There are regular reminders in the news just how dangerous climbing Mt. Everest can be, but Smithsonian drives that point home with a look at some of the mountain's more tragic stories. More than 200 people have died on its frozen slopes, and many have ended up preserved in the ice where they fell. And, in a somewhat macabre revelation, the magazine notes that some are even used by climbers as landmarks. It specifically references "Green Boots," an Indian climber who froze to death near a mountain cave in 1996. His body is used as a marker for climbers to determine how far along they are.
Green Boots was joined by David Sharp a decade later. The English climber stopped at the cave where he actually froze in place, immobile but still alive. Some 40 climbers passed him, many possibly assuming he was Green Boots. When someone finally heard his faint moans, it was too late to save him. There's a full (and gruesome) gallery of many bodies on Everest at the website Altered Dimensions. (Read more Mount Everest stories.)