- At least they don't stink since they're frozen.
- I find this fasinating. If you want to spend a bunch of money a Sherpa will take you up there.
- This subject has been very much covered on DL during the spring/summer of 2012. Here's the monster thread on Everest and its frozen bodies.
- How morbid.
- Big deal.
- Those standing up ones are dead? Why are they all so bloated?
- I have to admit I'm morbidly fascinated by this topic. I can't imagine dying up there in a frozen, barren wasteland completely alone. Horrifying to me.
- we always bring teddy bears and hand written notes during our Mt Everest climbs
- Oh my GAWD!
- Is there Google Street View for it yet?
- Mary Stewart from Oklahoma would like to deliver Precious Moment figurines and a hand written notes for their surviving relatives to treasure.
- [quote]Those standing up ones are dead?
Yes, you can die standing up in the frozen weather.
- Someone could at least pose them more artfully.
- If they have the people, equipment, and most importantly, the oxygen to spare, they will carry the bodies to crevasses and thrown them down there for final peace and privacy.
Some are just left in death as they were left while dying. They become trail markers of sorts, as with Sgt Tsewang Paljor, an Indian left to die as a Japanese expedition trudged by on their way to the top. Most who have passed him in the last 15 years have never bothered to learn his name and call him only "Green Boots."
- Of course, then there is this:
(From: "Over the Top" by Ed Douglas, Outside Magazine):
Imagine yourself on the scene, trudging through the Death Zone—every step agonizing, your headlight casting a beam only a few feet ahead, and in the back of your mind the knowledge that, through the slim range of vision afforded by your hood and oxygen mask, you'll soon be gazing upon a corpse, Green Boots. Some climbers told me they kept their eyes averted. Even the highly respected Phurba Tashi, a ten-time Everest summiter, said he did not see Sharp during the climb up. Another Turkish climber, Eylem Mavis, said she did see Sharp and thought he was resting, since he made no signal of his distress.
"If I'd known about Sharp earlier," Brice said, "of course I'd have tried to help." Even so, he added, "the outcome might not have been any different."
I understood what he was getting at. Many of us don't act generously at sea level. We fail to call 911, we don't investigate the huddled form—asleep? dead?—on the steam grate. But we want adventurers on Everest to stand above us in every way. We think of the old days, the era of Mallory and Hillary, as full of common purpose and lofty goals, and disparage the profit-motivated present. Everest is worth millions; for the nations that regulate her, Chomolungma has become the Mother Goddess of Revenue.
- And this:
- You pays yo money, you takes yo chances.
- Those photos are creepy and yet I couldn't stop looking at them. Strange to think that some have been on Everest for the longest time, with people passing by on their climbs.
- fap, fap, fap.
- Why can't they get a helicopter up there to rescue people?
- Although specially designed helicopters can fly at that altitude, it would still incredibly risky (not to mention costly) to attempt helicopter rescues. The people who choose to make those treks do so knowing full well they are gambling with their lives every minute they spend in the "Death Zone" above 8,000 meters.
- Mount Everest: Fools' Morgue
- Oh good Lord, fools paying thousands of dollars to lose frostbitten toes or die.
I thought it was bad enough that white people pay hundreds to break their legs while skiing, but this takes the cake.
- I believe even George Mallory's body has been found.
- I love you R23, particularly for the skiing comment.
- I remember the documentary about was on YouTube when I watched it. Pretty interesting.
- Climbing Mount Everest is a big commercial racket. Rich fat cats pay big bucks to be hauled, literally, up the mountain. They don't really do any "climbing"; they're dragged up there like sacks of potatoes by sherpas and guides. Attempts to accomodate the rich "climbers" have resulted in disaster. The whims of the spoiled socialite Sandy Pittman contributed to the 1996 Everest disaster, where 8 people died. She, of course, denies all responsibility for the disaster. Before making the summit she blogged "All my personal stuff is packed...I wouldn't dream of leaving town without an ample supply of Dean & Deluca's Near East Blend and my espresso maker."
- White people + too much money + too much time = Mount Everest.
- I would like to see Mount Everest, but you couldn't pay me to climb it.
- Aren't there air tours where you fly by it in the comfort of a jet?
- You have to climb Mount Everest to reach the Valley of the Dead Dolls.
- K2 kicks Everest's ass.
- [quote] Most who have passed him in the last 15 years have never bothered to learn his name and call him only "Green Boots.
He's "Old Green Boots" now
[quote] White people + too much money + too much time = Mount Everest
Every race and nationality has people going up there. Japanese, Turks, Koreans, Chinese, Indians, Nepalis, Africans all are up there, paying their tens of thousands of USD for their moment.
Watch the Discovery Channel series "Beyond the Limit." Everybody's up there.
- [quote]White people + too much money + too much time = Mount Everest
Interesting sum. What about Black people + too much money + too much time?
- Black people + too much money + too much time = NFL
- r27, you are full of shit and clearly don't know that she had high altitude climbing experience before Everest.
She was an insufferable cunt, but remember that the people who **wanted her there in the first place** were the guide/owners. THEY are the ones who allowed and co-ordinated all of the rope fixing, and the set the rules for their particular companies and clients.
Krakauer's account is also not reliable. It, too, was crafted into a more compelling narrative for profit. Human memory is fallible at the best of times, but Krakauer doesn't take into account the altitude when piecing together the events.
To this day, no one wants to blame the hot shot white male climbers/guide co. owners (most American) who are driving the problem. This year it was "cut rate (budget) companies" (read native) who were at fault. They do have problems, but it's a collaborative effort, and the larger outfitters still have the most influence.
- [quote] To this day, no one wants to blame the hot shot white male climbers/guide co. owners (most American) who are driving the problem.
Untrue. Company owners and guides are not "most American" at all. They are Nepali, Sherpa, New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, Koreans, Japanese, Turks, Taiwanese and many others. Most are NOT American.
- Don't forget the Russians. A large presence in mountain-climbing.
- None of the people who died would have thought their lives failures if they died on the way down after reaching the summit. So don't spend a lot of effort weeping over them. They left us their mess, but they believed themselves world conquering heroes at the very minute they expired.
- Clearly you would not be alone if you died on Everest.
- The assumptions of r23 & r28 that these are all white people is not only incorrect but racist.
- Black people + too much money = what is that?
- But is it art?
- It's gold teef R42.
- "you are full of shit and clearly don't know that she had high altitude climbing experience before Everest."
I did know that, asshole. That doesn't atone for her shitty behavior. In addition to her espresso maker, Pittman brought along some $50,000 worth of high-techery courtesy of NBC. Digital camera, laptops, satellite phone -- the works...which other people had to haul for her. She was quite full of herself and wanted to document her momentous achievement with every bit of electronic means available. So what if it was a burden for sherpas to endure during the climb? She figured she was rich and could do whatever she wanted to do.
After the tragedy she got back to New York and wondered why nobody threw a party for her. I mean, after all, she "climbed" Mount Everest...wouldn't that be cause for a celebration? What.A.Cunt.
- If you're read"Into Thin Air" or watch Discovery Channel's "Beyond the Limit" you will find that every ethnic group has paid expeditions going on on Everest. Asians are a large percentage of climbers and group operators.
- The government of Nepal is also to blame for issuing too many climbing permits which leads to a dangerously congested mountain. The wait times and lines, yes [italic]long lines[/italic], of climbers waiting to summit contribute to the deaths. Summits occur later and later in the day as conditions worsen.
- [quote]So what if it was a burden for sherpas to endure during the climb? She figured she was rich and could do whatever she wanted to do.
Did she not pay the Sherpas? Were they enslaved and forced to carry her stuff?
Do you consider the work you get paid to do a "burden," R45?"
- r45, it's the guide leader and/or company owner who decide what and how much a climber can bring on the mountain (along with any permit regs from the issuing government, which the guiding company is supposed to enforce on the mountain).
I totally agree she's a narcissistic cunt, but the specific problems her entitlement created on the mountain were under the control of the company.
The criticism of her being hauled up was unfair, not because she wasn't an ignorant bitch for expecting it, but because it was allowed in order to please her, especially considering who she was.
Normally, the leaders have specific rules about summiting and all the logistics around it. When the leader is the owner, of course, the rules can change.
Of course you're going to get that level of NPD type clients, it's too expensive--it's up to the leaders to make sure that it doesn't jeopardize the lives of others on the mountain.
- A word of advice:
Never buy a house there
- [quote]The criticism of her being hauled up was unfair, not because she wasn't an ignorant bitch for expecting it, but because it was allowed in order to please her, especially considering who she was.
This doesn't sound right. Maybe I'm not following. It almost sounds as though you're saying that paying a tour company should shield her from criticism or responsibility and that it's reasonable expectation. Of course, this is something segments the very wealthy have come to expect in exchange for their money or the promise of it. This is fair or unfair?
- And they call the lottery the stupid tax...
- Didn't she do The Seven Summits?
Sandy Pittman, I mean
- Why do people try to ascend Everest without oxygen?
- [quote]Why do people try to ascend Everest without oxygen?
To prove they can.
- Criticizing Sandy Pittman is a bunch of bullshit. Aside form the guides she was the most experienced climber on the mountain that day. She didn't have tons of gear, the sponsors of her trip had tons of gear. They were broadcasting her trip to school students to learn about the mountain.
The reasons that many died that day was an unexpected storm and to many permits issued for the day which caused congestion on the descend when the bad weather broke. Much of the blame can also be placed on the professional guides who didn't want to use canned oxygen because they thought it took away from the experience. Thus when things got shitty they were to weak to help their teams.
- If so many people have done it, what's so exclusive about it?
- I don't understand the thrill of risking your life, and for what? If you're attracted to danger, go help those struggling to survive in this world who don't have a choice to be so frivolous with their money.
- If they are attracted to danger, they should sleep in one of the Central LA alleys for a night or two.
- Why carry them up there? Basements work great.
- I read "Into Thin Air". One of the things that stuck with me [besides the danger - the bodies on the trail etc] was how the author said you are so O2 deprived at the top you barely have any sort of reaction - you are too out of it. You also have to almost immediately descend, so its not like you have the time to enjoy it even if you were capable of having any sort of reaction.
- When I travel, I'm not one to ask someone to take a picture of me, but I would love to have my picture taken standing next to a dead climber's body.
- Photoshop is at your fingertips, R62.
- This mountain climbing business must wreak H.A.V.O.C. on one's complexion.
That alone would keep me away.
- [quote]I would love to have my picture taken standing next to a dead climber's body.
I wonder how many have done this.
- "Criticizing Sandy Pittman is a bunch of bullshit. Aside form the guides she was the most experienced climber on the mountain that day. She didn't have tons of gear, the sponsors of her trip had tons of gear. They were broadcasting her trip to school students to learn about the mountain."
Oh shut the fuck up. I don't know why you're kissing her ass and making excuses for her, but the fact is that she behaved like a spoiled, entitled bitch and made the climb more difficult by bringing all that unnecessary shit with her. And the sherpas may have carried all that junk, but they sure as hell didn't want to. One of them complained to Scott Fischer about it; Fischer, who adored having rich, wealthy climbers pay big money to climb Everest, told the sherpa that if he didn't carry the gear he'd do it himself. Knowing that Fischer was not in particularly good shape to do it, he continued to carry the excess baggage. Fischer ended up dying on the mountain.
Pittman also had a boytoy who she fucked in her tent during the expedition. The sherpas considered such behavior disrespectful of the mountain; they were sure it would bring bad luck to the climb. Considering what happened, it sure seems like it did.
- Many climbers return to base camp with large patches of black frostbite all over their faces.
- My friends in Portland say that Mount Hood is worse.
- You're full of shit R66. No one is whipping out their dick at that altitude and temperature. And what don't you get about the extra equipment? Extra people were hired to carry it because filming and writing about it where the larger purpose of the trip.
- [quote]No one is whipping out their dick at that altitude and temperature. And what don't you get about the extra equipment?
And.. how would a laptop work up there? It would be frozen, no?
- r69, it's not uncommon at Base Camp. Higher up, yes you're right.
- They couldn't have sex at base camp in a heated tent? Whether they did or not, it freaked out the sherpas. They met on the climb and lived together for a year after her return from Everest. His Wiki page is linked on hers.
- Yes, it was at base camp. Everyone knew what was going on. She wanted everyone to know she banged a hot young snowboarder. She was married to someone else at the time and later pretended they were separated when she did the everest expedition. She also pretended that she and the snowboarder were an established couple long before the trip.
Krakhauer pretty much ended Pittman's marriage by reporting on the mountain hijinx.
- The case of Shriya Shah, the Nepalese-Canadian who died this past spring, highlights the problems of commercializing Everest. This woman was inexperienced and she paid $40K to a newly formed expedition company that had never guided anyone to the summit. Their guides were inexperienced. The guides basically abandoned her when she needed them most. It's a sad tale because she really had no business being up there.
- Then there was a shitload of money paid to recover her body.$25,000 was a quoted price.
- Shouldn't these companies be paid 50 percent up front, and the rest if they bring you back alive? I bet they'd think twice before letting their clients finish the climb if there is a danger of someone dying.
- I've been reading about her case, R74. She didn't even know how to put crampons on her boots! Unreal. An amazing arrogance to think she could summit, fed by her husband who seemed not to have a qualm, and later by the purchased third world mules who weren't going to put their lives at stake for a folly.
- "Dead Bodies on Mount Everest" sounds like the name of an 80s band.
- This was the first time I heard about this and it is really freaking me out.
- Is there a reason they can't, at least, cover the bodies?
- How many years have these bodies been up on Mount Everest just sitting there like that?
- Thank god it was Mount Everest. I've been seeing this thread for a few days thinking it said Mount Rushmore!
- [quote]Is there a reason they can't, at least, cover the bodies?
Why don't you do that for them, R80?
- You guys should read about Hannelore Schmatz. By far the creepiest of all the creepy dead bodies that littered Everest. She died in a sitting position with her eyes open and her long dark hair blowing against the wind. That is how she greeted every climber that passed by. Can you imagine being a climber who has to encounter that?
She remained in that position for over a decade before a strong wind blew her body over the edge.
- Check out these YouTube short clips.There was a team of guys who came across a guy who as dying, and I think they said they couldn't help him? and moved on? I might be wrong but check it out its very weird. What is incredible is a body of a man who has been preserved since 1924 when he fell and died. He is still wearing one of his shoes and other things.
- Black people + too much money + too much time = watermelons, ripple and a big bucket of KFC
Gimme an "N!"
- WOW! look at this long, long list of people who have died on Mount Everest. Why there are so many people whose bodies were never recovered on this list, yet there are many pictures of mummified bodies in OP's and other links?
- R87, maybe it's because those mummified bodies in the photos are the unrecovered dead on the list.
- Wow, thanks for posting that vid, R87. Interesting comments from the climbers justifying why they walked past a dying man and did nothing to try to help him.
One of them said the reason climbers lust after Everest and find it such a challenge in the first place is BECAUSE people die doing it. It sounded like he was saying, "good, another one bites the dust, so that just makes MY success that much sweeter."
- Sorry, vid is @ R85, not R87
- If I die on Mount Everest I'd hope someone had the decency to sit me up, cross my legs, and place a martini glass in my hands.
The Sartorialist Hiker
- [quote]One of them said the reason climbers lust after Everest and find it such a challenge in the first place is BECAUSE people die doing it. It sounded like he was saying, "good, another one bites the dust, so that just makes MY success that much sweeter."
