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Why Climbers Die On Mount Everest

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the failure-to-be-born-sherpas dept.

Medicine 417

Science Daily reports that researchers have conducted the first detailed analysis of deaths during expeditions to the summit of Mt. Everest. They found that most deaths occur during descents from the summit in the so-called "death zone" above 8,000 meters, and also identified factors that appear to be associated with a greater risk of death, particularly symptoms of high-altitude cerebral edema. The big surprise that the data indicate those deaths aren't primarily from avalanches or falling ice, as had long been believed.

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417 comments

Diving? (3, Interesting)

markass530 (870112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114649)

Is this related to the same health problems associated with diving (I.E The bends?)

Re:Diving? (5, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114679)

Nope... bends is caused by nitrogen bubbles forming in your bloodstream, due to diving or rising too quickly.

Re:Diving? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114757)

Nope. The Bends is an album by rock band Radiohead.

Re:Diving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115119)

Where do we go from here?

Re:Diving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115171)

Is it down to the lake I fear?

La la love plus one...

...

I am truly sorry :(

OF COURSE IT WAS HAPE OR HACE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114689)

Another completely retarded story from timothy. He has a one down even on k-fudgepacking-dawson. Anyone with a SHRED of sense knows that it isn't avalanches that kill descending climbers because avalanches would kill those ascending. It is completely obvious to anyone who knows about high altitude mountaineering that the big problems are high altitude cerebral or pulmonary edima.

So, I present to you some much more pertinent information since timothy needs to have his face stabbed with an ice pick. DIE IN A FIRE, TIMOTHY.

When I was 17, my parents had an 15 year old female exchange student from Spain. My parents wanted a girl that could hang out with my little sister. My sister and Veronica (the exchange student) didn't get along very well, but they still did a few things together. I was in heaven to have such a hot girl always hanging around our house. And, the best part was that she always wore such skimpy clothes and even occasionally changed clothes without shutting the bedroom door. I caught a few glimpses of her in just her panties and bra. She had such a perfect body and dark smooth skin.

One day, my mom informed me that I would be taking my sister and Veronica to the mall. I hate the mall, but I agreed--mostly just to get the chance to walk around behind Veronica and stare at her perfect ass as she walked around the mall in the tight mini skirt she was wearing that day. When we got to the mall, my sister ran into a group of friends that she knew from school, and she took off leaving Veronica alone with me. I felt a bit uncomfortable, but Veronica said in her broken English that she needed to buy clothes. So, we went into JC Penney. I tagged along with her as she picked out some clothes and a swimsuit. Then she headed over to the dressing rooms. I sat down outside to wait for her. After a few seconds she came out in one of the outfits and asked how I liked it. I said she looked very beautiful, and she kinda blushed at that. Then she told me to come into the dressing room for a second. I asked her why, and she said she wanted to know if I liked the swimsuit, but she didn't want to have to walk out into the main part of the store to show me. So I stepped into the dressing room and she shut the door behind us. I thought she would ask me to turn around, but she didn't! She just started undressing right in front of me! I was getting so horny. I stared at her dumbfounded as she slipped off her blouse, skirt, then her bra and panties. She asked me if I liked her body and I think I managed to mutter yes. She bent over to pick up the swimsuit and I had a perfect view of her soft pussy mound. I noticed that it was glistening a bit with drops of fluid. I wondered if she was horny for me. I brushed my hand against her ass as she was standing up and she turned and smiled at me. Then I knew it was my opportunity. I grabbed her arm gently and turned her around and pulled her body towards me. We started kissing passionately and I touched every part of her naked body I could reach. She slipped my shirt off over my head and I felt her wonderful breasts press against my chest. I turned her around so that I could massage her breasts and finger her pussy while I kissed her neck from behind. She seemed to really enjoy that. Before long my pants were off and I let my hard cock slide between her butt cheeks. She bent over slightly and directed my cock towards the wet mound between her legs. I felt the head of my dick penetrate about an inch into her and I almost came right away. But I held back and slowly thrusted until my whole cock was buried in her damn tight pussy.

