A British climber, who became the latest person to die on Mount Everest this season, admitted before setting off that he feared the dangers of overcrowding in the "death zone".
Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, died on his descent after reaching the 8,850-metre (29,035 feet) summit of the world's highest mountain.
He passed away in the "death zone", the area named for the low levels of oxygen on descent from the summit.
Mr Fisher, who lived in Birmingham, is one of at least eight climbers to die on the treacherous slopes in the current climbing season that ends this month.
Hiking officials attributed most of the deaths to weakness, exhaustion and delays on the crowded route to the summit.
In his last social media post on Tuesday, Mr Fisher wrote how he had changed his climbing plans in order to avoid the crowds.
Climbed up to camp 3, 7500m but the jet stream had returned closing the summit after only 2 days so I descended to basecamp. Around 100 climbers did summit in those 2 days with sadly 2 deaths, an Indian man found dead in his tent at camp 4 and an Irish climber lost, assumed fallen, on his descent. A go fund me page has been set up for a rescue bid for the Irish climber but it is a well meaning but futile gesture. Condolences to both their friends and families. Both deaths happened above 8000m in the so called death zone where the majority of deaths of foreign climbers happen. Around 700 more people will be looking to summit from Tuesday the 21st onwards. My revised plan, subject to weather that at the moment looks promising, is to return up the mountain leaving basecamp Tuesday the 21st 0230 and, all being well and a lot of luck, arriving on the summit the morning of Saturday the 25th. I will be climbing with my Sherpa, Jangbu who is third on the all time list with an incredible 19 summits. The other 4 members of our team decided to remain on the mountain and are looking to summit on the 21st. My cough had started to return at altitude so I couldn’t wait with them at altitude for the window to open without the risk of physically deteriorating too much. Furthermore as I had missed due to sickness the earlier camp 3 rotation best practice was for me to descend to allow my body to recover from the new altitude high so I could come back stronger. This was not an easy decision as the 13 hours climbing from basecamp to camp 2 in a day was the hardest physical and mental challenge I had ever done, now I have it all to do again. Finally I am hopeful to avoid the crowds on summit day and it seems like a number of teams are pushing to summit on the 21st. With a single route to the summit delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal so I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people. Unless of course everyone else plays the same waiting game. #everest #everest2019 #lhotseface
A post shared by Robin (@1c0n0clast22) on May 19, 2019 at 1:15am PDT
"With a single route to the summit delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal so I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people. Unless of course everyone else plays the same waiting game," he added.
He also described how the altitude had already taken its toll on his health.
"My cough had started to return at altitude so I couldn’t wait with them at altitude for the window to open without the risk of physically deteriorating too much.
"Furthermore as I had missed due to sickness the earlier camp 3 rotation best practice was for me to descend to allow my body to recover from the new altitude high so I could come back stronger.
"This was not an easy decision as the 13 hours climbing from basecamp to camp 2 in a day was the hardest physical and mental challenge I had ever done, now I have it all to do again."
Mr Fisher has been described by his family as an “aspirational adventurer”.
Mr Fisher’s family said: “He achieved so much in his short life, climbing Mont Blanc, Aconcagua and Everest.
"He was a 'tough guy', triathlete, and marathoner. A champion for vegetarianism, published author, and a cultured theatre-goer, lover of Shakespeare.”
Now Nepal is facing scrutiny for issuing a record 381 permits — at £8,600 each — for this year’s spring season.
Completed oxygen training which we will use in the so called death zone, above 8000m. I have 8 bottles, each weighing 4kg when full that the Sherpas have thankfully already shipped up the mountain to our advanced camps. Tomorrow we head up the mountain, leaving at 3am. We are going to bypass camp 1 and go all the way to camp 2. I can expect a 13 or 14 hour day of climbing. From camp 2 the plan is to go up to c3 for an acclimatisation climb and then return to c2. Depending on how the summit window looks, what the other teams are doing and how I feel I may then descend to basecamp to complete acclimatisation and return up the mountain later or may go for my summit push. A summit push will mean a return to c3, spending the night, proceeding to c4 and either spending the night or pushing for the summit that evening. It depends on how we feel, the weather and what the other 380 climbers are doing. As most expeditions average 1 to 1.5 Sherpas per climber we need to pick a day when there are not a few hundred other people heading for the summit. Due to their being one set of ropes their are a number of bottlenecks at tricky points. Standing around in a queue of a hundred people when with the windchill can be -40C is a recipe for frostbite or worse. When I was waiting to see the doctor in base camp yesterday to get the all clear to go up the patient before me had just come down the mountain. He had, at altitude, taken his summit mitts off to change the batteries in his headtorch. These 2.5 minutes had caused him stage 3 frostbite in his fingers and the prognosis was that he may lose the tips of his fingers. A timely reminder to keep my gloves on at all times. #everest #everest2019
A post shared by Robin (@1c0n0clast22) on May 14, 2019 at 12:34am PDT
This week, a climber shared a photograph of the lengthy tailbacks on the mountain. Hundreds found themselves stuck for hours in the notoriously dangerous death zone, having used the window of good weather to push for the 8,848m (29,030ft) summit.
Murari Sharma, of the Everest Parivar Treks company that arranged Mr Fisher’s logistics, told Reuters: “He died because of weakness after a long ascent and difficult descent.
“He was descending with his sherpa guides from the summit when he suddenly fainted.”
Fellow guides changed Mr Fisher’s oxygen bottle and offered him water, but could not save him.
At least four other deaths have been linked to the human traffic jam. A Nepali guide is also believed to have died.
Irish climber Kevin Hynes, 56, died in his tent at 7,000 metres on the early hours of Friday morning, after turning back before reaching the summit.
With each climber normally accompanied by at least one Sherpa, the mountain could see more than 750 people trekking to the summit this season.
Garrett Madison of the U.S. based Madison Mountaineering company that sponsors climbers to Mount Everest said many were not well qualified or prepared climbers and lacked the support necessary to ascend and descend safely.
Mr Madison told Reuters: “If they were with a strong and experienced team they would have likely been fine, but with minimal support, once something goes wrong it’s tough to get back on course.”