And yet, from that famous photo taken last spring of the hundreds and hundreds of people lined up along the rope strung from the peak, it looked like the wait for Space Mountain at Disneyland.
- Did they die of AIDS?
- [quote]Wow, thanks for posting that vid, [R87]. Interesting comments from the climbers justifying why they walked past a dying man and did nothing to try to help him.
It would be interesting to get inside the heads of some of these extreme climbers. The situation precludes having empathy or selflessness, and my guess is that a significant percentage of them are psychopaths.
- re 92's photo
- Not sure what climbers in the so-called death zone could do to help someone who is dying. In those extreme conditions everyone is in survival mode.
I could see feeling bad about it, but trying to carry someone out who is that close to death seems like it might be a bit foolhardy.
- From the description of high altitude effects on cognition, combined with "summit fever" in those who climb to soothe some internal narcissistic wound or prove something to others, helping should be left to helping teams with unlimited O2, unlimited equipment and unlimited personnel.
Who would pay for this is the issue. Also, they would need to string separate emergency lines to bring down the fallen, and then the question becomes, who would string them?
Having emergency services on the mountain will also attract those who really shouldn't be up there, thinking if something goes wrong, there will be help.
This brings us back to one of the first suggestions that came after the 1996 disaster -- no O2 allowed. That would cut traffic to nothing, and also end the littering that has turned the mountain into a garbage dump.
Mothers 'are to blame for macho mountaineers'
The Observer, Saturday 8 April 2000
For years it has been the greatest question in the world of human endeavour: why does anyone want to risk death, injury and disaster climbing Mount Everest?
Now it has been solved. The glib answer given by early pioneer George Mallory - 'because it's there' - can be dismissed as disingenuous if not downright deceptive.
A recently published study by two behavioural psychologists says 'pathologically narcissistic, competitive and regressive dynamics' lead men to climb mountains.
The study, by American and New Zealand-based psychologists, uses 'psychodynamic and structuralist theory' to analyse the climbing disaster on Everest in May 1996 in which five people died. But allegations that mountain men are 'overdependent on external admiration ... intensely envious, exploitative in relations with others' possibly due to 'inadequate mothering' has stung élite mountaineers.
Alan Hinkes, who has scaled 11 of the world's highest peaks, was indignant at the idea that he had developed 'an unhealthy structure of self representing a failure in the emancipation from the self-object'. Hinkes, a Yorkshireman, said he climbed for fun.
'You are out exercising in the middle of fantastic scenery with some good mates. It is a very simple pleasure... that's all,' he said.
The report - Deliverance, Denial and the Death Zone - is based on testimony by survivors of the so-called 'Great Storm' on Everest four years ago and draws particularly on Jon Krakauer's best-selling book Into Thin Air.
It examines the psychology of the guides leading the ill-fated climbs, as well as the motivations of clients paying up to $65,000 each for a chance to conquer the mountain.
'A lot of these people were basically buying attention, prestige and self-esteem. They did not have the background of established mountaineers,' said Professor Michael Elmes, of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, a co-author of the report.
Elmes said such people need 'extreme sports'. 'There are reasons why these pursuits are popular among adolescents. They can be a compensation for all kinds of inadequacies.'
Some climbers agree. A Himalayan veteran said that months spent sharing 'smelly tents in horrible cold with foul food and even fouler partners' had disillusioned him.'High-altitude mountaineers - myself included - must be among the most dysfunctional, anti-social, self-obsessed people around,' he said.
But Hinkes, who leaves Britain tomorrow for India to climb Kanchenjunga - the world's third highest mountain - said: 'Maybe mountaineers should... do a study of narcissism, competition and the desire for fame among academics.'
- "Criticizing Sandy Pittman is a bunch of bullshit. Aside form the guides she was the most experienced climber on the mountain that day"
Do some reseach, you big dumb cluck. Pittman was described as an "only moderately experienced climber"; she sure as hell was no fucking expert. And here's more info about all the garbage she brought with her:
"Pittman, the socialite wife of legendary television businessman Bob Pittman, joined expert guide Scott Fischer's team and was acting as a web correspondent for NBC Interactive Media. In her first report, she wrote: "I have got as much in the way of computers and electronic hardware as I have climbing equipment: two portable microcomputers, a camcorder, three 35 mm cameras, a digital camera, two tape recorders, a CD player, a printer and a sufficient quantity (I hope) of solar panels and batteries to make the whole lot operate. I would not like to leave without taking a blend of coffee from Dean & DeLuca, as well as my espresso machine. And because we will be on Everest for Easter, I have also taken four chocolate eggs. Hunting for Easter eggs at 5,000 meters should be interesting." All of these items were carried up the mountain not by Pittman, but by Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa, an employee of the Fischer team. Furthermore, Pittman planned a meeting with her friends--including Martha Stewart--at the base camp and reportedly had the latest copies of Vogue and Vanity Fair ferried up to her at the camp while the team acclimatized to the high altitude of the Himalayas."
Hunting for Easter eggs on Mount Everest? What an incredibly stupid, self-absorbed twat!
- I'm still learning about Everest but did Sandy Pittman actually take all that stuff to the top of the mountain? Like, she wanted to receive a fax and drink a cappuccino on K2?
- Sandy Pittman was disgraced for the rest of her life. she deserved it.
- The David Sharp story has been overly dramatized by the media. He had tried to summit Everest several times before and failed. The only explanation for his not going with a guide and a Sherpa is probably financial. He'd already spent a lot of money on his previos trips. He probably couldn't afford a safer trip this time. That was HIS choice.
He had no radio -- the expedition group he chose to sign up with did not hav e radios that functioned so high up. (Keep in mind that FDNY radios didn't even function in the fucking trade center. Sharp was as high as a jet plane cruises) Again, it wasSharp's choice to go with this group which didn't have top of the line equipment. He'd been up there before. He knew what it was like. He wasn't little Red Riding Hood, having no idea there was a wolf in Granny's clothing. He'd failed before. He should have known his chances were very high of failing again.
Other people did try to help him. They gave him oxygen. One was a climber who was getting low on oxygen himself. It is not the job of climbers to risk their lives over unprepared people. That is the job of a guide and a Sherpa (which is why climbers hire them). Guides and Sherpas from other expeditions tried to get Sharp on his feet, but he could not stand up, let alone walk.
Another case that is compared to Sharp's is the case of a man named Hall who was presumed dead and left on the mountain. The next day he was found alive and he was rescued. The huge difference between Hall and Sharp --> Hall could stand up on his own. Two Sherpas basically punched and pulled Hall down the mountain. Sharp could not stand up. Sherpas cannot carry people down from that height. Watch the show and see how they have to pull themselves on ropes in hurricane force winds and traverse crevasses on "bridges" that look to be about 8 inches wide.
I'm watching Season Two of Everest Beyond the Limit on amazon prime. I was astonished while watching season one at how fucking dangerous that mountain is. Indiana Jones-type bridges that people traverse loaded down with equipment using metal crampons on their feet while suffering from hypoxia. Sheer drops along cliff faces. Not something I'd do. It was kind of nauseating since some of it was filmed by "Sherpa cam," which shows the literally dizzying heights people are scraping along.
David Sharp caused his own death. Poor old Green Boots died when was caught in a blizzard. Sharp wasn't in any blizzard..
And Edmund Hillary shouldn't expect a bunch of amateur climbers to risk their lives for another amateur climber.
- [quote]the case of a man named Hall who was presumed dead and left on the mountain. The next day he was found alive and he was rescued.
No -- that was the pushy little MD, Beck Wethers. Rob Hall, a guide, died up there after giving up.
- So was that lousy 2000 movie "Vertical Limit" loosely based/inspired by the 1996 disaster? I seem to remember the movie having a similar body count.
- And these NPD types never change, even after surviving the mountain:
Dr. Seaborn Beck Weathers, 59
Client, Adventure Consultants
Weathers, owner of one of the most fantastic survival stories in Everest history, wants to put the mountain behind him. "I'm trying to avoid Everest-related interviews," says the Dallas pathologist, who lost most of both hands and part of his nose to frostbite after going temporarily blind on the mountain, losing consciousness, and being left for dead. Still, Weathers doesn't avoid talking about the experience entirely. He's in regular demand on the motivational-speaking circuit, where the core message of his lectures is the conviction that Everest changed his life for the better by forcing him to reassess his priorities and drawing him closer to his family. By his own admission, his climbing obsession had taken a toll on his home life even before he went to Everest. "Like a good hobbit, I'm trying not to have adventures," he says of his life now.
That's not to say he lacks hobbies. "Beck told me recently that he'd become a licensed pilot," says Lou Kasischke, a '96 climber who has kept in touch with his former Camp IV tentmate. "And then, so I didn't have to say it, he said, 'Not too bad for a guy with no hands, eh?' "
("Look at me! No Hands!")
- "I'm still learning about Everest but did Sandy Pittman actually take all that stuff to the top of the mountain? Like, she wanted to receive a fax and drink a cappuccino on K2?"
Yes, she did bring all that stuff with her. I don't know if all of it made it to the summit (probably not), but she did bring it and some poor sherpa had to haul it.
- [quote]acting as a web correspondent for NBC Interactive Media. In her first report, she wrote: "I have got as much in the way of computers and electronic hardware as I have climbing equipment: two portable microcomputers, a camcorder, three 35 mm cameras, a digital camera, two tape recorders, a CD player, a printer and a sufficient quantity (I hope) of solar panels and batteries to make the whole lot operate. I would not like to leave without taking a blend of coffee from Dean & DeLuca, as well as my espresso machine. And because we will be on Everest for Easter, I have also taken four chocolate eggs. Hunting for Easter eggs at 5,000 meters should be interesting."
Ten years later:
"I have no idea where the rumors started that I brought along a cappuccino machine. But my coffeepot is a single stovetop aluminum percolator thing that weighs less than two pounds. Once you have the coffee made, you put a little hot water and a spoonful of powdered milk into a lidded mug and shake it really hard to make it foamy. Then you pour coffee into the mug, and it's like a fake cappuccino. I thought it was clever. The men do it and people say, "The dude really loves his java." I do it and they say, "She's so spoiled."
"I haven't climbed since '96. I hike all the time, and I went back to Everest Base Camp twice, the first year to build a memorial for Scott and the following year to make sure it was taken care of. My circumstances changed so much after Everest '96: I wasn't really in a position to keep climbing. I was a single parent. I still think climbing any mountain is a great and worthy goal, and no person should be so arrogant, cynical, or judgmental of other people to dismiss Everest or any other dream just because it's already been climbed. I assume that everybody who's there has his own reasons for being there, and I'm not in a position to judge who's got adequate or inadequate experience. We're all adults and capable of making our own decisions."
- [quote] No -- that was the pushy little MD, Beck Wethers. Rob Hall, a guide, died up there after giving up.
No it wasn't. It was Lincoln Hall.
[bold] Lincoln Hall [/bold] was left for dead while descending from the summit of Mount Everest on 25 May 2006. He had fallen ill from a form of altitude sickness, probably cerebral edema, that caused him to hallucinate and become confused. According to reports, Hall's Sherpa guides attempted to rescue him for hours. However, as night began to fall, their oxygen supplies diminished and snow blindness set in. Expedition leader Alexander Abramov eventually ordered the guides to leave the apparently dead Hall on the mountain and return to camp.
A statement was later released announcing his death to his friends and family.
However, the next morning (12 hours later), Hall was found still alive at 8:53 a.m. by a team making a summit attempt. The team consisted of Daniel Mazur Team Leader (US), Andrew Brash (Canada), Myles Osborne (UK) and Jangbu Sherpa (Nepal). Osborne described the scene just below the Second Step:
"Sitting to our left, about two feet from a 10,000 foot 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. Now, this was a moment of total disbelief to us all. Here was a gentleman, apparently lucid, who had spent the night without oxygen at 8600m, without proper equipment and barely clothed. And ALIVE."
A rescue effort that mountain observers described as "unprecedented in scale" then swung into action. Mazur and his team abandoned their summit attempt to stay with Hall, who was badly frostbitten and delusional from the effects of severe cerebral edema. At the same time, Abramov dispatched a rescue team of 12 Sherpas guides from the base camp. The rescue team comprised Nima Wangde Sherpa, Passang Sherpa, Furba Rushakj Sherpa, Dawa Tenzing Sherpa, Dorjee Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Mingma Dorjee Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa, Pemba Nuru Sherpa, Passang Gaylgen Sherpa, and Lakcha Sherpa.
Hall was brought down the mountain, walking the last part of the way to Everest's North Col where he was treated by a Russian doctor. Hall arrived at Advanced Base Camp the next day in reasonably good health although suffering from frostbite and the lingering effects of cerebral edema. Hall lost the tips of his fingers and a toe to frostbite.
Hall's survival and rescue on the mountain, while extraordinary, is not unprecedented. It was, however, especially poignant due to the death days earlier of UK climber David Sharp who had died nearby. It was observed that no attempt was made to rescue David Sharp, although it was apparent that, while unconscious, he was still alive while other climbers passed him and continued on their own ascents. [bold] However, unlike David Sharp, Hall was conscious and able to walk, two factors that allowed for his rescue. [/bold] The case had raised concerns, including comments from Sir Edmund Hillary. Dan Mazur perhaps summed things up best when he said, reflecting on his team abandoning their summit attempt, "The summit is still there and we can go back. Lincoln only has one life."
His story was subsequently featured on the American television program I Shouldn't Be Alive in the episode "Left for Dead on Everest".
Lincoln Hall died Of mesothelioma in 2012.
- [quote]But my coffeepot is a single stovetop aluminum percolator thing that weighs less than two pounds.
Two pounds sound a lot of unnecessary weight if you have to carry it up a mountain. Of course, SHE didn't have to carry it.
And she didn't deny all the other baggage.
- Thanks r108 -- I got stuck in 1996.
- If not amputated, do the frozen bits of flesh eventually just fall off?
- It's hard to feel sorry for any of the casualties when they know that approx. 1 in 4 will die up there.
You know, they could put their daring do's to better use by feeding people in poor areas or assisting doctors in war-torn areas. Even joining the Peace Corp would be an option.
But what these assholes are seeking is bragging rights and status. They do it to impress *yawn* others.
And the docotr who is flying planes without hands is an asshole for endangering the public.
- Didn't Navratilova try to climb it for some charity, but had to be brought down from the mountain as she had breathing problems?
- [quote]Dan Mazur perhaps summed things up best when he said, reflecting on his team abandoning their summit attempt, "The summit is still there and we can go back. Lincoln only has one life."
THIS!! Bravo for Dan Mazur. This is what has been bugging me about the other climbers who left a man for dead. The fact that they ignored him on their way UP the mountain. No matter how they try to spin it, their goal of reaching the summit was more important to them in that moment than another person's life. I hope they can live with themselves.
- If your frostbitten areas become gangrenous, they can kill you if not removed.
- Gangrenous extremeties and limbs killed a lot of soldiers in the civil war. The smell is supposed to be sickening.
- When looking through the various google pics of dead bodies in the Death Zone, I came across a very clear and close up picture of a hand where the fingers were all blue green and 1/2 the size due to frost bite and the rest of the hand looked fine.
It disturbed me to my core and I wish I'd never seen that.
Of course, I am providing the link.
