bodies are impossible to retrieve, climbers must frequently travel past corpses as they make their way up the mountain.

Mount Everest is the highest of the Himalayan mountains, and&mdashat 8,849 meters (29,032 feet)&mdashis considered the highest point on Earth.

Photograph by Barry Bishop, courtesy of the National Geographic image collection


Contents

The first recorded video footage of Green Boots was filmed on 21 May 2001 by French climber Pierre Paperon. In the video, Green Boots is shown lying on his left side, facing toward the summit. According to Paperon, Sherpas told him that it was the body of a Chinese mountaineer who had attempted the climb six months earlier. [3]

Over time, the corpse became known both as a landmark on the north route and for its association with the death of David Sharp. [4] In May 2014, Green Boots' body was reported to be missing from view, presumably removed or buried, [5] but was seen in 2015 [6] and in 2017. [ citation needed ]

Tsewang Paljor Edit

Green Boots is commonly believed to be Indian climber Tsewang Paljor, [7] who was wearing green Koflach boots on the day he and two others in his party attempted to summit in 1996, although it is possible the body may instead have been that of his team member Dorje Morup. The Everest disaster of 1996 saw the deaths of eight climbers, which included five climbers from the Adventure Consultants and Mountain Madness expeditions on the southeast route, and three fatalities on the northeast route. These were the climbers from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) expedition from India. The expedition was led by Commandant Mohinder Singh and was the first Indian ascent of Everest from the east side. [8]

On 10 May 1996, Subedar Tsewang Samanla, Lance Naik Dorje Morup, and Head Constable Tsewang Paljor were caught in the blizzard, just short of the summit. While three of the six-member team turned back down, Samanla, Morup, and Paljor decided to go for the summit. [9] At around 15:45 Nepal Time, the three climbers radioed to their expedition leader that they had arrived at the top. They left an offering of prayer flags, khatas, and pitons. Here, the leader Samanla decided to spend extra time for religious ceremonies and instructed the other two to move down.

There was no radio contact after that. Back at the camps below, team members saw two headlamps moving slightly above the Second Step, at 8,570 metres (28,117 ft). None of the three managed to come back to high camp at 8,300 metres (27,231 ft).

Controversy later arose over whether or not a team of Japanese climbers from Fukuoka had seen and potentially failed to assist the missing Indian climbers. The group had left their camp at 8,300 metres (27,231 ft) at 06:15 Beijing time, reaching the summit at 15:07. Along the way, they encountered others on the trail. Unaware of the missing Indians, they believed these others, all of whom were wearing goggles and oxygen masks under their hoods, were members of a climbing party from Taiwan. During their descent, begun at 15:30, they reported seeing an unidentifiable object above the Second Step. Below the First Step, they radioed in to report seeing one person on a fixed rope. Thereafter, one of the climbers, Shigekawa, exchanged greetings with an unidentifiable man standing nearby. At that time, they had only enough oxygen to return to C6.

At 16:00, the Fukuoka party discovered from an Indian in their group that three men were missing. [10] They offered to join the rescue but were declined. Forced to wait a day due to bad weather, they sent a second party to the summit on 13 May. They saw several bodies around the First Step, but continued to the summit.

Initially, there were some misunderstandings and harsh words regarding the actions of the Fukuoka team, which were later clarified. According to Reuters, the Indian expedition had made claims that the Japanese had pledged to help with the search, but instead had pressed forward with their summit attempt. [11] The Japanese team denied that they had abandoned or refused to help the dying climbers on the way up, a claim that was accepted by the Indian-Tibetan Border Police. [10] Captain Kohli, an official of the Indian Mountaineering Federation, who earlier had denounced the Japanese, later retracted his claim that the Japanese had reported meeting the Indians on 10 May.

Dorje Morup Edit

While it is commonly believed that Green Boots is the body of Head Constable Tsewang Paljor, a 1997 article, titled "The Indian Ascent of Qomolungma by the North Ridge", published by P. M. Das, deputy leader of the expedition in Himalayan Journal, raises the possibility that it could instead be that of Lance Naik Dorje Morup. Das wrote that two climbers had been spotted descending by the light of their head-torches at 19:30, although they had soon been lost from sight. [12] The next day the leader of the second summit group of the expedition radioed base camp that they had encountered Morup moving slowly between the First and Second Steps. Das wrote that Morup "had refused to put on gloves over his frost-bitten hands" and "was finding difficulty in unclipping his safety carabiner at anchor points." [12] According to Das, the Japanese team assisted in transitioning him to the next stretch of rope.

