If people knew the truth about Everest, fewer people would probably climb it. While it’s fun to imagine scaling Everest’s summit—a feat only more than 4,000 climbers have accomplished—there are challenges many don't realize until they're on the mountain (The British Mountaineering Council).
Climbing Everest takes a lot of preparation, discipline and even a mental fortitude to get to the top. It’s not a journey for the faint of heart.
According to The Economist, Sherpas make anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 a season climbing Everest. If more people knew these chilling facts about Everest though, they’d likely be less inclined to climb the “Peak of Heaven"—which impacts a Sherpa's bottom line.
To all would-be Everest climbers, read the following at your own risk!
19 “The Death Zone”
As a result of the higher altitude, there are actually spots on Everest that can take a major toll on a climber’s mental state. There’s even a name for this area where there’s less oxygen.
According to climber Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton in an interview with Red Bull, it’s called the “the death zone” and can actually make climbers feel “delirious.”
18 Avalanches Are The Number One Killer
There are lots of ways to perish on Everest. The Himalayan Database lists several threats from crevasses to frostbite to falling rocks. Yet according to Nepal Sanctuary Treks, even more, than those listed above, avalanches are the leading cause of ending climbers on Everest.
If Sherpas ever shared this statistic, they might lose interested climbers.
17 The Mountain Is Full Of Spiders
Yes, Everest has animals. Yet what climbers don’t realize, and what Sherpas likely remain tight-lipped about, is that it’s full of spiders. The site SnowBrains reports that black jumping spiders live at an elevation of 22,000 feet.
If climbers found out they were bunking up with spiders at night, they might reconsider their Everest plans.
16 200 Bodies Are Still On Everest
People have tragically lost their lives in an attempt to reach the top of Everest. It may surprise some to learn that they estimate about 200 bodies remain on Everest today.
What’s even more surprising is that it’s both costly and risky to bring the bodies back down the mountain, which is why they remain where they are (Nepal Sanctuary Treks).
15 There’s A Lot Of Pressure To Succeed
After training, planning and investing in a climb up Everest, there can follow a lot of pressure to see it through to the end. According to climber Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton via Red Bull’s website, many outsiders can fund a climber's trip, which only adds that much more pressure.
He said, “You don’t want to let anyone down, and this added pressure of failing when people have invested so much in you can play on your mind.”
14 There Are 200 MPH Winds
Ascending Everest is not just a climb, but a battle with the elements. It forces mankind to go toe-to-toe with mother nature.
One of the rougher conditions climbers face is the wind, which according to Nepal Sanctuary Treks can go as fast as 200 mph. It can be bad when people reach the summit too.
13 The Summit Is Not What It Seems
Climbers dream of making it to Everest’s summit. If climbers’ accounts are true, however, then making it to the top is less glamorous than it sounds.
Climber Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton shared with Red Bull, “I was so hypoxic, or rather, low on oxygen, that I completely forgot about taking photos for all my sponsors.”
12 The First Ones To Climb Everest Vanished
Imagine attempting to climb Everest back in 1924 before anyone knew about the mountain and with inferior gear and no technology. George Mallory and Andrew Irvine both attempted the journey, though Nepal Sanctuary Treks reports it's unknown whether they even made it to the summit.
It’s one of those scary details Sherpas probably won’t be telling on the way up.
11 It Costs A Fortune
The cost of what it takes to climb Everest alone is enough to shock prospective adventurers. Sherpas probably don’t want this to get out considering their services is part of the cost.
NZ Herald reports that it costs more than a whopping $30,000 to climb the mountain, which is a steep price to pay just to fulfill a life goal.
10 A Climber Dies Every Year Since 1969
Sherpas more than likely remain tight-lipped when it comes to this next statistic.
According to Nepal Sanctuary Treks, at least one person has passed away every year since 1969 in an effort to go up Everest. That’s not exactly a happy thought they want to share with climbers before embarking on a challenging trip.
9 All The Crevices To Cross
When people imagine the trek up to Everest, they see snow-caked hills sloping up. However, there’s another landscape challenge that climbers have to deal with: crevices.
According to climber Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton, who spoke with Red Bull, climbers have plenty of these deep chasms to pass over using precarious ladders. If Sherpas shared this information, more than likely there would be fewer climbers interested in signing up for the trip.
8 The Temperature Leaves Climbers Out In The Cold
When climbers find out how cold it gets on Everest, they might look for another mountain to climb.
According to NZ Herald, climbers shouldn’t expect the temperature to get above freezing point. That makes it a tough climate for humans to inhabit, let alone do something rigorous in like climbing.
7 It Can Become Congested With People
Mother nature isn’t the only thing people have to contend with while climbing Everest. Other humans can pose a problem too. Nepal Sanctuary Treks notes that with more and more people climbing Everest, the way up has the potential of getting bogged down.
It’s like waiting for a group ahead at a golf course, only with Everest it’s a matter of life and death.
6 Sherpas Don’t Exercise Safety Precautions
Sherpas know a lot about Everest. It may even make them more confident about navigating the mountain. Yet according to Red Bull, they have a tendency to forgo a lot of the safety precautions one ought to take.
One climber, Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton, notes seeing Sherpas neglect to wear helmets or even walk over ladders without clipping in.
5 It’s Not Just About Climbing The Mountain, But Setting Records
For many climbers, just reaching the summit and making it back in one piece isn’t enough. They have to make the record books. NZ Herald notes that some people want to be the first one to achieve something that involves Everest, whether it has to do with their age, gender or other varying factors.
If Sherpas shared this detail, it might discourage climbers from feeling like their trip isn't worth it unless they pull off a record.
4 The Size Of Everest Is Hard To Fathom
Those who climb Everest actually know what it’s like to look on the mountain. “You can’t quite take Everest in,” said Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton, who climbed the mountain when he was just 22-years-old. “The size is a huge problem to overcome mentally.”
If Sherpas openly advertised the mountains mind-boggling size, climbers might chicken out (Red Bull).
3 The Nepal Side Has Claimed More Lives
Depending on which side of Everest climbers choose to go up can have a huge impact on one's experience.
In data collected by the blog AlanArnette.com from The Himalayan Database, it appears that between the Nepal and Tibet sides, there are more deaths on the Nepal side. Then again, there are also more summits as well.
2 Sherpas Go Fast
Time is money, and Sherpas know this all too well. Climber Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton told Red Bull that the more times they climb the mountain, the more trips they can fit in, which translates into more money.
This, unfortunately, leads many to opt for speed over safety. Sherpas probably won’t be the ones to admit this, however.
1 Ice And Rocks Fall Off The Mountain
Everest has gone through changes over the years. For one, as Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton points out to Red Bull, it gets less snow than it used to. This leads to ice and rocks falling down, which can impede climbers going up.
Would you still climb Everest if a Sherpa told you ice and rocks would rain down from time to time?
Sources: The British Mountaineering Council, The Economist, The Himalayan Database, Nepal Sanctuary Treks, AlanArnette.com, NZ Herald, Red Bull, SnowBrains