She kept saying, "Yes...mas...yes...mas!" And I knew I was about to climax. So I reached around and grabbed the front of her thighs and humped her as hard as I could. I nearly lifted her off the ground as I thrusted into her. The feeling of her ass ramming against my inner thighs was the best! And, I came deep into her pussy.

We kissed a lot more and finally cleaned up to leave the dressing room. I found out that she was a virgin too before that day. But, she had fucked herself with cucumbers back in Spain so she would experience no pain on her first time. That summer turned out to be the best summer ever. We taught each other everything about oral sex, anal sex, toys, and mutual masturbation. WOW!

Re:Diving? (5, Informative)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114707)

Not exactly. The bends come from fast decompression leading to gas bubbles within the body while the cerebral edema is an excess accumulation of water in the brain which comes from a leakage of fluid from capillaries (among other causes).

You get bends going UP (4, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114843)

You get the bends when reducing pressure causes bubbling due to your tissue having more disolved gases than it can hold. Just like a soft drink fizzes when you reduce pressure, the dissolved gases come out of the liquid.

Thus, you can only get the bends going up.

Re:You get bends going UP (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114971)

well, most Everest deaths do occur in the "death zone" (above 8,000 meters), so even though it happens on the descent, the pathology that would ultimately kill them (cerebral edema) could have began during their ascent to the summit, and there could simply be a delay between the onset of the disease and the actual time of death.

but the article doesn't really say what induces the leakage of blood vessels which causes cerebral edema. so it could be the altitude, or it could be the extreme cold, or it could be a combination of the two.

Re:You get bends going UP (5, Informative)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115313)

it's the "opposite" effect going on. At high pressures extra gas adds to your fluids, just like bubbles added to really cold pop under pressure. Warm it up and take off the pressure and you get fizz... only inside your brain which is generally not good.
In this case, the air pressure is so low the membranes that hold liquid don't work properly to hold it in... It's probably like a mild version of vacuum degassing used in manufacturing... in addition to the lack of oxygen.

Re:You get bends going UP (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115477)

You get the bends when reducing pressure causes bubbling due to your tissue having more disolved gases than it can hold. Just like a soft drink fizzes when you reduce pressure, the dissolved gases come out of the liquid.

Thus, you can only get the bends going up.

Hence, the treatment, once you're out of the water (where it might be possible to return to depth, given a sufficient supply of air), is to hustle you into a decompression chamber where you can be subject to great enough pressure to stop the bubbles, followed by decompression at a safe rate.

surprise? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114651)

Not for anyone who watched "Into thin air".

Re:surprise? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114773)

Not for anyone who watched "Into thin air".

Or Vertical Limit.

Re:surprise? (1)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114929)

Yes, the most likely way to die on a mountain is being blown to bits by nitroglycerine.

God, that movie was awful.

Re:surprise? (5, Insightful)

kobaz (107760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115165)

Not for anyone who watched "Into thin air".

Or Vertical Limit.

Vertical limit had as much fact about mountaineering as the movie "Hackers" had about computers.

Damn (5, Insightful)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114669)

That would suck balls. You manage to get all the way to the top only to die on the way down.

Still, on the list of ways to kick the bucket, beats slipping in the shower any day.

Re:Damn (4, Interesting)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114861)

Maybe, maybe not. Very often climber's bodies are left on Everest because it's too dangerous to retrieve them. I guess that it's no big deal if you die up there, you're not using the body anymore, so who cares what happens to it. But its gotta suck for your family.

Re:Damn (3, Insightful)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115249)

How selfish do you have to be to care about something like the retrieval of your body if you die doing something that is known to be this dangerous?

Re:Damn (0)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115315)

Just send a helicopter. Getting on the Everest can probably be done in about an hour or two with a helicopter and some rope, assuming the weather is good. Retrieving a body shouldn't be that tricky once you know where it is, unless it ended up in some hole in the ground or under a lot of snow.