- I couldn't sleep last night so after reading this thread I watched a documentary about Everest. These guys were doing cognitive tests as they went higher and higher and their brains were no longer functioning...couldn't remember anything. They PASSED A DEAD BODY that was still hanging onto one of the lines you hang onto when you climb up. They were basically one foot away from it. I have always tuned out Everest stuff, because I just thought the climb was "hard to do" because it took a long time and involved lots of climbing...I had no idea that so many people died so often and the callous attitude towards the dead yet the continuous pursuit of this bizarre goal. It's put me in a weird mood all day!
- [quote] other climbers who left a man for dead. The fact that they ignored him on their way UP the mountain. No matter how they spin
1.) They did NOT ignore him. A climber (NOT a guide, a climber) tried to help by giving him oxygen. Sherpas then tried to help David Sharp. It is a complete fabrication that nobody tried to help Sharp.
2.) Dan Mazur was NOT A CLIMBER. he was a GUIDE. I think a lot of people think "climber" and "guide" are interchangeable. They are not. Climbers are the amateurs who pay to go on an expedition. Guides are the expedition's professionals who are there to try and rescue you if something goes wrong. David Sharp CHOSE not to hire a guide. He CHOSE not to go with a group. He CHOSE to risk his life in a way that other climbers rarely do. Though Dan Mazur was not Lincoln Hall's guide, Hall's guides had tried desperately to get him off the mountain the day before. They administered oxygen, they gave him medication for cerebral edema, but he lost consciousness. I believe he survived the night because of his guides' attempts to save him before finally giving up after nightfall.
3.) Many climbers who went past David Sharp thought he was dead. There are hundreds of corpses on the mountain and Sharp was in the cave with Green Boots, a well known corpse which serves as a landmark. Climbers, again, are amateurs, most of whom have never been on the mountain before. They've heard about the bodies. They know about Green Boots and his location. Many thought Sharp was Green Boots.
4.) most importantly, David Sharp could not move. He could not stand up. Lincoln Hall could stand and eventually walked. That's why he lived. He probably regained consciousness after the sun warmed him up. He'd been given medication by his guides.
5.) Worst of all, Mark Inglis had a load of criticism aimed at him. Inglis was climbing Everest on artificial legs attached to stumps. People accused Inglis and his guides of ignoring Sharp so that Inglis could summit. This was not true. To accuse a guy on artificial legs of not saving someone who decided to go it alone without a guide, a radio, or any means of sending a mayday message (while sitting next to a landmark corpse) is unfair.
- in light of all this, I'm singing a new tee-yoon
- There was an American woman who died on the mountain because she decided she wanted to summit without oxygen. This is the ultimate machismo -- no oxygen.
She was spotted by two climbers who heard her making sounds. She begged them not to leave her there to die. But she had brought no oxygen. She could not get up. The other climbers had brought oxygen to get them up and down, but you can only carry so much oxygen with you -- the canisters are heavy.
The couple -- a man from the UK and a woman from ZA who later married --tried to assist her. They gave her oxygen. They tried to warm her. But they soon realized their oxygen was dangerously low and that one of them was beginning to freeze to death from trying to warm the woman up. The woman still could not get up.
They left her on the mountain. When they got to camp, they told others of the woman, but when they went back, she was dead.
The American woman's husband was a Russian mountaineer who also attempted to summit and descend without oxygen. When he realized his wife was missing from the group, he went back to find her, carrying oxygen. But he fell to his death before reaching her.
I don't fault the couple for leaving the American to die. She chose her death. She had children and those children lost their mother because she was so obsessed with proving herself to be special that she killed herself, causing her children terrible grief.
I don't see why the couple should die trying to save her. They did for her what others did for Sharp. But when you cannot get up, you're dead. Neither Sharp nor the American woman could get up.
The man went back 8 years later and covered the American woman's corpse with a flag and (inevitably) a teddy bear.
that women gives new meaning to the term "special snowflake."
- Francys Arsentiev, r121.
I think she did have a kid from her first marriage. Her second husband, Sergei Arsentiev, died searching for her.
- Link to a riveting account of a climber left "the American with no oxygen" aka Francys Arsentiev to die on Everest.
- People who climb Everest are inherently selfish to their loved ones: severely risking one's own life for no good reason other than a massive, bragging ego boost.
- [quote]I thought it was clever. The men do it and people say, "The dude really loves his java." I do it and they say, "She's so spoiled."
I hate this argument: "I'm allowed to behave like an asshole, because if men behave the same way they're rewarded for it." That's the Roseanne/Madonna/Sharon Stone argument.
It's such bullshit. If men get rewarded for behaving like assholes (and they only do very, very rarely--usually they are heavily criticized for it), it's only by other assholes.
Women do not get to use sexism as a bullshit excuse for their own shitty behavior.
- She's not making an excuse for her behavior. She's saying that she's the only one who gets called out it.
- [quote]Worst of all, Mark Inglis had a load of criticism aimed at him. Inglis was climbing Everest on artificial legs attached to stumps. People accused Inglis and his guides of ignoring Sharp so that Inglis could summit. This was not true.
What the fuck is a guy with artificial legs doing climbing Mt. Everest? That's ridiculous. he's an asshole.
- Of course she's making an excuse for her behavior.
- I thought the coffee remark sounded cavalier also....and whiney. She seemed rather flippant and defensive in her remarks altogether, actually. For God's sakes, six peopled died.
- Can't they pay sherpas to pull some of these corpses off the mountain? Seems pretty inhumane to use some poor guy as a marker and only call him by the color of his boots.
- Two Sherpas died trying to retrieve Hannelore Schmatz's body five years after she died. Was it worth it?
The majority of those who died on the mountain were Nepalese Sherpas who were working for a living, not explorers or thrill-seeking narcissists. It's more inhumane, IMO, to place the lives of poor workers at risk. To what end?
- Did someone force the Sherpas at gunpoint to do the rescue mission, R132?
- Can't find a photo of Schmatz's corpse. Damn.
- Lifelong or incipient poverty or the risk of poverty tends to drive people into dangerous jobs. (It's amazing how the drive to eat is stronger than even the drive to reproduce.) Sometimes they are necessary jobs like mining and fishing or the military and sometimes they are not, like retrieving long dead corpses.
I would think it's more inhumane to place others at risk than leaving the deceased on the mountain. But that's just me.
- [quote] What the fuck is a guy with artificial legs doing climbing Mt. Everest? That's ridiculous. he's an asshole.
You think so?
Guesst how he lost his legs....
- I have as much sympathy for someone who dies on Everest as I do for someone who continually fucks bareback and gets AIDS. Or a two pack a day smoker who gets cancer.
- r132, Of course no one will risk their lives for free and im sure thats part of why it's so expensive to bring someone down. Im sure a poor sherpa with many kids will gladly accept a handsome fee to drag someone off a mountain.
- [quote]I would think it's more inhumane to place others at risk than leaving the deceased on the mountain. But that's just me.
R135, what makes you think YOU'RE placing them at risk? They are adults making decisions for their own lives and livelihood. You don't get to play the concerned, patronizing, white father figure who makes decisions for little brown people who, "bless their hearts," don't know any better.
- Casey: "What do they die from? Hypothermia mostly?"
Jeremy: "Hypothermia. Sometimes a fractured skull."
Casey: "From what?"
Jeremy: "Falling very far and landing on a rock."
- They need to leave the corpses on the mountain, an unsightly corpse-dotted path is the only thing that might slow down the flow of rich egomaniacs.
I can't imagine what the Chomolungma, Mother Goddess of the World, thinks about being covered with the corpses of idiots.
- [quote] what makes you think YOU'RE placing them at risk
A sense of morality. The same sense I would have if white or black lives were involved. The living just take precedent for me.
Is a corpse worth that much to you? Or is the thought that it's so "inhumane" to leave the dead where they fell unbearable? Why? Isn't it more inhumane to risk the lives of the living for the retrieval of the dead? This I do not understand.
I love how you invoked "little brown people," though. Kudos.
- Nothing slows down a rich egomaniac.
- [quote]I can't imagine what the Chomolungma, Mother Goddess of the World, thinks about being covered with the corpses of idiots.
She doesn't like to be trod upon, and the corpses are proof of her displeasure.
- [quote]You don't get to play the concerned, patronizing, white father figure who makes decisions for little brown people who, "bless their hearts," don't know any better.
You have no idea whether r135 is white or brown or black or whatever, racist asshole.
- r145, in fairness if s/he is a person of colour and has been on this site for any length of time, I can see why the person would make the assumption.
I like to believe it's a freeper invasion and one or two dedicated, gin-sodden eldergay racists; unfortunately, I'm probably naive.
- [quote] They need to leave the corpses on the mountain, an unsightly corpse-dotted path is the only thing that might slow down the flow of rich egomaniacs.
In the first season of Everest Beyond Limit, Tim -- an idiotic, boastful poster boy for The Ugly American Biker -- refuses to turn back after repeatedly being told to do so. At one point, the expedition leader tells him, "Tim, you are standing next to the dead body of someone who refused to turn back." They show the body, but from a bit of a distance, so it's not too gruesome for the viewer.
But of course Biker Tim, neanderthalic narcissist that he is, is sure he can keep going so he can take "Old Glory" to the summit.
So no -- the dead bodies don't deter anyone. These are all narcissists who believe they are better than those dead people. Those dead people were merely inferior.
Another joker on the show Is a Danish athlete with asthma who wants to summit without oxygen. Maybe in future seasons, they will have a diabetic who wants to summit without insulin while chomping on a donut, and a leukemic toddler who rides his Hot Wheels across the Ice Fall
- Can't we all get along as it is pointed out for the umpteenth time that idiots of all races and from all countries can be found littering the mountain with their dead bodies and also stepping over said multicultural dead bodies
- I diwt dis ride Hot Wheews crost up big bountain to shows ebb boddy dat haf-ded kidz can be aspired to do dis too!
I be whisper ayshun to whowe worwd!
- [quote]Another joker on the show Is a Danish athlete with asthma who wants to summit without oxygen. Maybe in future seasons, they will have a diabetic who wants to summit without insulin while chomping on a donut, and a leukemic toddler who rides his Hot Wheels across the Ice Fall
Or a frau from Arizona can take 10 kids with severe food allergies to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! I am not kidding.
- I'm doing ths for my grandma (sniff, sniff) who practically raised me. She died of cancer. Grandma, you taught me never to give up! You taught me to follow my dreams, Dad --- errr, I mean Grandma. So I am climbing this mountain for you, Grammy. I have no experience doing this kind of thing [italic] but I'm a fast learner [/italic]. I'm sure, with my heart and soul and my determination that I can do this. [italic] I'm not a quitter [/italic]
YOU taught me that, Mom.....errr, I mean Gramma. You taught me to never quit, even when I am irritating other people and making them suffer because of my incompetence.
I just want to say that if I summit this mountain, I will donate an indeterminate amount of money to one of those cancer places out there somewhere. For my grandma. And I know I can do it. I've got the strength, I've got the smarts, I've got the heart, I've got the cojones to DO THIS! (Wipes tear from eye with sleeve)
- Wow. Something that they showed one of the climbers had fallen and died in the 1920s. And been preserved since.
- You're not supposed to touch the frozen bodies that were preserved at Mount Everest, or they will break in a million pieces. That's why they are still there.
- I want to see more dead body pics!
- Archaeologists of the future will think the mountain was worshipped as a God all over the world.
- And that human sacrifice was practiced.
- the real highest mountain on earth is Chimborazo!
- They really only have about 6 or 7 dead body pics. A lot of the dead fell to unreachable (by photo) places or were rolled down into crevasses by people as a form of "burial."
What is amazing is how fast the Sherpas can go up and down that mountain. But they can't carry the bodies down. Not just because of lack of oxygen (you get about 30 % oxygen up there as you get at sea level), but because the extra weight can cause cerebral or pulmonary edema (fluid is pushed out of blood vessels and leaks into the brain and/or lung). Imagine trying to transport a body while crossing a few of these. You can't tell by the short video, but you need to be holding on to the ropes at the side with both hands.
- Let dead dogs lie.
- Some person climbed up Mount Everest in less than 9 hours. It's pretty amazing how some have a relatively easy time climbing it while others die from it.
I want to know how climbers get to the very top. Do they walk up? That's the only thing I can think of because many women have accomplished it. Women don't have the upper body strength to carry themselves up ropes 500 feet. So there has to be a path where you walk up to the top.
- Imagine going up, down, across a few dozen of these with a dead body on your back as well as a few oxygen tanks, extra crampons, Ice ax, rope, climbing pack with water bottles, sunscreen, cap, camera,, walkie talkie, sat phone, carabiners, batteries, first aid kit, etc.
- I would imagine that the Sherpas are physically used to the extreme cold and limited oxygen of the mountains, as well as being in far superior physical shape than those living in different climates. Probably they are also mentally prepared to live with the known risks and dangers, and fatalistically deal with the possibility of death.
- Can we somehow convince Donald Trump to climb Mt Everest? Of all the rich egomaniacs, he takes the cake! Imagine him collapsing, and all that the other climbers see is that "hair"!
- Sometimes on DL, one does expand their horizons. I knew of Mt. Everest but never knew there were bodies up there. I thought all casualties were brought down. I also never knew or assumed to magnitude of danger. Sure, without the internet, I figured it was dangerous. I never watched films about it nor cared to. Watching the youtube videos and reading the essays, I'm like WOW!
Thanks OP for posting about something interesting although I will curse you when I wake up later tonight from disruptive dreaming.
- Annapurna is actually the most dangerous mountain, not K2 or Everest.
It's also the one on which a lot of very, very senior climbers lose their lives.
I don't know why, but I image it's like K2 with worse "weather" at the top due to its structure.
- I say leave the bodies how they were found. I think it's kinda cool, actually. It's the path they chose in life, a thing they wanted to do and they are part of the mountain now. If it were me there dead, I would want my body left and maybe a climber or two as they pass me by, would tip their headlamp my way in the name of adventure.
The people who do this are a certain breed, and I like knowing there are people out there who do wild and risky things, tempt fate and expand their horizons and push their bodies. I learn from these people, because god knows I would never do what they do. It's fascinating to me.
- That sums up exactly how I feel these climbers, too, r167. I'm always fascinated by people who go to extremes and do things I can never imagine myself doing, especially in the area of mountain climbing and exploration.
I disagree, however, with leaving the bodies there. I don't think if they had a choice they would want their body as part of an open grave on Everest. Moreover, I see the parts as littering Everest's beautiful, wild landscape. It mars its beauty.
- R165 Everest isn't that dangerous. There's ropes up all the hard sections and everyone but the best uses supplemental O2. Nearly everyone on the mountain is rich, the going rate for getting up Everest is $80K. People with literally no experience except for training on a stair master indoors have gotten up it.
I've done harder technical 6000M peaks in Peru. Hanging seracs, any dangers, etc. And didn't have anyone guiding or hauling my ass up them.
- I don't believe you r169. Unless you have yourself climbed Everest, you shouldn't make such statement.
It's the high altitude that is challenging.
- r169, how do you manage the seracs?
I read No Way Down, and when I saw the K2 serac I nearly had a fucking heart attack.
It really creeped me out for some reason, and not just the fact that the K2 one collapsed.
The crevasses freak me out too, but not as much.
- I think the poster meant comparatively, r170.
The "highest" label doesn't make it a difficult climb, especially compared to other 8,000m peaks.
