- Not with it in particular. It may be the highest point on our globe but many other mountains are higher compared to the surrounding land.
- Yes. But I don't think I could take that last long traverse along the narrow ridge with 10,000 feet drops on either side.
- I would hate to see all those dead bodies in the ice as I was going up, not that I'd ever want to climb it - that book Into Thin Air scared the hell out of me.
- "It's one of my oldest dreams to at least see Mount Everest once in my life."
Do it, OP, simply because it's there.
- Me too, R3. No way in freaking hell I'd try that. I might as well take my own body bag with me.
- Here for example is Mt. St. Elias right heah in the USA
- That looks like a fake photo, this a real one. But this is 18,000 from tidewater to peak.
- You will never see a photo of Everest with that kind of vertical rise.
- Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the farthest point from the center of the earth and the closest point to outer space. It is 20,000 feet high, but the earth bulges 26 miles at the equator, making this by far the highest point on the globe.
- Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain
- Nanga Parbat has the highest vertical rise in the Himalayas.
- Denali claims to have the highest rise over its immediate base, but that is a subjective type term and the point is highly arguable.
- I'm loving the pics of the mountains in this thread, wish I could visit those places.
- [quote]You will never see a photo of Everest with that kind of vertical rise.
Doesn't California's Mt Whitney rise like that?
- Huascaran in Peru is the second farthest point from the earth's center.
- I'm fascinated by the bodies on Everest, especially the ones who essentially had to be left there to die, in situations where a rescue would endanger more lives. I'm not sure I would be able to accept leaving someone there, even if it was for the better.
- Mount Kea (the big island of Hawaii) is the tallest mountain from base to peak (33,500 ft), of course most of it is underwater.
- I worked for a nonprofit with an office in Nepal. On a week visit, my colleague and I stayed at a small hotel outside Kathmandu. When we went out in the morning, we saw the most incredible mountain range surrounded by clouds. I commented “That must be the Himalayas!” and we proceeded to take many pictures to show back home.
When we got to the office, I told them about how impressed we were, and they basically laughed at us. It was suggested that we get up earlier, around dawn, to get better pictures, which we did the next day.
The scene was the same, except that in the early morning there were no clouds at the peak. That’s when we could clearly see that there was another mountain range behind the first one, more than three time as high. This second range had been hidden by the clouds the day before. That was the real Himalayas. The first range was the “foothills”. We felt like really dumb tourists.
- "Doesn't California's Mt Whitney rise like that?"
Mt. Whitney is 14,000 feet high, and rises from the Owens Valley, which is about 4000 feet above sea level. You can hike to the top in a couple of days, if you're very fit.
And I read a lot about expedition climbing when I was young, and never want to do any myself. The death rates are horrific, I have no idea why people want to risk their lives for no gain. I even had a real expedition climber as a neighborn, and yes, she died on a mountain. So many of them do.
- [quote] I have no idea why people want to risk their lives for no gain
Obviously they see a value in life beyond "gain."
- No, but I have always wondered how they carved all those presidents' faces into it.
- Everest is a tourist trap. Pretty to look at, sure, but it's the junk heap of the climbing world.
Bengali in Platforms
- You've got to climb Mount Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls.
- K2, baby
- Learn to link, R24.
I had never heard of dead bodies on Everest and did some Googling after reading this thread. It's fascinating and ghoulish.
- The most difficult climb in the world is K2. I will never forget a few years ago when a storm hit and I was following the chaos online. Someone posted that they just saw a korean team member step off the freaking mountain and take the other two koreans roped with him. Talk about unreal. I also followed the whole drama with that American kid who supposidly summited everest. There was no picture of him at the summit and not a single person from the 50 something people who summited saw him. The only evidence was his gps spot which he could have passed off to a sherpa to carry to the peak. I call bullshit to this day.
On Everest the teams this year should be summiting the last week in may or first in june. Most teams post updates on explorer web. I highly recommend following the posts. Pretty insane.
- By far the best everest blog to follow is alan arnette. good stuff.
Here is a sample:
I was quite shocked to read the headline that Lincoln Hall had died at age 56 from mesothelioma, a cancer associated with asbestos exposure. He was exposed in 1965/66 while working construction.
My sincere condolences to Lincoln’s wife Barbara, and their two sons.
Left for Dead
Lincoln’s story is one of the most told about Everest. He developed cerebral edema after his 2006 summit from Tibet. He reached mushroom rock when he collapsed. His Sherpas did everything they could to revive and save him, including sticking a pen into his eye to see if he reacted; he did not. Assuming he was dead, they left him taking his pack, water, food, headlamp, oxygen bottle, mask, and extra clothes. He awoke the next morning.
His wife was called informing her of his death and she informed their children of the tragic event. She found out he was NOT dead a day later when a family friend read an update on a news site. Hall was a member Alexander Abramov’s 7 Summits Club expedition.
Hall was rescued that next day by another team who happened upon him giving up their summit. Myles Osborne was one of the first to reach him and wrote:
‘Sitting to our left, about 2ft from a 10,000ft drop, was a man. Not dead, not sleeping, but sitting cross-legged, in the process of changing his shirt. He had his down suit unzipped to the waist, his arms out of the sleeves, was wearing no hat, no gloves, no sunglasses, had no oxygen mask, regulator, ice axe, oxygen, no sleeping bag, no mattress, no food nor water bottle. “I imagine you’re surprised to see me here”, he said.’
Hall was part of a 1984 team who climbed the Great Couloir route on Everest’s North face. He did not summit after reaching 8300 meters and dreamed of returning. In the meantime he became a prolific author and editor of an Australian outdoor magazine. He also helped to establish the Australian Himalayan Foundation, raised money for schools in the Himalayas.
The 2008 documentary “Miracle on Everest” did a nice job of capturing his 2006 experience. Ignore the error message and click the arrow to start the video from Nat Geo or go there direct.
Hall’s rescue was in contrast to the death of David Sharp a few days earlier where it was widely reported that 30 climbers stepped over his body on the way to summit and no one tried to help him. As I have previously reported in an interview with Russell Brice, that is somewhat of a misconception.
Sharp was on a permit with Asian Trekking, choosing an “independent” climb meaning and he had chosen not to take a radio, had no Sherpa support and reportedly left late in the day. Asian Trekking, by design, only provided camp services and not guiding thus did not track Sharp and was notified after it was too late to bring their own resources to bear. All this continues to be debated today but in the end a climber died.
One of the biggest differences between Hall and Sharp was that Hall was mobile thus with the assistance of 10 Sherpas sent by Abramov, he was able to move on his own. Sharp on the other hand was completely immobile and moving a body at 8500m is virtually impossible. Helicopter rescue is not an option at those altitudes.
Reporting on Everest Deaths
As we approach the 2012 season, I think about the almost certain deaths that will occur and how they will be reported; and my own experiences.
My teammate rushing down hill blurted out “Alex has died” and with that I learned that one of my teammates on Cho Oyu in 1998 had died in his sleep at camp 3 after his successful summit. The next morning I helped wrap him in his sleeping bag, drag him over to the crevasse edge and, after a brief ceremony, let his body fall gently into an abyss of ice and snow.
The experience had a profound impact on my climbing life. (Cont.)
- (Cont.)...Climbers die every year in the mountains. Sadly they are often reported in a sensational manner seemingly designed to sell not to celebrate. When a teammate or client dies on your expedition; it is a time of increased anxiety, personal introspection and deep sadness.
And for those back home; immense grief and confusion.
My wife, back home in Switzerland where we lived in 1998, saw a short text across the television screen “42 year-old man from Geneva area dies on Cho Oyu.” It shook her to her core as I matched the description perfectly; except she didn’t know if I was alive or dead.
In contrast, last year, 2011, when a teammate died on Everest, I was able to call her immediately using my satellite phone to let her know I was safe before she saw the news.
Privacy or Cover-Up
Operators struggle with deaths. Observers often don’t understand the reality of death in the mountains and families struggle to cope with the devastation; desperately seeing answers.
After reporting on climbing for over a decade, I struggle with each report of a death. My first thoughts are to the family, then the teammates and finally the public. I use a protocol to report deaths. My policy is not to comment until I have a first hand witness report and preferably more than one report that confirms the story then not to report names until it is clear the family has had an opportunity to be notified.
With everyone on modern climbs having sat phones or internet access, news travels fast – too fast. And on the mountain, it travels even faster; well at least rumors do. This instant information creates an environment where some people try to break the news first for whatever reason, others pass on unconfirmed rumors. While often done in the spirt of trying to be helpful; it often does the opposite.
The first priority is to notify the family. What is often not known is that the family may ask an operator not to make a public announcement. They may chose to manage their loss in private. The operator has an obligation to honor this request even if gives the appearance of a coverup.
The press wants to play the blame game, even if it is on the climber themselves. And of course we live in a litigious society thus saying nothing is almost always better than saying something.
So confusion ensues.
I believe a simple statement acknowledging the event is always in order and helpful for all involved. It allows teammates to move on, operators to maintain transparency and families to receive support.
So as we go into Everest 2012, when you hear about a death, I will do my best to report on it in the same manner I always have- with respect and accuracy. But please remember that many deaths are the result of bad luck, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Climb On (safely)
Memories are Everything
- Mount Everest. Forbidding. Aloof. Terrifying. The mountain with the biggest tits in the world.
- [quote]Here for example is Mt. St. Elias right heah in the US
It's half in Canada and half in the US.
Oh and, are you from Boston?
- I hiked to Everest Base Camp in the '80's. The camp itself is at 17,600' -- higher than Whitney!
It was a pretty awesome trip but very strange. Everything was pretty dirty. Very druggy. Some campsites were rudimentary and rustic, others quite luxe. People were waiting for the weather to clear at the summit and you could definitely sense the boredom and anxiety of waiting for something that might kill you. I was glad to be out of there frankly. Some of the bridges on the trail to the camp were hair-raising -- fraying rope bridges of the 'Indiana Jones adventure' type. I hope/presume they've been upgraded since then.
- I became interested in Everest after reading Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air". It was the story of his Everest climb in 1996, and unfortunately that year was one that saw the deaths of several climbers trying to summit. Krakauer was critical of several guides and climbers in his book, and several responded in interviews of books of their own ("The Climb" by Anatoli Boukreev). Boukreev then died in December 1997, while trying to summit Annapurna.
Honestly, the truth of what happened in 1996 will probably never be known, and likely exists somewhere between the various accounts of the experience. But while the stories grabbed my attention, I knew I had no desire to ever climb. Maybe I would do base camp, but no more than that.
The 1996 summit season also saw the climbers who were featured in the IMAX film "Everest", which also fed my interest. I haven't paid as much attention to the summits in recent years, but every so often I'll read up on what's happening on the mountain.
- I dragged Martha Stewart and Blaine Trump up there behind me, and let me tell you those two bitches were SCARED.
Sandy Hill Pittman, World's Most Fabulous (Social) Climber
- No. It's cold and stupid.
- r34, Krakauer is a self-serving prick who didn't have the balls to call out the real parties on the mountain who were responsible: the climb leaders.
Their lack of leadership in pursuit of their own agendas caused the deaths.
It makes better copy, however, to blame the narcissistic socialite.
- I had some vague desire to go to Mt. Everest--until I got altitude sickness hiking Mt Fuji. That's right, it's not even a climb, only a hike.
I also wanted to retire on a sailboat--until I got seasick while on a boat in Sydney where the winter waters were moderately choppy.
I'm not made for adventure.
- only 9 women have summited K2 and 3 of those died on the way back down.
- Printed in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science (1999, V35, #2: 842-844).
Building on previous disaster research, this paper presents and analyzes the May 1996 Mount Everest climbing disaster. Using a blend of psychodynamic and structuralist theory, the paper demonstrates how historical changes in the field of high altitude climbing fostered the emergence of pathologically narcissistic, competitive, and regressive dynamics that ultimately contributed to numerous climbing deaths.
Deliverance, Denial, and the Death Zone: A Study of Narcissism And Regression in the May 1996 Everest Climbing Disaster
- Some of those were PC deaths. They didn't have enough specific climbing experience, but no one wanted to say anything.
A lot of the climbers fuck around, too, so they end up taking their female fuckbuddy with them on climbs above their skill/experience level.
Before you scream misogynist, there are excellent female climbers, but they aren't always the ones who get to summit.
- In this paper, we attempt to create a bridge between these psychodynamic views and more structuralist perspectives to explain organizational disaster. Specifically, we show how high levels of self-inflated narcissism interact with organizational history, environment, and other contextual variables to foster regressive work group cultures. Following Brown’s (1997) recent call for “in-depth, inductively derived case studies” (671) to examine the role of narcissism in organizational life, we focus on the May 1996 tragedy on Mount Everest. We discuss how the commodification of high altitude climbing significantly influenced:
* The roles, responsibilities, and motivations of leaders. Before adventure climbing became popular, expedition leaders were highly skilled generalists – ‘first among equals’ – who provided expert climbers with a plan, resources, and collaborative decision support. As adventure climbing entrepreneurs, however, they had to be technical/logistical experts and business people who needed publicity to attract well-paying clients and who had to cater to the needs of clients in a way that was physically and emotionally exhausting.
* The profile of climbers. Compared to climbers before adventure climbing, the climbing skills of high altitude adventure climbers had decreased, as their level of narcissism had become less healthy.
Combined, these two elements caused a shift in the work group cultures of high altitude climbing teams, from more collaborative, high learning, intentional group cultures (Diamond, 1991) to more regressive, low learning, dependent group cultures. Particularly on this disaster, competition for clients through an emphasis on publicity and service (that is, getting clients to the top) had also increased greatly.
Deliverance, Denial, and the Death Zone: A Study of Narcissism And Regression in the May 1996 Everest Climbing Disaster
- As high altitude adventure climbing started to become popular, climber motivations and attitudes seemed to change as well; as climber and guide, Doug Scott, noted in a 1993 interview:
This obsession with 8000-meter summits is new, and the lengths to which people go to climb one. A lot of deaths now occur not by falling off, or getting caught in a storm, but with climbers who climb themselves into the ground, who die of exhaustion or mountain sickness such as cerebral edema or pulmonary edema. A lot die now because they’re so gung-ho, so obsessed with summits (O’Connell, 1993: 158).
This obsession with Everest and the willingness for novices to take extreme risks to reach the top coincided with climbing’s increasing market status and commodification as a sport. New technologies and distribution channels provided an ever-growing supply of goods and gadgets – ultralight, ergonomically designed gear, sophisticated guidance equipment, radio communications, and climbing gyms made it possible for many more novices to try the sport, easily exchanging economic capital for cultural capital (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992). Many clients were highly successful professionals from business, medicine, and law who had made it to the top of their professions and were looking for a different venue in which to stake their claim. High altitude adventure climbing in general, and Everest in particular, was a popular choice.
