If there was ever an extreme example of overtourism, then this is it.
Climber and former soldier Nirmal Purja was making his way back down from the summit of Mount Everest to tackle Lhoste – the fourth-highest peak in the world – when he photographed a traffic jam of what he estimated to be roughly 320 climbers on the iconic Hillary Step.
The photo has since gone viral after Purja shared it across his social media channels, much to the shock of his followers and the broader public, with some describing it “nuts”, “disturbing” and “very, very sad”.
“Where do the people descent? Looks more like a one-way street,” one follower commented.
“The high level of traffic, as shown in this photo, has been a recipe for disaster as seen with the recent deaths over the last few weeks,” another noted.
Eight climbers died while descending Everest just last week, according to ABC News. Alarmingly, that’s more than the number of fatalities recorded last year.
The photo also highlights one of the big issues not only Mount Everest is grappling with, but also many other tourist hotspots: overtourism.