Climbers have been filmed crushed together in a "human traffic jam" as they battle the elements in an attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
The video, filmed by Instagram user Commando_Of_Mountain, shows at least 50 climbers backed up behind each other as they wait in line to continue their climb to the 8850-metre peak.
The short clip, which was posted on Tuesday, appears to show the large group crushed against the ice as climbers ahead of them make their way up towards the summit.
The stunning footage, which has been viewed more than 17,000 times, comes off the back of a horror season on the world's tallest mountain that has left at least 11 climbers dead in little more than two weeks.
Experts say the problem stems from poor weather cutting down the climbing window, leaving mountaineers waiting in long queues to the summit at risk of exhaustion and running out of oxygen.
The other issue is the amount climbers on the mountain, as the Nepalese government issued a record 381 permits to scale Everest this year despite a rising climber death toll.
Earlier this week, mountaineers described traffic jams caused by exhausted, inexperienced climbers in the "death zone," the final phase of the ascent from Camp Four at 8000 metres to the 8850-metre peak.
However, Nepalese government minister Gokul Prasad Baskota said the congestion photo that went viral online wasn't due to the mismanagement of permits but rather the inadequate training of some climbers.
Renowned mountaineer Um Hong-gil, of South Korea, said the number of climbers should be scaled back and only those with proper training and experience should be allowed.
"There should definitely be less permits issued and more experienced climbers on Everest," Um said.
He said the endeavour — once only possible for well-heeled elite mountaineers — has changed greatly since he first climbed Everest in 1988, in part because of advanced weather forecasting technology that more accurately predicts clear conditions, leading to pile-ups at the peak.
"Many people are now taking climbing Everest very lightly and as entertainment only, which they think they can do without much training," Um said.
Criticism of the amount of climbers hoping to conquer Everest came about on May 22 after a climber snapped a photo from a line with dozens of hikers in colourful winter gear that snaked into the sky.
The climbers were crammed crampon-to-crampon along a sharp-edged ridge above South Col, with a 2000-metre drop on either side, all clipped onto a single line of rope, trudging towards the top of the world and risking death as each minute ticked by.
The allure of climbing Everest has grown in recent times and so have the crowds. But the number of inexperienced climbers faltering on the narrow passageway to the peak is causing deadly delays.
"There were more people on Everest than there should be," Kul Bahadur Gurung, general secretary of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told the Associated Press.
"We lack the rules and regulations that say how many people can actually go up and when."
— with AP