In an interview with Vanity Fair, Bear Grylls said:

I was on Everest a couple of years after Rob died up there. I actually saw Rob up there, when we climbed it, pretty well perfectly preserved.

Is Rob Hall's body still on Everest and did Bear Grylls see his frozen body?

  • 1
    Well, his Wikipedia page gives an unsourced claim that he is still on the mountain. That means it must be true. I'm not sure how notable this claim is though, or extraordinary. There are a lot of bodies stuck on Everest.
    – JMac
    Mar 25, 2019 at 17:04
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    It's probably pretty hard to verify this as this is a personal story to Grylls, but Hall's body is certainly still on the mountain and preserved. It's fairly well known that bodies of people who have died climbing Everest have to be left on the side of the mountain, because there's no way to get them down. There exists at least one known photo of Hall's body that was taken weeks after his death, and it's location is fairly well known.
    – DenisS
    Mar 25, 2019 at 17:11
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    Also keep in mind that when this took place was 1998, during Bear Grylls' ascent of Everest. He wasn't the TV personality that he is today. His first TV show that he is popular for (Man vs. Wild) would not come out until 8 years after the supposed event. Would an answer that states we can't confirm it, but we can confirm that Hall's body is still on the mountain and known be satisfactory?
    – DenisS
    Mar 25, 2019 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


Is Rob Hall's body still on Everest...

Yes. (Unless something very unusual has happened very recently.)

Virtually all the people who died on Everest (or other extremely high mountains) are still up there.

The fact is that it is next to impossible to transport a frozen body down from that height. Aside from the difficulty of transporting that much dead weight in a terrain that kills even experienced climbers on a more or less regular basis, there is the cold, and the lack of oxygen that makes extended stays (let alone work) at altitudes above 7000m impossible. (Read the story of Francys Arsentiev, for an example how even climbers still alive cannot be brought down from the top if unable to move on their own...)

That, together with the permanent cold, means that those who die on Everest are pretty much preserved until wind and weather erode their bodies (George Mallory's body was only found after 75 years...), or one of the few cleanup expeditions gets them down.

As for Rob Hall specifically, there are several pictures of his body, which can be found both in books (Göran Kropps „Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey” to name just one), and online. I will not provide direct links out of piety (I don't think highly of such pictures), and because not everybody is prepared to see a dead body in a StackExchange answer. There is no record of him having been brought down by a cleanup expedition.

...and did Bear Grylls see his frozen body?

Here, we will have to take his word for it. But as the body is there, its location is known, and Mr. Grylls probably knew the pictures and so would have had no problem identifying Mr. Hall's body, I would say this is highly plausible.

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    Upvoted, this is most likely the best answer we are going to get. There's no way to confirm that Grylls saw Hall's body, but it is for sure up there and its location is known on the South Summit of Everest. Furthermore, I forget seeing where, but I saw a news article from 2010 where sherpas were actually going to attempt to remove bodies and garbage from the mountain, and Hall's widow requested that his body stay on the mountainside. This further confirms that the location of his body is known and (at least as of 2010) is still on the mountain.
    – DenisS
    Mar 26, 2019 at 13:23

Adding on to DevSolar's excellent answer, as of 2010, the location of Rob Hall's body was at least well known enough that Hall's widow asked for the body to not be removed.

THE widow of Rob Hall, a legendary New Zealand mountain guide who died in Everest's worst climbing disaster, has asked that his body be left alone during a clean-up of the world's highest graveyard next month.

Jan Arnold believes that her late husband - one of eight people who died in one day on Everest in 1996 - is "where he'd like to have stayed", and does not want people risking their lives to retrieve his body, a close family friend told The Times.

A team of 31 Nepalese sherpas left Kathmandu this week on an expedition to remove Hall's body and four or five others, as well as two tonnes of rubbish, from the "death zone" above 8000m (26,000ft) on Everest.

While I cannot find any confirmation as to the status of the expedition after this article came out, the fact that a team of sherpas was willing to make an extremely dangerous trip up Everest to attempt to remove the body of Rob Hall shows that the location is well known enough that the trip was considered.

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