Gruesome Find As Mount Everest Glacier Melts
Close to 300 mountaineers have died on the peak since 1922, their bodies have been preserved, buried under thick ice and snow -- until now.
The spring climbing season is kicking off and authorities are removing bodies from the Chinese side of the mountain as high temperatures melt the glacier and snow.
"Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed," Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, told the BBC.
"We have brought down dead bodies of some mountaineers who died in recent years, but the old ones that remained buried are now coming out."
One government officer, who worked as a liaison officer on Everest said they had retrieved the bodies of 10 climbers from a number of locations on Everest in recent years.
Recovery attempts are difficult and expensive.
Under Nepalese law, government agencies have to be involved when handling bodies and with a price tag of anywhere from AU$28,000 to AU$AU56,000, for each recovery mission, it can take time to get government funding.
Most of the exposed bodies appeared on the surface of the Khumbu Glacier where researchers have found evidence of rapid glacial melt and increasing temperatures, according to the BBC.
In February, a new report found that rising temperatures in the Himalayas will melt at least one-third of the region's glaciers by 2100, even if the most ambitious of climate targets are met.
The figures are even bleaker around the world, with glacier volumes projected to decline up to 90 per cent this century due to decreased snowfall.
The thinning of the ice isn't only uncovering the bodies of climbers, it's also posing a challenge for existing climbers.
Ponds on the surface of the Khumbu Glacier have expanded and joined others to form large lakes -- climbers have to cross this glacier, including the Khumbu Icefall, to reach the peak, which is becoming more and more difficult.
The newly formed lakes also threaten settlements downstream if they overflow.
But despite the warnings, locals aren't too alarmed.
"The ponds will come and go but as long as we keep our gods on the mountains happy, we have nothing to fear", Ang Kami Sherpa said.