Terrifying Footage of Everest Cornice Accident

As Everest climbers return to a wifi connection in Base Camp, they post pictures of their summits — and of crowds, chaos, scary moments, and, unfortunately, death.

IFMGA guide Vinayak Malla summited Everest at 6 am on the morning of May 21, the busiest summit day, with Elite Exped clients. On their way back, they videoed how the snow cornice couldn’t stand the weight of hundreds of climbers and gave in, dragging a number of people into the void.

The video doesn’t show the actual collapse but just its lead-up and aftermath. Still, the footage is mind-blowing for its clarity and for depicting the mad sight of an overcrowded summit ridge. Dozens of climbers inch across a narrow snow arete, which can’t bear the weight and eventually crumbles.

“The Everest summit ridge felt different than my previous experiences on the mountain,” Malla said. “There was soft snow, many cornices, and rocky sections covered in snow. Even the weather station was half buried in snow.”

Climbers jam the narrow snow ridge to step on the summit of Everest

Dozens of climbers shuffle along, meters from the summit of Everest. Video: Vanayak Malla


Sudden disaster

“After summiting, we crossed the Hillary Step. Traffic was moving slowly. Then suddenly, a cornice collapsed a few meters ahead of us,” Malla recalled. He and his clients were on another section of that cornice, which happened not to give way.

Malla’s second video shows the broken cornice section and climbers clinging to the fixed ropes and desperately trying to lift themselves back to safe ground.

“As the cornice collapsed, four climbers nearly perished yet were clipped onto the rope and self-rescued,” Malla wrote. “Sadly, two climbers are still missing.”
Then Malla recounts how he saved the situation – and perhaps many lives.
We tried to traverse but it was impossible due to the traffic on the fixed line. Many climbers were stuck in traffic and oxygen was running low. I was able to start breaking a new route for the descending traffic to begin moving slowly once again.


The situation resembles other mountain accidents where a broken rope leaves climbers trapped behind. Something similar occurred on Broad Peak in 2021, when the fixed rope on a ridge broke, stranding Russian climber Nastya Runova and, a little later, Korean Kim HongBin. Above them, over a dozen climbers waited, not skilled enough to progress across that section without ropes. Several suffered from frostbite. Runova was rescued, but Kim died.

However, the numbers on Everest’s summit ridge on May 21 were larger than on any other mountain.

Another victim

Meanwhile, another climber is confirmed dead on Everest.

“Binod Babu Bastakoti from Pokhara died at around 8,300m, just above Camp 4, after he suffered from illness while descending from the summit [on Wednesday, May 22],” Narbin Magar of Booking Own Pvt. Ltd told The Himalayan Times.

Binod Babu Bastakoti at a trekking in Nepal

Binod Babu Bastakoti of Nepal. Photo: Instagram


Bastakoti is the sixth fatality on Everest this season; the seventh, if we include Gabriel Tabara of Romania, who died at Camp 3 but whose goal was Lhotse.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.