Green Boots of Mount Everest

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Creepy

The majestic mountain of death. Mount Everest is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The China–Nepal border runs across its summit point. Since accurate records first being kept, Everest has defeated 304 people. Needless to say, the number is more substantial, but those others are left in the darkness of history. The ghoulish part is those forever frozen bodies are used as markers to outline numerous trails up the mountain. 


People suffer a want or even need to carry out things that can kill them. Some consider it a thrill, while others like myself call it an addiction to adrenalin. And like any addiction, they can be hazardous. The human body was not designed to function in the types of conditions found on Mount Everest. Most people believe the only things they have to worry about is hypothermia or lack of oxygen. But the drastic change in altitude can trigger heart attacks, strokes, or brain swellings. In the mountain’s Death Zone (the area above 26,000 feet), the level of oxygen is so low that climbers’ bodies and minds begin shutting down.


The amount of oxygen in the Zone comprises only a third than it is at sea level. Any the mountaineers face the danger from delirium as they do from hypothermia. When Australian climber Lincoln Hall was rescued from the Death Zone in 2006 shows the danger of low oxygen. When rescuers found him, he had stripped off his clothes in the sub-zero temperatures and mumbling incoherently. He thought he was a boat. Hall was one of the few fortunate climbers to be rescued after being left for dead. From 1924 (when gallant adventurers made the first documented attempt to reach the peak) to 2015. George Mallory, one of the first people to try and scale Everest, was also one of the mountain’s first recorded victims.


Naturally, since humans are curious, and pride being strong with some, climbers are also at risk from another kind of disease of the mind: summit fever. Summit fever represents the name that has been given to the obsessive desire to reach the top that leads climbers to ignore the ominous signs from their own bodies. David Sharp’s 2006 death garnished huge media attention over the controversy that around 40 climbers passed him by on their way to the summit, supposedly not observing his near-fatal condition or abandoning their own attempts to stop and help. On the other end of the spectrum, humans are also kind and generous. This makes summit fever lethal to other climbers, who may become dependent on a good Samaritan if something goes wrong during their ascent. 


The act of rescuing live climbers from the Death Zone is extremely risky. Even removing their bodies is practically impossible. Because of the high altitude and blustery winds, air evacuation is impossible. Many unfortunate mountaineers remain exactly where they fell, frozen in time forever to serve as macabre milestones for the living. One such body that every climber en route to the summit must pass is Green Boots. Green Boots was one of the eight people killed on the mountain during a blizzard in 1996.


The corpse received its name because of the neon green hiking boots it wears. The corpse lies curled up in a limestone cave on Mount Everest’s Northeast Ridge route. Everyone who passes through the Northeast route is forced to step over his legs. This is a forceful reminder that the path is still treacherous, despite their proximity to the summit. Green Boots is believed to be Tsewang Paljor (whether it is Paljor or one of his teammates is nevertheless up for debate). He is a member of a four-man team from India who made their attempt at attaining the summit in May of 1996. 


The 28-year-old Paljor was an officer with the Indo-Tibetan border police who grew up in the village of Sakti, which lies at the foot of the Himalayas. Naturally, he was thrilled when he was selected to be part of the exclusive team that hoped to be the first Indians to reach the top of Everest from the Northside. The team set off in a flurry of excitement, not realizing most of them would never leave the mountain. Despite Tsewang Paljor’s physical strength and enthusiasm, he and his teammates were completely unprepared for the perils they would face on the mountain. The expedition’s sole survivor, Harbhajan Singh, recalled how he was forced to fall back due to the steadily worsening weather. Although he tried to signal to the others to return to the relative safety of the camp, they pushed on without him, consumed by summit fever.


Tsewang Paljor and his two teammates did indeed reach the summit, but as they made their descent they were caught up in the deadly blizzard. They were neither heard nor seen from again, until the first climbers seeking shelter in the limestone cave came upon Green Boots, huddled frozen in an eternal attempt to shelter himself from the storm. After reports of the Green Booted corpse, the villages around the base of Everest concluded it was Tsewang Paljor.

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