According to Edmund Hillary, the result of this shift to adventure climbing was that:
“Vast numbers (are) going up . . . People seem to regard it as something to do” (Barton, 1996: 1).
“The Nepalese government has removed all restrictions in the last couple of years. Virtually anybody can get permission as long as they pay their money (about $US10,000 fee per climber) . . . I have met a number of the parties (who) admitted they had no experience at all. Many of the people who go on these commercial operations don't do it for their love of the mountains. They do it to get home and boast about it” (Conway, 1996).
“There has been an erosion of mountaineering values. It used to be a team effort. Nowadays, it’s much too ‘everybody-for-himself.’ That can get you killed” (Life, 1996: 41).
- Point taken, r42. However who is ultimately responsible for a) the industry standards, including safety, and b) the specific rules/standards of the individual climbs?
It's the hotshot climbers themselves who are degrading climbing. They want to make a lot of money and have the reputation that comes with a successful season.
Ed Viesturs and David Brashears have said so bluntly and forcefully. Both of them may be pricks, but they do have a point, especially Viesturs, who was known for caution re: summiting.
- I repeat for the reading impaired.
NO. IT'S COLD AND STUPID.
- Never had an interest in seeing Everest but wanted to see the Alps and Andes. Did both. I'm not into climbing but I love hiking those trails for days on end.
- A note about Mt. Chimborazo R9 in Ecuador that should interest the DL.
Alexander von Humboldt, one of the foremost scientific figures of the 18th to mid 19th century, was the first European (maybe anybody) to climb Chimborazo nearly to it's summit. And he was almost certainly gay (although pretty closeted - hey, it was 1802!) He formed romantic attachments to many younger men during his lifetime. A few poetic love letters survive, but no direct evidence to prove that he did the bunga-bunga with any guy. He destroyed the private letters in his possession. Wikipedia has more info.
In 1802, accompanied by Aimé Bonpland and the Ecuadorian Carlos Montúfar he attempted to reach the summit at 20,564 feet. They climbed without any mountaineering gear (such as supplemental oxygen) and wearing ordinary clothes, they reached 19,274 feet before altitude sickness made them turn back. Obviously, their route up Chimborazo was not a technical climb, but that's still an impressive achievement for any time.
- My recurring nightmare is being trapped on the side of a mountain. They fucking frighten me. I then wake up all sweaty. Why in the fuck did I read this thread? What do those dreams mean anyway? I'm usually falling, floundering or otherwise failing.
- I've rad the mountain is becoming a garbage dump because the climbers are dumping their oxygen tanks and other garbage on the mountain as they climb.
- I climbed Mt. Rainer in the 70's. It was what I'd call a semi-technical climb, with ice-climbing gear (crampons, ice axes, ropes, etc.) but no pitons or belays. We had to attend ice-climbing school for 2 days beforehand. I've been to basic rock climbing school in the Tetons, but would much rather just backpack in the mountains than do the gonzo technical rock climbing thing.
Even to a mere 14,411 feet, the basic routine was similar to climbing something more challenging in S. America or Asia. We drove to 7K feet. Hiked to a higher base camp, and were awakened at 4:00 AM to begin a 5 hour climb to the summit.
The climb was mostly over glaciers - over their crevasses - but not at a pitch which would cause you to slip and fall thousands of feet, although you could certainly fall into a crevasse. Above say ~12,000 feet the air does get noticeably thinner and each breath is an effort.
The reason for the early AM climb was that after sunrise, the sun begins to heat up the ice bridges spanning large crevasses, and the descent becomes much more hazardous. We spent about 15 minutes at the summit, the view was incredible, and then began the descent.
- Rainer = Rainier (blush)
- Who dreamed DLers would be interested in mountains climbing?
WTF, I've been participating in the 400 "Footballers in Love" threads. Barca forever!
- On clear days I can see Denali and Foraker from my house. I would never consider trying to climb them.
- K2 is the "mountain of mountains."
Amazing that if one reaches the summit, then their chances of getting back down alive lessen.
- But R52, (not Sarah P. my ass - we know you read the DL late at night) if you did climb Denali (never heard of Forskiner), you might be able to see Russia, no?
- You can see Russia from the top of the Conoco Phillips building in Anchorage.
You can see Everest from Denali
- A close friend of my sister died on an Alaska mountain in the 80s... she got stranded descending on her own while sick and was overcome by carbon monoxide in her tent using a faulty stove. Then she ran out into the snow without her glasses and froze to death.
Pretty scary way to go, if you ask me.
- [quote] My recurring nightmare is being trapped on the side of a mountain.
Tell me about it. I got trapped on the Dupont Circle up escalator when it broke down and I wanted to be helicopter rescued. I still have nightmares. Damn Metro.
- My recurring nightmare is falling off of a mountain like Willie Nelson, Jr.
- Nice trailer of whats to come. Open it full screen, the scenes are amazing.
- teams are going up and down the kumba icefalls right now as they begin their acclimatization.
Alan Arnette is reporting some 450 westerners on the Mountain right now. Alan reported the first death of the season: 40 year-old Karsang Namgyal Sherpa
- To risk your life and your health simply so you can impress yourself and others...it seems amazingly stupid.
- According to Alan Arnette, a second sherpa has died.
From his blog..
"I have been notified that reportedly a second Sherpa has died on Everest. I am sure the team will release his name and details. I understand he fell into a crevasse just below C1 at around 10 am Nepal time Saturday April 21st and that his body has been recovered and brought to C1 waiting for helicopter. He had summited Mt.Everest twice"
- Absolutely no desire to do this. I hate cold, I hate heights and, for me, vacation should be about relaxing and sipping fruit laden tropical drinks in a hammock on the beach, not exerting myself. I can do that every day.
- So can you see bodies littering the place or what?
- R64, if you are so inclined, you can find videos of a bunch of such bodies on YouTube.
What always annoys me is how, all the Caucasian dead are always referred to in reverential tones by name, but the poor Indian fellow, Constable Tsewang Paljor of the Himalayan Border Patrol, is jocularly deemed "Green Boots."
- It’s not only climbers who are cashing in on the Everest brand. The Everest lectures, slideshows, documentaries, and reality television programs are only some of the ways that the mountain has become part of workaday life around the planet. In fact, the more people from developed nations make their way to the planet’s highest mountain, the more Everest becomes part of the civilized world. The Chinese climbers’ plan to carry the Olympic torch to the mountaintop for the 2008 Beijing Olympics is just one example. In 2007, the Ford Motor Company debuted its largest sport utility vehicle—the Everest—with a caravan of the trucks driving to their namesake mountain. In 2006, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park opened Expedition Everest, a roller coaster, stalked by a Yeti on a man-made mountain that, at 200 feet tall, is the highest peak in Florida—as well as the company’s most expensive and elaborate attraction. Yet even Everest’s most wholesome reflections show the changes of recent years. It struck me as strangely appropriate that the greatest peril facing the tourists in Disney’s fantasy of the mountain isn’t getting to the top and back but a predator that attacks them while they are there.
Whether people walk to the top, cruise to Base Camp in a sport utility vehicle, land on its summit in a helicopter, or even ride a roller coaster over it in Florida, Everest is assured a continued boom of visitors and victims. And the pattern defined there is spreading to other mountains, other wildernesses, and other sports. Today thousands of sailors, climbers, paddlers, divers, and trekkers bring millions of dollars to isolated and lawless environments around the globe. That wealth and the daring lifestyle of the extreme athlete are in turn drawing a new peril to the mountains. Many adventurers are discovering that the most dangerous tests they face in the wild come not from nature but from neighboring tents, as greed and ambition conspire to draw corruption to the wilderness.
- It all just seems so unimaginative to me. Like a seven year old spouting "I want to be President when I grow up" because they know it will get a good response.
Believe me, I know people who've been facinated by the Himalayas since childhood but are perfectly happy to do a bit of trecking and admire it all without risking their lives for boasting rights.
- R24 wouldn't make it to the top of Mt. Holyoke.
- David Sharp was left to die up there.
I googled some pictures and it is indeed being trashed up by climbers leaving their shit everywhere.
- I think the Matterhorn (the real one, not the ride) is a much cooler looking mountain.
- Sir Edmund Hillary was highly critical of the decision not to try to rescue Sharp, saying that leaving other climbers to die is unacceptable, and the desire to get to the summit has become all-important. He also said, "I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top. It was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say good morning and pass on by". He also told the New Zealand Herald that he was horrified by the callous attitude of today’s climbers. "They don’t give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress and it doesn’t impress me at all that they leave someone lying under a rock to die" and that, "I think that their priority was to get to the top and the welfare of one of the... of a member of an expedition was very secondary."
- [quote]I think the Matterhorn (the real one, not the ride) is a much cooler looking mountain.
Funny you should say that, R70. I'm the OP and I'm Swiss but I have never seen the Matterhorn with my own eyes. Maybe I should add it to my wish list as well.
- Fuck NO!
- The real Matterhorn is beautiful but I love the fake Matterhorn at Disneyland too.
- David Sharp's situation was odd as he wasn't connected to any group nor did he have a radio, etc. Initially it was night and he was in a cave so he wasn't that visible to those passing him. The next day in the light it still was unclear whether he was just resting or already dead.
The conditions at that altitude make it pretty impossible to carry someone down the mountain. Climbers just don't have the strength. So maybe something could have been done but it's not that simple to judge the other climbers. It seems that Sharp's climb was reckless and place him in danger of exactly this very thing happening.
- Famed bottleneck of K2. Makes everest look like a stroll in the park.
- Speaking of climbing Mt. Everest, some say I am the Edmond Hillary of social climbing.
For a generous fee, I'm available for your parties, get togethers and bar mitzvahs.
- [quote]I'm Swiss but I have never seen the Matterhorn with my own eyes. Maybe I should add it to my wish list as well.
I had to fly across an ocean to see the Matterhorn but it's right next door to you. I can't imagine being that close and not going to see it. Do you ever go on any of the hiking trails in the Alps?
- [quote]A lot of the climbers fuck around, too, so they end up taking their female fuckbuddy with them on climbs above their skill/experience level. Before you scream misogynist, there are excellent female climbers, but they aren't always the ones who get to summit.
Tell me about it!
- The biggest problem with mountain climbing is that nature isn't predictable. Your survival depends on the weather conditions, the conditions of the mountain and the conditions of your equipment. You don't know that the pristine snow you're traversing is in face an icy glacial stream. You don't know if the rock that seventy people were able to hold onto successfully just loosened enough to fall out and carry you to the bottom of the cliff. You don't know that the clear skies on the trail will turn to a white-blinding snowstorm in about 1/2 hour.
I imagine that the people who do this sort of thing get an adrenaline rush like you wouldn't believe, but at the same time its not that far away from heroin addiction.
I'd like to see Mount Everest, but climb it? No effin' way.
- R78 -- I remember reading an article, written in the late 1970s by a person from the Upper East Side, about finally taking the subway down to see the World Trade Center. She had lived her whole adult life in the east 70s and had never gone to see the towers -- or even the Staten Island Ferry or the Statue of Liberty.
- [quote]She had lived her whole adult life in the east 70s and had never gone to see the towers -- or even the Staten Island Ferry or the Statue of Liberty.
I had a similar experience in the 90s -- met an older woman, Minna, working in an office just off Park Avenue who had never been over to the Hudson River. One day for lunch, I brought in some take-out from a popular place on the next block. Minna never heard of the place. She just went from the office to the subway home and never saw anything outside her path between the two. I had an assignement for one month in NYC and was going to shows, concerts and museums every night and on weekends. She was amazed. She had never done anything like that. One day, while I was out to lunch, Minna took a phone message for me from the daughter of a former President. That was probably the most exceitment she ever had in her entire life. She talked about that for the next two weeks.
- [quote]She just went from the office to the subway home and never saw anything outside her path between the two.
I was surprised to learn that for many, NYC is not a huge grand city, but a collection of a million little neighborhoods.
- Just have sex with a fattie.
- [quote]I had to fly across an ocean to see the Matterhorn but it's right next door to you. I can't imagine being that close and not going to see it. Do you ever go on any of the hiking trails in the Alps?
I've been to the Alps, many times. My father grew up in the Flims/Laax/Falera region and we've stayed there for months at a time.
The Matterhorn is something for tourists. Japanese tourists who go there for 10 minutes to get a picture. I've also been in Valais but like so many Swiss people haven't seen the Matterhorn. It's not like "Matterhorn = the Alps", that makes you sound like an uninformed tourist who thinks Switzerland looks like Heidiland.
- Rotation 3 - Patience - Everest conditions
4 May, 12 - 10:23
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Rotation 3 started with the good news that the route to camp 3 was being put in as we were leaving basecamp and that we would be in camp 2 in a couple days and on our way to camp 3 on schedule. This it pretty much the point where normality, and good news, ended on Everest 2012.
I woke up at 3:00 AM feeling sore all over and just not myself. It's bad enough at home waking up feeling ill with sore - flu like muscle pains, but here it takes on a whole new meaning. When waking up, getting dressed in the sub-zero temperatures and then knowing you have to walk for 4 - 5 hours in the dark from 17000 - 20000 feet, it's generally a very unpleasant experience. After getting dressed, I ate a half a bowl of oatmeal and went out the door. From the first minute I was tired .
We entered the icefall at 4:00 this time and it took me 5 hours and thirty minutes to camp 1. It took me a whole hour and fifteen minutes more than the first time, it should take about an hour less the second time because we are more acclimatized, because the sickness in my body was more stronger than the effects of acclimatization. By the time we reached camp 1 I was dehydrated, exhausted and relieved. Again, we sat in our tents and baked under the hot sun of the Western Cwm. Thank god this was to be our last stay at camp 1.
The next day we left camp at 5:30. Again I struggled with sickness to reach camp 2 and it took me about 4 hours. Climbing when sick is torture. At camp two we set up our tents, Atte and I chose one with the lake view (See the picture) and sat in the mess tent to hydrate. Upon arrival my blood oxygen saturation was 72 with a resting heartrate of 102. At sealevel I would have been admitted to an ICU at a hospital but up here no one is expected to have a saturation above the 70s and even the high 60s is normal. At 5:00 I put on my down suit for dinner. I have a north face down suit, the pockets are poorly designed and it's not as fluffy as some of the others. To do it again I would probably go with a custom feathered friends, Eddie Bauer first ascent or a mont-bell that I saw that looked great. We ate dinner, some Macaroni and Cheese and Spam for the pork eaters, and headed to our tents. The portions served up at camp 2 are similar to childrens portions as appetites are not very strong. We were all in our tents by 6:30 and slept 10 - 11 hours of broken up, unsatisfying sleep. Again Atte paid attention to my constant waking up and sitting up in the tent at night doing breathing exercises. I find deep breaths and drinking water throughout the night are the best tools I have against AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness).
