Chinese border patrols lurk on the Tibetan side, ready to shoot anyone illegally crossing the pass.
Kathmandu hospital workers bring patients onto street as it is too dangerous to keep them indoors.
"The toll could go up, it may include foreigners as well as sherpas," an official said.
"I climb because a mountain pulls you in. It draws you to it, just like a drug. It really is like an addiction."
The government vowed safety improvements after dozens die last year, but tour operators say the measures aren't enough.
Climbing veterans, trekking organizations, and government talk safety as casualties near the popular trail climb and dozens more are rescued