He knew what was coming, but he braved the climb anyway.
British mountain climber Robin Haynes Fisher was well-aware of the dangers of overcrowding in the Mount Everest before hiking to the summit a week ago.
In an Instagram post, the mountaineer said he had hoped to avoid the crowds of people that climb the mountain on summit day because delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal.
After reaching the summit at 28,215 feet (8,600 meters), Haynes Fisher died of altitude sickness while descending from Mount Everest on May 25.
Summit Overcrowding In Mount Everest Is A Growing Problem
The 44-year-old British mountaineer is one of the nine climbers to have died on Mount Everest in the 2019 climbing season as conditions on the mountain have turned deadly. Some climbers have also been reported as missing.
On an Instagram post prior to his death, Haynes Fisher said an Indian man and Irish climber both died when they went above 8,000 meters in the death zone.
Haynes Fisher said his plan was to return up the mountain to the basecamp on May 21 and then arrive on the summit on May 25. His cough had already begun to return at such high altitude, and sickness had prevented him from going to the camp 3 rotation.
On the third week of May, crowds of mountain climbers lined up on a queue to the summit of Mount Everest, just above the highest camp at 26,247 feet (8,000 meters).
At the Mount Everest summit, which is at 29,029 feet high (8,848 meters), each breath only contains one-third of the oxygen found at sea-level.
Without additional oxygen supplies, most people could only spend a matter of minutes on the summit.
A local tour organizer said an Indian climber named Nihal Ashpak Bhagwan died of exhaustion after being stuck in the long queue at the summit.
Nepal's Tourism Authorities Deny Overcrowding Dangers
Despite the rising toll of deaths in the highest mountain in the world, tourism officials in Nepal have denied that these deaths are solely due to overcrowding.
Dandu Raj Ghimire, the director general of Nepal's tourism department, offered his condolences to the families of the climbers who died and to climbers who were still missing.
He said that approximately 381 people climbed the Everest in spring, and periods of fine weather has been relatively shorter. The number of people on the single route to Everest has been higher than expected, he said.
"Mountaineering in the Himalayas is in itself an adventurous, complex and sensitive issue requiring full awareness yet tragic accidents are unavoidable," said Ghimire.
Adrian Ballinger, a mountain guide, said difficult weather conditions during this season often led to overcrowding because attempts to reach the summit are restricted to a small number of days. Such issues are exacerbated by lack of experience from some climbing teams, he said.
Ballinger explained that climbers often died from exhaustion, but what it means is that they run out of oxygen supplies as the time they spend at extreme altitudes is extended.
"These deaths were entirely preventable," added Ballinger.
Photo: Alejandro Pinto | Flickr