by Simon Brew

For the first time since 1974, nobody climbed to the top of Mount Everest last year.

In spite of being the subject of a major movie, the world's tallest peak remained untouched by human beings, as a series of tragedies and avalanches led to the mountain being effectively shut off.

Commercial organisations were stopped from bringing expeditions to the mountain, in the aftermath of the horrific earthquake that killed thousands in Nepal in April 2015.

At least 24 people were killed on Everest that month in the aftermath of the earthquake, which in turned had caused a major avalanche on the mountain. It's the highest annual death toll amongst those tackling Everest.

As National Geographic reported, 359 people - a record number - gathered at base camp at the start of 2015's climbing season. Yet April's tragedy, a second earthquake that followed in May, and broken ladders, led to each of them abandoning their plans to reach the top.

Everest was reopened for tourists in August 2015, but only one climber was giving a permit to reach for the summit. He was Nobukazu Kuriki, a Japanese mountaineer who ultimately lost his fingers thanks to frostbite, getting within 700 meters of the top in October.

All that notwithstanding, record numbers are again expected to attempt to tackle Everest in 2016.

Alan Arnette has penned an excellent blog, summing up the year for Everest, here. It's entitled 'Summits Don't Matter.'