Before starting the story, we just want to mention a fact:
Human beings simply aren’t built to function at the cruising altitude of a 747.
When you climb the world’s highest mountain range, it is at your own risk. In 1996, the mountain experienced a deadly day when eight climbers tragically lost their lives. Mountaineering accidents happen more often than you think and there are almost two hundred bodies lying frozen on the mountain.
People have had to leave their friends bodies behind and move on.
Does that sound selfish to you?
The reality is that there is very little you can do. The air above 26,000 feet (known as the Death Zone) is so thin that you are almost dying every second.
In those circumstances, mountaineers get confused and every little movement requires a great deal of effort.
Scott Fischer was a highly experienced mountain guide and his body is one of the 200 lying on the range.
It is very difficult for climbers to survive; hence, it is almost impossible to bring back the bodies of the dead.
New climbers are made aware of the difficulties lying ahead by the landmarks, which are actually the bodies of the dead that are preserved by the extreme cold. Their bodies are frozen and lying intact in the same position they died.
These are some stories of the climbers whose bodies are still lying over the range, making it an ‘open grave’.
Francys Arsentiev and Sergei
Francys Arsentiev become the first American woman to reach the summit without supplementary oxygen on May 22, 1998. She got separated from her husband Sergei. On May 23, Sergei went back from the camp in search of his wife and came across a team of Uzbek climbers who left their own summit in an attempt to help Francys down, but they ran short of oxygen and gave up.
O’Dowd, one of the team members, said that Francys was alive as she murmured, “Don’t leave me,” to O’Dowd. But she was immobile and slipping in and out of consciousness, and was already beyond rescuing. They spent nearly an hour in minus 30 degree temperature but they had to give up soon to save themselves. Later, they found that Sergei fell to his death in search of his wife.
In her book ‘Just for the Love of It’, O’Dowd writes:
“I had never encountered anything like this. I had passed bodies, I had had friends not come back, but I had never watched anyone die. Nor had I had to decide to leave them.”
Francys’ body lay right next to the main North Col route for years, passed by hundreds of climbers going to and from the summit.
Francys’s body was then covered with an American flag and a note from her family was placed in her hand.
In 2007, Woodall another member of that team, returned with the express intention of moving Francys’ body out of sight, covering it with an American flag and placing a note from her family on the corpse.