A traffic jam of hundreds of mountaineers queueing to reach the summit of Everest has been blamed for the deaths of two hopefuls who died after a lengthy wait at high altitude.
More than 200 climbers reached the top of the world’s highest peak on Wednesday, but the rush to take advantage of a good weather window produced lengthy tailbacks on the upper slopes.
Photographs of the scene showed a solid line of climbers waiting for their turn to reach the 8,848m (29,030ft) peak.
Two later died, with their Sherpas blaming the wait caused by one of the busiest ever days on the mountain, the Kathmandu Post reported.
Donald Lynn Cash, 55, an American, and Anjali Kulkarni, an Indian also 55, both died while descending after reaching the top.
Thupden Sherpa, general manager of Mrs Kulkarni’s expedition agency, told the paper she died of “exhaustion”.
“Anjali and her husband were forced to wait for hours to reach the summit as there was a long queue on the slopes of Everest,” said Thupden. The couple had managed to reach the summit, but had become exhausted in the process.