The Japanese group discovered the body of Tsewang Samanla above the Second Step later on. On the return trip, the group found that Morup was still making slow progress. Morup is believed to have died in the late afternoon on 11 May. Das states that Paljor's body was never found.

A second ITBP group also came across the bodies of Samanla and Morup on their return from the summit. Das wrote that they encountered Morup "lying under the shelter of a boulder near their line of descent, close to Camp 6" with intact clothing and his rucksack by his side. [12]

Green Boots joined the ranks of roughly 200 corpses remaining on Everest by the early 21st century. [13] [14] It is unknown when the term "Green Boots" entered Everest parlance. Over the years it became a common term, as all the expeditions from the north side encountered the body of the climber curled up in the limestone alcove cave. The cave is at 27,890 feet (8,500 m) and is littered with oxygen bottles. It is below the first step on the path.

Another fallen climber who earned a nickname, "Sleeping Beauty", is Francys Arsentiev, who died in 1998 during an unsuccessful descent from Everest after summiting. Her body remained where she fell and was visible until 2007, when it was ceremonially hidden from view. [5]

Additional bodies are in "Rainbow Valley", an area below the summit strewn with corpses wearing brightly colored mountaineering apparel. [15] Yet another named corpse is that of Hannelore Schmatz, who, with a prominent position on the south route, earned the moniker "the German woman" she summited in 1979 but died at 8,200 m altitude during her descent. [16] She remained there for many years but was eventually blown further down the mountain. [16]

In 2006, British mountaineer David Sharp was found in a hypothermic state in Green Boots' Cave by climber Mark Inglis and his party. Inglis continued his ascent after radioing for advice on how to help Sharp, which he was unable to provide. Sharp died of extreme cold some hours later. Approximately three dozen other climbers would have passed by the dying man that day it has been suggested that those who noticed him mistook Sharp for Green Boots and therefore paid little attention. [13] [17]


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How Hannelore Schmatz Suffered One Of The Most Heartbreaking Mount Everest Deaths Of All Time

DW Hannelore Schmatz and her husband Gerhard were avid climbers.

In 1979, German mountaineer Hannelore Schmatz became the fourth woman in history to reach Mount Everest’s summit. At the same time, her 50-year-old husband, Gerhard, became the oldest person to reach its peak. Both would have been remarkable accomplishments were it not for the tragedy that befell the Schmatzes just afterward, ending with their deaths.

For years before their fateful Everest journey, the Schmatzes’ confidence was riding high following their successful 1973 expedition to Earth’s eighth-tallest mountaintop, Manaslu. The 26,781-foot colossus in Kathmandu is only around 2,300 feet shorter than Everest. To prepare for their Everest expedition, they climbed a new mountain every year until 1979 — the year their names were added to the tragic list of Mount Everest deaths.

YouTube The frozen corpse of Hannelore Schmatz.

Gerhard described his wife as “a genius when it came to sourcing and transporting expedition material,” while he was in charge of logistics and the more technical aspects of the climb. With equipment at the ready and six other professional climbers by their side, the Schmatzes set out for Everest in July 1979.

After making it through “the yellow band” — a regional altitude level of 24,606 feet — the Schmatzes traversed the Geneva Spur. They reached the South Col camp at 26,200 feet on September 24 and set up the last high camp of their trek. But a days-long blizzard forced them back down the mountain.

During their second ascent, the couple split up — never realizing that their split would be forever. Gerhard’s group made it back to South Col first and began the journey to Everest’s peak. And even though Gerhard and his group reached the summit on October 1, they were forced back down rapidly due to worsening weather conditions.

Meanwhile, the descending group warned Hannelore Schmatz and her team that it was too dangerous to continue. Gerhard’s notes described his wife as “indignant,” and she forged ahead at 5 a.m. the following day. As Gerhard arrived back down at base camp at 6 p.m., he was alerted via radio that his wife had made it to the top.

