Is Table Mountain Deadlier than Everest?

It’s an interesting question, first asked in an article by the UK publication, International Business Times.

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According to it, the answer is yes and it goes on to claim that 218 people have died there over the last 100 years. But SA-based Africa Check looked into the matter and provided a solid answer.

The South African Mountain Accident Database, which provides records dating back to 1653, the figure is actually 251.

This figure doesn’t include incidents on the lower parts of the mountain, nor deaths as a result of a crime. Most of the 251 deaths were as a result of falls, rock falls and medical problems.

That’s lower than the 288 deaths recorded at Mount Everest, but only above 5000m. This figure comes from the Himalayan Database, which has thoroughly recorded ever expedition since 1905, but only select expeditions before that year.

According to Andrew Lewis, who is the current curator for the South African Mountain Database, the figure is utterly meaningless.

In the article on Africa Check, he goes on to state that it is very likely that the answer may be time-dependent, being true in some years and false in others.”

He also states that it would be more indicative if there was a death rate for both mountains. That would be the number of people that have gone up and died, but for that to work, there would have to be accurate numbers for people going up Table Mountain. Since Table Mountain can be relatively easily accessed, this is impossible to know.

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So, to give an idea, Africa Check used the number of people who used the cableway as a proxy.

Since it opened in 1929, 26 million people have gone up Table Mountain. During the same time, 228 deaths were recorded. This means it is has a death rate of 0.01 deaths per 1000 visitors.

The Everest records state that between 1900 and 2017, Mount Everest had 23 487 visitors and if you factor in the deaths, it works out to 12 deaths per 1000 visitors.

So the answer is no. Table Mountain is nowhere near as deadly as Mount Everest.

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