Climbers declared a four-day halt to efforts to scale the 8,848-metre (29,029-ft) summit and, while some decided to abandon their mission, others said they would go ahead after talking to their Nepali guides.
"I sat and counted 13 helicopter lifts - 12 were dead bodies flying overhead suspended by a long line from a helicopter," Tim Rippel of Peak Freaks Expeditions wrote in a blog.
"Everyone is shaken here at Base Camp. Some climbers are packing up and calling it quits, they want nothing to do with this. Reality has set in."
Shocked relatives wondered how they would cope without the men who take huge risks to earn up to $5,000 for a two-month expedition - around 10 times average annual pay in the isolated mountain kingdom.