Maurus Loeffel/Flickr Schmatz was the first woman to die on Mount Everest.

Unfortunately, Hannelore and American climber Ray Genet were both overcome with exhaustion during the descent. Despite being warned against taking refuge by their accompanying sherpas, they built a camp and took shelter. But this shelter was built in the Death Zone, and needless to say, the area lives up to its name.

Genet died of hypothermia, leading Hannelore and two sherpas to frantically attempt their descent. Tragically, her body had already begun to shut down. Her last words were simply, “water… water.” Sitting down with no more energy left to spare, she slumped against her backpack and died.

Hannelore Schmatz was the first woman and the first German national to die on Everest’s treacherous environs. She joined hundreds of other climbers who’ve perished on Mount Everest and became its frozen warning signs. Mount Everest bodies like these have indeed served as guideposts for other climbers for years. But in the case of Hannelore Schmatz, the wind eventually threw her frozen corpse from the side of the Kangshung Face, never to be seen again.


OVERCROWDING FEARS

"We are deeply saddened by his loss as he still had so many more adventures and dreams to fulfil.

"Every one who ever met him in any capacity will always remember the positive impact he had on their lives.

"Robin is a much loved and loving son, brother, partner, uncle, and friend."

Nepal is under fire over the number of permits it has issued following overcrowding fears.

At least 381 permits have been issued - costing £8,600 each - for this spring season.

The 56-year-old, from Galway, Ireland, was coming from the Tibetan (North) side on Friday morning as part of a team of six along with three expert sherpas.


Mortals on Mount Olympus

By Borgna Brunner

Sir Edmund Hillary poses with Sherpa climber Tenzing Norgay at Everest base.

Climbers who die on the mountain are often left where they perish because the effects of altitude make it nearly impossible to drag bodies away. Those ascending Everest pass through an icy graveyard littered with remnants of old tents and equipment, empty oxygen canisters, and frozen corpses.

Related Links

In 1852, the Great Trigonometric Survey of India determined that Mount Everest, until then an obscure Himalayan peak, had been definitively identified as the world's highest mountain. This announcement captured the international imagination, and soon the idea of reaching the summit of the "roof of the world" was viewed as the ultimate geographic feat. Attempts to climb Everest, however, could not begin until 1921, when the forbidden kingdom of Tibet first opened its borders to outsiders.

Mallory and Irvine

On June 8, 1924, two members of a British expedition, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, attempted the summit. Famous for his retort to the press?"because it's there"?when asked why he wanted to climb Everest, Mallory had already failed twice at reaching the summit. The two men were last spotted "going strong" for the top until the clouds perpetually swirling around Everest engulfed them. They then vanished.

Mallory's body was not found for another 75 years, in May 1999. No evidence was found on his body?such as a camera containing photos of the summit, or a diary entry recording their time of arrival at the summit?to clear up the mystery of whether these two Everest pioneers made it to the top before the mountain killed them.

Hillary and Tenzing

Ten more expeditions over a period of thirty years failed to conquer Everest, with 13 losing their lives. Then, on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand beekeeper, and Tenzing Norgay, an acclaimed Sherpa climber, became the first to reach the roof of the world. Their climb was made from the Nepalese side, which had eased its restrictions on foreigners at about the same time that Tibet, invaded in 1950 by China, shut its borders.

World famous overnight, Hillary became a hero of the British empire?the news reached London just in time for Elizabeth II's coronation?and Tenzing was touted as a symbol of national pride by three separate nations: Nepal, Tibet, and India.

Into the Death Zone

Although not considered one of the most technically challenging mountains to climb (K2, the world's second highest mountain, is far more difficult), the dangers of Everest include avalanches, crevasses, ferocious winds up to 125 mph, sudden storms, temperatures of 40F below zero, and oxygen deprivation. In the "death zone"?above 25,000 feet?the air holds only a third as much oxygen as at sea level, heightening the chances of hypothermia, frostbite, high-altitude pulmonary edema (lungs fatally fill with fluid) and high-altitude cerebral edema (oxygen-starved brain swells up).

