Scaling Mount Everest was a dream few realized before Nepal opened its side of the mountain to commercial climbing a half-century ago. This year the government issued a record number of permits, leading to traffic jams on the world's highest peak that likely contributed to the greatest death toll in four years.
As the allure of Everest grows, so have the crowds, with inexperienced climbers faltering on the narrow passageway to the peak and causing deadly delays, veteran climbers said.
After the deaths of 11 people on Mount Everest this climbing season, calls grow for changes to how mountaineering visitors are handled in Nepal. Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, relies on the climbing industry to bring in $300 million each year. It doesn't cap the number of permits it issues or control the pace or timing of the expeditions, leaving that to tour operators and guides who take advantage of brief clear weather conditions whenever they come, leading to pileups near the peak.
The death toll this season is the highest since 2015. More than 5,000 people have scaled Everest since the first ascent in 1953, and nearly 300 people have died trying.
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