Long winding queues of people awaiting their turn to share a cab or rickshaw under the hot, blistering sun, to reach offices is a common sight in India's many metropolitan cities. But it is rare to see people bundled in bright, fluffy sweaters, laden with heavy backpacks, under the welcoming warmth of the sun waiting their turn to reach the snow-clad peak of world's highest mountain - Mt. Everest.
While many Indians thronged outside their various favoured parties' offices awaiting the results of the Lok Sabha elections, a record number of Indians stood patiently awaiting their turn, on the precariously narrow cliffs of Mount Everest to reach its summit on May 23.
The picture shared by AFP Editor-in-Chief for the Asia Pacific, Giles Hewitt titled- 'The world's highest queue' shows a long winding line of mountaineers dressed in sturdy winter clothes carrying backpacks, wearing mountaineering gear waiting to reach the summit. The line which extends from the summit to a long way down show people standing on the steep cliffs which are covered sparsely with a layer of powdery white snow, under the bright summer sun.
The route was clogged as 250-300 people marched in a single-file, reportedly taking up to three hours to summit. This unprecedented crowd on the peak was because this season also saw 80 Indians climbers scaling Mount Everest which had 381 listed mountaineers permitted to climb the world's highest peak, according to PTI.
But sadly, the traffic jam caused on the summit has reported in the death of three Indian hikers - Anjali Kulkarni, Kalpana Das, and Nihal Bagwan due to exhaustion waiting on the peak for almost 12 hours and being unable to descend successfully, as reported by AFP. The death toll in this season's Mount Everest summit has totalled to 10, as of May 23.
The traffic jam on Mount Everest has triggered a debate amongst experts as to the dangers of these traffic jams created for climbers, who are often already exhausted and carrying heavy loads while battling altitude sickness making them dizzy and nauseated.