Even when breathing bottled oxygen, climbers experience extreme fatigue, impaired judgment and coordination, headaches, nausea, double vision, and sometimes hallucinations. Expeditions spend months acclimatizing and usually attempt Everest only in May and October, avoiding the winter snows and the summer monsoons.

After Hillary and Tenzing's ascent of Everest, other records were broken, including the first ascent by a woman, the first solo ascent, the first to traverse up one route and down another, and the first descent on skis.

Messner and Habeler

Yet none of these records compared to the next true milestone: climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen. As far back as Mallory, who called the use of bottled oxygen "unsporting," climbers found they had no alternative.

But on May 8, 1978, two Tyrolean mountaineers, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler, achieved the impossible. Messner had resolved that nothing would come between him and the mountain he would climb Everest without supplemental oxygen or not at all. At the summit he described himself as "nothing more than a single narrow gasping lung."

Incredulous, some disputed the veracity of a climb without supplemental oxygen. Yet two years later, Messner quashed all skepticism when on August 20, 1980, he again ascended Everest without oxygen, this time solo (another Everest first). Climbing without oxygen has now become de rigueur among the climbing elite, and by 1996 more than 60 men and women had reached the top relying on their own gasping lungs.

An Icy Graveyard

From 1921?2014, Everest has been climbed by more than 5,000 people from over eighty nations. At least 260 have lost their lives, making the odds on not coming down alive about one in 20.

In April 2014, tragedy struck when 16 Sherpa guides died in an avalanche. They were fixing ropes for climbers at an elevation of 19,000 feet when the avalanche hit. It was the single most deadly accident on Everest. After the incident, dozens of Sherpa guides walked off the job in protest over the Nepalese government's response to the tragedy. The government pledged a relief sum of around $400 to the families of the guides who died in the avalanche. The Sherpa guides were angered by the relief sum, calling it an insult.

The dead are often left where they perish because the effects of altitude make it nearly impossible to drag bodies off the mountain. Those ascending Everest pass through an icy graveyard littered with remnants of old tents and equipment, empty oxygen canisters, and frozen corpses.

In the past few years, media access to Everest has mushroomed: live Internet reports have been sent from the mountain (using solar energy) an Imax film crew has documented a climb and Jon Krakauer's bestselling account about an Everest ascent gone wrong, Into Thin Air, has introduced cwm, col, sirdar, short-rope, and Hillary Step into the vocabulary of mainstream America.

Gods and Mortals Above the Clouds

One reason for the recent media attention is the novelty of comparatively ordinary people venturing up a Mount Olympus formerly limited to mountaineering gods like Messner and Hillary. There are now guided trips up the mountain, fanning debate about the commercialization of Everest. Pathologists and postal workers can now follow in the footsteps of the greatest mountaineers. Purists like Hillary lament the lack of respect for the mountain, and young Turks boast they can get nearly anyone up the mountain as long as they're in decent physical shape and have $65,000 to spare.

Another reason for so much media attention is the appalling waste of human life. In May 1996, eight lost their lives in the single greatest disaster on the mountain?yet it did not stop others from attempting the climb just weeks later, resulting in four more deaths. The total for the year was fifteen. As the number of climbers grow, so does the death toll, with Everest taking down world-class climbers and novice adventurers alike.

With so many ambitious climbers determined to scale Everest, their ethics and single-minded pursuit of personal glory have come under criticism. In 2006, more than 40 climbers were believed to have passed by a dying British climber on their way to the summit?none came to his aid. It is true that helping a gravely ill or injured climber while in Everest's death zone could very well jeopardize one's own life. It is also true that it is grossly unfair when climbers have had to sacrifice their own dreams of climbing Everest in order to rescue irresponsible and poorly prepared individuals who never should have been on the mountain in the first place. But one wonders how such a climber sleeps at night, knowing he left another to die, whatever the reason. As Hillary remarked about the incident, "I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top. They don't give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress."


