There are other transformations taking place that only seasoned Everest watchers experience—such as those brought about by climate change. On the one hand, improved weather-forecasting techniques and secured routes have eliminated some of the risks associated with climbing the high mountains. At the same time, however, climate change has led to changing weather patterns, making storms more sudden and unpredictable, which could catch climbers by surprise.
“Because the mountain is generally warmer and easier to climb these days, people are bringing less gear and going light and fast. This means that when a storm arrives, climbers are less prepared for it,” says John All, director of the Mountain Environments Research Institute at Western Washington University.