YMMV, I have no experience climbing mountains.

Re:Damn (2, Interesting)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115373)

It's not that easy, operating helicopters at that altitude is risky, to say the least. While a helicopter was able to land at the summit in 2005, multiple helicopters have crashed trying to land at the base camp, 10,000 feet below.

Re:Damn (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115405)

I was imagining using a rope to enter and exit the helicopter. No need for the heli to touch that mountain.

Re:Damn (5, Insightful)

HUADPE (903765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115479)

The problem is that the air is too thin. The area on the blades of a helicopter is much smaller than an airplane, and they depend much more on high velocity moving large volumes of air over those blades. There is very little air at those altitudes, and it is extremely difficult to control a helicopter. Correction for imbalanced weight is particularly difficult, and that's what you have when you try to pick up a body with a rope.

Re:Damn (3, Informative)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115495)

The difficulty is that the air is very thin and the wind speeds can be quite high, with both updrafts and downdrafts, making the aircraft difficult to stabilize. The conditions may make it almost impossible to avoid touching the mountain.

Re:Damn (5, Insightful)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115439)

Helicopters and mountains tend to not mix. The air is so thin that they can fail without warning and crash. The helicopter which supposedly landed on the summit that the sibling mentioned is supposed to have a ceiling of about 18 000 ft (Everest's summit is about 29 000 ft). I believe that landing's in dispute. Either way, Everest is well above the cruising altitude of your standard helicopter, and that's to say nothing of how dangerous landing (or even hovering) would be with the wind speeds up there.

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115555)

You'll never get a helo to that altitude. And if you could, the helo would never be able to maintain a hover, let alone perform a retrieval.

The Chinook has a max ceiling of 18,000 ft and there's no option to hover that high up.

Re:Damn (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114921)

This depends on who you were in the shower with and what you were doing at the time.

The low temperature and lack of oxygen preclude any such interesting developments on top of Mt. Everest.

Re:Damn (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115561)

This is Slashdot. You were alone in the shower, and whatever you were doing I don't want to think about.

News flash... (5, Interesting)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114675)

They found that most deaths occur during descents from the summit in the so-called "death zone" above 8,000 meters.

Um. If the chance of dying increases with time in the "death zone", and descents happen toward the end of your time in said zone, then duh. News flash: Chance of death increases proportional to time without adequate O2.

Re:News flash... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114745)

That was exactly my thought as well. Death's on Everest is due to oxygen deprivation. next up death's while walking the Marinara Trench.

Re:News flash... (2, Funny)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114915)

"next up death's while walking the Marinara Trench" -- I'd guess that would be caused by too much pizza ingestion...

Re:News flash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115247)

"next up death's while walking the Marinara Trench" -- I'd guess that would be caused by too much pizza ingestion...

I just have to ask: Where do you live that they put marinara sauce on pizza? Because, that's just wrong, plain and simple.

Re:News flash... (4, Funny)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115027)

Marinara Trench? that sounds more delicious than deadly. or are the deaths caused by contracting food-poisoning at Sizzler?

perhaps you meant Mariana [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:News flash... (2, Funny)

HUADPE (903765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115489)

Marinara Trench? that sounds more delicious than deadly. or are the deaths caused by contracting food-poisoning at Sizzler?

Sizzler? They still exist?

Re:News flash... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115399)

I always enjoy reading about the death of some shithead on Everest. It means one less asshole with more money than brains.

This is silly (5, Funny)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114841)

The reason that nobody Rs TFA is because the answers are so bleeding obvious.

It has nothing to do with O2 - the deaths are caused by Yetis.

Like many guard dogs, they will happily let you onto the property. They just don't let you back out again.

Easier to walk up than down (0, Redundant)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114901)

It is very hard to walk downhill and keep your balance etc. It is far easier to walk uphill. With reduced cerebral function it is far more likely for someone to loose there balance and take a bad fall going down than up.

