Khumbu Icefall

A melting river of ice that shifts slowly each year. Being the Glacier in the highest altitude, Khumbu Icefall is the first obstacle climbers face when they ascend to the Everest summit. And some other amazing properties that Khumbu Glacier has is that, unlike other glaciers its move slowly. 

Once it leaves Lhotse, the glacier defines the Western Cwm for about 2 miles before dropping rapidly to create the Khumbu Icefall for 2.5 miles. And for a fact, that Khumbu Icefall is the root juice of different mountains. Around Everest Base Camp (EBC), the glacier makes a sharp southernly bend and continues another 6 miles/9.6km to 16,000’/4,900m. The Icefall varies in width from over half a mile/800m to a third of a mile/500m.

Khumbu Icefall bodies

The first obstacle to reach Everest’s summit is the Khumbu Icefall one faces after has taken down many lives unimaginable. On considerable thought, nearly about 300 climbers have been the victim of this deadly icefall. And still, to the date, the dead bodies of some climbers emerge randomly. 

Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast meltings and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association.

The global warming has reduced the melting rate of Khumbu Glacier of upper part that falls from 

Mt. Everest is falling slowly than any other glaciers. But on the other hand, the lower part of the glacier that lies near the Base Camp has been thinner and easier. From the photos that have been captured from above of the Everest. 

The exposure of the dead bodies at Khumbu Glacier or in the Everest was a topic of controversy for some environmentalists.  The officials with the Expendations with the Operators Association of Nepal (EOAN) tried their best to bring down the ropes from Mount Lhotse during the climbing season of 2019.  However, bringing the dead bodies down was not so easy. The bodies weigh 10 times heavier than the normal body weight. And at that altitude, its something off the roof.

The government official under Nepal Government also needs to prioritize this problem. 

“This issue needs to be prioritized by both the government and the mountaineering industry,” said Dambar Parajuli, president of EOAN.

There was even a discussion about, if the Tibetian Government can handle the dead bodies why not the Government of Nepal. Defending the statement the Sherpa community even glared with their courageous heart. 

“If they can do this on the Tibet side of Everest, we can do it here as well.”

But like always, this plan never came to an end. But however, the number of dead bodies to appear in Everest has been minimized. 

The Khumbu Fall collects the dead bodies of the Everest. Mountainers who have died recently are said to have fallen in the Icefall. And in recent years, most dead bodies are surfacing at the Icefall. 

Removing a dead body can cost up to $80,000 (£61,000). A study in 2015 revealed that ponds on the Khumbu glacier, which are crossed by climbers as they attempt to reach the summit, were expanding and joining up because of accelerated melting.

Because of the following consequences that Khumbu Icefall has been facing in these recent years. A group of researchers including members from Leeds and Aberystwyth universities in the UK went and studied the temperature of the glacier. When they drilled the Khumbu Glacier,  the result was that the ice was warmer than the expected temperature. Which results that, the melting of Khumbu Glacier is accelerating. 

Khumbu Icefall Avalanches

Mount Everest is a hell of a surprise in terms of weather. With uncertainties in weather comes a lot of difficulties. Well, Khumbu Icefall is itself a deadly obstacle, and if there occurs an avalanche it will take many lives. 

In the Avalanche of April 18, 2014, at the Everest, which was caused due to the fall of serac crushed over 16 Nepalese people that were working in the Khumbu Region. And the other 9 people were injured.  Mt. Everest is itself the deadliest mountain that has taken the lives of many Mountaineers.

The avalanches in Everest bring the avalanche in the Khumbu Ice Fall as well. Being the gateway from Everest Base Camp to Camp 1. It carries a lot of risks.