Justine Burley, 1 January 1998
On the night of 10 May 1996, 19 climbers were stranded in a blinding storm on the upper flanks of Mount Everest. The temperature dropped to -100° Fahrenheit. Whipped up by fierce winds, spindrift blasted the mountainside on which envelopes of thick cloud had descended. Visibility was reduced to a few feet. The following day, eight climbers were dead. Of the survivors, one had his nose and hand amputated, another all his fingers and toes. The storm, typical of the region and time of year, requires no explanation, but why were so many people still so high on the mountain that late in the day?