Officially, 800 people attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest every year. We say “officially” because it is assumed that groups and individuals not aided by Nepalese or Tibetan guides also “attempt” the climb but without the expertise of the people of Nepal or Tibet, whose ancestors have lived in the hills of the Himalayas for centuries, the chances of reaching its peak are decreased.

Of the 800 annual Summit hopefuls, very few make it to the top. Since 1953, when Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the top of Mount Everest, less than 5,000 climbers have made it to the 29,029-foot summit. Some of those people have reached the peak more than once, bring the total number of summits to more than 8,300.

It may sound like a large number, but when you consider ascension expeditions first began in 1922, it’s actually not. In recent years, the success rate for reaching the peak has increased but Everest still claims an average of four lives every year (since the first expedition). The weather is absolutely brutal, with many climbers getting frostbite and altitude sickness.

None of these factors deter mountaineers, climbers, and explorers paying upwards of $40,000 for a shot to reach the peak of Everest. Nor does it stop the number of Sherpas who become guides. With modern technology, we have been able to see what these brave climbers go through over the course of their two month-expedition. A German climber gave the world a first-hand look at what can go horribly wrong when Mother Nature decides to destroy an Everest base camp.

Head to Page 2 to watch footage of an avalanche that hits an Everest base camp…