The tented city at the foot of Mount Everest is bustling as mountaineers brace for potentially the busiest year yet on the world’s highest peak, prompting concerns about overcrowding and safety. Since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first ascent in 1953 more than 4,000 climbers have reached the top of Everest, according to the authoritative Himalayan Database. Nepal currently grants permits to all who apply and are willing to pay $11,000 to scale the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak. This year the government has handed out 378 climbing permits according to the tourism department. That tops the previous record of 373 in 2017. And at least 140 others are preparing to scale Everest using the northern route from Tibet, according to expedition operators.