‘It Was Like a Zoo’: Death on an Unruly, Overcrowded Everest – The New York Times

Mr. Dohring, the American doctor, represents the other end of the spectrum.

At 62, he has climbed peaks all over the world. He read about explorers as a boy and said he had always wanted to get to the “one spot where you can stand higher than any place else on earth.’’

To prepare for Everest, he slept at home in a tent that simulated high-altitude conditions. His total Everest experience cost $70,000.

Still, there was only so much he could prepare for. Last month, when he hiked into base camp at Everest at an altitude of more than 17,000 feet, Mr. Dohring said he was overcome with awe.

“You look at a circle of mountain peaks above you and think, ‘What am I doing here?’’’ he said.

He pressed on. After long, cold days, he inched up a spiny trail to the summit early on Thursday and ran into crowds “aggressively jostling for pictures.”

He was so scared, he said, that he plunked down on the snow to keep from losing his balance and had his guide take a picture of him holding up a small sign that said, “Hi Mom Love You.’’

On the way down, he passed two more dead bodies in their tents.

“I was not prepared to see sick climbers being dragged down by the mountain by Sherpas or the surreal experience of finding dead bodies,” he said.

But on Sunday, he had made it out. He boarded a helicopter after reaching base camp and flew back to Kathmandu.

He counted his blisters at the Yak and Yeti Hotel, where he said he treated himself to a thick steak and cracked open a cold beer. “Everest Lager, of course,” he said.

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