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The Story Behind ‘Green Boots’, Mount Everest’s Most Famous Dead Body.

Hundreds of individuals have passed by the body of Tsewang Paljor, also known as Green Boots, but few are familiar with his story.

By Rare StoriesPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

The human body was not built to withstand the conditions encountered on Mount Everest. Besides the possibility of dying from freezing or lack of oxygen, the rapid change in altitude might provoke heart attacks, strokes, or brain swelling.

In the Death Zone of the mountain (the region above 26,000 feet), the oxygen level is so low that climbers' bodies and minds begin to shut down.

With only a third of the amount of oxygen found at sea level, the mountaineers are equally susceptible to delirium and hypothermia. When Australian climber Lincoln Hall was miraculously rescued from the Death Zone in 2006, his saviors found him peeling off his clothes in the sub-zero temps and muttering incoherently, believing himself to be on a boat.

George Mallory as he was found in 1999.

Hall was one of the fortunate few who survived the mountain's onslaught.   From 1924 (when the first known attempt to reach the summit was attempted) to 2015, 283 individuals died on Everest. The vast majority have never left the mountain.

George Mallory, one of the first people to attempt to climb Everest, was also one of its first victims.

Climbers are also susceptible to another form of mental illness: summit fever. Summit fever is the compulsive drive to reach the summit that causes climbers to disregard the warning signals from their own bodies.

This summit fever might have fatal consequences for other climbers, who may grow dependent on a good Samaritan if something goes wrong during their climb. David Sharp’s 2006 death created great controversy since approximately 40 climbers passed him by on their approach to the summit, supposedly not recognizing his near-fatal condition or abandoning their own attempts to halt and aid.

It is extremely dangerous to rescue live climbers from the Death Zone, and it is nearly impossible to retrieve their bodies. Numerous tragic mountaineers stay frozen in time exactly where they fell, serving as ghastly landmarks for the living.

Tsewang Paljor was a 28-year old policemen who became one of Mount Everest’s nearly 300 victims.

The body of "Green Boots," one of eight individuals killed on the mountain during a blizzard in 1996, must be passed by every climber en route to the summit.

The corpse, whose name comes from the neon green hiking boots it wears, is curled up in a limestone cave on the Northeast ridge path of Mount Everest. Everyone who passes through must step over his legs as a stark reminder that, despite their proximity to the summit, the journey is still perilous.

Green Boots is thought to be Tsewang Paljor (whether it is Paljor or one of his teammates is still debatable), a member of a four-man Indian climbing team who attempted to reach the summit in May of 1996.

28-year-old Paljor was an officer with the Indo-Tibetan border police who grew up in the village of Sakti, which is at the foot of the Himalayas. He was delighted to be chosen for the elite team that aspired to be the first Indians to reach the summit of Everest from the northern side.

The squad went out in a frenzy, unaware that the majority of them would never leave the mountain. Despite Tsewang Paljor's physical prowess and zeal, he and his colleagues were unprepared for the dangers they would confront on the mountain.

He who was huddled and frozen in an endless attempt to protect himself from the storm.

Harbhajan Singh, the expedition’s lone survivor, told how he was forced to fall back owing to the gradually worsening weather. Although he attempted to signal the others to retreat to the relative safety of the camp, they pushed on, overcome by summit fever.

Tsewng Paljor and his two comrades reached the summit, but as they began their descent, they were caught in a lethal blizzard. They were never heard from or seen again until the first climbers seeking shelter in the limestone cave saw Green Boots, who was huddled and frozen in an endless attempt to protect himself from the storm.


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