- Well, r172, you can't compare unless you've experience the Everest climb yourself. Sorry. That's just how it is. Yeah there are inexperienced people who have climbed Everest and reached the summit, but many of those people have also died. Shriya Shah being one of the recent. Experienced climbers have also died.
If r169 has climbed Everest, then his opinion would be bolstered by his experience. Well, r169, have you climbed Everest?
- R83, dumbass, because I'm not walking ten feet away from the bodies. But, many people are. There's no reason they can't be covered. I think they do it as another attraction.
- r174 most of the bodies are located in the Dead Zone. The altitude is high and the wind speed can lift a climber off his/her feet. What can you bring to cover the bodies that the wind won't pull off? Hannalore Schmatz's body was pushed off the edge by the wind speed.
People who have never been on Everest can grasp the reality of the extreme condition that high up. People who reach the summit can't savor their accomplishment for more than a few minutes. Shriya Shah was there for about 30 minutes.
- R170, that's about 22K feet. And I did it without supplemental O2.
Huascaran is a serious mountain with serious consequences. There's no fixed lines on it, it's all on you to get up it.
Seracs, you have to stay out of their way cause a falling serac is a death zone but you need to get around them.
I would love to do the Casarotto route on Huascaran. Never been repeated since Renato Casarotto did it in the 80's. On the mountain's north face and really depends on weather conditions to make the summit though this.
His vision was genius and he did it solo. An amazing mountaineering feat. He unfortunatley perished coming down off his final attempt on the Magic Line on K2. One of the greatest mountaineers in recent times.
- In r163, is the corpse in the purple jacket Francys A?
- Perilous task ahead for sherpas trying to recover climber's body
TU THANH HA
The Globe and Mail
Last updated Monday, Jun. 18 2012, 10:24 AM EDT
For sherpas trying to recover Shriya Shah-Klorfine’s body from Mount Everest, it will be a long, hard job, descending the mountain with her remains tied to a sled, in a controlled slide down steep, icy and snow-covered slopes.
The sherpa team that was supposed to leave Thursday to look for Ms. Shah-Klorfine’s body was delayed by an avalanche.
The 33-year-old Toronto resident died of exhaustion and lack of oxygen near the South Col, at about 8,310 metres above sea level. She was one of four climbers who died on Everest Saturday.
Finding her body will be the easier part of the task, said Alan Arnette, an American climber who reached the summit last year after three previous attempts.
First they will have to slide the body down a snow-covered slope. “It’s on an angle anywhere from 30 to 60 degrees . . . It’s pretty steep,” Mr. Arnette said.
Afterward, the team would then have to negotiate the western face of the Lhotse, the mountain that abuts Everest.
“[The Lhotse Face]is extremely steep, it’s very, very icy . . . . I’ve seen them take down injured climbers. It’s slow, it’s hard on the muscles and you’re scared you’re going to let loose on the ropes and everybody comes tumbling down.”
The body would be taken as far as Camp II, at 6500 meters, the highest spot where a helicopter could safely land to airlift the remains away.
Such difficulties explain why the bodies of 100 to 200 climbers have been left on Everest’s upper reaches, frozen into eternity by the cold, dry surroundings.
“People go to these mountains and they know good and well that they might die and that their bodies might stay there,” Mr. Arnette said.
Over the years, some of those victims have acquired their own macabre fame.
For years, on the southern route, just above the South Col, climbers passed by the frozen, sitting form of Hannelore Schmatz, a German climber who died in 1979.
Two Nepalese climbers, Yogendra Bahadur Thapa and Ang Dorjee, died in 1984 trying to recover her body, which the wind eventually blew over the edge.
Another well-known victim, the Indian climber Tsewang Paljor, is known among climbers as Green Boots, for the fluorescent footwear visible from the rocky outcrop under which he died in 1996.
Vancouver climbers Steve Curtis and Sam Wyatt, who reached the summit on Saturday, saw five bodies during their climb.
“We saw five and we know there’s probably [more]who have died there and have been dropped off to the side. People push them off and cut them off ropes,” Mr. Curtis said in an interview.
He said they chose the northern route believing that, while technically harder, it would be less hazardeous than the overcrowded southern route used by Ms. Shah-Klorfine.
A Spanish climber who was with them, Juan José Polo, died of exhaustion and his body remains near the Second Step, at 8,580 metres.
Mr. Curtis said he was told by the guides that their Spanish friend “just sat down and died.”
Another Canadian, Ottawa climber Sandra Leduc, who tried to reach the summit last weekend but turned back, took the southern route.
“Lots of dead or dying bodies. Thought I was in a morgue,” she tweeted
Mr. Arnette said that describing the mountain as a morgue is an hyperbole that detracts from the essential challenge of Everest.
“There’s certainly bodies on Everest. There are bodies on other mountains around the world. That’s part of high altitude climbing.”
He said some Everest guide services ask climbers to sign a “body disposal form” outlining whether they want their remains recovered, at a cost of up to $30,000.
In recent years, some expeditions have set out to haul down litter left on the mountain: tent and climbing gear, human waste, even helicopter wreckage from a 1973 Italian expedition.
One of the four climbers who died Saturday, the German physician Eberhard Schaaf, who reached the summit three hours before Ms. Shah-Klorfine, was a member of the EcoEverest 2012 clean-up expedition
- Sandy Hill is a little tone deaf. It wasn't just the coffee maker that people were criticizing, it was the sum total of her "equipment". Plus her attitude about brining all that stuff.
- I'm so sorry. What can i do?
[quote]Sträng and Flock also participated in a medical experiment conducted by Uppsala University Hospital under the supervision of researcher Stefan Branth and medical student Fredrik Wallin. The purpose was to investigate how the body is affected by hypoxia. The study found among other results that the two lost basically no fat; that [bold]at high altitudes almost all metabolism was fuelled by muscle tissue[/bold].
- Dangerous tradition in the Sherpa culture
The tragic death of one of the climbing Sherpas at Mount Everest base camp last Wednesday gave us some food for thought here at the Himalayan Experience camp. For Russell, this event was particularly sad as he had known Karsang Namgyal Sherpa for many years. “He used to work for us and he was a good and strong guy, however, his drinking habit made employing him increasingly difficult.” During the almost ten years that Karsang Namgyal worked for Himalayan Experience, the company tried to help him on several occasions. “We sent him on three rehabilitations but it did not seem to work,” Russell explained.
On 18th April, the life of Karsang Namgyal Sherpa took a sad turn as he succumbed to his habit and died on the main Everest base camp trail, just outside the camps of mountaineering expeditions. “In hindsight we put together the pieces of this tragic event, and we found out that he had been to several camps having a drink with his friends before he collapsed on the trail,” our Sirdar Phurba Tashi said. The doctors of the Himalayan Rescue Association, who were nearby when the 40-year-old broke down, ran to his rescue but could only find him dead.
Karsang Namgyal was the son of Ang Rita Sherpa – who, before Apa Sherpa took over with his current 21 Everest summits, used to be Nepal’s ‘Super Sherpa’. Between 1983 and 1996, Ang Rita from Thame had climbed Mount Everest ten times before health problems forced him to retire. “Ang Rita was a national hero but unfortunately it did not help his drinking habit,” Russell said. In this way, Karsang, who was a strong and committed climber, might have stepped into his father’s footsteps with having scaled the highest mountain in the world nine times as well as dealing with his alcoholism. “The whole family is addicted to alcohol, and sadly Karsang’s mother died of it,” Phurba Tashi explained. “I am very shocked and sad but in a way I was not surprised – he was playing with his life,” he continued.
Rakshi in the Khumbu
Drinking is a common problem within the Sherpa community in the Khumbu valley, however, it is more down to tradition than to modern lifestyle. “My father still has his drink every single day, and whenever anyone leaves the village, even if it is as early as 9am, we have a drink of our local spirit, Rakshi,” Phurba Tashi explained the drinking tradition of the Sherpas. Before Phurba became a Sirdar taking on huge responsibilities on the earth’s highest peaks, he used to drink regularly. “But when I saw how dangerous it can be and how people destroy themselves, I quit drinking all together.” However, despite this positive development, Phurba Tashi thinks that the bigger selection of drinks, such as Kukri Rum and the ubiquitous Everest Beer, has the potential to increase the drinking habits. “But in the end, it is still our tradition of celebrating something or saying goodbye to people with alcohol.”
Many people may think that acquired fame and the pressure of working on expedition and taking responsibilities for western climbers exacerbates the drinking, however, Russell believes it is actually the complete opposite. “I think that expedition life has decreased the drinking among the Sherpa community. They see that they will not be able to keep their jobs when they are caught drinking too much – and that’s what is stopping them,” he explained.
Drinking is not completely banned at the Himalayan Experience camp. “Alcohol is a big part of the Puja and even though the Sherpas used to drink much more during the ceremony they still have the odd one, which is ok,” Phurba Tashi explained.
As for Karsang, the alcohol may have ended his life very prematurely and it will almost certainly ruin the lives of his wife and their two sons, aged eight and one year old. “We don’t know what will happen to the family but Himalayan Experience will provide them with some money as I feel very strongly for them. Karsang worked for me for many years and he was a good worker,” Russell explained.
- R181, R182, Thanks for your post. Drinking before an extremely dangerous climb?
- R166, the reason Annapurna is so much more dangerous than Everest is that it's horrible prone to avalanches. Look at the mountain, the entire face is made up of avalance chutes! And the avalanches are more likely to happen during good climbing weather, when it's sunny and clear.
I knew someone who died there, who is still "part of the mountiain".
- So far, the US hasn't has any black men summit, but a group of African American medical doctors decided to train for an expedition. Never heard how their training went or if they gave the mountain a shot.
The first black US woman summited in the early 2000s but like Obama, she is actually mixed race.
- R175, an article in one of the links above said that Schmatz' body was pushed over the edge by a couple of men.
- In reading the stories of the people whose bodies are up there, it seems that those who were left to die have a better chance of being buried or pushed out of view (even long after) than those who just hit a bad patch and died.
Guilt might not happen in the Death Zone, but it seems to follow many home.
- Still wanna go? Here is a flyer for the 2013 season coming up this spring:
- Frontline had a pretty good documentary with alternate takes on "Into Thin Air," including commentary from Beck Weathers and Sandy Hill. Even though the thing is edited to be sympathetic to Weathers, he really didn't come off very well.
The two people who really came out well were Lene Gammelgaard, the Danish climber, and Helen Wilton, who ran the base camp for Adventure Consultants and spoke a lot about being on the radio with Rob Hall as he was freezing to death.
I'm pretty sure you can see it on Netflix. It's called "Storm Over Everest."
The Voice of the Night
- I want to hike to Base Camp now...who's in??
- A British guy on the Everest reality show was doing it "for abused children." Claimed he was abused and his goal was to make abused children feel good about themselves. Riiiiight. It's not like he's doing it because he's a narcissist, like everyone else.
I'm doing it for the wounded warriors, I'm doing it for the asthmatics, I'm doing it for the bullied, I'm doing it for the tortured and the burned (that last one was Andrew Adrian Woodhouse).
- Did Jon Krakauer ever correct his book about Christopher McCandless, "Into the Wild"? It's been proved countless times that McCandless did not eat anything toxic or moldy. He simply starved to death by expending more energy than he took in in fat and calories. Also, he did have a map of the area, his ID and $300 in cash in his backpack.
- Fifteen years after the disaster, mountaineer Graham Ratcliffe MBE - who was on the South Col on 10 May 1996 - revealed new information, discovered after five years of research. His book A Day to Die For created new debate among mountaineering magazines and readers around the world. Ratcliffe, the first UK climber to ascend Everest from both north and south routes, began his investigation because of doubts that the weather he experienced on Everest matched reports of an unexpected storm. He traced witnesses who confirmed that a storm had been forecast - and that weather forecasts had in fact been supplied to teams on the mountain. Mystery remains as to why these were not revealed for 15 years
- On the 1996 Disaster
DAVID BREA SHEARS: In the afternoon, we got a radio call. The Taiwanese climber's health had deteriorated. The Sherpas were bringing him down, and they asked us to help.
We climbed fast up the Lhotse Face, but by the time we reached him, Chen was dead. The Sherpas, superstitious about death on the mountain, wanted us to bring the body down.
Chen's close friend and team leader, Makalu Gau, had just arrived at Camp Four on the South Col.
MAK ALU GAU: [subtitles] David called to tell me Chen was dead. I was shocked. All I could say was, "Thank you"
DAVID BREA SHEARS: Sitting at Base Camp all these years later, I can still remember my reaction, how upset I was by his response and his decision not to come down.
MAK ALU GAU: [subtitles] Chen had wanted to reach the top more than anyone on our team. When he died, I felt I had no choice but to keep climbing. I must finish his goal for him.
- My favorite thread right now. I'm going to get "Into Thin Air" and watch that reality show about Everest.
- It doesn't make any damn sense to me, why anyone would want to do it. 75 years ago, sure, when you really could be the First. Now, when there are only a handful of days out of the year when the weather permits anyone going to the summit, and everyone ends up lining up for miles, trudging past corpses, spent O2 tanks, frozen feces of climbers from decades prior... what the fuck is the point? If "glory" and bragging rights are the motivator, how does it win you any glory to summit when thousands have gone before you?
Throughout all the articles and videos posted in this thread, it looks as if the people who successfully reach the summit and live to tell about it tend to denote themselves in terms of "firsts" - "first male from Brazil to summit from both the Northern and Southern routes," "oldest North American man to summit," "third-youngest person to summit," etc. At some point it's going to get to where people come down and announce "I'm the sixteenth-youngest female to summit and the first female who's five-foot-eight-inches tall to summit, not to mention the first female from Rhode Island..." The more you parse it the more ludicrous it gets, but the more people scramble up their each year, the more you have to parse it to distinguish yourself from all the other crazies on the list.
As for "green boots," I get that it's impossible and life-threatening to try and haul a body down out of the Death Zone, but couldn't they do something like have every experienced climber/Sherpa who passes him try to move him 1 foot down the mountain? After a few years they'd get him to a point where they could roll him off, at least. From the looks of it, they moved that Sharp guy out of the exact same area but never bothered moving green boots.
- [quote]As for "green boots," I get that it's impossible and life-threatening to try and haul a body down out of the Death Zone, but couldn't they do something
That whole situation has bothered me for years -- Tsewang Paljor was left out in plain sight for years, but David Sharp, all of two feet away, was quickly covered. Both men were just two steps off the path.
- Krakauer described the difficulty his client group had in forming close relations during the preparation phase prior to the May 10 ascent:
…We never became a team. Instead we were a bunch of individuals who liked each other to a certain degree and got along well enough, but we never had this feeling that we were all in it together. Part of it was that we didn’t do enough of the actual work: Sherpas set up camp, Sherpas did the cooking. We didn’t have to cooperate and work out who was going to haul this load or who was going to cook or do the dishes or chop the ice for water. Which contributed to the fact that we never coalesced as a team, which in turn contributed to the tragedy: We were all in it for ourselves when we should have been in it for each other
* At the center of attention: In sharp contrast to earlier climbers, adventure climbing clients often seemed willing to be pampered and catered to by guides and Sherpas. The extreme case in this regard was Pittman’s use of a Sherpa to “roll up her sleeping bag every morning and pack her rucksack for her” (Krakauer, 1997: 117) as well as her use of Lopsang to short rope her up the mountain on May 10. Satellite hookups and instant media coverage also helped to put this expedition at the center of a large, admiring audience with Pittman posting regularly on NBC Interactive, Bromet interviewing Fischer almost daily for Outside Online, and Krakauer collecting notes for his forthcoming article in Outside magazine.
