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Ignorance - the main reason behind deaths on Mount Everest

For every ten people who successfully climb Mount Everest, there is one death.The main causes of death are injuries and exhaustion. Altitude-related sickness like high// altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) also pose a serious threat, because many climbers take too long to reach the summit.

Dr. Andrew Sutherland, a Wellcome Research Training fellow in the Nuffield Department of Surgery, in Oxford, was a part of an Everest expedition this summer. He was shocked while on the mountain by the number of altitude-related illness and climbers' lack of knowledge about it.

15 people have died on Everest this year, the highest since 1996.

Dr. Sutherland said,' It seems that many climbers who suffer severe altitude sickness are in denial and keep pushing to the top of Everest. But, they move slower and slower as they go. And once reaching the summit, their determination dwindles and they fall prey to altitude illness and die on the way down'.

An article in the Aug. 26 issue of the British Medical Journal has Sutherland's observations. According to him, it is a common misconception that only inexperienced climbers, who pay $60,000 or more to be guided up the mountain, die. 'Of all the people I knew who died, most had 8,000-meter climbing experience before. It has more to do with people exceeding their altitude ability,' he said.

'The only way you can tell that someone is suffering from HACE or HAPE is that they are taking too long to get to the top of the mountain,' Sutherland said. 'When you look at a number of deaths this year and how long it took them to get to the summit, it was far too long.'

'Your rate of ascent should be no longer than 1? hours per 100 metres,' Dr Sutherland said. 'If you are slow this means something is wrong and your chances of not making it off the mountain are greatly increased.' He added

'Most of the deaths occur on the descent after
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