Of the 189 people who have died in their attempts [to climb Mount Everest], an estimated 120 of them remain there. This is a gruesome reminder to those who attempt to reach the summit of just how perilous it can be. The simple reason that the bodies of dead climbers are scattered about Mount Everest is that it's too dangerous and difficult to try to remove them. Reaching the summit of Everest is a physical challenge unlike any other on Earth. To attempt to bring a dead body or a stranded climber down would take too long and likely leave the climbing team stranded overnight. This makes rescue attempts virtually suicidal.
Most of the bodies are located in the "Death Zone," the area above the final base camp at 26,000 feet (8,000 meters). No one has ever studied the cause of death, but fatigue and the elements certainly play a large part. Many of the bodies are frozen in time, the corpses in tact with climbing rope still around their waists. Other bodies lie in various states of decay. Some bodies are given names and are landmarks, such as "Green Boots," who has been there since 1996.