Controversy Marks 70th Anniversary of Mount Everest Climb

By Billy Jiang, May 26, 2023

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In a remarkable feat, 13 Chinese scientific expedition members successfully reached Mount Everest's summit on May 23.

This significant achievement coincides with the 70th anniversary of the first human ascent to the peak, adding yet another chapter to the illustrious history of the majestic Everest.

As the world celebrates this milestone, it is essential to recognize the challenges and risks associated with climbing the world's highest peak. 

Over the years, more than 10 climbing routes have been established, but the majority of climbers still opt for the two traditional routes: the southern slope from the Nepalese side and the northern slope from the Chinese side in Tibet.

Only a small number, approximately 100 individuals, have managed to conquer Everest through alternative routes, showcasing the arduous nature of the climb.

Back in 1953, on May 29, Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and his Sherpa companion Tenzing Norgay etched their names in history by becoming the first humans to summit Mount Everest.

Their extraordinary achievement laid the foundation for subsequent expeditions and sparked a lasting fascination with conquering the world's tallest peak.

As 2023 is hailed as the 'Platinum Jubilee' of Everest climbing, numerous ceremonial and grand commemorative activities have been organized to honor this momentous occasion.

However, amidst the celebrations, the shadow of tragedy looms over the mountain. The year 2023 has seen an alarming number of fatalities and missing climbers on Everest, with the count reaching 14. 

Unfortunately, once climbers go missing above the treacherous 8,000-meter mark, the chances of survival diminish significantly. It is possible that more cases of tragedy will be revealed in the coming days, underscoring the perilous nature of scaling the mighty mountain.


Mount Everest Set For One of Deadliest Years. Source: Bloomberg.

Regrettably, the death toll in 2023 ranks as the third highest in history, following the tragic years of 2014 and 1996, when 16 and 15 climbers lost their lives, respectively. 

These incidents serve as a somber reminder of the immense risks involved in undertaking such an extraordinary challenge.

The year 2023 has also witnessed the highest number of climbers ever recorded attempting to conquer Everest. Nepalese authorities have issued a staggering 478 Mount Everest climbing permits, generating a record-breaking profit of approximately 5.8 million dollars. 

Female climber sobbing uncontrollably while descending Mount Everest. Source: Hongxing News.

On May 21, a heart-wrenching video of a female climber sobbing uncontrollably while descending Mount Everest stirred widespread discussion and controversy.

The video features Zhu Xia, an accomplished climber from Zhejiang Province, who successfully reached the summit but was overcome with emotions upon witnessing the collapse of three fellow climbers. 

The video has sparked a debate on the meaning and significance of climbing Mount Everest, with netizens expressing sympathy and raising questions about pursuing such perilous endeavors.

Mount Everest continues to captivate the human spirit, offering an unparalleled challenge to those who dare to scale its heights.

Yet, it is crucial to approach this feat with respect for the mountain's unforgiving nature and the preservation of human life as the utmost priority.

Have you ever challenged yourself to a mountain top? Please let us know in the comments and follow us on Official WeChat Account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image via Xinhua News Agency]

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