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Norbu Tenzing calls for more regulation of industry as Mt Everest claims another climbers life -

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ELEANOR HALL: The world's highest peak has claimed its third life in as many days, with the death of an Indian climber on Mount Everest.

The weather conditions make this the busiest time of year, and around 400 people have reached the summit since April.

But Norbu Tenzing, the son of Tenzing Norgay, who made the first official ascent in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary, says that's too many people.

He's been telling reporter Lindy Kerin that the massive numbers are putting the safety of climbers and Sherpas at risk, and he says the government needs to do more to regulate the industry.

LINDY KERIN: More details have emerged about the death of Australian climber Maria Strydom who died in her husband's arms on Mount Everest.

She'd turned around just above the south summit due to fatigue.

The university lecturer stabilised after treatment, but then on the descent her condition deteriorated once more and she died.

Two more foreigners have also perished - the latest was a climber from India.

NORBU TENZING: Mountains are dangerous places. Not just for those who climb, but for those who risk their lives taking them to the top.

LINDY KERIN: That's Norbu Tenzing, the vice president of the American Himalayan Foundation based in San Francisco.

His father Tenzing Norgay was the first person to climb Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in the 1950s.

He says climbing Everest has become hugely commercialised, with companies offering expeditions from $US25,000 to $US100,000.

But he says the number of climbers has become too big.

NORBU TENZING: Two-hundred-and-eighty-five people have permits to climb Everest this year, combined with the number of Sherpa's, I think some 400 people climbed in the last couple of days. So that's a lot of people, but compared to two years ago, this number is relatively low.

LINDY KERIN: But you think it's too many?

NORBU TENZING: I think so yes. I personally think there should be some kind of limit on the number of people who go on the mountain combined with measures to reduce risk and to qualify the kind of people who go up there, you know.

It is always very unfortunate when somebody dies on Everest and some of the most experienced climbers in the world have died on Everest, but some of the risks definitely can be reduced and it can be made even just a little bit safer.

LINDY KERIN: Climbing on the world's highest mountain only started again in April after last year's deadly earthquake and avalanches shut down the industry.

Norbu Tenzing says as well as the tourists, three Sherpa's have recently died on different peaks

He says more regulation is needed.

NORBU TENZING: There are those in the government who have taken some three million dollars this year alone in royalties, who are basically turning a blind eye to what actually happens on the mountain and the number of people that climb.

There are those in the industry who offer trips that cost less, there's quite a bit of cost cutting, and with that comes a reduction in the quality of services that puts other people's lives at risk.

And there are those who actually do the work, the guys that actually do the hard work, the Sherpas who make the treacherous journey up the ice wall, for some $32 a day and a trip, you know, playing Russian roulette with their lives.

LINDY KERIN: At what point should there be a discussion about whether climbing should be banned altogether?

NORBU TENZING: Well that's a philosophical decision. I don't think climbing will be banned altogether because the mountain, for a segment of our society will always depend on the mountain for a source of income.

The last two years has played some havoc on the economies of the local people.

Two years in a row and nobody has had the chance to climb Everest and in an ideal world, Mount Everest is a sacred mountain, it should be left to itself.

But I think if people treat it with respect, people don't desecrate it and people look at this mountain as something of a jewel, which it is, you know it can be a safer place, and can be enjoyed by all.

LINDY KERIN: And you've mentioned that you've never climbed Everest, why is that?

NORBU TENZING: You know I've never had a desire to climb Everest because my father, one, never pressured us to climb Everest.

I do have 10 members of my family who've climbed Everest, but I've seen this narrative of relatives taking the backpacks and going on mountains and some not coming back and I've seen what that does to our families.

It destroys families and destroys, you know, Westerners go and climb for one experience, you know when a Sherpa dies, it means it's the sole bread winner who dies on Everest and those families are affected for a long time.

And I've always felt that, for me, even if I climbed, I would climb recreationally, but I personally had no interest in climbing Everest.

You know, I've had relatives who've died on Everest, whose bodies have never been recovered.

LINDY KERIN: In a statement on Facebook, Arnold Coster, who led Maria Strydom's climbing party, said a team is being assembled to help retrieve her body but that will depend on how dangerous that may be.

ELEANOR HALL: Lindy Kerin reporting.