- ...we attribute the drive of many adventure clients to reach the top of Everest to an effort at reparation of a damaged structure of self. From a Kohutian perspective, adventure climbing offered clients an opportunity to be at the center of a doting world – both on the mountain and around the globe (a mirroring transference function) – and to merge with a potent selfobject – in this case Everest itself, a symbol of ambition, success, and exclusivity (an idealization transference function). Krakauer (1997) described a climber’s willingness to endure the “toil, tedium, and suffering” of an Everest expedition as a search for “something like a state of grace” (136). While Everest and other high altitude peaks may have always served this purpose for climbers, self-inflation and lack of skill combined with significant changes in leader roles and responsibilities discussed previously placed this group of climbing teams at a much greater risk for disaster.
- When I watch the Beyond the Limit series, I see people claiming to be so far up that they are sick, they can't breathe, etc and yet there are birds flying around behind them. You would think there couldn't be any animal life at only 30% oxygen.
- [quote]people claiming to be so far up that they are sick, they can't breathe, etc and yet there are birds flying around behind them
I've often wondered if they really see birds, or are merely experiencing effects of O2 deprivation in their brains.
- Rupell's Griffon and the Bar Headed goose have been seen flying at vey high altitudes. The bar headed goose migrates across the Himalayas to its nesting grounds.
- R200= Idiot.
So because birds native to the area can breathe you expect humans that are not native to the area to do the same?
- [quote] if they really see birds
I saw the birds flying behind them
- [quote]Tsewang Paljor was left out in plain sight for years, but David Sharp, all of two feet away, was quickly covered. Both men were just two steps off the path.
I believe the family members are responsible for arranging the retrieval of dead climbers' bodies. No one paid to have Paljor's body brought down, therefore he stays. It is weird to think of him donning those boots for the last time, full of hope and aspiration, never knowing what lasting fame those boots would bring him.
- [quote]Rupell's Griffon and the Bar Headed goose have been seen flying at vey high altitudes. The bar headed goose migrates across the Himalayas to its nesting grounds.
- r205 --- I meant Sharp was covered with a tarp in the interim. They could have covered Tsewang Paljor as well.
Where did you see anyone claiming that humans should be able to do the same thing that native birds can do?
I don't see any such claim. Just wonder being expressed that any animal can live in a place where there is only 30% oxygen.
An oxygen hose, that is.
- I've seen video and photos of lots of climbers on Everest wearing those same color green boots. Maybe he started a trend.
It's sad to see his clothing is fading.
Some of the bodies do deteriorate. There's a skeletal one you can see when you do a google image search and a PBS special on climbing Everest shows skeletal remains on the Ice Fall.
Another disrespectful thing about Paljor is that a lot of "1996 Mt Everest disaster" references only mention the 5 deaths of the people on Fisher's and Hall's expeditions and ignore the 3 Indian policemen.
- Boy was I naive about Mount Everest. I swear I thought it was still a big deal to climb it. I mean it still is something to be appreciated but it does seem like if you have the money anyone who trained in a gym would have a good chance of being able to do it. I swear until this thread had me researching things I still thought maybe ten to twenty people a year climbed it.
I started reading about it and the whole ascent is a trail. They've built in ladders, stairs, assist wires, all kinds of shit. There was one year not too long ago where every single person who climbed to the top used the same exact path.
Take a look at this queue. It's now just a really high tourist attraction. I love hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, and all kinds of outdoor activities. I've just found I can enjoy nature without it trying to kill me.
- I thought David Sharp's body was still sitting in that cave?
- [quote]Someone could at least pose them more artfully.
- DAMN! THIS THREAD IS MAKING MY HORNY AS HELL !
- Do you think any gays have climbed Mount Everest? And if they have, do they refer to the pit where some of the bodies fall as The Valley of the Dolls?
A hook, nail, and claw-fighter who went down swinging....
- It would creep me out to have to see all those frozen bodies lying around, it's icky.
- [quote] Take a look at this queue.
That traffic jam is contributing to the death rate. People run out of oxygen while waiting their turn to summit and die on the way down. It also contributes to hypothermia. Anyone from Alaska knows that if you get lost in the winter, keep moving. Standing still, sitting down, etc causes your body to cool even faster.
I hadn't realized that almost everyone comes down the same face they go up. I thought if you went up the south side, you would descend the north face. But almost nobody ascends or descends the north face. Most ascend and descend the south face because it's an easier route and you don't need all the permits you need for the north side.
No wonder there are traffic jams.
- I don't like going to the grocery store when it's that crowded
- Here's the picture of Annapurna, showing that the whole mountain is made up of avalanche chutes. Sorry, meant to post it earlier.
And sea level air is 21% oxygen, 30% oxygen is what you get in the hospital. Someone please check your figures before anyone else clucks about it.
And R196, it's not so easy to push some of these bodies, even a few inches at a time. the ones that stay for years are basically frozen in ice, or snow so solid it might as well be ice. It'd be much more practical to cover them with white tarps, but I still think it's better to let the rich idiots see what they're really facing.
- Some of us aren't as bothered by the dead bodies, R215. I'm far more interested in the stories that have come out of the climbs, especially as the Everest climbs are being de-romanticized.
- This body is called El Saludador in Spanish.
- There's a picture of one body that is sitting up like he just died taking break.
- El Saludador means "The Greeter" in English. Is that one of the Spanish climbers who died?
(this one seems about as mobile and sprightly as some Walmart greeters I've seen)
- [quote]Take a look at this queue.
All is missing is a Trader Joe's guy holding the "end of line" sign.
- Atop Everest, there is approximately 33% of the oxygen that is available at ea level. This is due to thinning of atmospheric pressure.
When people get HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema), their pulse oximeter readings can be astonishingly low. On the PBS special about medical testing while on Everest, one man's reading was 45%. On one of the Discovery Channel's expeditions, a Sherpa's oxygen saturation was 30%! If you are at sea level and in a hospital, nurses will tell you to take deep breaths if your oximeter reads 94%! People with emphysema have readings in the low 90s.
Both men were placed on high flow oxygen, placed in pressurized bags and sent further down the mountain. (The Sherpa was helicoptered to Kathmandu) They both survived.
- [quote]El Saludador means "The Greeter" in English. Is that one of the Spanish climbers who died?
Wasn't that Francys? They eventually covered her with a US flag (and a teddy bear.)
- [quote] There's a picture of one body that is sitting up like he just died taking break.
That body has been identified as many different people. Some sites claim it is Peter Boardman, others say it is Rob Hall and one even identified it as Francys Arsentiev.
It does appear to be wearing very similar clothing to that worn by Rob Hall on his final expedition.
It's definitely not Arsentiev, who was wearing a purple top when she died.
- lol, R213!
- [quote] Wasn't that Francys? They eventually covered her with a US flag (and a teddy bear.)
No. Francys was wearing purple. There is a distant photo of her here. If you enlarge it, you can see her purple top.
Two different corpses wearing red and black are often misidentified as Arsentiev. One of the corpses in red and black is said to be that of a female Japanese climber who died in the 1996 expedition.
- Sometimes people die while attached to ropes. Other climbers cut them down. It's possible the "sitting" climber was holding onto a rope when he died and was cut down by someone else.
- If anyone can manage it, i need a decent size 11 boot on your way down cheers
- The Spanish climber who perished, Juan Jose Polo, was said to have just sat down and died from exhaustion. It wouldn't be long before he froze solid in that position.
I wonder how much muscle wasting is experienced since it's not fat but muscle that is consumed at altitudes that high. Have researchers examined how much muscle tissue is lost from the time on Everest? It shouldn't be too hard to determine.
- This snippet written by the girlfriend of Hoe Tasker, who died in the same climb as Peter Boardman, suggests the sitting corpse is Boardman's.
"A month after I stood in that phone booth in Vienna, Chris received the pictures. From the clothing, Hilary and her mother-in-law identified the remains as Pete's. For Hilary, it was an affirmation of her belief that Pete hadn't fallen. If he'd died violently, she had always claimed, she would have sensed it. I was relieved, too. During the weeks of waiting, I'd begun to dread what the discovery of Joe's body might unearth in me. But I felt compelled to see what death on the mountain looked like.
The next time I saw Hilary, she handed me a large brown envelope containing a copy of the black-and-white photograph, then quietly withdrew. I thought I was prepared. But when I saw the picture, I cried out loud: desiccated skin drawn tight over bones, hair bleached white, the head uncovered, the hand gloveless in the snow. As shocking as the ravaged body, however, was the supreme bleakness of the place where it lay. That image of Pete Boardman's shell, leaning against a bank of snow on the Northeast Ridge, is fixed in my memory as one of profound loneliness and desolation. When I cried over it, I cried for Joe, too, for the fact that he had perished so far from warmth, and from life."
- Climbers typically lose 10-20 lbs of muscle during their Everest excursions because of the physical strain.
- R233, most likely because they burn muscle and not fat at high altitudes. See my post above.
- R233 was answering me at R231. I'd read your post at R181.
- Got it, r235. Thanks for clarifying.
- Like several other posters have stated, I had no idea how crazy climbing Everest is. I just couldn't get past the cold - the oxygen deprivation never even crossed my mind.
This is a fascinating thread and thanks for all of the links and suggestions for the specials.
Why anyone would want to literally freeze their ass off and pay several thousand dollars to do so is quite beyond my comprehension.
- R237 Ever been on an Alaskan Cruise?
- Hell to the no, r238.
Cold is hell.
- What amazed me on the Discovery Channel series was how little clothing people wore at times. I understand it can get quite hot on Everest. During one part of the climb, the leader insisted everyone wear down climbing suits because the wind could come around a corner and drop the temperature to -15 degrees or something nearly as ridiculous. Unfortunately, with the (literally) blinding sunlight reflected off the snow in the thin atmosphere, it went up to 85 degrees. So there the clients were, climbing in down suits at 85 degrees.
But other than that, you see people going into tents that have snow inside of them and they aren't wearing any gloves or hats. Or they're outside saying that it's freezing cold and they're hatless, gloveless and jacketless. WTF? Hell yes you're cold.
Also, they all take their sunglasses off on the summit. Nice way to burn your corneas.
- [quote]There's a picture of one body that is sitting up like he just died taking break.
Someone posted on another site that the dude was getting one last "fap" in before he died..lol
- John Delaney, the founder of InTrade died on Everest, 20 feet from the summit.
John Tait, a banker from UBS, has summited 4 times and is seen on the Discovery Channel series two. No wonder UBS lost billions. All this climbing up and down big mountains.
Tait looks a bit like those lizard people Whatshisface is always talking about.
- I don't have a problem with green boots; he's an icon--everyone who climbs knows who he is and his face isn't showing anyway. It's all part of the cult of climbing. He's been dead for a long time...
- r243, it's the difference in treatment.
The idea that bodies on 8,000m peaks are left to the mountain is not the issue.
As the other poster said, some accounts don't even mention the 3 Indians in the deaths.
Don't even start me on the lack of respect for the Nepalese army helicopter rescuers. Even coming in at Base Camp for a flight is a dangerous, risky operation requiring a lot of skill and balls.
- The Sherpas have climbed it a million times, but no one talks about them. They are like the nobody characters with no lines on Star Trek.
- I knew someone who was killed in a mountain climbing accident on Mount Hood in Oregon.
There were multiple climbing parties. One was higher up, they started to slide and took a second group and third group with them. The people I know were in one of the groups taken down by the first group.
They all went into a crevasse, three people died.
- Well, they do have a tea named after them. What else do you want?
- If I have to die in a crevasse I hope it's in the one in Matt Bomer's butt.
- [quote] The Sherpas have climbed it a million times, but no one talks about them
That's not true. There are Sherpas who are famous in the climbing world. Let's face it, Hilary and Norgay are the two famous Everest climbers. One is a white guy, one is a Sherpa. Aside from those two, what other mountain climbers roll off the tongue, white, black or Asian? Mountain climbers are pretty much only famous in the climbing world. And Sherpas tend to only climb Everest, not the seven summits.
Can you name the first person who summited Everest twice? (Nawang Gombu). Three times? The first American, the first Japanese, the first woman, the first amputee? White people who aren't the first person to do something aren't well known any more than nonwhite people who aren't the first to do something.
And Sherpas think mountain climbing foreigners are crazy, anyway. To them, it's just a living. Non-mountaineering Sherpas couldn't care less about climbing the Everest. Kind of like when you've lived in Manhattan for 20 years but only just went to the top of the Empire State building for the first time because you have out of town guests who want to go there.
Sherpas have been studied medically just like whites who climb Everest have been tested on and off the mountain.
- Not all Sherpas climb the mountain. The ones raising livestock in the valley couldn't care less.
"The Tibetan myths about mountains are populated with wrathful deities, ghosts or terrible creatures such as the yeti. They are warnings to stay away. The notion of climbing a mountain was utterly foreign to those nomads grazing their animals on the pastures below. Why expose yourself to unnecessary risks when life is already full of them? They didn't have a word for the apex of a mountain; the summit Mallory was trying to reach didn't exist for them.
For the nomads in the Kama Valley and the monks at Rongbuk monastery, the motivation for those attempting Everest was obscure. Nawang Gombu, the first man to climb the mountain twice, was a novitiate monk at Rongbuk in the late 1940s before he ran away to follow his uncle, Tenzing Norgay, into the expedition game. Trulshik Rinpoche was 14 when the last prewar expedition arrived at Rongbuk in 1938. Gombu asked the monks what the English were looking for. They told him that there must be a golden cow there and they wanted to take it home. In a way, they were correct. Several climbers have become millionaires from lecturing and writing about their experiences."
- The John Delaney guy who founded InTrade went to "conquer" Everest while his wife was pregnant. He died before finding out his wife gave bith to a girl (ironically named Hope). This is the kicker -- his wife's brother said that John Delaney "lived for his family....the family came first for him."
Ha ha! Yeah, his family was so important to him that he ran away from them to risk his life before his wife could give birth to their daughter. He loved them so much that he made his wife a widow and left three children to grow up without their father.
Ah well, he did achieve something. He is the first Irishman to die on Everest.
- The couple that  refers to are Cathy O'Dowd, a South African, and Ian Woodall, a Brit. The pair were part of an expedition in 1996, led by Woodall, that came inf for scathing criticism in Krakaurs' book.
They had billed themselves as the first 'Africans' to climb Everest, even though O'Dowd was a white society dilettante - the daughter of a rich gold mining magnate.
The pair are remembered for leaving a inexperienced team member Bruce Herrod to die on Everest. They summitted and passed him on the way down, as he was still trying to make his way up, even though clearly in distress. The 37-year old's body is still up there as far as I know.
The incident caused a huge controversy in South Africa and O'Dowd and Woodall were pilloried in the media. Part of the vilification was probably due to him being a Brit, and she a wealthy daughter of a capitalist.
I actually met her at a dinner party years ago in Johannesburg; what I remember is that she seemed an oddball. People at the event - extreme sport types mostly - ignored her, snubbing her basically. She sat quietly with a girlfriend, wearing an expression that reminded me of a stray dog hoping to be adopted.
She stayed to the end, though, not leaving, as most people would if they are not wanted. South Africans tend to be very sociable, but its also a tough place to live with a high crime rate. So people tend to stick together. So the idea of a rich girl indulging herself on a hairbrained adventure, and when things got tough, leaving a teammate to die, was abhorrent to people here.