The next day was to be a hike to the base of the Lhotse face and then we were to move to camp 3 to sleep a night without Oz (the climbing term for oxygen, sounds like Ohs). I opted out of the hike to allow myself to fight off the illness. I stayed in the mess tent all day and drank about 5 liters of decaf teas, different tang flavors and just water. After about 3 liters I started feeling hydrated again and this day of rest and hydration did wonders. The team came back after about 3 hours where they gained about 1300 feet. Atte and one other team member also stayed back with me as they were not feeling very good themselves. This infection has affected many members of our team. We are all doing very good now. After their hike we played some cognitive function games such as "spell this word backwards", needless to say we had a lot of laughs as our brains were not very sharp in the low oxygen. Again the dinner scenario but this time the cook made some very wierd concoction that was barely touched. At dinner, we were told the state of the Lhotse face and that we would not be moving up the next day. We all went to sleep disappointed and worried about our chance at success.
In climbing, you can only really deal with that which you can control, and weather is not something that can be controlled at all. Of all my climbs, the mountain that turned me back is a small 11'000 foot peak in the Washington cascades called Mt Baker. While me and a friend were climbing, a whiteout rolled in and forced us back. Even though that was probably the easiest peak I have been on, I was unable to summit without putting myself in an unacceptable amount of danger.
Everest this year has been very dry. This has made for a harder climbing, as there is more ice than usual instead of snow, and has made for a much more dangerous mountain as there is no snow holding the rocks in place on the Lhotse face and, we expect as no one has been up there yet, on the triangular face above the south col which we would be climbing in the dark on summit night. The amount of rock fall has turned the normal route on the lhotse face into a bowling alley with many injuries daily. Sadly, it is the Sherpa who bear the brunt of this violence with injuries necessitating 15 - 30 thousand dollar evacuations by helicopter evacuations to kathmandu for medical treatment. IMG has again gained my trust and respect by not allowing our sherpa team, or us for that matter, up the Lhotse face until conditions better.
On the day we were supposed to head up to camp three, we just went to the bottom of the lhotse face and could see just how peppered the area was with baseball to table sized rocks. Hundreds littered the area and no-one questioned the decision not to go up. It was now day 4 of the rotation and we all went to the face. There were between 20 - 40 sherpa up on the wall setting up camp 3 for some other teams. When I looked up I could hear them screaming "ROCK... ROCK!!!", the generally accepted warning call for rock fall in climbing, and my heart fell into my stomach in worry for these people. Doing a job they need they had to face such harsh and unnecessary conditions. With a head hung low, for not being able to help these people, I headed back to camp.
During the night we were engulfed in a wind storm. Our tent walls were flapping strongly in the wind and sleep was very elusive. Waking up constantly, I would give a look at Atte and see his eyes open as well, unable to slumber with this constant freight train running over our heads. This also led to a draft inside our tent that allowed the cold to sneak in to each and every passage. Cold and wind led to a miserable night and we were ecstatic when the sun hit our tent to provide much needed relief. Only 1 more night in this place was a constant topic among the group.
On day 4 of the rotation we also did a hike up to the base of the lhotse face. The landscape had changed with all the rock that had been blown off in the wind storm. At the same time, A team from IMG, Alpine Ascents, and the Banegas brothers were up installing a new route that was longer but safer than the normal route up the Lhotse face. Hopefully we will use this new route on our summit attempt, if we get one.
After the 3 hour hike we were back in camp for our final night. It wasn't that bad this day and we could sit outside on rocks talking and could take some pictures. After an early dinner, we were to bed, very excited to be going down to EBC the next morning to better appetites, thicker air and a generally more comfortable existance.
On day 5 we head back down to EBC. With the excitement, we were down the 5000 feet in three hours thirty minutes. The guides of many companies had a meeting at 2 to discuss the conditions. It seems that Everest, as is, is not very climbable safely at the moment. The rock fall danger is just too high and some were even, prematurely, stating they would be leaving the mountain this year.
We are expecting a snow storm in the next few days. I think what a lot of people are forgetting is that it is only may 4th. Normally teams don't summit until the 20th or so. Alot can happen in 16 days and hopefully we will get the snow we need to make the route climbable. Does it mean more time here than we would like? Absolutely but safety is the priority and the summit comes next. We are lucky to be with a very conservative and professional guiding company with guides sharing those same attributes and a mature, responsible climbing team as well. What that means for us is that we will need to be patient as we wait for everest to show us her kind side and allow us up her slopes. It may be a blessing in disguise as it will give us time to rest and fatten up a bit. I just weighed myself today and found that I weigh 79 KGs (175 lbs) ( I came here at 86 (190 lbs)) meaning I have lost 7 KGs (15 lbs) since being here and we still have a month left.
In all cases, I am still optimistic that a safe route can be found. It may take more time than expected but this is Mt Everest and is to be taken seriously and not rushed. Sadly though, we wont be home by the 17th.
- Whenever I think of the Everest disaster of '96, this is what I remember most (per Wikipedia):
[quote]At 5:00 pm, a blizzard struck the Southwest Face of Everest, diminishing visibility and obliterating the trail back to Camp IV. Shortly afterward, Hall radioed for help, saying that Hansen had fallen unconscious but was still alive. Adventure Consultants guide Andy Harris began climbing to the Hillary Step at 5:30 pm with supplementary oxygen and water.
[quote]On 11 May, at 4:43am, Hall radioed down and said that he was on the South Summit. He reported that Harris had reached the two men, but that Hansen had died of hypothermia sometime during the night and that Harris was missing as well. Hall was not breathing bottled oxygen, because his regulator was too choked with ice. By 9:00 am, Hall had fixed his oxygen mask, but indicated that his frostbitten hands and feet were making it difficult to traverse the fixed ropes. Later in the afternoon, he radioed to Base Camp, asking them to call his wife, Jan Arnold, on the satellite phone. During this last communication, he reassured her that he was reasonably comfortable and told her, "Sleep well my sweetheart. Please don't worry too much." Shortly thereafter, he died, and his body was found on 23 May by mountaineers from the IMAX expedition.
I was keeping an ear on NPR as the whole thing unfolded, and this story was the one that just killed me. Regardless of how culpable Rob Hall was or was not, imagine the enormity of being stuck at the top of the world, turning to ice, talking to the one you love most in this world who is safe at home as you die. Your voice, his/her voice, bouncing off satellites, relaying through radio waves, traveling around the globe, just to say goodbye, I love you, don't worry, I'm fine, it's OK, I love you, I love you.
We send ourselves to the moon, to the bottom of the ocean, break the sound barrier, smash atoms, but still the mountain wins.
Bengali in Platforms
It means they were not adequately equipped.
- Great post! Enjoying the updates!
- Today we set off for Camp 3 (7200m) -a crucial step in the ascent of Everest (many people end their expedition at this point as they struggle with both the increase in climbing difficulty and altitude). There appears to be two schools of thought regarding acclimatisation at this stage – sleeping at camp 3, or just touching camp 3 and returning to camp 2. For better or worse, we are in the former school and have planned a full night (of sleep?) at camp 3. The ropes have only just been fixed so we will be one of the first teams to scale the Lhotse Face and probably the first team to sleep there. Two of our Shepas went ahead to fix camp. They are carrying oxygen in case we struggle during the night. The Lhotse Face is comprised of 60-70 degree pitches up to camp 3. It turns out that we have a couple of pretty serious problems to deal with. Firstly, the jet stream is still fully in place over Everest causing very high winds. While this has kept some teams tent bound we decide to brave them. Secondly, after a drier than normal winter, a lot of rock on the upper slopes is exposed and susceptible to being dislodged by wind or climbers. As some of the first climbers to head up the Lhotse Face we didn’t fully appreciate at the time how big an issue/concern this would become. We donned our (optional) helmets and started to ascend the Lhotse Face. Almost immediately, we were showered with rocks and ice from above (mostly from climbers descending). I was hit several times in the helmet, back and once in the glasses (thankfully I brought a spare). People shout “rock/ice” from above, but even if you do hear them above the wind you struggle to know whether to look up (in the hope of seeing and then dodging the falling debris and risk getting the timing wrong and getting hit in the face instead) or just burying your head in the snow, so to speak. The combination of 80km/h winds, rock showers, terrain, and cold made the journey to camp pretty tiring. However, we all made it in around 5 hours, not too bad considering. I found it more difficult to navigate the ropes/anchors with my big mittens on which slowed me down a fair bit at each change over point. If you get this wrong,it is a one-way express ticket to the bottom of the Lhotse Face. Not pleasant….
Our camp was simply two tents squeezed together on an ice shelf the Sherpas had calved into the 60degree slope. Wandering out at night to go to the toilet was out of the question(someone actually fell to their death doing this on a previous expedition). Despite the tough trip up to camp 3 and the biting winds, we all felt pretty good. There would be no need for oxygen ( on our summit push we would sleep on o2 at both camp 3 and 4). In fact, it crossed my mind whether I should consider trying to summit without oxygen…. Something I would later be talked out of pretty quickly.
We were due to leave camp 3 and return to base camp at around 5am (most people don’t sleep a wink and are eager to leave ASAP). We actually slept ok and when woken at 5am the winds were still very very strong so we decided to wait until the sun rose to at least take the edge off! In the end, we left around 9am ( I went back to sleep ) and stopped at camp 2 for the night as it was too late in the day to venture into the ice fall. While windy, the ride down was a lot easier as we abseiled all of the steep slopes.
It would turn out that we were lucky to get our acclimatisation night at camp 3 in so early. Many teams are still stuck at camp 2 waiting for the opportunity. The rock fall issue became critical (killing one Indian climber and badly injuring several others) and an alternative route is being investigated as I type (shutting down work on the higher slopes and potentially impacting overall timing). Russell Bryce has said that if no alternative route can be found he is shutting down his expedition…..
- How do they pee and poo while climbing?
- Russell Brice’s Himalayan Experience (Himex) 2012 expedition is officially over. He announced on Saturday to all of his client climbers including Everest, Lhotse and Nutpse. At the root of the cancellation was the danger in the Khumbu Icefall.
Some of his western clients had posted the news starting with a short note from Joe Martinet’s home team saying the expedition was over. Today further details were posted on Greg Paul blog with these details. I encourage you to read his entire post.
Russell laid out all the reasons for his decision….many of which we were already aware of from past discussions. However, we thought time would cure the problems on the mountain. The summit window usually does not open until May 20th so we had time on our side. Knowing this we were all wondering why Russell pulled the plug so soon. He explained that never in his life as an Everest operator had he seen worse conditions than this year. It was not just the dry windy upper mountain but especially the Khumba Icefall.
The clincher for Russ was the fact that his experienced Sherpas were scared to death of the Icefall. In fact, in a rare display from folks that don’t talk much and usually just follow instructions, three head Sherpas spoke up and expressed the concern about the mountain and how dangerous it is this year. They were truly concerned about exposing their Sherpa team to further danger that taking more loads up the mountain would do. One of the most experienced Sherpas on Everest broke down in tears apologizing to us but at the same time not backing off one iota from his concerns. Russell expects an accident of catastrophic proportions to possible hit the icefall. Even if it is a remote possibility our safety not our summiting is his primary concern. It is still very hard to hear this and swallow it.
This year’s Himex clients included the well publicized Walking with the Wounded, a team of disabled UK war veterans.
In addition to the cancellation, one of Himex’s Sherpas, Dawa Tensing Sherpa, suffered a stroke and is not expected to live.
Now the team is retrieving gear, breaking down tents and preparing to return home. A few might try to tag one of the trekking peaks.
As for the impact on the other teams, reports today, Sunday, came in that climbers safely climbed the Lhotse Face and slept at Camp 3. No other team has announced plans to cancel as of now. I will post more details tomorrow.
As you can imagine, this is the most difficult decision an expedition operator has to make. He has the expectations of his clients – their investments in time, money, training, support from family; for many this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, it is what you agree to when you sign up – you abide by the decisions made.
I hope no one second guesses Russell. I know this man personally and can only imagine that he has not slept for days. Spending his free time pouring over weather maps, reviewing logistics, talking to his Sherpas and other team’s leaders; calling trusted advisors. But in the end, he is responsible for almost 100 lives on Everest- a responsibility he takes personally.
Is his decision correct? This is not for anyone other than Russell and his team to answer regardless of the outcome of Everest 2012. For now, I wish them all safe travels home.
- R88 -- and despite what the whole world learned about the 1996 disaster, the calamity was repeated in 2006, with many making the same mistakes and suffering the same effects...
- If they cancel an expidition, do you get a refund? How much does an everest pacakge even cost these days?
- I went to the base camp in 2007. It was fairly stunning to think that you are looking at Mt. Everest. Some people said they had been hanging around the monastery that is further down from the base camp for more than three days waiting to see the peak, which can often be shrouded in clouds. I remember that I had full bars on my cell phone.
The rest of Tibet is beautiful, but it is a hard place to travel without giving money to the people that are oppressing that land.
- I dated a rock climber/mountaineer for a while..he even got me to do some mountaineering in the Sierras-around 11,000.
It's not fun at all- wearing a heavy pack, wearing crampons, trudging uphill all day. Sometimes the climb is so steep, you have to walk sideways, foot over foot to prevent sliding. And the small altitude that I experienced is akin to having asthma.
I did enjoy ice-climbing though (with ropes, ice axes, anchors and pitons).
- So were everyone's climbs cancelled?
- R99 that is what I wonder. Is mountaineering pleasurable to mountaineers the way surfing is to surfers or is it always about the end goal? Do they feel good on the mountain or is it more a test of endurance like a triathlon?
Also are elite mountaineers in very good shape or is it more about technical proficiency than cardio?
- I've summited Whitney here in SoCal (14,505) several times but it's a technical rock climb unless you go in the winter.
i've done Huascaran in Peru (6000M). That was real mountaineering.
Everest is a joke amongst mountaineering circles. Nearly all parties are part of guided groups who have everything done for them AND are given supplemental oxygen. Try hauling 90 lbs of tent, food, etc on your back up all that way. Won't happen with most Everest groups. Everest is a rich man's mountain. If you have $75K and decent cardio health you can make it.
