May 22, 2012- While descending the summit of Mount Everest, three climbers lost their lives officials announced on Monday. A German, Eberhard Schaaf, 61, was climbing with an expedition to remove garbage that has been on the mountain for decades. He died Saturday along the 29,035-foot peak along the Southeast Ridge Route.
Thirty-two year old Shriya Shah, a Nepal woman living in Canada and Song Won-Bin, a Korean also lost their lives when descending the summit over the weekend. A travel and tourism official said that Schaaf died because of altitude sickness on the South Summit. The south summit is approximately 28,697 feet in height.
Ang Sherpa, the head of the trekking company that had organized the climb, said Schaaf’s body was on still on the mountain and his family had been notified. Sherpa said if his family requests that his body be returned, an expedition will go out and try to bring it down.
Thus far during the season, two Sherpas have lost their lives – one from falling into a crevasse and one from altitude sickness. Since records were kept in 1950, 236 people have died trying to climb Everest.
The two most recent deaths mark what has already become a very controversial season for the mountain. One expedition company cancelled its expeditions due to safety concerns from warm temperatures that have created minimal snowpack, avalanches and rock fall.