O'Dowd summitted a few more times, and now trots herself out as a motivational speaker.
- So Woodall and O'Dowd left more than one person on more than one expedition?
Guilt really does follow you home.
- "During the long interview in Seattle, Lopsang insisted that Scott did not in fact order him to short-rope Sandy Pittman on May 10, nor was he offered money by Pittman as an incentive for assisting her to the summit (Lopsang did express mild surprise, however, that he received "no money, no thank you, nothing" from Pittman after the expedition for the help he provided her). Lopsang explained that he made the decision to short-rope Pittman entirely on his own, "because Scott wants all members to go to summit, and I am thinking Sandy will be weakest member, I am thinking she will be slow, so I will take her first." The prospect of receiving money from Pittman, he assured me, in no way entered into his decision. I thus stand corrected regarding Lopsang's motivation for short-roping Pittman. But the Seattle interview shed no new light on why he was helping Pittman in the early hours of May 10 instead of moving to the front of the pack to fix ropes according to the predetermined plan. Lopsang acknowledged that he left Camp IV at the front of Fischer's group, carrying two coils of rope to be fixed, but claimed that there was no plan in effect for him or any other Sherpas to fix ropes ahead of the clients." -- Jon Krakauer
- [quote]I don't understand the thrill of risking your life
Exactly. You don't.
[quote]if you're attracted to danger, go help those struggling to survive in this world
Why should they live their lives according to what you want?
I would rather climb Everest than toil in the slums of Calcutta. If that's your thing, YOU do it.
- [quote]Ah well, he did achieve something. He is the first Irishman to die on Everest.
A sterling example of the peril of having too much money. Of all the tales of sorrow, the one that gets me the most is the pathetic end of Shriya Shah. She was not rich. She had just enough of everything to destroy herself: just enough guts and determination, just enough money, sherpas just desperate enough to go with her, and just enough oxygen to get her to the top.
She knew nothing about mountaineering and didn't even try to learn until she arrived in Nepal. With all of Canada to practice on, she never climbed a single mountain! Yet she mortgaged her house to finance a bargain-basement quest to fulfill a childhood fantasy for the greater glory of Canada.
She was told in Nepal she'd die before she went. She was told again she'd die if she didn't turn back while struggling in the Death Zone. She soldiered on and achieved her goal which was to summit at all costs. I hate to imagine the horror that must have overcome her when her oxygen gave out while she was still at 28,000 feet.
On the way up, she had neglected to spend a full night acclimatising herself to the thin air at Camp 3, which is standard procedure. She had relied on wastefully generous use of oxygen. She was in no way prepared to descend without it. It was a mercy that death overtook her fairly quickly.
- ...in December 1997, Boukreev was given an award for his heroism on Everest by the country's preeminent professional climbing organization, the American Alpine Club.
Jim Wickwire, a climber and the author of a recent book titled "Addicted to Danger," chaired the five-member committee that bestowed the award on Boukreev. "We looked at all the information we could before making our decision," Wickwire says. "But we looked first and foremost at what Anatoli did that day. He went out into the storm three times before he brought back three climbers. We did not feel that what happened up to that point changed the analysis."
That explanation, some Boukreev critics argue, is like praising the arsonist for putting out the fire. Krakauer says, "Why was Anatoli the only person to go back out? He may have been fearless. But he was also pretty goddamn motivated. He was having tea when a lot of people died. It wouldn't have looked too good."
Krakauer sees low-level conspiracy in the Alpine Club award. "I've never been the darling of the American Alpine Club," he says, describing its members as "elitists" and "old farts" who like to tell other climbers what to do.
"The American Alpine Club used to piss the shit out of me in the 1970s, when I was just starting to climb," he says. "To climb in foreign countries, they demand you have sponsorship from them -- you'd be denied permission without it. It reminded me of one of the things I hated about organized sports; you had to have a coach, you had to cut your hair. With climbing it felt different. You could hitchhike to a mountain on your own ... it had an anarchic, counterculture quality. And here were these guys with clipboards telling you what you could or couldn't do."
A more compelling defender of Boukreev's actions on Everest is Sandy Hill Pittman, a paying member of Fisher's team and one of the climbers Boukreev dragged to safety on the evening of May 10. (Now divorced, she goes by her maiden name, Sandy Hill.) As most people who read "Into Thin Air" or other articles about the Everest climb are aware, Hill became a frequent target of satire shortly after the tragedy. Although she's an accomplished climber -- when she summited Everest in 1996, she became only the second woman to climb each of the "Seven Summits," the highest peaks on each continent -- her penchant for carting the appurtenances of her luxurious lifestyle (gourmet food, laptops, fashion magazines) along with her rankled hard-core climbers. "I wouldn't dream of leaving town without an ample supply of Dean & DeLuca's Near East Blend and my espresso maker," Hill burbled in one often-quoted dispatch to an NBC Web site.
Krakauer was fairly hard on Hill in "Into Thin Air." Among other things, he was critical of her desire to have expensive (and very heavy) electronic equipment hauled with her up the mountain, thus exhausting a Sherpa who should have been attending to more important matters. ("Sandy wasn't to blame for that," Krakauer says now. "Fischer is, for letting her climb with it. He wanted the publicity her online dispatches would provide.")
- In an interview with Salon, Beck Weathers claims that Krakauer's account doesn't bother him. "There is nothing in Jon's book that offends me. He did say, 'I'm not a guide.' He did not say, 'I'm not a guide so I won't help you down the mountain.' I took it as him saying, 'I have no special skills.'"
He adds: "Anatoli Boukreev certainly did not play a role in getting me off the mountain. The only role he played was stepping over my body."
- I haven't seen it mentioned here - although I could have missed it - but I enjoyed the IMAX movie "Everest" released in '98. It should be available on DVD, although you certainly don't get the same experience as watching it on in an IMAX theater.
It was being filmed in '96, at the same time as the mess that Krakauer wrote about. The climbers with the IMAX team (Ed Viesters, Araceli Segarra, Jamling Norgay, David Brashears) actually put their summit and movie at risk to come to the aid of the other climbers. They had (wisely) made the decision not to summit at the same time as all of the other groups because of the weather and crowds.
So there are still some climbers who put others safety ahead of their own desire to summit.
- Re: Bruce Herrod
On May 25, 1996, 37-year-old Bruce Herrod, a British photographer on the first South African Everest expedition, reached the summit of Everest and was patched through via Base Camp to his girlfriend, Sue Thompson, in London. He was never heard from again, and his fate remained a mystery for a year. Then, in 1997, Sue received an e-mail from an expedition on Everest telling her that a team led by Russian climber Anatoli Boukreev—who himself would die on Annapurna that December, leaving behind his own grieving partner, American Linda Wylie—had found a body attached to the fixed ropes at the bottom of the Hillary Step. There was little doubt that it was Herrod; he'd been the last person to summit the mountain in 1996, and Boukreev's team was the first to go so high since then.
She contacted several expeditions at Everest Base Camp, asking them to look for personal effects on Herrod's body. Most important was his camera—she knew that he would have been recording his journey for as long as he was able. "You're aware it's the most horrible request to make: 'Can you look through his pack, and if his camera's there, can you bring it back?' But that became my obsession," she says.
An expedition led by American filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears agreed to the task. When they reached Bruce's body, it was still clipped into the fixed ropes. He was hanging upside down, his arms dangling, his mouth open, and his skin black. "Like Captain Ahab," Breashears wrote in his memoir, High Exposure, "lashed to his white whale." Another American climber on the team, Pete Athans, secured Herrod's pack to the fixed lines, then cut the body free and watched it fall out of sight.
The roll of film inside the camera was marked, in Herrod's writing, "Eve of 24/5/96 South Col." There were only two exposed frames. They were identical: There was the memento-strewn marker on the summit of Everest, and Herrod, leaning over it, smiling jubilantly at the camera, the earth curving behind him.
The image brought Sue some comfort, but the questions of how Bruce had died and whether he had suffered still haunted her. In the spring of 1999, she went to Everest and met Athans, who had just come down through the Khumbu Icefall. "To meet the guy who carried out the burial," she recalls, "who sent Bruce spinning thousands of feet into space, is the ultimate proof that his body has gone and he no longer exists. I knew that when I shook his hand, the hand that had cut the rope, this would be confronting the final truth as far as I was ever going to see it."
Sue suspects Athans was being kind when he assured her that, despite having hung near the summit for a year, Herrod was recognizable. He told her that he thought Herrod had suffered a very bad head wound, and that it was likely that he'd got his leg caught in old ropes and flipped back, knocking himself out. Athans also assured her that, unlike the remains of George Mallory, which had been discovered that spring, Herrod's body would not greet future climbers—the fall from the Hillary Step was long and hard. "I got this image of a body in pieces, and it's almost like that was the dissolution I needed," Sue says. "I realized it's easier to deal with when you don't think of the body as a dead entity anymore. It's somehow dissipated."l
- The first thing to remember is that people have loved to hate Sandy Hill Pittman for a long time. In 1990, New York magazine published Michael Gross' delicious "The Couple of the Minute: Doing Good with Bob and Sandy Pittman." Gross painted the couple as shameless social climbers, proved that Bob didn't really invent MTV and coined the phrase "the Martha Stewart of Mountaineering" to sum up Sandy's alpine ambitions. She'd already trekked the Himalayas with Meredith Brokaw, wife of NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, in 1989. "This was no princess out on a hike," Meredith told Gross.
By the time Pittman left Central Park West for Kathmandu seven years later, she was on her third attempt to top Everest. She was divorcing Bob, her husband of 16 years, whose fortunes seemed at a low ebb (he'd gone from Time Warner to the decidedly less glamorous real estate firm Century 21, although he was soon to rebound by taking over the troubled America Online). But her quest had gone well: She'd successfully navigated six of the world's seven top summits. She was under contract to write a coffee-table book, "Summits of My Soul," a sort of memoir-travelogue-scrapbook, for San Francisco's Chronicle Books.
Pittman's ascents had been so well documented over the years that the only nugget left for me to report, in the New York magazine that hit newsstands on April 8, 1996, was a minor update: She was going to be covering her climb on her very own Web site. And she was planning to rendezvous at base camp before the final assent with girlfriends Martha Stewart, Blaine Trump and Sharon Hoge. By the time the New York Observer came out with "Sandy Pittman Social-Climbs Mount Everest" a few weeks later, Stewart and Trump had pulled out of the Nepal trip. But the Observer published a picture from an earlier expedition to Sikkim: There was a smiling Martha Stewart, in a tent, serving crepes suzette to Pittman, Trump and Hoge. The most embarrassing line in the piece, predictably, came from Pittman herself: "I wouldn't dream of leaving town without an ample supply of Dean & DeLuca's Near East Blend and my espresso maker," she had breathlessly told her online readers in a Web dispatch quoted by the Observer.
The point of all this is that Sandy Hill Pittman was ridiculed as a social-climbing adventuress long before tragedy struck on the mountain. Her responses after the blizzard didn't win her new friends. Like Richard Nixon, Sandy Hill Pittman was done in by the cover-up. She never mentioned that she was short-roped up the mountain by the Sherpa Lopsang, just as she never mentioned that she was carried out of the blizzard by the guide Anatoli Boukreev. By the time others mentioned it to the swarm of reporters circling the story, Pittman's reporting looked suspect.
So, she's not a good reporter. Does that make her a murderer? OK, so she had the Sherpas running the latest copies of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Allure up the mountain after they'd been sent by DHL to Kathmandu. So she hooked up with a guy on the mountain, the 26-year-old California snowboarder Stephen Koch. So she had a Sherpa carry her 40-pound satellite phone up to Camp 4, where it didn't work. So call her a princess on a hike. But not a murderer. Not even Krakauer thinks that Pittman's mistakes on the mountain were as fatal as those made by some of the others.
But every time Pittman opened her mouth, she got into trouble again. She told Wilkinson in Men's Journal that she would "think twice about going on supplemental oxygen again. I acclimatize really well." How could Lene Gammelgaard -- the climber who was ordered by guide Neal Beidleman to hand over her oxygen canisters to a suffering Sandy -- have felt, reading that quote? It's no wonder, as blame is being assigned and reassigned for what went wrong on the mountain, that "everybody hates everybody," as one survivor told Men's Journal.
- On the northern approach to the peak, three members of an Indian expedition were stranded on their way down from the top. Their frantic comrades thought they had persuaded a late-departing Japanese group to forgo its summit attempt and stage a rescue. But when next heard from, the Japanese were announcing their successful climb. The appalled Indians believe the Japanese found all three men and left at least two to die. The Japanese called the allegations "contrary to the truth, one-sided and unjustified." Responded an adviser to the Indians: "They [the Japanese] will have to live with their consciences."
- Neither Gau nor Weathers, both in critical condition, would have survived were it not for Lieut. Colonel Madan K.C., a Nepalese helicopter pilot. Choppers seldom venture above 6,000 meters: at a certain height, the thin air reduces their lift. Yet Madan flew up to a giant cross the climbers had painted on the Everest ice with red Kool-Aid. There he hovered, runners just touching the snow's treacherous surface, as Gau was loaded on board. Madan flew Gau down to the base camp, then repeated the process with Weathers. It was the second-highest helicopter rescue in history.
- [quote]It's no wonder, as blame is being assigned and reassigned for what went wrong on the mountain, that "everybody hates everybody," as one survivor told Men's Journal.
They say it is common for survivors of group disasters, like being shipwrecked on an island or stuck for weeks on a lifeboat, to never wish to see or hear from each other again after they are rescued.
- [quote] I hate to imagine the horror that must have overcome her when her oxygen gave out while she was still at 28,000 feet.
Actually, she probably had the high of her life. Hypoxia can cause intense euphoria. That's why people do breathplay.
At the bare minimum, she probably didn't have the cognitive skills to process what was happening to her.
The Voice of the Night
- That's probably what happened to Shriya Shah. She stayed at the summit for 30 min. when all who summit stay for two or three minutes at most, just enough for a snapshot. She had been on O2 on the way up, but it was on such a high setting that it couldn't have lasted her very long especially since she was a slow straggler.
- The race to be the first of something is disgusting. Take Jordan Romero. He claims to be the youngest to summit Everest. Oddly there is no record by any climber actually seeing him, his step mom, or his dad on the summit. The photos they posted of the summit do not actually show the summit. Out of curiosity, I reviewed Romero's GIS records look what I found. He was supposidly carrying his spot the entire time. The spot is a gps device that automatically records your position every 10 minutes. The time to climb from the 3rd camp to the summit was ~7 1/2 hours. The spot showed it was on the summit for 30 minutes. Then it returns to 3rd camp in 4 hours. That is impossible. The decent ALWAYS takes longer then the ascent (unless you are a Sherpa who has struck off on your own without having to wait for your team you just left behind). I have no doubt at some point before the first Hillary step, The Romero’s passed off the spot to a Sherpa to summit with it, and either they waited for a bit or immediatly turned back to camp 3. Facts don't lie: The kid is a fraud, and ironically he has recorded the scam for all to see were anyone in the media to look in more detail.
- Sandy Hill is a washed up bitch.
- romero family summit picture
- [quote]They say it is common for survivors of group disasters, like being shipwrecked on an island or stuck for weeks on a lifeboat, to never wish to see or hear from each other again after they are rescued.