Everest (2015)

Like in the movie, Rob Hall spoke to his wife on his radio via a satellite connection patched through by Helen Wilton from a mountainside campsite roughly 8,000 ft below him. He had spent the night of the blizzard on an outcrop that was about 400 ft below Everest's 29,029-ft summit. Alone in the brutal-cold near-oxygen-free air, Hall had come to terms with the realization that he was going to die. As in the Everest movie, the true story confirms that after naming their unborn baby "Sarah," he told his wife Jan, "I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much." That was the last time anyone heard from Hall. -TIME.com

Which accounts is the Everest movie based on?

How many people died during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster?

Eight people died during the Mount Everest disaster that unfolded May 10-11, 1996. The fatalities included Scott Fischer, Rob Hall, Andy Harris, Doug Hansen, Yasuko Namba, Tsewang Samanla, Dorje Morup, and Tsewang Paljor. In fact-checking the Everest movie, we learned of the unidentified corpse known as Green Boots (pictured below), who is commonly believed to be Tsewang Paljor, one of the eight who perished in the Mount Everest disaster. Paljor was a constable with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and was part of a three-man expedition attempting to become the first Indian team to reach the top of Everest from the northeastern route. He was wearing green Koflach boots on the day his team summited in 1996.

What is Everest's Death Zone?

The "death zone" is a general term used to describe an area of a mountain above 8,000 meters or roughly 26,000 feet, where the human body can no longer acclimatize and simply begins to die. No matter how much training, without supplemental oxygen one cannot spend more than approximately 48 hours in the death zone, a region found only on 14 mountains worldwide, including Everest. The oxygen level there is roughly only one third of the value at sea level, which in basic terms means that the human body will exhaust its oxygen supply faster than breathing can replenish it. Mental and physical states are affected, leading climbers to experience hallucinations, deterioration of bodily functions, loss of consciousness, the feeling of slowly being choked, and finally, death. -Gizmodo.com

How many bodies remain on Mount Everest?

While researching the Everest true story, we learned that more than 150 bodies remain on Mount Everest today. Almost all of them are located in the Death Zone, where such harsh conditions make recovering the bodies a suicidal endeavor. A Nepalese police inspector and a Sherpa learned this lesson the hard way when they fell to their deaths while trying to recover the body of Hannelore Schmatz in 1984. Hannelore had died of exhaustion in 1979 when she was just a hundred meters from Camp IV. For years, climbers taking the southern route could see Hannelore's body sitting upright against her backpack, her eyes open and her brown hair blowing in the wind. In the late 1990s, high winter winds finally swept Hannelore's remains over the edge and down the Kangshung Face. -Macleans.ca

While some of these doomed climbers were lost forever in crevasses or were blown off the mountain into the void, many still remain, mummified and frozen in time. One such area just below the summit has come to be known as Rainbow Valley due to the number of corpses there still clad in their colorful climbing jackets. -Gizmodo.com

Did Beck Weathers really nearly fall while crossing the ladders?

Yes, but the Everest movie dramatizes the situation a bit. In the film, Josh Brolin's character loses his footing on a ladder as an avalanche unfolds nearby. As he holds on for his life, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) comes out to rescue him. Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air, simply stated that both Beck Weathers and Yasuko Namba had at several times "appeared to be in danger of falling off a ladder and plummeting into a crevasse." Weathers himself wrote that navigating the hazardous ladders of the shifting Khumbu Icefall is like being "an ant trapped in the bottom of an ice machine" (Left for Dead). Watch footage of real climbers crossing the ladders of the Khumbu Icefall.

Was Beck Weathers (portrayed by Josh Brolin in the movie) really left for dead?

Yes, twice. Things first went wrong for Dallas pathologist Beck Weathers when the effects of high altitude and extended exposure to ultraviolet radiation blinded his eyes, which had recently been altered by radial keratotomy surgery (a precursor to LASIK). Instead of making the ascent to the summit, he eventually decided to descend and grew weaker in the storm. Anatoli Boukreev arrived later to help, but Weathers and female Japanese climber Yasuko Namba were unconscious and appeared to be beyond saving. They were left to die. At daybreak, Stuart Hutchison and two Sherpas arrived to reassess the status of Weathers and fellow climber Yasuko Namba. They concluded that both were near death and decided to leave them behind, believing they would not survive the descent.

