Every year, hundreds of people pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of getting to climb Mount Everest — but what the Nepalese tourism board doesn’t exactly like to advertise is that around 240 climbers have died trying to make the summit, and most of them are still up there. In fact, there is a section of the mountain called Rainbow Valley where dozens of bodies are visible due to their brightly colored climbing jackets.
You see, the climbing part isn’t really that hard (it’s like being on a Stairmaster for a really long time), but it’s the altitude that usually gets you. Once you get past the 26,000-foot mark, you enter the death zone (starring Christopher Walken) — there’s so little oxygen at that altitude that the human body can’t survive. So, basically, if you stay there for too long, you start slowly turning into Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining. Some people just tip over from exhaustion and stay in that position forever.
And yes, many of these bodies are on the route that climbers usually take. One such body is that of British climber David Sharp, who didn’t bring enough oxygen, got tired, and sat down to rest in a small cave near the peak that was already inhabited by another dead climber known as Green Boots.
Later, a group of other climbers passed by and saw Sharp sitting there with half of his body frozen … and that’s when he mumbled his name and they realized he was still alive. He was even filmed when a documentary crew walked past, but there was nothing they could do for him — in the death zone, people can barely walk, let alone carry a body. And that’s why Nepal doesn’t just go up there and remove the bodies: Many who tried have ended up joining them.
But hey, at least those people end up serving as reference markers for other climbers, like poor Francys Arsentiev here:
The Gulf War had a great deal of TV coverage, but it was heavily restricted. Supposedly this was to protect sensitive information from Iraqi military tuned to CNN but the reality was that the Pentagon feared a repeat of Vietnam. Many in the Pentagon felt Vietnam was lost because of the press’s unrestricted access to the war. To reduce the number of reporters working on ground, the war was conducted under a pool system, where any press organisation that was a member of that pool had access to everyone else’s work. On the other hand, the Pentagon tightly controlled the pools with government approved reporters and provided military escorts for any field reporting. Just a few hours before the 1991 Gulf war ceasefire, photographer Ken Jarecke was heading back to Kuwait from Southern Iraq. Jarecke came across a single truck burnt out from airstrike in the middle of a highway. Jarecke told his military escort that “If I don’t make pictures like this, people like my mother will think what they see in war is what they see in movies”, and went over to the burnt tank and took the above photo. At that time, it was an image challenged the prevailing notion that the ‘clinical’ attack avoided ‘collateral damage’.
Ph. Victor Demarchelier
Hiroki Kikuta - The Oracle [from Secret of Mana]
i happen to know from a very reliable source that this is the skeletons’ favorite dance