The Top Adventure Stories of 2012: A Fatal Year on Everest

Inexperienced climbers, cut-rate outfitters, and poor decisions lead to tragedy

Lights on the North Col route on May 18, 2012.     Photo: Grayson Schaffer

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In April and May of 2012, 10 people died on Everest, making it the third deadliest spring season in the mountain’s history, behind 1996’s total of 12 and 2006’s total of 11. Unlike 1996, when a sudden storm led to a high number of deaths on the mountain, a variety of circumstances led to fatalities in 2012. “Their deaths were the result of exhaustion, climbing too slowly, ignoring serious altitude sickness, and refusing to turn around—which is to say, the steady toll of human error,” wrote Outside’s Grayson Schaffer. “Nobody was killed by the mountain’s roulette wheel of hazards such as rockfall, avalanches, and blizzards.”

The names of the 10 people who died on the mountain are listed below. For a better idea of how and why they died, read Schaffer’s exhaustively reported feature, “Take a Number.”

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