"I woke up in the snow, opened my eyes, and directly in front of me was my ungloved right hand, which was clearly dead," Weathers remembers. "It looked like a marble sculpture of a hand. I hit it on the ice and realized that so much of my tissue was dead, I wasn't feeling any pain. That had the marvelous effect of focusing my attention. I had an innate awareness that if the cavalry was going to come rescue me they would already have been there. If I didn't stand up, I realized, I was going to spend eternity on that spot." Like in the movie, Weathers thought of his family for motivation.

Weathers made his way to Camp IV. When he arrived his hands were frozen solid and looked like a cadaver's (pictured below). His cheeks and nose where black and resembled solid ash. However, he was alive. Following his evacuation, his right arm was amputated halfway between the wrist and the elbow. His thumb and all four fingers on his left hand were removed, in addition to parts of both his feet. His nose was amputated and a new nose was grown on his forehead, which incorporated tissue from his ear. -TIME.com

What is the temperature on top of Mount Everest?

Climbers typically make their ascent to Everest's 29,029 ft summit during a two-week window in May when conditions are at their best. Then, the temperature around the summit of Everest can rise to an average of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to an average of -31 degrees Fahrenheit during months when the winds pick up.

Mt. Everest is so high that the summit actually protrudes into the stratosphere, where jet streams create 100+ mph winds during most months and temperatures can plummet as low as -76 degrees Fahrenheit. The winds alone can easily send climbers hurtling off the mountain to their deaths. In February 2004, a record wind speed of 175 mph was recorded at the summit. By comparison, a Category 5 hurricane has sustained wind speeds greater than 157 mph. -PopularMechanics.com

Why were there so many climbers at the summit on the day of the Everest disaster?

As stated above, there is only a short two-week window each year in May when climbing conditions are at their best. In 1996, there was an unusually late and heavy snow pack, which had kept any yaks from reaching Base Camp, causing a multitude of climbers to make their ascent just after the yaks were able to get the supplies to the camp. This, coupled with the growing commercialization of Everest expeditions, resulted in some 33 climbers attempting to summit Everest on May 10, 1996, creating bottlenecks at the Hillary Step, the last hurdle before reaching the top (see footage of real climbers conquering the Hillary Step and reaching the top). These bottlenecks were worsened by the fact that the Sherpas and guides had not yet placed a fixed line, causing the climbers to have to wait for roughly an hour while the ropes were installed. This happened at both the Hillary Step and further down near the Balcony. As a result, many of the climbers did not reach the summit by the 2 pm turnaround time, the last safe time to make it back to Camp IV before nightfall. -Into Thin Air

Why didn't the Sherpas place the fixed lines ahead of time to shave hours off the climb?

A Sherpa from Rob Hall's team and another from Scott Fischer's team were supposed to head out early to attach ropes into the rock and ice to help the climbers quickly traverse the most difficult sections. However, Scott Fischer's Sherpa, Lopsang Jangbu, never showed up, and Rob Hall's Sherpa refused to work alone. Lopsang was busy towing journalist and socialite Sandy Pittman via short-rope. Jon Krakauer, fellow climber and author of Into Thin Air, says that it was "hugely important" to Scott Fischer that Sandy make it to the top. "You can't buy that kind of advertising," says Krakauer. -Dateline

Did Beck Weathers' wife Peach really make calls to find a helicopter to fly up Everest and rescue her husband?

Yes. Like in the Everest movie, the true story reveals that Peach Weathers was instrumental in organizing her husband's helicopter rescue. She enlisted the help of her friends and fellow moms, who began calling everyone they could think of. They contacted U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas and Tom Daschle, the Democratic Senate minority leader. Daschle encouraged the State Department to act, and they reached out to David Schensted at the embassy in Kathmandu. After Schensted was turned down by several pilots, a Nepalese woman he worked with recommended Lieutenant Colonel Madan Khatri Chhetri, a Nepalese Army pilot who she suspected might accept the challenge, and he did. -DMagazine.com

Was the helicopter rescue of Beck Weathers the highest ever completed?

