sharperblue wrote:... a sense that "something is very wrong with this picture", and we want it not to be that way.
Agreed, I feel the same way. Though I was also alarmed by the siting of the camp below so many seracs and lumps of ice. Maybe it was just perspective?
On some other forums people have noted that similar lines occur on other mountains, like Mont Blanc and some European routes, as well as some North American peaks - rarely though - and on the old Soviet-era mass expeditions to Lenin, Elbrus etc. In 1990, 43 people were killed in one avalanche on Peak Lenin. The difference with Mont Blanc at least being that on MB it is lower so people will move faster and will not bottleneck like this crowd may do higher up.
Now that I think about it, I seem to recall looking up at the 'headwall' on Denali and seeing 30-40 people making their way up one morning. Proportionally, in terms of people numbers on the hill and relative terrain area, the situation may not be that different. ie. 40 lined up in a small area = 145 lined up in a big area?
I think it's the fact that this is Everest, and the consequences of crowding and slowness can be so severe, that makes it such an alarming image.