The National Post has a truly great graphic on the Mount Everest death toll (a chronicle of all of the lives claimed by the world’s tallest point). It is worth seeing to get a something of a sense of how deadly it is.
One thing that jumped out at me, though, was this pair of statistics: the number of summit ascents between 1953 and 1981 was only 117, while the number of ascents between 1982 and 2006 was 3058. That’s an incredible increase. I think it says something about the times we live in that so many people want to climb Everest.