Two Indian climbers have gone missing on Mount Everest, an expedition organizer said Sunday, a day after two deaths from apparent altitude sickness, underscoring the risks on the world's highest mountain. Paresh Nath and Goutam Ghosh have been missing since Saturday, said Wangchu Sherpa of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency. They were last seen near the Everest summit. Two of their companions who fell sick were being helped down the mountain. About 30 climbers have developed frostbite or become sick near the summit in recent days. Most of the sick climbers suffered frostbite while attempting to reach the summit or on their descent, Mountaineering Department official Gyanendra Shrestha said. Favorable weather has allowed nearly 400 climbers to reach the summit since May 11, but the altitude, weather, and harsh terrain can cause problems at any time.
Several Sherpas carried one sick climber from the highest camp, at nearly 26,240 feet, to Camp 2, at 21,000 feet, where attempts were being made to pick her up with a helicopter, said Pemba Sherpa of the Seven Summit Treks agency. Seema Goshwami of India had frostbite to her hands and feet at the South Col camp and was unable to move. "It took a big and risky effort, but we were able to save her," Pemba Sherpa said, adding that an Iranian climber identified only as S. Hadi had been brought to Kathmandu and was recovering in a hospital. A Norwegian woman, 45-year-old Siv Harstad, suffered snow blindness and was helped down from the summit Saturday. The two climbers who died were on the same expedition team. It was undecided when and if their bodies will be brought down, Pasang Phurba of Seven Summits said. Carrying bodies down Everest takes at least eight Sherpas, since they become frozen and heavier. The two deaths were the first confirmed this year on Everest. Dutch climber Eric Arnold, 35, complained of weakness and died Friday night near South Col before he was able to get to a lower altitude. Just hours after, Australian climber Maria Strydom also showed signs of altitude sickness Saturday afternoon before she died. (This little New Hampshire mountain is especially deadly.)