That's not true. The survivors of Lost kept seeing each other after being rescued and even volunteered to go back to the island.
- This might well be one of the best threads on Datalounge in years. Lots of facts, people who seem to know what they're talking about, and no trolls. Well done guys!
- Sandy's problem was that she was working with a model from the long ago safaris that the wealthy used to enjoy in Africa. The natives would do all the work while, even in the deepest darkest jungle, the white people would dress for dinner nd then, the next morning, venture out with their expensive firearms and blast animals that the guide had already tracked for them.
This used to be a staple rich people story, but none of the middle class journalists seemed to remember this or even be familiar with it.
- In 1910, a Broadwood player-piano went on Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition, was taken to the first base-camp, and played on the ice.
- For $65,000, you goddamn well BETTER carry my bags. You're just a high altitude bellboy, Buster!
- My favourite is Ötzi the Iceman, although he was found on the Alps not on Everest. And he's over 5000-years-old.
- The climbing Sherpas start out as kitchen boys. Then they become cooks, then porters (carrying supplies to the camps), then guides.
- Interesting stories here. You guys will 'enjoy' watching Touching the Void.
- Sherpas have only lived in Nepal for 400 years or so.
I wonder if many of the non-Nepalese who climb Everest engage in blood doping beforehand?
- I wonder why there aren't any reports of Sherpas having a high rate of skin cancer.
- "So call her a princess on a hike. But not a murderer."
Well, her actions certainly contributed to the tragedy. Rich and arrogant, she made the climb more difficult for everybody due to the pampering she felt she was entitled to. Of course, some of it could have been avoided if the guides had told her "you can't bring all this shit with you, unless you intend to carry it yourself." But they wanted her money and the publicity, so they let her do what she wanted. Big fucking mistake.
The sherpas believed that her fucking a guy in her tent made the mountain angry and cursed the expedition. I think it did create bad karma. REALLY bad karma.
- Mount Everest is the only place on Earth where you will never see fat people.
- Why can't I find a pic of Hannelore Schmatz's corpse on the internet? I can't help but be curious as to what these hikers had to see.
- I want a sherpa boyfriend!
- Out on the internet, there are a bunch of photos of various corpses, but it isn't clear who is who, except definitely for Tsewang Paljor, the poor guy in the green boots.
I don't think the people who post the photos even know, or won't say.
- I make it to the top and had sex with my boyfriend on Mount Everest top. I had a huge orgasm, i will never forget my pussy spasms when he fucked me victoriously there
- R267/269, do tell us more. I could have taken that picture in my backyard.
- There's a ghoul among us.
- r269 photo is interesting. Usually, summit snaps show the vista beneath, but this is just a tight shot that, as r286, could have been taken in a back yard.
- Here is Jordan Romero's Flickr page
- It's odd that Jordan's photos of Everest stop five days before he is to have said to have summitted.
- I send out my best wishes that all of our fellow DL posters who also climb always return safely and alive.
I would hate to see one of you end up as a frozen corpse on a barren moutainside only known by the landmark nickname..."Caftan & Earrings"
- Jordan's hometown paper reports his summit
- What other mountains have horror stories? I heard K2 is even more dangerous but I'm having a hard time finding stories about deaths...
For whatever reason this thread really interests me.
- Unfortunately, there aren't enough dead body photos to have an Everest themed Halloween party.
- K2 Deaths:
- Better link
- Hmmm... Diana Ross's ex-husband Arne Naess was a mountain climber. He successfully climbed Everest, but at age 66 he died while climbing a mountain in South Africa.
- K2 climbers froze to death hanging upside down on ropes.
- Bump, simply for being one of the more educational threads I've seen on DL.
- No pics of K2 bodies?
Melting snows shed new light on K2's great mystery
American socialite died at 7,000m trying to impress his ex-wife
- [quote] The sherpas believed that her fucking a guy in her tent made the mountain angry and cursed the expedition.
Are we really blaming this woman for the anthropomorphic beliefs of a different culture? This is getting silly.
- Shriya Shah seemed to be willfully ignorant.
- I don't think anyone is claiming that this is what WE believe, R302. It is an interesting glimpse into the mentality of the sherpas though. It reminds me of the woman who thought the maiden voyage of the TITANIC was cursed because she saw a crew member clowning around at the top of the fourth funnel (the "dummy" funnel that was just there for show.) Others thought the TITANIC was cursed because it was too luxuriously appointed, stressing sinful indulgence over safety.
Any undertaking where lives are going to be at stake is cause for gravity. It is not difficult to grasp why superstitious people might believe that to embark upon a perilous excursion with a display of frivolity is to invite disaster.
- My grandmother grew up Catholic in Belfast. Only Protestants were allowed to have good jobs, like working in the shipyards. She claimed the Protestant shipyard workers scrawled obscenities all over the outside of Titanic like "the pope fucks nuns" and made drawings of the pope with horns and a tail. She said these were all covered over when the ship was painted and that the people of the Falls Road darkly predicted "that ship will never make it across the sea."
- [quote] ...to embark upon a perilous excursion with a display of frivolity is to invite disaster.
So you're saying I should sing in my car on my morning commute?
- r305 - that is the most fascinating bit of Titanic trivia!
- Had these poor souls known about my Oscar-nominated performance in "Les Misérables," they would've found the will to persevere and live on.
- George Mallory's partner was hot.
- Today, January 11th, 2013 Shriyah Shah would be celebrating her 34th birthday.
Her ill-fated expedition's website is still on line:
- Where does the trek up Everest start? Clearly, people aren't climbing from the very bottom, or are they? Do they just start at base camp after an airlift? (Hence, the name "base camp").
- Were these 200 people part of some massive field trip or something? Were they flash frozen while walking in a herd?
- [quote]Where does the trek up Everest start? Clearly, people aren't climbing from the very bottom, or are they? Do they just start at base camp after an airlift? (Hence, the name "base camp").
They actually do hike into the the base camp.
They fly from Kathmandu to a small city name Lukla, They hike from there to the Sherpas' capital, and then keep hiking from there. It takes about a week to reach the base camp from Lukla.
The Voice of the Night
But you can be hoisted upon the backs of hikers to the base camp, right?
Money Talks & Tweets
- They could always be carried in a sedan chair, R315.
- R312 -- one of the reasons Scott Fisher's group might have got into trouble is that the hike from Lukla to base camp in is part of the acclimation process and he arranged to helicopter them far closer than usual. So they started the hike to base camp from a far closer point than usual (Maybe because of all of Sandy's stuff)...
- [quote] [R305] - that is the most fascinating bit of Titanic trivia!
I cannot vouch for the truth of it. My grandmother may have made it up, or some Catholic neighbor of hers may have made it up. It's just what she told us. my mother fully believes it. I half-believe it. .
- [quote]They fly from Kathmandu to a small city name Lukla, They hike from there to the Sherpas' capital, and then keep hiking from there. It takes about a week to reach the base camp from Lukla.
How is this hike in terms of danger or need for preparedness? This seems like it could be interesting and enjoyable.
- Here's a sample itinerary. They suggest about two and a half weeks between arriving in Nepal and leaving.
The Voice of the Night
- The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine's Fate
- More links:
- I started watching "Everest: Beyond the Limit" due to someone mentioning it upthread. (Free on Amazon Prime!)
It's very interesting, even if the production is a little cheesy and heavily edited for drama.
- The Alpine Cub on
Climbers who have Died in the High Mountains
- It is true, R305. Decorating the ships with anti-catholic sentiments was a common practice in the Belfast shipyards.
The catholics also said that the ship was given the hull number 3909-04 which, when written out and viewed in a mirror, spelled the words NO POPE. (if you can somehow finagle the 4 into an N). That has been proven false.
- Great thread. Because of this thread, I read some more about some of the fatal climbs and high-altitude climbing in general. It's just fascinating and totally terrifying.
The Wiki Everest entry talks about the routes and the hazards - deep crevasses (sometimes covered by snow) falling ice (someone was killed by a piece of ice the size of car), blizzards, avalanches, difficult crossings and climbs, and of course the brutal, brutal cold - even well-prepared climbers get frostbite. I thought it was interesting (and scary) that the ascent to the summit starts at a particular time due in part to the fact that when its colder in the early morning, the mountain is more frozen and there is less chance for ice to shift, break off, etc. Plus it's amazing all the health-related problems that can occur due to lack of oxygen and how quickly someone can deteriorate.
And, while Everest is the highest, mountains like K2 are even harder to climb and more terrifying.
I'd love to see a picture of one of these mountains like Everest that does it justice. 29,000 feet!! Most pictures show it sitting there in the mountain range, like a very tall rocky hill. Some peaks, but not looking that steep or huge from afar. But, think about it. I just flew to San Jose at Christmas and the captain said that our cruising altitude was between 28,000 and 30,000 feet. In between that would be the top of Everest. It just boggles my fucking mind.
I need to look for some Nat Geo pics of these huge mountains. Something that does justice to how huge, steep, and treacherous they are.
- Totally agree R319. A hike to base camp would be incredibly interesting. First, just seeing Nepal and Khathmandu, and then just seeing the Himalayas that close.
But, I'm not sure the companies would want to waste their time taking people to merely base camp. But, if you pay, I'm sure someone would do it.
- Sometimes it's hard to appreciate the dimension of these mountains until you see others in comparison. This is K2 with the Matterhorn in the foreground.
- YOU ARE ALL DEGENERATES! NO TOLERANCE TO GAYS!
- Is r329 serious? Or just a typical Daily Hate Mail reader?
- Wrong thread, R329. Keep up, will you?
- r328 -- I didn't know much about the Matterhorn so looked up its wiki page. What's interesting is that the thing to do now (with all the superduper modern climbing equipment now available) is to see how *fast* you can climb to the top.
I think the record is now like 90 minutes...
- Ever since 1924, observers have wondered why Mallory chose Irvine as his partner for the second summit attempt, rather than the far more experienced Noel Odell, who had rounded into incomparable form at high altitude during the preceding week. Irvine had very little climbing experience, with only an exploratory outing in Spitsbergen under his belt. (In a letter to Ruth, Mallory had voiced a qualm, "I wish Irvine had had a season in the Alps.") But on Everest, the Oxford undergraduate had proved to be tougher than several of his more seasoned comrades, an uncomplaining worker, and a delightful companion. He was also something of a mechanical genius, who had taken apart the oxygen apparatus in the field and rebuilt it in a lighter and more efficient form.
- [quote]What other mountains have horror stories? I heard K2 is even more dangerous but I'm having a hard time finding stories about deaths...
K2 has only been summited hundreds of times, while Everest has been summited thousands of times. Everest's fatality rate is down to 9% (still incredible), but K2's is something like 27% and death often occurs on on the descent.
It's a fascinating subject.
- Isn't K2 more avalanche-prone than Everest?
- This thread is absolutely fascinating!
[quote] I just flew to San Jose at Christmas and the captain said that our cruising altitude was between 28,000 and 30,000 feet. In between that would be the top of Everest. It just boggles my fucking mind.
YES! That's what totally made me sit up and pay attention. WTF?? Can you fucking imagine being as high as a jet flies? Astounding.
Isn't Annapurna's death rate like 47% due to all of the avalanches?
- I don't know the exact rate, but yes, Annapurna I or II (can't remember which one) is apparently the deadliest mountain to climb in terms of fatality rate.
I would love see great detailed pics or be standing at the base of these mountains to get a sense of their scale.
- [quote]YES! That's what totally made me sit up and pay attention. WTF?? Can you fucking imagine being as high as a jet flies? Astounding.
Think about this. The world's tallest building in Dubai (Burj Khalifa) is listed as being 2,722 feet tall. Everest's peak is 29,029 feet - 26,307 feet higher than the world's tallest building. Everest's summit would be the equivalent of the top of a structure stacking about 10.6 of the world's tallest building. Think of how high you are when you're simply standing on the Empire State building or Sear's Tower observation deck and then think that the tops of the world's highest mountains are up to 10 times higher.
This thread has given me much more respect for the enormity of mountains in general (as stupid as that may sound). Because Everest, K2, and other 25,000 ft+ peaks in the Himalayas are so tall, I've never thought of how fucking high the mountains in the Andes are (several over 22,000 feet) or Mount McKinley (20,000+) or Mount Blanc (15,400), Mount Whitney (14,500). Heck, after contemplating the numbers, even sub 10,000 foot mountains seem more impressive.
- I imagine climbing Everest is the closest experience you can get to being on another planet.
- [quote]This thread has given me much more respect for the enormity of mountains in general (as stupid as that may sound).
I'll do you one better.
The deepest part of the ocean is called Challenger Deep, in the territorial waters of the Federated States of Micronesia. It's so deep you could fit Mt. Everest inside it, and then stack two Burj Kalifa's atop it and still not break the surface.
The Voice of the Night
- There was a special I saw on Everest many, many years ago. I wish I could remember the name of it because the final shot was completely breath-taking.
It was a shot of a guy standing at the summit and in the background was a full moon. I swear to God, it looked like the guy could have reached out and touched the moon. Not UP but OUT and touched it - he was that high.
I got chills from that picture.
- Here's a link to a forum of climbers paying homage to people who have died climbing. There are some pics, some list of names, some comments.
- That really is incredible, R340. This is part of the Mariana Trench, correct? And, there has been a successful trip to the bottom? God, imagine how dark it would be and the water pressure. Yet, I think I remember that some form of life has been found in those deep waters.
Generally, you can only climb so high without supplemental oxygen. So, going the other direction, how deep can someone dive without a protective vessel? (I'm not really equating these things, just think they're both interesting). If you're just in a scuba suit how far can someone dive down?
- Wow R311, that site is just bizarre. Shirya "Self-aggrandizing" Shah certainly thought she was hot shit eh?
I came thisclose to posting the following in the comments section:
I had a feeling this might happen.
- That is incredible about the Mariana Trench. For some reason, I think we have an easier time ascending to Everest than we do down in the depths of the ocean.
The pressure is much more intense. Either way, your blood is unhappy.
- I'd also thought about the Mariana Trench when reading this thread. I didn't know about the Challenger Deep part that VOTN mentioned. I wonder if life forms exist down there that adapted to the pressure and the darkness.
Just a few days ago, a few pictures of a giant squid (the first mostly intact one seen by humans) were released in anticipation of a Discover TV special coming up. I can't recall how far down their exploratory sub went, but it was pretty far and it sounded intrepid for some university scientists in a submerged tuna can. I think it's on the 27th.
- I want to say they went down 3000 ft.
- An interesting and informative visual regarding the bottom of the sea
- It was "only" 3000 ft. down.
[quote]The mission that finally tracked down the creature involved 55 dives in two special submersible vehicles that spent a total of more than 285 hours far beneath the waves. Some of the dives went deeper than 3,000 feet.
The team of scientists and filmmakers on the mission came from a variety of institutions, including the National Science Museum of Japan, the Discovery Channel and the Japanese broadcaster NHK.
[quote]They used equipment including "ultra-sensitive camera systems with light invisible to squid, bio luminescent lures and secret squid attractants," the Discovery Channel said.
God help the swooning squid females if they're lured with secret attractants. No girl wants to cheated. No bait and switch, bros.
- God - I'm amazed this thread has 350 responses.
- Sandy Pittman took Dean and Deluca coffee. Here is what the Mallory/Irvine expedition brought to the mountain:
"60 tins of quail in foie gras and 48 bottles of champagne, Montebello 1915".
