Striking image reveals stark reality of overcrowding on Mount Everest's summit

A striking photograph has revealed the stark reality what it's like to reach the summit of Mount Everest - and it's not the idyllic image most would imagine.

The photo, posted by climber Nirmal Purja, which shows a huge human traffic jam on the mountain, has caused anger online as queues are making the descent riskier.

Adverse weather conditions have been blamed for causing the queue on this occasion but climbers say similar scenes are all too common.

Too many climbing permits being granted may also be partly responsible for causing the jams - Nepal issued a record 381 permits at $11,000 for this spring's climbing season.

"We're seeing more and more climbs each year but the average skill set, or the average level of experience of each of those climbers is progressively getting lower and lower," said mountaineer Kenton Cool.

The summit of Mount Everest is 29,029ft high. Credit: ITV News/Google Maps

"If you put those two together; more people with a lower skill set in that situation on Everest and that is essentially where the issue is coming from," he added.

Mr Purja, who took the photograph, was on a record-breaking attempt to climb the world's 14 highest mountains when he got caught up in the bottleneck.

He said: "Normally it would take four-and-a-half hours to get to the summit but it took more than eight hours.

"Everybody is there in a survival situation so even when I was there, there was an argument going on between people going down and people going up."

Mountaineer Nirmal Purja snapped the eye opening photograph. Credit: Instagram/nimsdai

It comes as Irish climber Kevin Hynes, 56, died in his tent at 7,000 metres in the early hours of Friday, after turning back before reaching the summit.

The father of two was part of a group from UK-based climbing company 360 Expeditions which was attempting to scale the world's highest mountain.

In a statement, 360 Expeditions said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we have to confirm that one of our Everest team has passed away.

"Kevin, 56, was one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team, and had previously summited Everest South and Lhotse."

His death comes a week after Trinity College professor Seamus 'Shay' Lawless, from Bray, Co Wicklow, fell during his descent from the peak having achieved a lifetime ambition of reaching the summit.

The Press Trust of India reported on Friday the deaths of two Indians and an Australian, all men, who died descending from the summit.

American climber Don Cash also died of probable altitude sickness on the way down from the summit, mountaineering officials said Friday.

Altitude sickness is caused by low amounts of oxygen at high elevation and can cause headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.