As opposed to Annapurna which has a 41% death rate amongst those who attempt it.
- Interesting thread on a climbing site about this.
- 8000M peaks stats:
"**Annapurna (8,091 m)
In total, only 130 climbers have summited Annapurna, while 53 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus 41%.
Nanga Parbat (8,125m)
216 climbers have summited Nanga Parbat and 61 have died. The overall fatality rate thus 28.24%.
K2 (8,611 m)
Fewer than 200 climbers have summited the world's second highest peak – 198 total. 53 have died. K2's overall fatality rate is 26.77%. **
Kangchenjunga (8,586 m)
To date, only 185 climbers have summited Kangchenjunga and 40 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus about 22%.
Manaslu (8,163 m)
To date, 240 climbers have summited Manaslu and 52 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus 21.67%.
Dhaulagiri (8,167 m)
To date, 313 climbers have summited Dhaulagiri and 56 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus 18%.
Makalu (8,485 m)
To date, 206 climbers have summited Makalu and 22 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus about 11%.
Gasherbrum I (8,080m)
Since 1958, only 195 climbers have summited Gasherbrum I and 21 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus 10.77%.
Shisha Pangma (8,027m)
To date, 201 climbers have summited Shisha Pangma and 19 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus about 9.5%.
Today, Everest has hosted close to 2,000 successful summits. 179 people have perished giving a fatality rate of 9.3%.
Broad Peak (8,051 m)
A mere 255 climbers have summited Broad Peak and 18 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus 7%.
Lhotse (8,516 m)
To date, 243 climbers have summited Lhotse and 11 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus about 4%.
Gasherbrum II (8,034 m)
As for GII, a total of 650 climbers have summited the peak and 17 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus 2.62%.
Cho Oyu (8,188 m)
To date, about 1,400 climbers have summited Cho Oyu and 35 have died. The overall fatality rate is thus 2.5%,
- "Also are elite mountaineers in very good shape or is it more about technical proficiency than cardio?"
They need incredible cardiovascular fitness to be able to climb and carry heavy packs in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere. But even that isn't enough, even the most perfect athletes lose their strength damn fast at that altitude. They all have to finish the climbs before they completely fall apart.
As for the question about enjoying it... I've read several climber's autobiograhies and only one mentioned any joy. He described a period of absolute extacy, almost a religious experience, as he was alone on the top of a Himalayan mountain. It was so intense that he didn't care that his gloves had fallen off and he was losing fingers to frostbite, which makes me think it was an artifact of oxygen deprivation. I can't recall any other mentions of fun.
- Himex made a prudent and probably wise choice, given some of the bad Everestdecisions in the past for the sake of a few dollars. Still, the cancelling of the expedition, the abandonment of dreams of standing atop the earth, as well as the lost costs of clients, as much as $50,000+ per person, is pretty rough and a disappointing turn of events. Other commercial services, however, are continuing on their Everest quests to guide paying customers to the summit, feeling that the dangers are over-stated.
- [quote]As for the question about enjoying it... I've read several climber's autobiograhies and only one mentioned any joy.
Most of the others said there is no time or space to enjoy reaching the top -- once you get up there, you've got to get down, and that's the hard part.
- The push is on with multiple teams reporting their initial moves to Camp 1 or 2 on the South or ABC on the North. All are looking at a weekend summit – weather depending.
This is the first of at least two expected summit windows with the second around May 25; but this could quickly change. If the weather holds, we could see over 300 summits combined from both sides by Sunday when the winds are expected to intensify. Teams are highly motivated to get up and off.
I spoke with Eric Simonson of IMG and he confirmed that the teams are working well together to fix the lines to the summit. With all the pressure of a shortened summit window, it is critical that the route be fixed quickly and securely. Eric mentioned the winds were still strong Monday but should ease Tuesday and added:
Meanwhile, the Sherpa fixing team is ready to finish the route to the summit! We have Sherpas from IMG, Jagged Globe, Patagonia Bros, Rimo, AAI, Chilean, North Face, Peak Freaks, Adventure Consultants, 7 Summits, and Asian Trek ready to move up to Camp 2 early tomorrow morning, with the plan to fix above the Col on the 17th and 18th . AAI’s Lhakpa Rita and IMG’s Karma Rita are up at Camp 2 and will be helping to organize. This is a strong crew of Sherpas and with a little luck with the weather we are hoping they will get the route well prepared.
Pushing Beyond the Limits
There seem to be several reports of teams pushing so aggressively that I wonder about safety. The Chilean team is rushing to climb without the ropes being installed. Paul Goughy climbing with Gabriel Filippi said this:
Well, the moment of truth has arrived. We leave for Camp 2 at 2am to begin our summit bid! We need a lot of stars to align as the ropes to the summit have yet to be fixed, the ice fall needs to be maintained and we are relying on a weather window of only 48 hours (predicted using a long range forecast). Just to top off all the other troubles on Everest this year, the even longer range forecast suggests that this may be the only window of the season. As a result, we have no choice but to give it a shot now. The good news is that, one way or another, we should be back down the mountain within a week and on our way to cocktails and sunbeds (and real beds).
Young and Old Updates
The oldest climbers seem to be clustered on the North this season and the young on the South. All are climbing higher as we speak. They will attempt the summit this weekend.
Bill Burke, 70, who stopped his south side attempt due to the uncertainty and is now at Advanced Base Camp on the North. If time allows, he may try to return to the South if he is successful. Japanese Tamae Watanabe, 73, is the oldest climber this season and holds the record for the oldest woman to summit Everest back in 2002 at age 63. She and Bill are both using logistics from Asian Trekking. Another notable is 62 year old Australian Margaret Watroba climbing with Altitude Junkies. This is her third attempt.
Matt Thorton, 21 from the UK, reported he is preparing to leave for his summit attempt. He is climbing with Rob Casserely under logistics arranged by Henry Todd.
My focus now is firmly on the job in hand, that being summiting and returning safely to Base Camp. It will be difficult to stay in contact for the next few days but I am trying my hardest to be able to report from the summit.
And 18 year old Leannna Shuttleworth climbing with her father through Alpine Ascents (AAI) posted:
So this will probably be the last written post I do before our summit attempt (unless something drastically changes in the next 12 hours or so). We’re off tomorrow morning for our final foray up the Ice Fall, starting at 4am! It’s incredibly exciting but also very nerve racking; not in particular this first part, having done it a couple of times now, but going back up the Lhotse Face I think will be a big mental challenge from having not been on top form last time we climbed it, and therefore remembering how difficult I found it.
Busy Doctors at Everest+ER
The doctors at the EverestER medial clinic located on the south at Everest Base Camp report over 400 patients thus far.
Back in 2003, Luanne Freer had an idea – provide medical support to the Everest climbing community by putting a clinic at base camp. Teams pay USD$100 per western climber for unlimited medical support from the clinic physicians and their Sherpas and staff get free health care. Today almost every team takes advantage of this excellent service. It survives on donations from individuals and companies plus volunteer physicians staff the clinic each season.
I interviewed her in 2009. Today they gave us this update on 2012:
We have registered just over 400 patient visits to our clinic so far this season, but it’s slowed down a bit in the past few days … We’ve seen 5 cases of relatively superficial (1st and 2nd degree) frostbite so far, most injuries occuring in windy cold spots lower down on the mountain. And most of our patients have had nearly identical injuries in the past. We know all to well that PAST frostbite predicts future frostbite, unfortunately.
West Ridge Update
Various reports have the climbers from both NatGeo and Eddie Bauer re-evaluating their attempt. The NatGeo team has been reduced by health issues and Simone Moro is considering joining Conrad Anker. But reports from the Eddie Bauer team is of difficult, icy conditions so no team may attempt this ridge climb this year. Their respective South Col teams seem to be in good shape and content to wait out the crowds. A good update was posted today on the NatGeo effort.
My Personal Experience
If you have been following my coverage this year, you know I often intersperse my own personal experiences of four Everest climbs into my coverage. While we patiently wait for the teams to climb higher, I invite you to read my 2011 report, well OK almost a book, Everest 2011: Summit of Memories. It is a free PDF you can download from this link. It may take a moment to download. I hope you enjoy it.
Memories are Everything
Summits are likely this upcoming weekend.
- it looks like there may only be one window open to summit and that may be this weekend. My gut says this is going to be bad, very bad.
- Even watching YouTube videos of the Khumbu icefall makes me want to faint with vertigo. Hw do people cross it?
- I have more cardio questions.
Who is more fit - a marathoner or a mountaineer?
Could your average everest summiteer, say, easily put in a respectable time on the NYC marathon given their conditioning?
- A mountaineer could run a marathon, but a marathoner probably could not summit everest. I think of the elite marathon runners as skinny people. In order to summit everest you have to have a decent amount of muscle mass to start with. You have to prepare with lots of cross training including weights. The less oxygen you have the more heavy your body feels and the harder it is to keep going. Once you pass a certain elevation you can no longer consume enough to prevent your body from consuming itself. Some of the most successfully climbers are ones who know how to prepare such that they have some excess weight they can shed on the summit push.
- Sounds peachy!
- [r101] My take was that it was sort of like the sea and sailors-sort of how the sea is the sailor's mistress- they cannot leave her, no matter how hard they try, and she's different every time they visit her.
It's a test of endurance, technical skills and the danger that you could die anytime without anyone really knowing. And a kind of meditation I suppose.
He was in excellent physical shape- he was proficient in rock climbing, mountaineering, single-track bicycling, surfing and dancing (of all things). When he used to train for mountaineering, he would try to gain 20 pounds, because he would lose more than that summitting. He's been to Africa, Alaska and Asian, but loved mountaineering in Peru.
- It is summit time!! some 80 something climbers will try to summit in the next two days.
Here is an update from Alan Arnette
Everest 2012: Summit Wave 1 Underway
As expected some teams and climbers have jumped the rope team and are on their way to the summit.
1st Summit Push, No ropes
First the Chilean team left about 11 Pm on Thursday May 17 hoping to reach the summit in the early morning hours of May 18th.
The entire team of 11 climbers and 10 sherpas, are in good condition at Camp 4, after reaching the place, located at 7950 meters, between 14:00 and 17:30 hrs. local. After about 9 hours of hard work, the group is hydrating and resting to depart at 23:00 hrs. local to the goal of the expedition: the summit of Mount Everest. To follow as they are favorable weather conditions, the team of climbers should arrive tomorrow, Friday 18 to the top of the roof called world.
1st Summit Push, No Oxygen!
Also currently en-route is Ueli Steck, but this is not 100% confirmed. If he is climbing per his update on his site, he is climbing without using supplemental oxygen.
The Weather locks great. I will leave Basecamp tomorrow morning, after a nice Breakfest in the sun to Camp 2. 17. May i plan to leave also late and go straight to Camp 4 were i will have a couple hours rest before set of for a Summitpush around midnight. Hope this time i will not get to cold and reach Summit May 18. morning.
Tim Ripple, Peak Freaks,also known for solid information just posted on his blog:
Tomorrow the mission will be complete with ropes fixed to the summit. Marty suggests there are probably 80 or more people at Camp 3 tonight. The plan is for half of them to head up on the 18th and the other half on the 19th which we’ve taken as our main window but also allowing the 20th as a back up for those opting to layover at the South Col for the night. All the teams in this push have agreed to stagger their departure times from the South Col to the summit which should help with movement up there.The weather is awesome right now, low to no wind and the best part being the temperatures remain cool making traveling quite pleasant, unlike the past couple of years where it was unbearable for some. It’s shaping up good up there and the next beauty window like this one will open up again on the 24th if not sooner which would merge the two windows offering a fantastic season of opportunities for everyone.
It appears the weather window is a bit longer than some teams thought a few days ago thus allowing for a more leisurely climb to the summit. This will help avoid some of the concern about bottlenecks.
Memories are Everything
- Ever read beck weathers' book?
He was an admitted fool. He had horrible depression and the rush of possible death was only thiNg that helped.
- 3 dead, two missing on everest this morning
- photo from friday, line waiting to go up lhotse face above campe 3 on way to camp 4
- KATMANDU, Nepal – Three climbers who scaled Mount Everest died on their descent and two went missing during a crowded weekend on the Himalayan peak, raising concerns Monday about congested trails and poor conditions near the summit.
An estimated 150 climbers tried to reach the top Friday and Saturday as they rushed to use a brief window of good weather in what has otherwise been a troubled season for climbing. Many of the climbers had been waiting at a staging camp for several days for their chance.
The three climbers who died Saturday were believed to have suffered exhaustion and altitude sickness, Nepali mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha said. Officials were still gathering details from descending climbers, he said.
The victims were identified as German doctor Eberhard Schaaf, Nepal-born Canadian Shriya Shah, and South Korean mountaineer Song Won-bin. The missing climbers are a Chinese national and his Nepalese Sherpa guide.
"There was a traffic jam on the mountain on Saturday. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2:30 p.m. which is quite dangerous," Mr. Shrestha said.
Climbers normally are advised not to try for the summit after 11 a.m.
The area above the last camp at South Col is nicknamed the "death zone" because of the steep icy slope, treacherous conditions and low oxygen level.
Prakash Mathema/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
A view of the Mount Everest range, 140 kilometers northeast of Katmandu, Jan. 14, 2011.
"With the traffic jam, climbers had a longer wait for their chance to go up the trail and spent too much time at higher altitude. Many of them are believed to be carrying a limited amount of oxygen, not anticipating the extra time spent," Mr. Shrestha said.
The climbing season normally runs from late March to the first week in June, and the Nepalese government places no limits on how many climbers can be on 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain, the world's highest. The season's first clear conditions were on Friday and Saturday, but that window already was closing by Saturday afternoon with a windstorm at higher altitudes, Mr. Shrestha said.
Ang Tshering, an Everest expert and former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said the government should impose a system of climbing schedules so that scores of climbers are not trying to summit on the same day.
Mr. Tshering said the race to the summit on Saturday meant that climbers likely expended all their energy on the way up and had little in reserve for the way back down.
"That is one reason that some climbers collapse after they reach summit. The other thing is when they put too much efforts, when they are very tired it also causes the altitude sickness," he said.
The deadliest day on Everest was May 10, 1996, when eight people were killed. The main reason was said to be that climbers who started their ascents late in the day were caught in a snow storm that swept the mountain in the afternoon.
Some climbers and environmentalists have expressed concerns that climbing conditions on Everest are worsening each year, possibly due to climate change.
An unusually light snowfall this year has added to this season's danger, renowned Everest climber Conrad Anker said.
"Because there is little fresh snow, icy surfaces on the slopes make climbing more difficult and dangerous," Mr. Anker said, adding that "the snow acts as glue stopping rocks from falling on the climbers."