Re:Easier to walk up than down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115001)

more likely for someone to loose there balance

That's why I always hold onto my balance with both hands when walking downhill. No loosing there!

Re:News flash... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115063)

It's not just the altitude. Accidents happen all the time descending on lower climbs. You're coming down, you're tired, maybe it's late in the day. Perhaps you've made your goal and lower your guard a bit. You make a mistake...

Certainly, the odds for this are higher on Everest, or any big himalayan peak; their scale is something you can't even imagine unless you've been on one. (No, sherpa Quigon Jin, Quicktime VR doesn't count.)

Re:News flash... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115161)

Usually people spends months to years preparing and training for these excursions for exactly this reason.

Re:News flash... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115417)

There is also an addition of probability that goes on too.
>>> x=1.0
>>> for y in range(8000): ... x=x*.9999 ...
>>> x
0.44931099011990128
(Yes there is a better formula and I am too lazy to look it up again it has been a while)

But say for every meeter you have a 0.01% of surviving by doing this activity 8000 times you improve your odd of getting killed with the activity
Now Lets add physical labor involved + harsh and painful environment which creates an additive effect to the danger. So there are a lot of factors. Just placing a guy say aboce 8000 meters and have him start going up is much safer then him doing the full process.

Wrong premise. (1)

PolarBearFire (1176791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114697)

"The big surprise that the data indicate those deaths aren't primarily from avalanches or falling ice, as had long been believed."

Mountain climbing accidents like car accidents, usually happen because of human error. Anybody mountain climbing is just concentrating on not messing up on a second to second basis, they are NOT playing dodgeball with rocks. Climbers probably know all the gruesome statistics about each mountain and it's well known that most deaths occur on the descent.

Re:Wrong premise. (1)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115213)

Interestingly, the article links to another news item, dated 25th August 2006, [sciencedaily.com] which essentially states that a large proportion of deaths occur due to cerebral edema. In other words, this new research is just confirming what was apparently already known.

What about death from dumbassery (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114709)

There seem to be a lot of people who really shouldn't climb it because they aren't nearly as well trained as they think they are, and yet climb it anway..... Thats gotta rank up there for reasons why people die up there.

Re:What about death from dumbassery (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114803)

Go read the book 'High Crimes [amazon.com] '. It's a really amazing book about the greed, desperation and , simply put, evil that surrounds everest. Picture oxygen tanks stolen when a group makes its last ascent, knife fights, torn tents, etc..

Re:What about death from dumbassery (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115445)

If effective treatments or antidotes for the medical causes of death are found, the dumbassery will only increase. Everest is already littered with empty oxygen bottles and other garbage discarded by arrogant twits who climb it for the bragging rights.

That's true on MOST climbs of any height (5, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114715)

Climbers die on the way down. It's more dangerous, you're more fatigued and your guard is down. You also tend to ignore clear signs of physical harm.

Title is obvious. (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114717)

Because it's cold?

Re:Title is obvious. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114733)

No, because they're high. Duh.

Re:Title is obvious. (1)

knapper_tech (813569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114985)

Is this some new attempt to link marijuana to unrelated deaths as to unfairly associate the plant with vice and decay in an effort to reinforce the cult of marijuana prohibition?

I got news for you. People don't die on Everest because of weed. People reach nirvana on Everest and decide not to come down.

We should leave their frozen bodies and perhaps hold pilgrimages to clear the snow from their eyes once a year.

Re:Title is obvious. (1)

GrpA (691294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114763)

I got to say, I thought that the title was rather obvious too... I guess this is probably important information I need to know in case I ever climb Mount Everest though...

Perhaps they will top this with their next research assignment, "Top causes of death on Mount Kilimanjaro (presently believed to be heavy metal poisoning while driving back to the airport.)

GrpA

Re:Title is obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115525)

Heavy metal poisoning or kenetic energy poisoning?