At the time in 1996, the helicopter rescue of Beck Weathers and Taiwanese climber Makulu Gau from above Everest's Icefall at 19,860 feet by Nepalese Lt. Col. Madan Khatri Chhetri was the highest rescue ever completed, and it also set the record for the highest helicopter landing (NationalGeographic.com). The climbers scrambled to clear a landing zone, using Kool-Aid to mark an 'X' in the snow (they use Gatorade in the movie). The helicopter circled and eventually landed, but unlike what is shown in the movie, Weathers gave up his spot for Makulu Gau, who was in worse condition. "It seemed like the thing to do at the time," says Weathers. "When that helicopter took off with Makulu in it though I must tell you my spirits were down around by my feet, because I didn't think he was coming back." Fortunately, the pilot was able to return for Weathers after dropping off Gau.

In fact-checking the Everest movie, we learned that in 2010 three climbers from a Spanish expedition were rescued via a long line from an elevation of 22,900 feet on Nepal's Mount Annapurna (Outside Online). The record for the highest helicopter landing was shattered in 2005 when test pilot Didier Delsalle landed his turbo engine AS350 B3 helicopter on the top of Mount Everest (NationalGeographic.com).

During our investigation into the Everest movie true story, we learned that the Sherpa are an ethnic group of people from the most mountainous area of Nepal, including Mt. Everest. They are highly experienced mountaineers who are very knowledgeable of their local terrain. The term Sherpa is commonly used by foreigners to refer to any guide, climbing assistant or porter paid to accompany climbers on mountaineering pursuits in the Himalayas. Sherpas are basically the keepers of the mountain and are instrumental in maintaining the routes to the top. The Sherpas' unique climbing ability is due in part to the fact that they have adapted genetically to living at high altitudes. 11 real-life Sherpas were cast in the Everest movie.

Did a confused Andy Harris mistakenly tell Rob Hall that all of the oxygen tanks were empty?

Yes. While in the throes of hypoxic dementia, Andy Harris got on the radio to tell Rob Hall that he was at the oxygen cache on the South Summit but all of the tanks were empty. Rob was high on the summit ridge trying to help Doug Hansen, who was in desperate need of oxygen. Andy was confused and in bad shape himself, not realizing that there were actually two full tanks at the South Summit cache. Mike Groom tried to radio Rob to correct Andy's mistake, but his radio was malfunctioning. -Into Thin Air

Did Andy Harris walk off the South Summit to his death?

Yes, it is believed that Andy Harris (portrayed by Martin Henderson in the Everest movie) walked off the South Summit during the storm when he was disoriented from the effects of high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE). He apparently disappeared in the South Summit area near where his ice axe was found and where Doug Hansen disappeared as well. It is possible that Andy had decided to climb back up in an attempt to assist Rob Hall with an ailing Doug Hansen. The bodies of Andy Harris and Doug Hansen have not been found to date. -A Day to Die For

HACE occurs when the body fails to acclimatize at high altitudes, such as in Everest's Death Zone. Disorientation, nausea, lethargy and eventually coma and death can occur in climbers suffering from HACE.

What exactly led to Scott Fischer's death?

Scott Fischer's personal friend and client Dale Kruse was suffering from altitude sickness and possible HACE at Camp I (19,898 ft). Fischer decided to climb down from Camp II (21,325 ft) to take Kruse back to Base Camp (17,500 ft) for treatment. Fischer made the 4,000-foot climb the next morning to rejoin his team at Camp II. He did not get adequate rest time before departing for Camp III (24,500 ft) with his team the next day. His ascent to Camp III was slow and when the more than 50 climbers left for Camp IV (25,938 ft) on the morning of May 9, Fischer was one of the last to depart.

Setting out for the summit (29,029 ft) just before midnight, Scott Fischer didn't arrive there until 3:30 pm, well past the 2 pm cutoff time to safely make it back to Camp IV before dark. He radioed Base Camp and told them he was weary and felt sick. He descended in the blizzard to just above the Balcony (27,559 ft), telling Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa to descend without him and to send Anatoli Boukreev up to help. Suffering from hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and most likely cerebral edema as well, Scott Fischer sat down in the route, never to get up again. When the storm subsided on May 11, two Sherpas arrived to help but it was too late. His breathing was shallow and he was not responding. They placed an oxygen mask over his face and left him be. He died before Anatoli Boukreev reached him. Boukreev lashed Fischer's backpack over his face and moved his friend's body off the climbing route (The Climb). It still remains on the mountain.