Well-known expedition organizer Russell Brice cited the mountain's precarious condition in his decision in early May to cancel this year's climb for more than 60 clients.
- These assholes are littering up the mountain. Close it, send a sherpa cleaning team up and then say no more. Fuck, wherever humans go trash inevitably follows. You'd think these types would be environmentally friendly too.
- No ladders, no supplemental oxygen. Then see how small the expeditions become.
- I must spend a fortune on sherpas and risk their lives in order to get to the top! It's the way I can prove to the world I have really lived life!
- Actually, I do too. I would love to visit Nepal and at least see Mount Everest from a distance. I doubt if I could make it to BaseCamp1 but it would be fun to try. The Nepalese people are so friendly and some of the boys are just to die for.......just take your A200 and your Qwell lotion and your penecillin. But, this is a whole other issue.
- I noticed there is also another Everest climbing season in October, but have never read about it in the news...
- I summited Everest at dawn on 19th May after an 8.5 hour climb from Camp 4. The ridge from the South Summit to Peak was far more impressive than anything I imagined. I said good bye to my close friend Monty Smith by letting the -30 degree wind take some of his ashes. Monty had to abort his Everest climb in 2008 after a sinus bleed at Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face after 10 weeks of sleeping on rock and ice. My daughter Summer made me 1000 Oragami Cranes for safe journey and drew a picture of her hand with Cranes embedded. I had to rely on that love and those Cranes through an epic survival journey. On the descent I lost my vision and ran out of O's just before the Hillory Step. I don't know if I froze my corneas or it was some other altitude related problem. I was supposed to have a new bottle of Oxygen at the South Summit but we found none. I tried to tell my Sherpa that I couldn't see. He plucked Icycles from my eyebrows. The problem was in my eyes. It was like being inside a pingpong ball at 8850 meters with no Oxygen. The climb was 10x more challenging than I imagined from a technical perspective... steep and exposed. Having fixed safety lines kept me from falling to my death. Having a dedicated sherpa and caring and tough guide was critical. There's no way mere mortals can climb a mountain like this without the support of dozens of experienced crew and sherpa. The lead guide got sick at Camp 3 and descended. Andy Poloczek took over the Hybrid Team. I ran into him on the way down and shared my situation. He stayed with me to Balcony and helped me in the critical sections and then ensured I made it safely back to C4. He gave me a Partial bottle of Oxygen at the Balcony and I got my sight back. I ran out of O's again 1 hour before Camp 4 and wound up rappelling down most of the triangular face due to lack of energy. I've never been so physically exhausted in my life, After 18 hour summit trip Andy asked me if I had the juice to descend Lhotse Face to Camp 2. I was 50 meters from my tent and was going so slow I could have been rear-ended by a slow moving slug. He brought me a fresh bottle of O's. I have a new appreciation for O's. I was barely able to crawl into my tent at C4, let alone spend 5 hours descending to C2. I ran out of O's in the middle of the night. When I tried to leave me tent to get a new bottle, I collapsed. Things are a bit different above 8000 meters. My tent mate Bandar gave me his bottle so I could fetch a new one. When I took my boots off at C4, I noticed I was starting to get frostbite on my toes. I knew I needed to get them warmed up or risk permanent damage. The next day with wind howling at South Col at 26000 feet we all packed up and climbed down the Lhotse Face to C2. Even though C2 was at 21000 feet elevation and higher than Denali, we could breath. I soaked my feet in warm water at C2 for several hours and used supplemental Oxygen to keep warm. After consulting with the Himalayan Rescue Associtation at Base Camp, the decision was to evac me via chopper to Kathmandu for treatment. So I got a great helicopter ride through the Khumbu valley and skipped my seventh trip through the icefall along with a 40 mile trek back to Lukla. Initial assessment is that this is not serious enough to lose digits. A lot will depend on how I take care of my feet. I guess this means I wont be pacing you Kerry at Hardrock in 5 weeks. Right now 68000 feet of vertical doesn't sound fun. I think I've got my fill of "the really steep stuff" for a while. Looking forward to the simple things in life... O2, cold water, no rocks or ice for bed, shower, great food, warm work environment, work outs, etc. I"ve gained a new appreciation for the Sherpa people and the challenging life they lead. I'm inspired to do something to benefit them.... next project..
Bottom line.. I'm grateful to be alive, have a new perspective on life and energized by the adventure of my life. The caliber of the adventure is proportional to the level of doubt maintained... The most precious summits come at a psychological price -- John Long
Thanks to all of you friends and family for encouraging me and sending me best wishes. You made it more enjoyable.
How the hell does one decend everest when you suddenly become blind?
- If it's so easy, I can't believe some dipshit celebrity hasn't climbed Everest for the publicity. Now let me guess, who's very fit, desperate to prove his masculinity, and desperate for publicity...
I predict Jake Guyllenhall will be the first dipshit celebrity to buy his way up Everest!
- No because Everest is like so very. I mean just like everyone has climbed it already. It's like having sex with John Travolta, everyone has done it, so what's the point?
You wanna climb hard and difficult mountains. It'd be like all you 'mos wanting to get actually get into Brad Pitt's pants. A hot guy who's straight.
[quote]Mount Kea (the big island of Hawaii) is the tallest mountain from base to peak (33,500 ft), of course most of it is underwater.
So there's no point to saying this whatsoever. So why post it. Do you got splinters in the windmills of your mind?
- Lol r127!
Remember Sandy Hill Pittman, the NYC socialite who climbed Everest in 1996 with Sherpas carrying her DVD player only to be trapped in a storm screaming I DON'T WANT TO DIE!
She was described in Jon Kraukauer's book.
- Stephanie Losee
Posted: August 17, 2006 02:13 AM
Return to Thin Air — Without Jon Krakauer?
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I'm an Outside magazine junkie and, I hate to admit, an even worse Everest junkie, so I was excited to see that the September issue is titled "The Everest Disaster: Ten Years Later." This was going to be good — what did Jon Krakauer, author of the original Outside story "Into Thin Air," later expanded into a mega-bestselling book, have to say about the explosion of climbers on the mountain in the years since?
Nothing, it turns out. There isn't a paragraph in the entire issue by Krakauer. There isn't an interview with Krakauer. No mention in the editor's note about Krakauer's absence. Did they think we wouldn't notice?
Don't get me wrong, Krakauer is all over this issue — as a target, that is. Even the editor who assigned him the original story, Brad Wetzler, takes a wee swipe at him, referring to him as "brooding" and saying that Krakauer "needed occasional coaxing" to do the article. Wetzler's piece describes how it feels to be the editor who assigned the story about Everest, which I supposed was Outside's concession to readers who want to know the magazine's position on, to use Wetzler's words, "whether [Outside's] presence on the mountain had created the environment in which the disaster played out" since the teams might have been "motivated by a desire to show each other up in the magazine." But I don't really want to know how Krakauer's editor feels about it. I want to know how Krakauer feels about it.
Jon Krakauer's frank reporting upset a lot of the players involved, and it seems like the September issue gives quite a few of them the opportunity to get even. Sandy Hill (formerly Pittman) gets her licks in with the most tit-for-tat stealth. A bit of background: in "Into Thin Air" Krakauer recorded the unflattering things other climbers said about Hill, a New York socialite of some notoriety who was at the time attempting to complete her quest for the Seven Summits. He also gave some background on her reputation in New York, quoting the Wall Street Journal as saying she "was known in certain elevated circles more as a social climber than mountain climber." But I thought he gave a balanced account of her, especially given what he had to work with.
A few pages later in the book a member of Hill's team falls gravely ill, and Krakauer mentions that the Sherpas thought they knew the reason: one of the women on the team had angered Everest — Sagarmatha, goddess of the sky — for striking up a relationship with a member of an expedition attempting Lhotse and having sex with him on the sacred mountain. Krakauer describes the Sherpas laughing and pointing fingers while the couple went at it in the woman's tent. In the next paragraph he quotes Sandy Hill mentioning this superstition on her Web site in 1994, and at the time I concluded that we readers were supposed to make the connection that the woman in question was Hill.
This guess was proven correct in the wake of the disaster when other sources named her and young(er), world-renowned snowboarder Stephen Koch (who was later featured in a 2003 Outside profile accompanied by a juicy photo of him standing, bare-assed in all his glory, in front of a waterfall in Teton National Forest).
So it's no mystery why Sandy Hill would make the following proclamation in her first-personer in the Everest package: "It seems to me that most people have figured out that most of what was reported in 1996 was prejudiced, sensationalist, and overblown — thrilling fiction at best — but not journalism." She continues: "There was really only one writer who made scapegoats and pointed fingers and placed blame. That's the writer who got the most airplay. I don't really know him personally. I only met him briefly a couple of times. Most people think that because of the way so much of that year was portrayed, there was some intimate knowledge or something. That's just not so."
- Sandy hogged all the oxygen, brought a cappucino machine to base camp, and fucked a 26 year old snowboarder in her tent, giving grave offense to the Sherpas who blamed it for deaths.
- "The Nepalese people are so friendly and some of the boys are just to die for.......just take your A200 and your Qwell lotion and your penecillin. But, this is a whole other issue."
Wait I don't get it. Are they particularly std ridden?
- Lol r122!
- Wow the narrative at r125 sounds like it was written by a complete moron and near-illiterate who nevertheless thinks he can write like Jon Kraukauer. I see the author is "writing a book" - jeez.
- A mountaineer has described seeing climbers acting 'like zombies' as they returned to the summit of Mount Everest in deadly overcrowding which claimed the lives of four people.
About 150 people - described as a 'traffic jam' by Everest's standards - rushed to scale the 29,000ft peak over the weekend during a brief window of good weather on the world's tallest mountain.
Many of those stuck at the top were without sufficient oxygen supplies for their extended stay at the top and some who made it down were suffering from severe exhaustion and altitude sickness.
Fellow mountaineer Dr Jon Kedrowski, who had to abandon his own ascent due to bad weather, ended up helping with four of the attempted rescues close to Everest's summit, the Huffington Post reported.
In an interview with new channel Fox31, the climber, from Avon in Colorado, said: '[One man] was basically hallucinating, he took his hat off, his gloves were thrown away and then he kind of reached out and looked at me … he kind of reached out to me, kind of in a zombie-like fashion
'At that point, there’s not a lot you can do for somebody that’s dying and frozen to death.'
German doctor Eberhard Schaaf, 61, Nepalese-Canadian Shriya Shah and South Korean Song Won-bin are all believed to have to have died from a brain swelling triggered by the high altitude as they made their way down from the 8,850-metre summit.
It has now been confirmed that a fourth climber - a Chinese national - died on the mountain.
Nepali mountaineering official Gyanendra Shresta confirmed that the body of Ha Wenyi was discovered near the spot where the three other climbers perished.
His Nepalese Sherpa guide, who had been reported as missing, reached the base camp safely after he became separated from the group without sufficient communications equipment.
The deaths this weekend have been described as one of the worst days ever recorded on the world's highest mountain and has prompted concerns about overcrowding at Everest's peak.
Climbers who had made their way to the summit over the weekend had waited for several days at a 'staging camp' for the conditions to improve before continuing with their ascent.
The brief window of clear weather on Friday afternoon presented the first opportunity of the year to scale the world's highest mountain, resulting in a race to get to the top.
Gyanendra Shrestha, of Nepal's Mountaineering Department, said: ‘There was a traffic jam on the mountain on Saturday. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2.30pm, which is quite
Climbers are advised to not attempt to reach the summit after 11am.
The area above the last camp at South Col is nicknamed the ‘death zone’ because of the steep icy slope, treacherous conditions and low oxygen level.
‘With the traffic jam, climbers had a longer wait for their chance to go up the trail and spent too much time at higher altitude,' Shrestha said.
'Many of them are believed to be carrying limited amount of oxygen not anticipating the extra time spent.'
The climbers who died were believed to have suffered high altitude cerebral oedema.
Among the climbers who succeeded in the treacherous mission was student Mollie Hughes, 21, from Bristol, who has become the youngest woman ever to reach the summit.
Her mother was told she was safe after beginning her descent.
Her mother Jane Spreckley, from Torbay, Devon, is incredibly proud of her daughter's achievements.
She said: ‘We're all beyond proud of Mollie. She's dedicated her life to today and has raised an incredible £2500 for her charity Action Aid.
‘I still haven't managed to speak to Molly but the group radioed to base camp to say they had made it safely.
‘We are extremely relieved to hear everything has gone well and she is fine - we can't wait to hear all about it.’
Weather conditions are clear enough to permit climbing to Everest's 29,035ft peak for only a short time in May...
- [quote]Wow the narrative at [R125] sounds like it was written by a complete moron and near-illiterate who nevertheless thinks he can write like Jon Kraukauer. I see the author is "writing a book" - jeez.
You may be right about the book, R133, but remember those people start losing massive numbers of brain cells as soon as they arrive at base camp, so their prose can get a bit disjointed. Also, most are Dudes and Dudettes now, so writing might not be their strong point.
There also may be a formatting issue as V6 requires two line breaks at the end of a paragraph and not just one.
- At least four people have died and the possibility of more deaths is very likely due to a traffic jam on the Hillary Step:
- re 136, that photo is unreal.
I honestly think they should limit climbing to those going without O2. Oxygen plus Sherpa's are the means by which many who should never even attempt the climb end up on the mountain.
And just think that line was with just 150 people attempting, end of this week they expect 200 to try.
- Mountain climbers are crazy assholes who just need approval. They risk their lives and the lives of others for a pat on the back. It's damn stupid.
- Krakauer pointed out in his book that by the time of the "Into Thin Air" tragedy that guides wer making a lot of money basically carrying people like Sandy Hill up and down Everest. If you've got the right guide you don't need a whole lot of skills to get to the top, but that year they just didn't realize how bad the storm was going to be.
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I've seen it like this," says Onzchhu Sherpa, 31. Starting on the night of May 18 and going through the 20th, roughly 300 climbers, guides, and Sherpas crowded onto the upper slopes of Everest's Southeast Ridge. From the 19,000-foot shoulder of a neighboring peak, where I was watching, Everest appeared to be lit up like a Christmas tree with the headlamps of climbers converging from the mountain's north and south sides.
Onzchhu, Dawa Dendi Sherpa, and Temba Sherpa, along with their clients from outfitter Happy Feet had started out from the South Col, at 7,900 meters, at 8:30 p.m. on the 18th. Among their clients was Shriya Shah, a 33-year-old Canadian citizen who was originally from Nepal. Also climbing on the same permit were 16-year-old Nima Chhamzi Sherpa and her father, Dendi, 39, a climbing guide who'd already summited three times. Nima had climbed Lobuche (20,075 feet) the previous autumn, and was now on holiday from school trying to become the youngest woman to climb Everest.
