19:54 GMT11 April 2021
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    Increased traffic on Mount Everest has played a factor in several deaths this season, and in the past week alone, at least seven individuals have lost their lives on the mountain.

    Nepal's Mount Everest has seen an increase in climbers this spring season, as a record 381 permits were issued, each costing $11,000, according to the Nepal Department of Tourism.

    This past Thursday in particular, three individuals lost their lives while descending the mountain. The BBC reported two of those who died were Indian climbers, Kalpana Dash, 52, and Nihal Bagwan, 27, who lost their lives from "exhaustion" while descending Everest.

    "He was stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted. Sherpa guides carried him down to Camp 4 but he breathed his last there," Keshav Paudel of Peak Promotion said of Bagwan to AFP.

    According to former Nepal Mountaineering Association President Ang Tsering Sherpa, bottlenecking occurs because conditions such as high winds narrow the timeframe to reach the peak. As a result, there's a lot of "hurry up and wait" that occurs for climbers at altitudes with significantly less oxygen than normal.

    Climber Nirmal Purja of "Project Possible 14/7" posted a photo this week that shows just how crowded the summit can get atop Everest. Closer inspection shows the line near the peak is actually two by two.

    Deaths earlier this week included American Don Cash, a Utah father who, according to an NBC interview with his family, signed a "waiver that his body would be left in the event of death."

    "One of the last messages my mom got was thank you for supporting me in my dreams," Cash's son revealed. "He wanted to do this. He wanted to be on that mountain. He wanted to show that he could accomplish dreams and that others can too."

    A 65-year-old Austrian man and 55-year-old Indian climber Anjali Kulkarni lost their lives Wednesday, while Irish professor Séamus Lawless was presumed dead earlier this week after his fall May 16, reported BBC and AFP.

    Fatalities from this week alone surpass the five-person death toll sustained in 2018's spring season.

    In response to the recent uptick in deaths, some individuals, such as adventurer and TV personality Ben Fogle, are calling for Nepal to introduce a threshold for to the number of permits available.

    "Nepal and Tibet/China need to limit the number of climbers on the mountain with a London Marathon style lottery for climbing permits," Fogle noted Thursday after seeing Purja's photograph.


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