The Khumbu Icefall: Mount Everest’s Death Trap

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Image: Olaf Rieck

The Khumbu Glacier is situated between Mount Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse Ridge. The glacier is the final part of the trail to and from Everest Base Camp. It is a key route for climbing Mount Everest; this is one of the better known and often-visited of the Himalayan glaciers.


Image: Mahatma4711

The famed Khumbu Icefall transitions the glacier from the accumulation zone to the ablation zone, the ablation zone being where the melting happens. Base camp for the climbing expeditions sits on a debris-covered section of the glacier, below the Khumbu Icefall. The debris cover is brought down by avalanches and uncovered at the surface due to melting.

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Image: Bruce Diksas

While Mount Everest is famous, known as the top of the world because of its size – it stands at an astonishing 29,029 feet above sea level – it is also notorious for its harsh climbing conditions and the treacherous weather that faces climbers. Temperatures can fall below -100 degrees Fahrenheit or even colder, and the winds gust with the strength of a category 3 hurricane, at 118 miles per hour or more.

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