Gradually, Nima and her father drifted ahead, summiting just after noon on May 19th. Despite their relatively late summit time, below them was a long string of other climbers, unwilling to quit. At the South Summit, just before 2 p.m., Nima and Dendi came across Shah, in her red-and-white down suit emblazoned with the Canadian maple leaf. With her were Temba and Dawa Dendi. Nima and Dendi urged Shah to turn back. By that point, she wasn't speaking, but was still signaling aggressively that she wanted to keep going up. Temba and Dawa Dendi had already been urging her to turn around. As Dawa Dendi and Onzchhu later recalled for me when I spoke to them earlier this afternoon at Happy Feet's camp, she'd repeatedly told Temba and Dawa Dendi, "No, I have to go; I have to go."
The two groups parted ways. Nima and her father headed down, while Shah and her Sherpas continued up and, according to Dawa Dendi, made the summit sometime after 2:30 p.m. on the 19th. By 9:30 p.m., they'd descended to the Balcony—where the route first hits the edge of the Southeast Ridge—at which point Shah's last oxygen bottle ran out, and she began to falter. She'd consumed nine bottles over the course of her climb, according to Happy Feet's Base Camp manager, Rishi Raj Kandel.
Temba and Dawa Dendi rigged up a rescue rope and attempted to lower her down the Triangular Face, the last major slope before descending climbers reach the safety of Camp IV, at 7,900 meters on the South Col. But at 10 p.m, still with climbers behind her, she collapsed a few meters away from the body of guide Scott Fischer, who died during the Everest 1996 disaster. Her Sherpas couldn't revive her. Dawa Dendi took the camera from Shah’s pocket—the same one she'd used to record her summit photos only hours before. The following day, he returned and photographed her body. Only a few eerie frames separate the triumphant summit photos and the crumpled figure draped in a Canadian flag.
UNFORTUNATELY, SHAH’S WASN’T the only death on the mountain. In all, over the course of the last several days, four climbers, possibly five, have died. Chinese Ha Wenyi, 55, who was climbing with Mountain Experience was found dead just below Shah on the Triangular face. German doctor Eberhard Schaaf, climbing with Asian Trekking, likely succumbed to high-altitude cerebral edema and died between the Hillary Step and South Summit. Both their bodies, along with Shah’s, have been roughly identified based on the colors of their suits, boots, and packs.
Then there’s the still unraveling case of Korean Song Wonbin. On May 19th, the 45-year-old from the Seoul National University team became combative and disoriented (eating snow). According to several credible reports, he likely fell over the edge of the mountain. Song was apparently wearing an orange suit, but no one I’ve talked to has yet to confirm an orange-suited body has been located. Instead, there appears to be a dead, and as-of-yet-unidentified climber in a yellow suit. Even more confounding is the fact that no climbing team here is
best details to date about incident
- "Then there’s the still unraveling case of Korean Song Wonbin. On May 19th, the 45-year-old from the Seoul National University team became combative and disoriented (eating snow). According to several credible reports, he likely fell over the edge of the mountain. Song was apparently wearing an orange suit, but no one I’ve talked to has yet to confirm an orange-suited body has been located. Instead, there appears to be a dead, and as-of-yet-unidentified climber in a yellow suit. Even more confounding is the fact that no climbing team here is currently missing a team member or employee. (It's possible that the climber in the yellow suit was attempting to climb Everest on his own, and was not a part of any team; given the condition of the body, it's highly unlikely that the climber died during a previous year.) As to whether or not the yellow-suited body could be the body of Song, I’m still not sure. Several sources I spoke with are pretty convinced that this isn’t a case of mistaken climbing suit color, i.e. the suit is definitely yellow and not orange."
Jesus Christ. Whats more scary then the challange of the climb is that if you are struggling, you are Fucked
- High altitude flatus expulsion (HAFE) is a gastrointestinal syndrome which involves the spontaneous passage of increased quantities of rectal gases at high altitudes. First described by Joseph Hamel in c. 1820 and occasionally described afterward, a landmark study was it was published in 1981 by Paul Auerbach and York Miller.
The phenomenon is based on the differential in atmospheric pressure, directly correlated with the observer's frequency of and level of experience in high-altitude metabolism. As the external pressure decreases, the difference in pressure between the gas within the body and the atmosphere outside is higher, and the urge to expel gas to relieve the pressure is greater. Consistent with Boyle's law, controlling for dietary variance, the amount of gas produced is constant in mass, but the volume increases as the external pressure decreases.
The feeling of fullness or need to expel brought on by this differential in atmospheric pressure has been verified by studies involving military pilots subjected to pressure changes simulating flight.
- Didn't Russell Brice go home and not fix rope? I bet that is why in part.
- Yes he did re 143. Can you imagine the insanity if himex was there? I also think the delay in fixing ropes was that everyone expected his team to do it.
- I agree r144. He did it every year and all the other expeditions freeloaded off him.
- That outside mag piece says one Turkish guy from NYC tried to summit with his bike even though he had neve climbed a mountain before. He succeeded. Although without the bike. Absurd.
- I love cuddling up in bed and reading about everest.
- Seven confirmed dead from recent summit attempt bringing total deaths this year to 11.
1.40 year-old Karsang Namgyal Sherpa climbing with Prestige Adventures related to alcohol at base camp
2.Peak Freaks’ Namgyal Tshering Sherpa fell from a ladder into a crevasse near C1
3.Dawa Tenzing with Himex from stroke in the Khumbu Icefall and died in Kathmandu
4.33 year-old Indian, Ramesh Gulve, climbing with the Pune team suffered a stroke around Camp2 and died back in India.
5.Dr Ebehard Schaaf with Asian Trekking of HACE near South Summit after his summit
6.Shriya Shah, a Canadian Non-Resident Nepali climbing with Happy Feet Expeditions died below the Balcony after her summit
7.Song Won Bin from South Korea climbing with the Korean Everest & Lhotse Expedition died at the Balcony from AMS and then a fall after his summit
8.Chinese climber, Ha Wenyi climbing with Mountain Experience died just below the Balcony
9.Climbing with Himalayan Guides, Spaniard from Tenerife, age 43, Juan José Polodied of exhaustion after his summit on May 19 or 20 after his summit
10.Climbing with Monterosa, a German climber, Ralf D. Arnold, broke his leg at the 2nd step and has died after his summit
11.69 year old Italian Luigi Rampini, climbing on a Monterosa permit and logistics, is now at his 4th night at 8300 meters without oxygen. He refused to descend a few days ago and is presumed dead. He was attempting the summit
- Is anyone going up today?
- 200 are expected to go up between friday and saturday
- [quote]200 are expected to go up between friday and saturday
Wonder how many of those will wind up dead.
- I'm watching the webcam and the weather seems nice -- why wait for the weekend for the next batch of climbs?
- re 154, it is my understanding that the "norm" up on everest is that the yet stream spends most off its time blowing right across the summit. They are essentially waiting for a wind window when the stream is expected to move so that the wind speed falls below something like 30mph.
- I just woke up and saw the web cam view (it is 5PM there now) and you can't see the mountain for all the clouds that rushed in sometime during the past six hours.
I think a similar sudden storm took out all those people in 1996
- OMG, thanks for the webcam, R154 and R156!
- A more recent story is that of David Sharp. David was an English mountaineer who, in 2005, ascended Everest in a group but attempted the final climb by himself. At one point he stopped in a small cave and eventually froze to the point he could not move. As he lay near death below the summit, he was passed by over 40 other climbers both on their way up and their way down. Sharp had stopped to rest and protect himself from the elements in the same cave Green Boots had used. Since David was not moving, the 40 climbers that passed by had either not seen him or assumed he was Green Boots. A group of sherpas in a later expedition on the way up to the summit noticed Sharp just off the trail, alive and moaning. When the sherpas reached David, he was not coherent, and badly frostbitten, but he was able to say his name and which party he was with. After giving him some oxygen, the sherpas attempted to help him climb down – but he could not stand under his own power. Realizing Sharp was not going to be able to move, the sherpas pulled David into the sunlight hoping the sun exposure would warm him up. By the time the sherpas returned to camp to report their find, David was dead. The last party to see Sharp alive was the documentary crew filming the ascent of double-amputee Mark Inglis. Since they were filming, they had cameras rolling when they approached David and the footage was used in the documentary.
- Wow climbing mountains does a number on your skin. Ed Viesturs might be in amazing shape but his face shows every second of his fifty something years.
- Ed Viesturs - gay? I know he's married but ever heard him?
- I had a great view of Everest flying from Kathmandu to Bhutan. That's close enough for me.
- Video dedicated to lost climbers.
- I'd love more dirt on Sandy Hill (Pittman). She seems like she'd be a DL fave.
- Some bits about Sandy Hill (Pittman):
[quote]The head of Mountain Madness, Scott Fischer, had first attempted to sign up Jon Krakauer, working for Outside magazine, intending to generate international publicity for his company. At the 11th hour, Outside went to a rival expedition (led by Rob Hall), asking them to beat Fischer’s price, which they did, by a few hundred, maybe a thousand dollars. Fischer was very upset about this, but by signing on Sandy Hill Pittman, and successfully getting her to the summit, he felt he had the means to the same end.
[quote]Sandy Hill Pittman, according to one of Fischer’s confidants, turned out to be ‘a big piece of work’. Fischer soon realized that she was very self-important, and failure to get her to the top would cost him dearly, and even if he got her to the top she wouldn’t mention him.
[quote]Other expeditions noticed that Mountain Madness sent their clients off on sorties, allowing them to move through some difficult situations unattended. And Sherpas began to talk about the disrespect some clients had for the mountain. Sandy Hill Pittman had found a young male climber to share her tent with.
- An old 1990 article about Sandy and one of her former husbands; excerpt:
[quote]Now Sandy is switching into career high gear herself, working on what friends describe as an ambitious plan to become the Martha Stewart of the outdoors. “She was saying, `What do I do with my life?’ ” recalls a friend. “It was Bob’s idea. He’s so smart.” Though there are no deals yet, Sandy hopes to produce a series of books and videos on adventure-travel topics and maybe even a line of outdoor gear and clothing. An obsessively organized woman, she’s already at work on publicity-a series of articles in Mirabella about her active outdoor life.
[quote]All this casts some doubt on Pittman’s proclamation about keeping a low profile. At Isaac Mizrahi’s fashion show in April, for instance, Sandy told a fashion editor about her project, saying that her first step would probably be a book on mountain climbing. “Are you sure that’s the kind of climbing you’re writing about?” came the reply.
- Sandra Hill Pittman's Wiki entry describes her occupations as "Fashion editor, mountaineer and author" She is described as a portable toilet heiress, also.
- Thanks R164, R165, R166.
She seems like a real cunt extraordinnaire, but I'm intrigued by Ms. Hill.
- Ed Viesturs could short-rope down my Lhotse face any day.
So could Scott Fischer if he wasn't frozen on top of the mountain.
- Sherpas believe Mt. Everest houses a god, Sagarmatha, goddess of the sky. One’s actions on Everest directly influence her moods, and as such, your ability to reach her summit. Disapproved of by the Sherpas are any sexual acts.
When a woman descides to sleep with a man, others gather around the tent. “[X] and [Y] are sauce-making, sauce-making,” they would giggle, miming the sex act by pumping a finger into the open fist of the other hand. But despite the Sherpas’ laughter (to say nothing of their own notoriously libertine habits), they fundamentally disapproved of sex between unmarried couples on the divine flanks of Sagarmatha. Whenever the weather would turn nasty, one or another Sherpa was apt to point up at the clouds boiling heavenward and earnestly declare, “Somebody has been sauce-making. Make bad luck. Now storm is coming.” (Krakauer 1997: 131).
- I can't imagine wanting to get fucked on mt everest of all places. I thought everyone was sick with the altitude
- The argument for leaving all that garbage up there seems to be "once you've lugged it all the way up you're too exhausted to carry it all back down again." Which reminds me of the guy who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he's an orphan.
I would class mountain climbing with unprotected casual sex or doing meth on my personal scale of values.
- R171 -- there have been eco expeditions in recent years to help clean up all the mess. The German MD who this year died on the mountain was one of the people on such a climb.
- Check these pictures out they're not of Everest but shows some people's skills):
- The webcam is up for the day now, but I have been puzzling about the scale -- are we seeing the very top? The last 1,000 feet or so? Will we be able to make out people on the way up/down?
- The main thing I remember about Sandy Hill-Pittman was the incredible amount of energy she used on the climb. Apparently she brought along her espresso machine.
- Ed Viesturs is still pretty hot. His mountaineering skills add to his appeal.
- In Jon's book, he pointedly notes that sandy knew perfectly well that the Sherpas were offended by sex on the mountain, quoting a comment she made on a website about how in 1994 they had been upset when a climber brought a girlie mag.
Yet she did it anyway. She was kind of a dumb bitch. She depended on the Sherpas for everything. They lugged her cappuccino machine not her. To disrespect their god, and worse to make them the expedition would suffer bad luck, is idiotic.
- Is anything ever going to happen on that webcam?
- Apparently the whole OUR TRIP IS FOR CLEANING UP THE MOUNTAIN is a famous scam to get donors to pay for trips. Often all they haul off is their own debris.
From a review of HIgh Crimes by Michael Kodas
"Nothing makes you appreciate your mundane existence more than a good Everest disaster narrative. Yes, your life may be boring, but at least you’re not alone on the highest peak in the world suffering from hypoxia, cerebral edema, or simply freezing to death.
High Crimes is an expose of the corruption of Mount Everest anchored by two parallel narratives. Kodas describes a 2004 Everest expedition of which he and his wife were both members. The challenge of climbing the world’s highest peak is overshadowed by the human tension characterizing the expedition. Kodas witnesses sabotage, theft, extortion, and a level of greed more threatening to him than the punishing high-altitude elements. Ultimately he chooses to turn his back on the summit and retreat in disillusion.
Kodas is lucky. At the same time he is turning back from his summit bid, a 69-year-old Bolivian climber named Nils Antezana is being left to die high on the other side of the mountain by his guide and Sherpas. As soon as the guide reaches the safety of his tent in base camp, he updates his website to let the world know that he has conquered Everest, even as his client is taking his last breaths high atop the mountain. He does not report Antezana’s plight for 2 days.