Is Mount Everest the world's tallest mountain?

Mount Everest is the world's tallest mountain above sea level, rising 29,029 ft (this value can vary based on measuring criteria). However, Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the world's tallest mountain when measured from its base below sea level, rising approximately 33,474 ft from the Pacific Ocean floor.

Why did journalist Jon Krakauer want to climb Mt. Everest?

"I climbed for the wrong reasons," says Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air. "I'd always wanted to do it as a kid. . The excuse was, I was broke and I was a freelance journalist and I was getting paid well, but really, I would have paid money to go on that trip. I wanted to climb Everest, because it's Everest. I wasn't used to being guided. To be guided, you advocate your own decision making, your own judgement, you listen to what the captain of the ship orders you to do and you have to do it. The system doesn't work otherwise." Krakauer also says that it made him really uncomfortable that Sherpas were taking the risk for him. "Everest is a really different mountain than anything else," he adds. -HuffPostLive Jon Krakauer Interview

Did Rob Hall steal journalist Jon Krakauer from Scott Fischer?

Was Rob Hall's body found by members of the IMAX expedition?

Yes, the Everest true story reveals that mountaineers from the IMAX expedition discovered Rob Hall's body on their way to the summit on May 23, 1996, roughly 12 days after Hall's death from exposure. The IMAX team, which included Ed Viesturs and David Breashears, were filming the 1998 documentary Everest. The film had been in production at the time of the disaster, but shooting was postponed as the IMAX team followed Ed Viesturs up the mountain to help the stranded climbers, including Beck Weathers. The IMAX team also came across Scott Fischer's body.

Have there been worse Everest disasters in the years since 1996?

Yes. When fact-checking Everest , we learned that two more recent disasters on the mountain have taken more lives. The 1996 Everest disaster claimed eight lives and was the deadliest day in Everest's recorded history until 2014, when an avalanche resulted in the deaths of 16 Nepalese guides. That toll was topped in 2015 when the Nepal earthquake caused avalanches on Everest that led to 18 deaths.

Have any other movies been made about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster?

Yes. The 1997 made-for-TV movie Into Thin Air: Death on Everest was also based on the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, a journalist/mountaineer who was caught in the middle of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster while on assignment for Outside magazine. Krakauer was part of Rob Hall's Adventure Consultants' expedition.

Further explore the Everest true story via the videos below, including an interview with Jon Krakauer in which he says climbing Everest was the biggest mistake of his life.


The Stories About the Dead Bodies

Green boots- sadly green boots has never officially been identified but he is believed to be Tsewang Paljor, an Indian climber who died on Everest in 1996. The term Green Boots originated from the green Koflach mountaineering boots on his feet.

David Sharp was attempting to summit Everest on his own. He had stopped to rest in Green Boots’ cave, as so many had done before him. Over the course of several hours, he froze to death, his body stuck in a huddled position. at least 40 people passed by Sharp that day and saw that we was in distress. Not one of them stopped.

George Mallory’s corpse was found 75 years after his 1924 death. Mallory had attempted to be the first person to climb Everest, but he disappeared before anyone found out if he had achieved his goal. His body was found in 1999, his upper torso, half of his legs, and his left arm almost perfectly preserved

Hannelore Schmatz she came the first german and first woman to perish on the mountain. Schmatz had actually reached her goal of summiting the mountain, before ultimately succumbing to exhaustion on the way down. Despite her Sherpa’s warning, she set up camp within the death zone.

Francys Arsentiev became the first woman from the United States to reach the summit of Mount Everest without the aid of bottled oxygen, on May 22, 1998. She then died during the descent. n the morning of May 23, Francys Arsentiev was encountered by an Uzbek team who were climbing the final few hundred meters to the summit. She appeared to be half-conscious, affected by oxygen deprivation and frostbite. As she was unable to move on her own, they attended to her with oxygen and carried her down as far as they could, until, depleted of their own oxygen, they became too tired to continue the effort. Francys was still alive.