Hypoxia (5, Informative)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114719)

The higher you climb, the harder your lungs have to work to extract enough oxygen from the air in order to keep you alive. If you don't get enough oxygen, you don't die immediately. Your brain starts becoming less and less efficient, since it cannot produce energy anaerobically, like the rest of your body can.

Of course, this process is invisible to most people. Its comparable to how your brain isn't fully awake if you get woken up suddenly and feeling confused at the simplest tasks. Hypoxia also affects divers.

The leakage of fluid from the vessels in the brain is caused by the same hypoxia, since the blood vessels need energy as well.

The only solution is for climbers to take their own oxygen, or for someone to invent a mobile and low powered oxygen concentrator.

Re:Hypoxia (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114967)

The leakage of fluid from the vessels in the brain is caused by the same hypoxia, since the blood vessels need energy as well.

I was about to post a sarcastic [citation needed] comment up in response to this, but checked what you said first and was pleasantly surprised to find myself entirely wrong. For anyone interested here's a link to info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HACE

Re:Hypoxia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115175)

Thank you sir AC. This is the sort of post I'd love to see more of on slashdot.

Re:Hypoxia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115223)

Invent a mobile and low powered concentrator? You mean like the Invacare XPO2 at 6lbs and 5lpm flow rates, or the range of others available on the market?

Re:Hypoxia (4, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115377)

hrmm... while the Wikipedia article on cerebral edema supports your statement that HACE (high altitude cerebral edema) is caused by hypoxia, the actual HACE article [wikipedia.org] suggests that HACE is a severe form of altitude sickness [wikipedia.org] , for which the only cure is to descend to a lower altitude (an oxygen supply can help to stabilize a patient, but it isn't a cure). from the Wiki article on altitude sickness:

The cause of altitude sickness is still not understood. It occurs in low atmospheric pressure conditions but not necessarily in low oxygen conditions at sea level pressure. Although treatable to some extent by the administration of oxygen, most of the symptoms do not appear to be caused by low oxygen, but rather by the low CO2 levels causing a rise in blood pH, alkalosis. The percentage of oxygen in air remains essentially constant with altitude at 21 percent, but the air pressure (and therefore the number of oxygen molecules) drops as altitude increases. Altitude sickness usually does not affect persons traveling in aircraft because modern aircraft passenger compartments are pressurized.

also, don't most Everest climbers use oxygen when they try to summit? i'd be interested in seeing how many deaths were caused by inadequate oxygen supplies, or whether oxygen tanks actually have any effect on one's chances of contracting cerebral edema. and if the Wikipedia HACE article is indeed correct about high altitude cerebral edema usually occurring after a week or more at high altitude, then it would seem that acclimatization does not help prevent HACE.

however, the altitude sickness article seems to give a different take on the etiology of high altitude cerebral edema:

It is currently believed, however, that HACE is caused by local vasodilation of cerebral blood vessels in response to hypoxia, resulting in greater blood flow and, consequently, greater capillary pressures. On the other hand, HAPE may be due to general vasoconstriction in the pulmonary circulation (normally a response to regional ventilation-perfusion mismatches) which, with constant or increased cardiac output, also leads to increases in capillary pressures. For those suffering HACE, dexamethasone may provide temporary relief from symptoms in order to keep descending under their own power.

though i'm not sure why a hypertensive like dexamethasone would be prescribed if HACE were the result of increased capillary pressure and vasoconstriction. seems like it would make more sense to prescribe a hypotensive like clonidine. lowering your blood pressure would help to alleviate capillary pressure and slow the spread of edema, though it would probably make you more tired & reduce your strength, so this would only be appropriate for stabilizing a patient if they're going to be carried down.

Re:Hypoxia (1)

kenrick (888343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115463)

though i'm not sure why a hypertensive like dexamethasone would be prescribed if HACE were the result of increased capillary pressure and vasoconstriction. seems like it would make more sense to prescribe a hypotensive like clonidine

Dexamethasone is a steroid. It's a stop-gap, not definitive treatment, for raised intercranial pressure. Generally you can use it once and it buys you around 6hrs.