Antezana’s daughter undertakes her own investigation to discover the truth behind her father’s death. Kodas alternates the unraveling of this story with the narrative of his own experience, which makes for suspenseful reading. He also sandwiches in smaller narratives and anecdotes periodically. All of the stories demonstrate the growing climate of self-aggrandizement on Everest which was bitterly denounced by Sir Edmund Hillary (the man who first summited Everest in 1953) during his last years.
For example: Climbers reach their camps only to find that their tents, sleeping bags, oxygen tanks or camp stoves have been stolen. Thus exposed to the elements, they face freezing to death. Rope lines on steep slopes are sabotaged and climbers fall as a result. Guides and expedition leaders misrepresent their levels of experience and competence in order to garner clients and sponsorships. Guides accept clients with no more qualifications to climb a mountain than the means to pay. Con men operate oxygen tank scams and environmental clean-up scams. Everest base camp, and to an extent the peak itself, has become a community ungoverned by any authority. Laws and rules designed to impose order and peace on societies do not exist here.
Most disturbing to me were the stories—many of them—of climbers passing dying people on the mountain without attempting rescue. Some passersby take palliative measures, such as moving the suffering climber into the sun, leaving him a bottle of oxygen, or attempting to get him on his feet and moving. But it seems uncommon for an actual rescue to be attempted. The passing climbers are dead tired, often suffering themselves from hypoxia or frostbite. Often they are guides who are taking care of their own clients in distress. Sometimes a rescue is simply impossible, especially in poor weather conditions. A climber simply must accept that the other climber in distress is beyond hope and continue his own fight for survival. Some climbers are stoic about this; others are haunted for the rest of their lives by the image of another human being dying alone in such a fashion."
- Having read a few everest books, 90% of the people on the mountain are serious head cases. It's fundamentally a deranged and egomaniacal thing to do. So there are a lot of dumb cunts involved.
- The National Enquirer has a new cover story this week which reads “Cher’s Secret Wedding!” It’s technically accurate according to the information they claim to have, but is misleading because Cher is just said to be planning a wedding with this biker dude who happens to be 24 years younger than her, and hasn’t actually married him yet. So a more accurate title would be “Cher Plans Secret Wedding!” But that’s ok, because the details are juicy enough to make up for the inaccurate title.
Cher met 38 year-old Tim Medvetz through her friend Richard Stark, the designer of Chrome Hearts Jewelery. Medvetz is a 6’5″ tough biker dude with long black hair and one of those half goatee mustache combos. He customizes high end motorcycles and was injured so badly in a motorcycle accident in 2001 that he had to have his back fused together and metal plates put in his skull.
The guy was in a wheelchair for 6 months, but he decided to set a goal for himself to climb Mount Everest, and he made it on his second try in 2007.
He’s said to drink a lot of whiskey and love fried chicken, but he lifts weight to work it off. Cher’s boyfriend’s story is pretty interesting, and he’s a determined guy but that doesn’t make him marriage material.
- I liked that show EVERET BEYOND THE LIMIT. Remember the second season when that crazy woman Betsy, who literally put on her crampons upside down and kept passing out in the snow, had to be told by Russell Brice that she could not climb the mountain?
- Thanks for the webcam. I had no idea that Everest had so little snow on it. So at the higher elevations they are climbing on rock and ice right?
- I read that book when it first came out r179.
While he might have legitimate points, he struck me as someone with an ax to grind.
On a superficial note, I always thought Viesturs was semi-hot, but I prefered David Brashears.
(I wonder what Brashears is doing these days.)
- r180, David Brashears and others are egomaniacal head cases, but that doesn't mean they're dumb cunts.
The dumb cunts are the ones who should know better and let their greed and egos destroy their common sense.
The expedition leaders/guides are the ones who should be being raked over the coals, but I see Sandy Pittman is still a favourite straw man.
- Yes, r183.
That's why the snow is so dangerous. Even a relatively small amount can obscure deadly features like crevasses.
- R179 why would someone sabotage rope lines? Maybe I'm naive but that doesn't even make sense.
- R187 I can't remember specifically but it was likely either theft because they needed rope or sour grapes after some kind of petty dispute.
Gustavo Lisi is one of the sociopathic guides in the book. He left his 69 year old client to die below summit, and raced off to post GUSTAVO LISI HAS SUMMITTED EVEREST on his website and didn't tell anyone nils had died for two days.
- Googled David Brashears. He kind of has "I keep the dead bodies of my victims behind my elaborate and expensive wine cellar" face.
- ISTANBUL (AP) — An Israeli who rescued a distressed climber on Mount Everest instead of pushing onward to the summit said Friday that the man he helped, an American of Turkish origin, is like a brother to him.
Nadav Ben-Yehuda, who was climbing with a Sherpa guide, came across Aydin Irmak near the summit last weekend. In that chaotic period, four climbers died on their way down from the summit amid a traffic jam of more than 200 people who were rushing to reach the world's highest peak as the weather deteriorated.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Ben-Yehuda, 24, appeared proud that Irmak, 46, had made it to the summit, noting that he is one of a small number of "Turkish" climbers to reach the top. Irmak left Turkey for New York more than two decades ago, but remains proud of his Turkish heritage. The friendship stands in contrast to the political tension between Turkey and Israel, which were once firm allies.
"Aydin, wake up! Wake up!" Ben-Yehuda recalled saying when he found his friend in the darkness. The American, he said, had been returning from the summit but collapsed in the extreme conditions, without an oxygen supply, a flashlight and a rucksack. Ben-Yehuda, who developed a friendship with Irmak before the climb, had delayed his own ascent by a day in hopes of avoiding the bottleneck of climbers heading for the top.
There have been periodic tales of people bypassing stricken climbers as they seek to fulfill a lifelong dream and reach the summit of Everest, but Ben-Yehuda said his decision to abandon his goal of reaching the top and help Irmak was "automatic," even though it took him several minutes to recognize his pale, gaunt friend.
"I just told myself, 'This is crazy.' It just blew my mind," Ben-Yehuda said. "I didn't realize he was up there the whole time. Everybody thought he had already descended."
The Israeli carried Irmak for hours to a camp at lower elevation. Both suffered frostbite and some of their fingers were at risk of amputation. Ben-Yehuda lost 20 kilograms (44 pounds) in his time on the mountain, and Irmak lost 12 kilograms (26 pounds), said Hanan Goder, Israel's ambassador in Nepal. Goder had dinner with the pair after their ordeal.
"They really have to recover mentally and physically," Goder said. "They call each other, 'my brother.' After the event that they had together, their souls are really linked together now."
The ambassador said the rescue was a "humanitarian" tale that highlighted the friendship between Israelis and Turks at a personal level, despite the deteriorating relationship between their governments. One of the key events in that downward, diplomatic spiral was an Israeli raid in 2010 on a Turkish aid ship that was trying to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of eight Turkish activists and a Turkish-American.
The Jerusalem Post, which reported that Ben-Yehuda would have been the youngest Israeli to reach Everest's summit, spoke to Irmak by telephone during the dinner that Goder hosted.
"I don't know what the hell is going on between the two countries," the newspaper quoted Irmak as saying. "I don't care about that. I talked to his (Ben-Yehuda's) family today and I told them you have another family in Turkey and America."
Ben-Yehuda, who spoke to the AP just before leaving Nepal for urgent medical treatment in Israel, said he could not say with certainty how he would have reacted if he had come across a stricken climber he did not know. Oxygen is in such short supply and the conditions are so harsh, he said, that people on the mountain develop a kind of tunnel vision.
"You just think about breathing, about walking, about climbing," he said. According to Ben-Yehuda, the fundamental questions going through the mind of a climber heading for the peak are: "Are you going to make it?" and "When is the right time to turn back?"
And once a climber begins the descent, the all-embracing question becomes: "How fast can I go down?"
Ben-Yehuda said his military training in Israel helped shape his reflexive decision to rescue Irmak.
- Did that webcam catch any of those people coming up or down? I haven't seen any activity on it but right now it's showing the sunrise or sunset which is pretty cool.
- Have you seen "Eiger: Wall of Death"?
[italic] A BBC documentary telling of the climbing history of The Eiger mountain. The Eiger (3,970 m (13,025 ft)) is a mountain in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. It is the easternmost peak of a ridge crest that extends across the Mönch to the Jungfrau at 4,158 m. The northern side of the mountain rises about 3,000 m (9,800 ft) above Grindelwald and other inhabited valleys of the Bernese Oberland, and the southern side faces the deeply glaciated region of the Jungfrau-Aletsch, covered by some of the largest glaciers in the Alps.
Since 1935, at least sixty-four climbers have died attempting the north face, earning it the German nickname Mordwand, literally "murder(ous) wall". [/italic]
I highly recommend it, very fascinating.
- Prepare for a busy weekend boys and girls, break in the weather expected, 300 people are gonna try to summit. Expect bodies to fall like rain.
- A pic from last Saturday. This is just crazy.
- Khumbu icefall video. Those ladders look really too narrow and rickety.
- [quote]Gustavo Lisi is one of the sociopathic guides in the book. He left his 69 year old client to die below summit, and raced off to post GUSTAVO LISI HAS SUMMITTED EVEREST on his website and didn't tell anyone nils had died for two days.
Add to no pre-installed ladders and ropes and no supplemental oxygen -- no one is allowed to be a guide until they've summitted Everest three times on their own.
That will put a stop to "guides" who organize expeditions only to pay for their own chance to summit.
- Imagine what it's like leaving that camp with the realization that you might not be back or do you think they are the arrogant and "it only happens to other people" types?
- Holy crap, I just spent over 3 hours looking at the links, videos, articles, and Googling so much of what's been posted here. You couldn't pay me enough money to climb anything except my couch but I've always found Everest accounts to be completely mesmerizing.
- Has there ever been a casualty free season?
- r194, thanks for the pic. Interesting. I didn't know they all go up the same rope/line.
- Sometimes flatus explusion happens to me at low altitudes, even sea level.
- No deaths in 1977. Before 1969, there are several years with no deaths, but maybe because no one climbed in those years.
- The interesting story of Maurice Wilson on Everest:
- I love Maurice Wilson that batshit crazy motherfucker.
You know who I can TOTALLY see trying to summit Everest? Kirstie Alley. Cant you just imagine her twittering about it?
- Isn't it kind of cheating that all these ropes and ladder are already in place for them to assist them?
- I don't know r205. I'd have to refer to the rule book.
- [quote]That will put a stop to "guides" who organize expeditions only to pay for their own chance to summit.
A lot of the people guiding who caused fatal mistakes in the over 8,000m industry would meet both your criteria.
It wasn't the guides trying to pay for their own summit in the most publicized incidents, but those who wanted to raise their tour/guiding company profile and make a lot of money.
There are a lot of extreme personalities who can't adjust to life outside climbing, yet who don't have the means to climb without taking another 'regular'job.
The compromise of starting a tour guiding company for the 8,000 club is the solution for many.
Unfortunately, what makes them good climbers, especially ones who summit often, doesn't necessarily make them good guides and/or businessmen. Limit pushing, risk taking and living off adrenaline don't jibe with being in charge of a business that effectively manages the risking of other people's lives.
- May 26, 2012 (KATMANDU, Nepal) -- The oldest woman to climb Mount Everest said she finally felt she had gotten old when she scaled the world's highest peak last weekend.
Tamae Watanabe, 73, beat her own age record for an Everest climb by a woman set 10 years ago. She also recovered from an accident in 2005 in which she broke her back and feared she would never climb again.
"It was much more difficult for me this time," Watanabe told reporters Friday after returning to Nepal's capital, Katmandu, from the mountain. "I felt I was weaker and had less power. This time it was certainly different. I felt that I had gotten old."
She reached Everest's summit from the Tibetan side on May 19, at the age of 73 years and 180 days.
That day, more than 200 climbers were aiming for the summit on the busier southern route in Nepal. Four died, apparently from altitude sickness and exhaustion, on one of the deadliest days on the mountain.
Watanabe, who is Japanese, said what surprised her, compared to her earlier climb, was the effects of warmer temperatures on the Everest.
"There was a glacial lake formed near the base camp from the melting ice which our cooks could fetch water from," she said, adding that she is now encouraged to campaign against global warming.
She said she wants to help younger female climbers back in Japan to take up climbing high mountains.
The oldest Everest climber is 76-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal, who ascended in 2008.
- Today is the big day, isn't it? 300 people trying to get to the top. I guess we'll hear about more deaths after this weekend.
[quote][R194], thanks for the pic. Interesting. I didn't know they all go up the same rope/line.
From what I understand most of the guided tours go up the same rope/line and professional climbers like Ueli Steck last week can sidestep the masses. I read somewhere that because of the masses climbers have to wait for hours at certain bottlenecks and they run out of oxygen
- Women Officers and NCOs of the Indian Army summit:
- [quote]Today is the big day, isn't it? 300 people trying to get to the top. I guess we'll hear about more deaths after this weekend.
So ghoulish. I bet you're getting all giddy thinking of dead bodies.
How about wishing them well in reaching the top safely? Novel concept, eh?
- Canadians continue to mourn the loss of Shriya Shah-Klorfine, who died last weekend after her summit.
- No one died today...
Most of this weekends summits were South and East Asian groups as many the Westerners left after last week's logjams, etc...
- I wish they'd all grow brains and stay the hell off that mountain.
- Any fool can die on everest. It takes sense to come back alive.
Ed Viesturs is really hot. Family?
- [quote]I once met a Buddhist living in a nunnery at the base of Everest who had spent 45 years in isolated retreat, dedicating her entire life to the recitation of a single prayer. To those prepared to sacrifice everything in a quest to reach the summit of the world, such spiritual devotion may seem like a waste of a human life. Most Tibetans find it equally incomprehensible that one would choose to walk to heights where the air is so thin that consciousness is obliterated. To enter the death zone deliberately, to risk losing the opportunity of personal transformation and escape from the realm of samsara merely to climb a mountain is for them a fool’s folly, the waste of a precious incarnation. As the Abbot of Rongbuk Monastery wrote of the British expedition of 1922: “They camped at the bottom of the mountain, then, I heard they camped for seven times for each level they reach, with great effort they use magical skills with iron nails, iron chains and iron claws, with great agony, hands and feet frozen. … [Some] left early to have limbs cut off, the others stubbornly continue to climb. … I felt great compassion for them to suffer so much for such meaningless work.” – Wade Davis
- Say what you want about Brice - but whenever the shit comes down - who is the first person people on the North side go to? Brice. I think he shoulders an awful lot of responsibility for the well-being of not only his own team but of others not on his team. Personally, I think his abrasiveness is misunderstood and can be sourced in part to the context from which he comes - he is a very typical kiwi bloke in my opinion - aloof, self-sufficient, blunt in his communication, tends not to worry about certain social niceties/pandering to social conventions. Having said that - I agree with the poster above who said people should stay the fuck off that mountain (have some fucking respect for what the mountain means to the people of the land - not everything is yours to explore/conquer - when will the west understand this?)and I can not help but feel that the Sherpa people are being exploited (not to mention the fact that many of these clients are babied and all but carried down from the top by the sherpas - I mean fuck - if I have someone towing me on a line around the NYC marathon and half carrying me through the second half can I really claim to have run it??!!). I find the whole 'Everest' fascinating but in a troubling way.
