By Marshall Thompson
While we were waiting for the weather to clear up this week, Apa participated in the Eco Everest clean-up of human bodies on and around Mount Everest. In total, they respectfully removed three bodies from the lower part of the Khumbu Ice Fall and from the glacier. This happened, a few days ago, but I haven’t written about it until now. That’s because it’s a hard subject for me.
First of all, these three bodies have family members and loved ones who care about them deeply. Only one of the bodies was identified and returned to his family for burial or cremation.
Secondly, the fact that dead bodies had to be removed from the Ice Fall is a poignant and unwelcomed reminder of the dangers involved with climbing Mount Everest. I don’t wish to make anyone back home worry.
Finally, I have personally had a hard time with this subject because of my past experiences in Iraq. I was a soldier there from 2005 to 2006 and I still deal with post traumatic stress disorder. Seeing the dead bodies brought back some terrible feelings and memories. The difference here, however, is that these three people died doing their jobs and doing what they loved. They were removed from the mountain with respect and dignity.
I just want to thank Apa and everyone else who took the time to move these bodies to a proper resting place. I think everyone at Base Camp has slept better since.