China is to dispose of corpses located above 8,000 meters on Mount Qomolangma in a respectful manner, according to recent announcement from Tibet Autonomous Region's Mountaineering Association.
The task will be carried out by the China Mountaineering Team (Tibet), which was established in Lhasa last week.
"First of all, we will select three or four spots on the north slope to place the remains," said Nyima Tsering, captain of the China Mountaineering Team (Tibet). "Where possible, we will move them downhill collectively."
Body retrieval is a dangerous activity and requires considerable time and effort from fit mountaineers. A widely accepted way of disposal has been to wrap corpses and then push them into a crevasse or off a steep slope. They may also be covered with rocks to form a grave-like mound.
"So far we've located 16 corpses along the climbing route on the north side," said Dechen Udrup, from Tibet's Mountaineering Association, adding that recent climbers to have scaled Mount Qomolangma had provided reliable information on those locations.
The association has been trying to reach the victims' families through foreign climbing agencies since last year, but some bodies are too old to be identified, according to Dechen.
Tibet Autonomous Region carried out large-scale cleanup activities on Mount Qomolangma in 2018, removing more than 8.4 tons of old garbage above 5,200 meters.
"It will be the first time for us to collectively deal with the remains of mountaineers," Nyima said.