- That's a good idea. I'm hiring a team of Ethiopians to tow my ass along the New York Marathon route on a rope.
- Oh yes, I have had a fantasy about this for a long time. I would love to visit Tibet and Nepal although both places are a little "dicey" right now politically with the fucking Chinese.
- 'I had a strong feeling some of them would not come back:’ Fury of the man who photographed Everest ‘traffic jam’ as it emerges one climber even took his BIKE up mountain
Mr Dujmovits had reached the South Col of the mountain - at a height of just under 8,000 metres, when he decided to turn back because of the stormy conditions at the summit.
As he struggled to descent the mountain in treacherous conditions, he was left stunned to see the long queue of tourists slowly making their way up the mountain.
According to the mountaineer, who was attempting to climb Everest for the sixth time, there were 39 expeditions taking place at the same time involving more than 600 people.
He took the incredible images as he had never seen the feared mountain as crowded before. He described the weather prospects as being bad and the queues of people as appalling.
He described being left horrified by what he witnessed on the mountain, with people attempting the climb when they should never have even been allowed anywhere near it.
This includes an: 'overweight French journalist – a small woman weighing around 80kg, who had used her entire supply of oxygen before she'd reached any height at all, and an American of Turkish origin who was carrying his bicycle with him because it had always been his dream to take it to the summit and insisted on fulfilling that dream at whatever cost'.
- I waz watching documentarys on climb'n mt Everest & I saw this 1 crew send the Shepards up with rope to the top of the summit & they lad rope from the summit all the way down. I didn't no they did this to make the climb much easier for folks. Didn't no u can grab on a rope & take it all the way to the summit. does anybody no about this?? I saw it on Everest beyond the limit season.
- They've turned Everest into a joke.
- Zoom in on the Himalayas
- The fantastic new panorama view of Everest.
- R224, thanks for that, amazing.
- I got completely disillusioned after reading "Into Thin Air".
- R225, if you zoom in on the central mountain in the photo, you can see climbers far into their trek. (I spent a lot of time looking for them after a colleague mentioned that he had found them.)
- Have trekked in the area. Everest peaks out from behind its range on the Nepal side is not all that impressive from a distance. We opted not to do the base camp because of it being mostly debris. Instead we hiked up a nearby glacier (the rcoky part, not the icy part). The trek was easily one of the greatest experiences of my life. The Khumbu region (greater Everest region) is beautiful and memorable for its peacefulness.
"Into Thin Air" is a reminder that mountain climbing isn't a lark.
- R227, thanks. Took awhile but I found them. The climbers are a group of 3 with single climb further to the right, correct?
I've read a comment of a long line of climbers but can't find that part of the panoramic. I'm getting ocd about this!
- The climbers are a group of 3 with A single climbER further to the right, correct?
- Climb Every Mountain
- It's not the trek up...
It's the climb back down...
The Canadian woman of South Asian descent, Shriya Shah-Klorfine, who was treated like a fallen goddess in Canadian press accounts after dying on her way down from Everest had NEVER GONE MOUNTAIN CLIMBING BEFORE. She didn't even know how to put on crampons.
There is a Discovery Channel doc on climbing Everest on the Internet and that is the expedition that came across the dying David Sharp. They DID try to help him and there was no way to rescue him. He couldn't walk. You can't carry someone down Everest from that height, it's impossible. He decided to do everything wrong, anyway. He killed himself.
Most people die on the descent after summiting. They run out of oxygen, they become exhausted, they succumb to hypothermia. One of the reasons for recent deaths are the traffic jams of inexperienced climbers taking too much time, which holds back other climbers behind them. The other climbers waste oxygen waiting their turn and they become hypothermic because they have to stand and wait instead of moving.
That biker dude who knows Cher is in the Discovery Channel doc. He's a dope.
- Camp Three
May 18, 2012 | Altitude: 7,200m
On her push to summit, Shah-Klorfine left Camp Three at 6 a.m. on May 18 with her two sherpas, Dawa Dendi and Temba Sherpa. Shah-Klorfine, like many climbers, used oxygen from Camp Three onwards.
Most climbers would have already stayed overnight at Camp Three once before during their acclimatization rotations. Shah-Klorfine and her team skipped this step. According to a brief diary she kept, she only went 60 per cent of the way there. The trip to Camp Three - the final step in acclimatizaton - is considered critical to proper adjustment to the increasingly thin air.
May 18, 2012 | Altitude: 8,300m
After eight hours of climbing, Shah-Klorfine, Temba and Dawa Dendi arrived at Camp Four at 2 p.m. on May 18. They rested for a few hours and had a small dinner before departing at 7:30 p.m. and climbing through the night, as most do when attempting to summit Everest. Shah-Klorfine seemed fatigued and her sherpas started becoming concerned about her at this point, but she refused to turn back.
May 18, 2012 | Altitude: 8,790m
Following a night of climbing, Shah-Klorfine and her sherpas came across the worst crowding yet at the Hillary Step, the last challenge to reaching the summit. The rocky knife edge can only be traversed in single file, so the trio had to wait for several hours in the frigid air. The owner of Utmost Adventure Trekking, Ganesh Thakuri, passed Shah-Klorfine on his own push to the summit. He would pass her again on his descent - this time realizing Shah-Klorfine was close to running out of oxygen. Thakuri asked Shah-Klorfine to turn back, but she refused. He then gave her an extra oxygen tank and continued his descent.
May 19, 2012 | Altitude: 8,840m
At around 2:20 p.m. on May 19, Shah-Klorfine, Temba and Dawa Dendi reached the summit. By this point they had been climbing for 19 hours, but still spent about 25 minutes on the peak of Everest savouring the moment.
Location of death
May 19, 2012 | Approximate altitude: 8,500m
Shah-Klorfine barely got halfway back to Camp Four on her descent before succumbing to exhaustion and running out of oxygen. An experienced climber can typically complete the round trip between Camp Four and the summit in approximately 13 hours. By the time she passed away at around 10 p.m. on the night of May 19, Shah-Klorfine had been climbing for 27 hours.
- [quote]The climbers are a group of 3 with A single climbER further to the right, correct?
There are several groups of climbers and tents.
Follow the glacier up until it disappears. At the point it disappears, there is a mountain to both the left and the right. This creates a V-shaped (or diamond-shaped) area in the middle of the screen that is covered with snow. The climbers and tents are in that area.
[quote]We opted not to do the base camp because of it being mostly debris. Instead we hiked up a nearby glacier (the rocky part, not the icy part)
How hard was this? Could a reasonably fit person do it, or would you need more advanced trekking skills?
- Check out the page on ascents by year.
The traffic up there started going nuts in the 90s when the climbers decided to be businessmen, too.
- Here is the story of Shah-Klorfine's inexperience
- Grayson Schaffer, a writer and editor for Outside Magazine who was at Everest's base camp for the 2012 climbing season, told the fifth estate in a documentary that airs this Friday that few people had heard of Utmost, a startup company that had never guided anyone to the summit.
"You had Sherpas who weren’t actually qualified guides who were guiding a climber who had never climbed before and … putting those two groups together is just a recipe for disaster," Schaffer told the fifth estate.
Utmost took Shah-Klorfine on as a client, despite her inexperience. They planned to teach her everything they thought she needed to know about mountaineering once she arrived at Everest.
"I talked with her and every time she said, ‘I can do it. I can do it. I can do it,' " company manager Riishi Raj Kadel told the fifth estate.
Warned she could die
But in her training, Shah-Klorfine lagged far behind.
"She's slow. Everyone knows she was slow. But she wasn’t sick from altitude. Never any headaches. She continued walking you know," Raj Kadel says.
(Oh yeah, we know Raj. How much did she pay you again?)
- ANepalese expedition company that guided a Toronto woman who died on Mount Everest allowed her to climb with its less-experienced Sherpas and should have known she would run out of oxygen, an investigation by CBC's the fifth estate has found.
Shriya Shah-Klorfine, 33, was one of six people who died on the mountain on the weekend of May 19, 2012.
The Torontonian had long dreamed of reaching the 8,848-metre summit. With no climbing experience, she paid Utmost Adventure Trekking, a company that she learned of through family in Nepal, almost $40,000 to guide her.
Grayson Schaffer, a writer and editor for Outside Magazine who was at Everest's base camp for the 2012 climbing season, told the fifth estate in a documentary that airs this Friday that few people had heard of Utmost, a startup company that had never guided anyone to the summit.
"You had Sherpas who weren’t actually qualified guides who were guiding a climber who had never climbed before and … putting those two groups together is just a recipe for disaster," Schaffer told the fifth estate.
Utmost took Shah-Klorfine on as a client, despite her inexperience. They planned to teach her everything they thought she needed to know about mountaineering once she arrived at Everest.
"I talked with her and every time she said, ‘I can do it. I can do it. I can do it,' " company manager Riishi Raj Kadel told the fifth estate.
Warned she could die
But in her training, Shah-Klorfine lagged far behind.
"She's slow. Everyone knows she was slow. But she wasn’t sick from altitude. Never any headaches. She continued walking you know," Raj Kadel says.
During her training, Shah-Klorfine had to be taught almost everything, including how to put crampons on her boots.
A string of climbers slowly wind their way up the Lhotse Face. It took Shriya Shah-Klorfine seven hours to climb from Camp 3 up the Lhotse Face, about two hours longer than climbers typically prefer.
As the date for her climb approached, however, Utmost Adventure's most senior Sherpa apparently changed his mind about guiding Shah-Klorfine to the summit. He told her she could kill herself and her Sherpas if she attempted to climb Everest, the fifth estate found.
Her husband, Bruce Klorfine, in his first interview since his wife's death, says his wife never told him this, even though they were in frequent contact by phone before her summit attempt.
Klorfine was surprised his wife chose to go ahead with the climb despite the warning — and that the company let her.
But her husband notes she was very determined to climb Everest.
"If she wanted something there was nothing you could say to stop her," he added. "She was very strong-willed, you could say Type A."
Shriya started her push to the summit at 7:30 p.m. on May 18.
The owner of Utmost Adventure Trekking, Ganesh Thakuri, who was climbing the mountain that night and the senior Sherpa had left Shah-Klorfine to climb with two less-experienced Sherpas.
On his way back down from the summit, Thakuri met Shah-Klorfine, still climbing toward the top, but almost out of oxygen.
Thakuri told the fifth estate he tried to convince her to turn around.
"Even if we say you cannot go, you have to go down, strongly. She says like no, I spent money and my goal is to reach to summit. And anyhow I will go. So in this case, we cannot do anything."
She refused to turn around, and Thakuri gave her one last bottle of oxygen and let her keep climbing.
Revelled in the moment
After about 19 hours of climbing, Shah-Klorfine made it to the summit at about 2:20 p.m. on May 19, and spent almost half an hour there revelling in the moment.
Raj Kadel says the Sherpas didn't tell him about her dwindling oxygen supply.
"They just said we're on the way back."
- Shah-Klorfine started her descent with the Sherpas, who later kept pushing her along, physically and verbally.
"She could stand only if the two of us held her and that for just a short while. But if she moved her legs, she would fall. It was as if she had been almost paralyzed," one of the Sherpas told the fifth estate.
According to veteran Everest guide Russell Brice of New Zealand, that bottle would probably have lasted about four hours.
But Shah-Klorfine was using a lot more oxygen than other climbers due to the fact that she kept it flowing at a high rate, began using it earlier in her climb than most and spent a longer time on the mountain.
Brice says Shah-Klorfine was given enough oxygen to reach the summit, but not for the return trip.
On her descent, Shah-Klorfine stopped moving and speaking at about 10 p.m. May 19, the Sherpas say. She had been climbing for 27 hours straight when she passed away. Her body was carried back down about 10 days later.
Ten climbers died on Everest during the 2012 climbing season.
Brice, who cancelled his Everest expedition this year, says companies should put saving lives ahead of reaching the summit.
"You know part of the problem over the years is we've become too successful. It looks as though it’s almost automatic that people can get to the summit of the mountain. But it's not true. It can, it can come back and bite you and that’s what it did this year."
- [bold] With no climbing experience, she paid Utmost Adventure Trekking, a company that she learned of through family in Nepal, almost $40,000 to guide her [/bold]
- This subject fascinates. I plan to bone up on it, starting with Into Thin Air, and from the toasty comfort of my bed. Brr!
(Didn't Jessica Biel reach the summit of Everest? Crazy that some people who are used to making things happen using money and willpower, do not comprehend natural forces and try to use silly tactics. It really is as if they are going up against nature itself using money and their own self concept as as tools. The hubris.)
- I'm a city boy, and my true love will always be the metropolis. The concept of climbing a mountain for fun is alien to me, and not at all appealing.
- I'm with you R244. Spending 40K to go freeze my ass off and possibly die is not my idea of a fun vacay. I'll take a hammock under a palm tree on an island somewhere where little native people bring me fancy alcoholic drinks with umbrellas and fruit in them.
- She made her goal, so for her the quest was a success. But what a mess for everyone else.
- Yes r243, she (along with Emile Hirsch and Lupe Fiasco) did it for charity.
- Jessica Biel? Oh that's just wrong.
- I'd like to do the jet fly-by ("Each passenger has his/her own window!")
- Shriya Shah on the summit:
- Shriyah Shah's body:
[Don't worry, it is NOT graphic in the slightest, it's just a snowsuit covered with a Canadian flag]
- Anybody following this year's crop of wanna-be summitters?
- This may seem a dumb question, but why doesn't anyone bring a Krazy Karpet with them?
You know, those plastic sled things?
They're very light, easily rolled up, and would make it sooo much easier to bring down bodies!
The climbers don't even have to carry them, but maybe one Sherpa per team could have one?
- That sounds like a great way to send a dead body whizzing down a steep slope and into a crevasse never to be seen again, R253. Going up and down involves a lot of rock climbing and the use of fixed ladders and ropes and things. It is tricky enough work to get one's own living body down the mountain.
- Everest is a tourist trap for assholes.
I can't wait to climb here: