April 21, 2022

S2-E8 - Makalu Gao 高銘和 : The Taiwanese Climber Who Survived a Night on Mt. Everest

S2-E8 - Makalu Gao 高銘和 : The Taiwanese Climber Who Survived a Night on Mt. Everest

The high number of deaths during the 1996 Mt. Everest climbing season supplied a tragic plotline for books, movies, and documentaries. Taiwanese climbers did not come out of these accounts looking competent -- to say the least -- but the record may need to be corrected. Here's the story of Makalu Gao, who survived a death sentence: an overnight stay at the top of the world -- without food or oxygen -- as well as the tale of numerous heroes who helped save Gao, and others, over those deadly days in May 1996.

 Cover image via Merit Times / Wikimedia Commons 

Image below: Makalu Gao shortly after being rescued / Merit Times 

During the 1996 Mt. Everest climbing season, 15 people died... this was the highest death toll for a single weather event, and for a single season, until the sixteen deaths in the 2014 Mt. Everest avalanche. Info on the 2014 disaster HERE

Below: (Via Everest Basecamp / Facebook)

Below: The large numbers of climbers each year can leave quite a mess

(pic via Facebook/Everest Base Camp 2022 - @Takshilakpasherpa)

Below: Public domain photo of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the pair were the first known humans to make it to the top of Mt. Everest in 1953.

Below: Makalu Gao, now 70, poses for a picture (Pic via Chung Yuan Christian University)

Below: A book by Gau Ming-Ho (高銘和), (also know as Makalu Gao) detailing his remarkable survival in 1996. Book - in Chinese - available HERE


Mount Everest is also known as: 

Nepaliसगरमाथाromanized: Sagarmāthā

TibetanChomolungma ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ

Chinese珠穆朗玛峰pinyinZhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng)

Photo source unknown / right: Via Ralf Kayser - Flickr Mount Everest