Unsurprising it occurs during descent (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114737)

People exhaust themselves climbing up, but most when they do realize they are in trouble will turn back...or perhaps they realize they have enough and push on to get up there, but don't leave enough in reserve to come back down. Also there's a false sense of achievement - "I made it to the summit!" - but while making it back down alive is actually more improtant it may be anticlimactic and not as big a motivator when you're spent after the effort of reaching the top.

Re:Unsurprising it occurs during descent (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115519)

From TFA:

"during descents, the mortality rate for climbers was six time that of sherpas"

The article do not elaborates more. The summary's affirmation may be flawed.

Lack of Oxygen to the Brain = Definition of Death (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114853)

I thought that "Lack of Oxygen to the Brain" was the root cause and standard 'Definition of Death'?
(Of course, I am excluding those who blow themselves up with high explosives, fall to their deaths from great heights [or any who may ride thermonuclear bombs as they fall to earth] ...and any other such instantaneous trauma deaths.)

Re:Lack of Oxygen to the Brain = Definition of Dea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115003)

My definition of death: unable to determine 1+1=2.

Nope, not the same. (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115051)

Not exactly.

The lack of oxygen to the brain and several key organ is defined as "shock [wikipedia.org] ". (Not enough blood flow reaching said organs - Most of the type of shocks due to a drop of blood pressure arriving at said organs).

Death [wikipedia.org] is currently defined to be lack of ability to sustain basic life support functions without a machine assistance, and is tested by checking a series of reflexes. Those reflexes don't actually check the brain, but the brain stem actually.

Once upon a time death used to be defined as a cardio-respiratory arrest. But as techniques in resuscitation and artificial life support have advanced that definition doesn't cut it anymore.

--

disclaimer: The explanation I'm giving here is an over simplification. See the wikipedia articles linked for more accuracy and more details. Although IAAMD, the above descriptions are not to be taken literally.

Re:Lack of Oxygen to the Brain = Definition of Dea (1)

kenrick (888343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115481)

Not necessarily - depends where you are. In Britain, death is defined as absence of brain stem _activity_ (IANAL/IANAD)

Obligatory mangled Futurama quote (4, Funny)

Exatron (124633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114909)

It's just a name, like the Forbidden Zone or the Zone of no Return. All the zones have names like that on the Mountain of Terror

Avalanches and falling ice? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114937)

Now what serious climber really believed those were the primary causes?

Re:Avalanches and falling ice? (1)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115305)

exactly. Having studied Everest for a class, it sounds to me like this study simply confirms what every climber knew (which is still useful). It happens on the descent because the weather is good enough in the morning that climbers say "I can make it" and then they reach the top, a storm whips up quickly (which happens there) and on the descent, the edema sets in and the weather is worse. Many of them simply die wandering around in whiteout conditions, literally freezing to death.

It's part of the risk/fun! (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114955)

A chance of death or not, climbing Everest is still #1 on my list of things to do before I die.

Re:It's part of the risk/fun! (5, Funny)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115029)

Make it the last thing you do.

Just in case

And there you have it... (1)

refactored (260886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115079)

climbing Everest is still #1 on my list of things to do before I die.

Silly sods know they have one chance, and probably realise at about the 60% mark they should give up and turn around, but know if they do they will die without having achieved #1. So they push on, already behind, already over exerting, hit the top too late, and yes, it was the #1 and #omega thing they did before they died.

So why is anybody surprised by these results?

Re:It's part of the risk/fun! (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115491)

Same here. Was supposed to start with Kilamanjaro last summer, but they had a little civil war in Kenya at the time I was trying to book the trip. Maybe next year tho.

Next on my list is to base jump off the Perrine bridge :D

Avalanche? Ice? First I've heard of that... (5, Informative)

MikeV (7307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114959)

I have never seen anyone claim that the primary cause of death on Everest is avalanche or falling ice - I'm not sure where that fiction came from. It is common knowledge that the primary cause of death up there is directly related with complications from being in the dead zone, combined with the complications of frequent blizzards that hamper the attempts to get out of the dead zone. Climbers run out of oxygen and also get lost. Some have to be left behind by others because all are under distress and unable to help the straggler. It's a very deadly place to go and is foolish in that one in ten end up dying up there.

