Mount Everest is a common milestone and goal for many climbers. However, it is actually a dangerous undertaking with the climb attributed to the many deaths over the years. Green Boots refers to the corpse of a climber on Mount Everest that serves as a landmark for other climbers along the Northeast ridge route. The corpse is believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, who was among a group of mountaineers from India who hoped to become the country's first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The corpse lies curled up along the mountain Northeast ridge route in a limestone cave and got its name from the neon green hiking boots it wears.
Tsewang Paljor grew up in Sakti, a village at the foot of the Himalayas and was a member of the Indo-Tibetan border police. In May 1996, Paljor along with a team of three other climbers were selected to scale the treacherous Mount Everest. It is believed that Paljor and two other members of the team indeed reached the summit of Mount Everest, but encountered a deadly blizzard during their descent. The three team members were never seen again until a different group of climbers decided to seek shelter in the limestone cave along the Northeast ridge route and found Green Boots curled up, presumably in an attempt to shield himself from the storm. Harbhajan Singh was the only survivor of the Indian mountaineering team, as he had decided to stay at the camp and never managed to reach the summit of Mount Everest due to what he described as worsening weather conditions. Paljor was 28 years old at the time of his death.
Everest Disaster of 1996
Green Boots is believed to have been part of a group of 8 climbers who perished on May 10, 1996, when a massive blizzard hit the mountain now known as the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. The blizzard, one of the deadliest disasters on Mount Everest led to the highest body count in a single day on Mount Everest. Many experienced guides died while leading groups of amateur climbers, such as Sandy Pittman, a socialite who survived and only suffered minor frostbite.
The True Identity of Green Boots
There is ongoing debate about the true identity of Green Boots, as some claim the body belongs to another Indian mountain climber from Paljor's team. P.M Das, who was the Senior Deputy Leader of the team, claims that Paljor’s body disappeared, leaving the possibility that Green Boots is the body Lance Naik Dorje Murup.
Green Boots as a Trail Marker
The body of Green Boots was found at around 27,887 feet, in what is commonly referred to as the ‘death zone’ and is used by other climbers to help them estimate how close they are to the summit.
Causes of Death on Mount Everest
Mount Everest stands at an elevation of 29,028 feet and is the highest mountain on earth. Common causes of death on the mountain include hypothermia, exhaustion, lack of oxygen, falls, and avalanches. Hypothermia was blamed for the death of 34-year old David Sharp, who died in the same cave as Green Boots. Many of the other climbers are reported to have failed to offer assistance to Sharp, with some assuming that he was Green Boots and was already dead.
Corpses as Landmarks
There are over 200 corpses on Mount Everest that are used as landmarks along the various routes to the summit of the mountain. The corpses are typically left on the mountain due to the difficulty of getting them off the mountain, which many experts describe as near impossible. Some of the other famous bodies include George Mallory, who attempted to reach the summit in 1924, and Shriya Shah-Klorfine, which was found 984 feet below the summit.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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