The Everest Disaster of 1996 refers to a blizzard that occurred on May 10th & 11th which led to the loss of eight lives. The blizzard caused the deadliest day and deadliest year on Mount Everest until the 2014 Mt. Everest avalanche which resulted in 16 casualties. The Nepal Earthquake which occured in April 2015 and caused an avalanche on the mountain that killed 19 people is now holds the record for the deadliest day in the mountain’s history. On May 10, 1996 a team of six Indian climbers from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police expedition were attempting to summit when the blizzard began. Just short of the peak, three of the six chose to continue with the summit while the others returned to base camp. Climbers Subedar Tsewang Samanla, Lance Naik (Lance Corporal) Dorje Morup and Head Constable Tsewang Paljor contacted the three team members who had returned to base camp via radio to notify them they had reaced the summit and would be descending shortly. The three men left prayer flags, Khatas (traditional Tibetan Buddhist ceremonial scarfs) and placed pitons (metal spikes used in mountain climbing as anchor points to prevent a fall and aid in climbing) atop the mountain. Samanla, who was the leader of the expedition instructed Dorje Morup and Tsewang Paljor to begin descent as he remained behind to conduct a religious ceremony from the mountains peak.
What happened next remains a mystery; All that is certain is that the three men died in the 1996 Everest Disaster. The team did not make any additional radio contact with their team members at base camp and never returned. Evidence suggests they may have never even made it to the actual summit, appearing to have stopped 430 feet (150 meters) short due to confusion from poor visibility. A team of Japanese climbers their summit may have seen one or more of the Indian climbers but failed to assist them because they were unaware the three climbers had been reported missing. The Japanese team claimed during their descent they saw a person on a fixed rope and a second unidentifiable object which may have also been a human. One team member from the Japanese expedition even greeted another unitentified climber, possibly a missing member of the Indian expedition. Although the Japanese team aided the unitentified climber in transitioning to their next set of ropes, the climber did not otherwise seem to be in need of assistance. Eventually, a body was discovered under the overhang of a boulder along the Northeast Ridge Route at 27,890 feet (8500 meters), near Camp 6. The corpse was found lying next beside a rucksack with clothing intact but no gloves on.
Green boots worn by the deceased climber led people to refer to him simly as “Green Boots” and the limestone alcove he was discovered in as “Green Boots Cave”.
People have long believed the body in the small cave was that of Tsewang Paljor who had been wearing a pair of green Koflach boots when he was last seen alive.
An article published in the Himalayan Journal in 1997 put forth the theory that the body is actually Dorje Morup and Paljor’s body was never discovered. According to Morup’s team he “refused to put on gloves over his frost-bitten hands” and during the ascent, before the group spilt up, he was already struggling and “was finding difficulty in uncoiling his safety carabiner at anchor points”.
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