Re:Avalanche? Ice? First I've heard of that... (1)

greedom (1431073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115259)

I'd have to agree with MikeV. If someone told me ice falls and avalanches were the main cause of death on Everest, I would've laughed in their face.

"death zone" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26114973)

most deaths occur during descents from the summit in the so-called "death zone"

Well, there's your problem! Just name that part of the mountain something else!

Re:"death zone" (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115435)

Or put a sign saying 'Congratulations! You've made it past the Death Zone!'

And if you absolutely hate some guy in the other team so bad, you'd place that sign right before the 'Just Kidding!' sign, on the downward slope.

i was thinking about this recently (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114979)

when it came to cheaters in sports, they'll do things like dope with epo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythropoietin [wikipedia.org]

and blood bank: inject their own previously extracted, concentrated red blood cells back into themselves before the run/ bike (with the subsequent increase in clot risk, of course)

of course, why can't climbers do this as well? take all of the illegal things they do in sports and apply it legally. of course, they are raising their risk of death with some of these body modifications, but at a lower, controlled risk than that from climbing a mountain without any body preparation at all

regardless, any climber should spend time running marathons in the high alps or the high sierra to increase red blood cell production naturally, if you are not genetically a sherpa

genius (4, Funny)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115017)

Hmm why do climbers die on everest? wweellll jeeez, its a giant mound of rock and ice that humans are not designed to be climbing on naturally. Thanks for the clarification science!

Everest: Beyond the Limit (1)

xRelisH (647464) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115045)

I was watching past seasons show a few months ago and it shows pretty raw first hand accounts of what it's like to attempt to climb Everest. The show also makes a good effort in recognizing the true climbers on the mountains -- the Sherpas, who assist and often save the lives of climbers.

The big surprise that the data indicate those deat (1)

Bonobo_Unknown (925651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115135)

I'm surprised that this is a big surprise. I thought it was common knowledge that oxygen deprivation and the effects of altitute were the most deadly factors...

Re:The big surprise that the data indicate those d (1)

LanceUppercut (766964) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115507)

LOL. You could've just said "the effects of altitute" is the deadly factor, because oxygen deprivation is an effect of altitude anyway (it's "altituDe", BTW).

Have you actually read the article?

Because people are assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115137)

Climbers die while descending Mount Everest because even though hundreds of people capable of rescuing them pass, all of those people have paid upwards of $25,000 to have a chance to summit the peak, and none of those assholes are willing to risk their precious experience to save someone's life.

Every year there's another couple of these utterly avoidable fatalities.

Another unexpected way... (3, Funny)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115205)

One of my friends went to hike Everest... he didn't make it very far up. Eating food from some of the natives made him very sick (projectiles from both ends), and he was drug off to a hospital. He didn't die, but it was a possibility in his condition.

THAT would suck... travel half-way around the world, to be taken down by tourist food.

it's mountain dependant (-1, Offtopic)

tbj61898 (643014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115347)

In Everest you could get in trouble getting down... in Brokeback Mountain they got in trouble by getting up.

I know why... (0, Flamebait)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115429)

Climbers die on Mt. Everest because they are frickin idiots. There is no good reason to go up there, and they should leave the bodies up there to serve as warnings to other idiots.

Score one for Captain Obvious!! (1)

computerchimp (994187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115497)

"Everest Beyond the Limit" was the Discovery channel reality show that was on several years ago. It was made clear that it was known that most climbers die on the decent in the "death zone" from reasons other than "avalanches or falling ice". The primary cause was "high-altitude cerebral edema".

What is next? A slashdot article on "when flipping a coin heads actually shows up 50% of the time!"

Computer Chimp
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