- Why, r350? It's an interesting topic and the responses have been thoughtful and insightful.
I've learned something new and have two books on hold at the library thanks to this topic.
It's one of the better discussions we've had lately.
- Here's an interesting link from PBS.
Especially interesting is the section on atmospheric pressure. I wonder how bad your ears and sinus cavities hurt at these altitudes?
- Madonna trolls Datalounge and I bet she is totally planning on being the "First American Music Artist of Italian and French Canadian Descent with over 20 Top Ten Billboard Dance/Club Singles to Climb Mount Everest" to coincide with the release of her newest album.
- "But, I'm not sure the companies would want to waste their time taking people to merely base camp. "
Actually, some of the "treks" through the more scenic parts of Nepal visit the Everst base camp. I know a couple of people who visited, and another two who are looking into it, and I don't have a huge social circle.
Of course my friends are leaning against even trying for the base camp, because although they're pretty fit they may not be fit enough to climb that high. Imagine that, Everest base camp is at 17,000 feet, higher than the highest mountain in the continental US. the START of the Everest climb is too much for most fit people.
Nice picture of a "trek" at link
- For those of you wondering whether you can hike up to Everest base camp, the answer is yes. Some hiking tours through the more scenic parts of Nepal include it on the itnerary, I know a couple of people who've done it and two more who are thinking about it.
Of course, my friends are leaning against it, because although they're in excellent shape, they don't think they can make the hike to Everest base camp. It's at 17000 feet above sea level, higher than the highest mountain in the continental US. It's a brutal climb, but it's 100x easier than going up Everest itself.
Nice picture of a trek through Nepal at link
- I've been to Cuzco, Peru at 11,000 ft, and it's pretty tough on arrival without any exertion. Once I got to my hotel, I fell asleep for a full day with no appetite whatsoever. I was on a hiking trip, and it was tough but not horribly so. Acclimatization is quick.
The base camp trips to Everest that I've read about involve a lot of slow acclimatization. I think that's the trick. I had a friend who flew from the US to La Paz (around 13K) had cerebral edema and ended up in the hospital.
I'd love to take a trip to the base camp.
- Reading these articles, just about every time it says "summit attempt" I first think it says "suicide attempt"
- [quote]"60 tins of quail in foie gras and 48 bottles of champagne, Montebello 1915".
I may be wrong but I think champagne was as much a practical item as a luxury. Mallory and his men couldn't drink the local water. Bottled water from Europe would have been mineral water which has a laxative effect, not desirable on a long trek up a mountain. Besides, champagne bottles are virtually indestructible which made them one of the more reliably spoil-proof containers in those days before plastic.
- I also had a fabulous gucci croc backpack on my trip. When I stepped over one of the dead bodies of some Asian looking woman I noticed she had the sought after hermes wait listed fanny pac, I ripped it off her bloated waist. It's been perfect for my morning beach jogs
- WOW! R333's link of the pictures of Mallory and his boyfriend! Those two guys were Studs!
That does it. I am cuddling up this winter with all of the non fiction Everest and K2 thrillers I can get my hands on! Fascinating, and makes me appreciate my warm bed and baseboard heat.
I'm just a jerk like everyone else, but even if I had what it took to scale Everest, I don't think I have what it takes to rationalize walk by / leaving behind a stranger to die alone. Even if they signed off on it, that was somebody's kid. I imagine you'd have two choices afterward 1) hardening your heart and rationalizing your actions, and being an insuffereable asshole for the rest of your life or 2) going crazy from the guilt for the rest of your life. Compared to that, forstbite isn't so bad.
- Hey everyone! There is an autobiography of a man who climbed Mount Everest. It looks like an interesting read because apparently the author mentions previous climbers who have died on Mount Everest according to the synopsis of the book on the Amazon page. I posted the Amazon link in case you are interested in reading it. I might check it out from the library. BTW, I love threads like this because threads like this make DL really interesting and fun.
- R362 I agree with you completely ,and you sound like a real gentlemen.
- I don't know what I'd do. I wonder if the person I passed by who was dying, would try to help me or pass me by if the roles were switched.
Knowing the risks and what I was getting myself into, I don't thing I would expect someone to help me.
And if I spent years training and saving my money for the chance in a lifetime to climb, I just may pass by someone because they knew the risks, too.
I honestly can't say what I do. I'd like to think I would help...
I guess I mean that I would not consider doing a tough climb like that, specifically because there is a good chance that I would be in that unenviable position of turning my back on or pretending not to see a dying fellow human, so the prospect of summiting Everest is not attractive in the first place. Death doesn't scare me as much as being an epic failure as a human and missing the basic point of life - and I am not someone who would jump into traffic or the ocean to save a pet or anything.
This adventure climbing situation is different than say, turning your back on people who are about to be washed down a Yosemite waterfall in white water, and nothing can be done about it so a helpless crowd if left to avoid having the horrific imaghe seared into ther memories. It's different because there is so much irony.
- Good Grief! Is death worth climbing a mount? Something is wrong with people when they do things challenging death. I think they are restless with their lives ,and something is void that they are trying to fill that void.
- Climbers Left Each Other on Icy K2
Summit Fever and Panic Led to Deaths
By MARK MOONEY
Aug. 5, 2008—
Marco Confortola was the toughest man on the mountain.
The Italian mountaineer survived an avalanche, murderous weather, bad planning and panic that killed 11 other climbers and left him stranded on the second-highest mountain in the world.
The mountain known as K2 is a daunting climb into a world of ice and jagged peaks. The mountain backed up its treacherous reputation this week by sweeping three climbers off its face with an avalanche of ice. Others succumbed in the "Death Zone," an area so high, so cold and so forlorn that it turns hands, feet and faces black before turning breath into ice.
Left in that icy hell, Confortola, 37, slowly struggled down for four days on feet swollen and blackened by frostbite, refusing to die.
At his worst, Confortola was left alone high on the 28,250-foot peak, weak and struggling to walk.
He spoke by satellite telephone to a fellow climber back in Italy Monday and dismissed any thought of succumbing to K2, which straddles Pakistan and China.
"Of course, of course, I'll keep going. Imagine if I gave up now," he told Agostino Da Polenza, head of the Ev-K2-CNR mountaineering group.
He emerged today from the thin air and thick fog that have prevented helicopters from rescuing him, limping on his ruined feet with the help of three other climbers.
"Now I really realize that everyone here has died," Confortola told the Everest-K2-CNR, an Italy-based high-altitude scientific research group, during a phone call from base camp. "I am happy to be alive."
On how he survived, Confortola was simple.
"We don't give up, we look ahead," he said. "Now I just want to take off my shoes, my feet are pretty darn painful."
Confortola's remarkable survival ends a saga that rivals the disastrous exploits of "Into Thin Air," the Jon Krakauer book that documented the 1996 deaths of eight climbers on Mt. Everest, the world's tallest peak.
Others who survived the K2 catastrophe told of things going wrong from the beginning, bad decisions, "summit fever," people abandoning each other in panic.
The race to the peak began on Friday when winds died down, offering a chance of good weather. Thirty climbers in several groups of at least nine nationalities began the charge up the mountain.
While most mountaineering deaths occur on the descent, when climbers are exhausted, a Serbian and his Pakistani porter fell to their deaths during the ascent, which some took as a bad omen.
More ominous was the scene when climbers arrived at "The Bottleneck," a particularly treacherous gully 1,150 below the summit. They found the first signs that the different groups were not going to be very cooperative. Ropes given to the fastest climbers to prepare the way for the others were laid at times in the wrong locations, according to Dutch climber Wilco van Rooijen.
It took hours of exhausting work to reset the ropes.
Some climbers wisely backed out of a final assault on the summit, not trusting the ropes or the situation. Others, however, rushed to reach the top just before nightfall, a reckless decision known as "summit fever."
In the scramble to get down in the fading light, climbers got separated, a situation that usually means death in an atmosphere so harsh climbers need bottled oxygen to keep going.
The fastest climbers on the ascent, a Norwegian with two Nepali Sherpas, reached The Bottleneck just as an avalanche of ice crashed down, ripping away the ropes and sending the trio plummeting to their deaths.
Disaster then hardened around the remaining climbers like a quick freeze. Cooperation largely ceased and climbers abandoned each other, van Rooijen said.
"They were thinking of my gas, my rope, whatever," he said. "Actually, everybody was fighting for himself and I still do not understand why everybody was leaving each other."
Some wandered off on their own in near suicidal acts of desperation.
- "People were running down but didn't know where to go, so a lot of people were lost on the mountain on the wrong side, wrong route," van Rooijen said.
He said at one point he spent hours searching for a camp in The Bottleneck, lost because other climbers who had promised to plant flags to mark the way failed to do so.
"Some climbers did not take their responsibility and then accidents like this happen very easy," van Rooijen said.
He went without food and water for several days and had to sleep without a sleeping bag. Swedish survivor Fredrik Strang told CNN that in the morning, he would find fellow climbers frozen to death.
Van Rooijen said the descent was made even more perilous by either thick clouds that made it difficult to see where he was going or the glare of the sun off the snow and ice that was so intense it threatened to blind him.
At one point, the Dutchman stumbled across a trio of Korean climbers who appeared to be in an almost hopeless situation.
One was dangling upside down by a rope. A second Korean held desperately to one end of the rope to keep his colleague from plummeting into an abyss. The third Korean sat dazed in the snow.
"They were trying to survive," van Rooijen said Monday. "But I had also to survive because I was getting snow blind."
He said the Koreans declined an offer of help, believing rescue was on its way. Three Koreans are listed among the dead and missing, although it's not clear if they were the ones that van Rooijen saw.
Van Rooijen worked his way far enough down the mountain to be plucked to safety by a helicopter Monday, along with a fellow Dutchman, after suffering frostbite that may cost him several toes.
Among the dead were three Koreans; two Nepalis; two Pakistani high-altitude porters; French, Serbian, and Norwegian climbers; and an Irishman.
The French climber presumed dead, Hugues d'Aubarede, relayed an account of the climb that was posted on a blog. His last message, from the foot of the Bottleneck, was: "I would love it if everyone could contemplate this ocean of mountains and glaciers. They put me through the wringer, but it's so beautiful. The night will be long but beautiful."
- Guys, it's stupid but i love you rats!
- Take a Number
In the 16 years since Into Thin Air, Mount Everest has become safer in many ways, with better storm forecasting and amazing high-altitude rescue helicopters. So why did 10 people die in 2012?
Lakpa Rita, the top sherpa for Seattle-based Alpine Ascents, was the first to see it. Just visible in the glow of his frost-covered headlamp, a body dangled from a fixed line. This was the second corpse his team had met on their overnight summit bid.
It was 4:30 a.m. on May 20, just beyond Everest’s South Summit, the dramatic rise and dip at 28,700 feet where climbers swap in fresh oxygen cylinders for the final push to the top. The frozen body hung from a line strung along the knife-edge ridge that leads to the Hillary Step, a 40-foot cliff 100 feet below the summit. Lakpa Rita, 47, and Garrett Madison, 33, the company’s head guide, paused to consider the unfortunate soul for a moment. The wind whipped by at nearly gale force. The sun, still below the horizon, barely brightened the fierce lenticular cloud that wrapped the upper mountain.
In tight formation with Madison and Lakpa Rita were six clients from the U.S., Britain, and Australia, a third guide, 46-year-old Jose Luis Peralvo of Ecuador, and six veteran climbing Sherpas. Later they would learn that the dead man was a German doctor named Eberhard Schaaf, who’d arrived at the summit the previous afternoon. Schaaf, 61, was guided by two Sherpas from a Nepal-based outfitter called Asian Trekking, and he likely succumbed to cerebral edema during his descent. The Sherpas had stayed with him for hours before one and then the other left to save themselves.
Madison’s group had avoided the crowds by going up on the night of the 19th, in worsening weather. For them, Schaaf presented a different kind of problem: he was blocking the way. “Lakpa went up and cut him off the fixed line,” Madison recalls. Schaaf’s body tumbled 15 feet down Everest’s southwest face, stopping among some rocks.
All night, the Alpine Ascents group had met with the carnage of the previous day, when four climbers died along the 29,035-foot mountain’s most popular route—the Southeast Ridge, which ascends the Nepalese side from the foot of the Khumbu Glacier. In addition to Schaaf, they were Nepali-Canadian Shriya Shah, 33, Korean Song Won-bin, 44, and Chinese Ha Wenyi, 55. There were other fatalities as well—two on the mountain’s north side and four earlier in the season—along with serious injuries that resulted in roughly two dozen helicopter evacuations. In all, 10 people perished on Everest in April and May of 2012, making it the third deadliest spring season on record, behind 1996’s total of 12 and 2006’s total of 11.
The Alpine Ascents team encountered all four of the doomed May 19 climbers on its way up, either dead (Schaaf and Shah), too far gone to rescue (Song), or not yet in distress (Ha). Had Madison and Lakpa Rita believed they could help Song, they would have been duty-bound to try. “Since there was nothing we could do,” client Rob Sobecki later blogged, “we carried on climbing upwards.”
- Neal Beidleman's Return to Mount Everest
One of Scott Fisher's surviving guides returned to Everest in 2011.
- Lincoln Hall's survival in 2006 was really and incredible.
I remember his son had heard he was dead and started posting distraught posts on some message board, and eventually heard they he was still alive.
Also, Krakauer's book about the 1996 expedition disaster was well written, but I remember finding out a lot of his attempts to paint "villains" for the story (Boukreev, Pittman, etc...) ended up laced with bullshit. Still recommend the book, but take it with a grain of salt.
- R373, read link at r372
- [quote]And, there has been a successful trip to the bottom? God, imagine how dark it would be and the water pressure.
There have only been four success trips, and only two of those, the first, and the most recent, were manned.
There are a bunch of different species that live down there, but for the most part are things like sea cucumbers. The first two guys who reached the bottom claimed to have seen an actual fish down there, but most marine biologist think they saw a sea cucumber and were mistaken.
The pressure there is roughly 1100X greater than atmospheric pressure at sea level.
I think the lesson to take away from all of this is that whether you're at the summit of Everest or in the depths of the ocean, if you get into trouble, you're so far from help you might as well be on the Moon.
The Voice of the Night
- R371's link is worth reading in its entirety by the other Everest addicts on this thread.
From 372's link
In May of 1996, 18 months prior to the avalanche that caused Anatoli’s tragic death, I was on the upper reaches of Everest, assisting clients on a treacherous descent, as a powerful late-day storm brutally imposed its wrath. I had been fixing ropes and breaking trail for hours, and was eventually joined on the summit ridge by Anatoli, who was guiding along with me. But Anatoli, a highly respected mountaineer and an imposing figure from the town of Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the former Soviet Union, climbed without supplementary oxygen. This was his hallmark and he doggedly stuck to it, despite the direct disapproval of our boss and expedition leader, Scott Fischer. Anatoli’s decision necessitated he head down shortly after reaching the top, leaving me to wait for Scott and the rest of our clients. Hours passed; turnaround times came and went. Finally, my charge arrived and I descended with them, passing Scott as he neared the summit. Within minutes, a powerful storm rolled up the slopes and enveloped us all, adding one more chapter to the wickedly complicated chain of events that is still, to this day, not completely understood.
What eventually occurred on the mountain—five deaths and 10 total in the season—is clearly what should be most remembered. Families were broken and lives were forever changed. But there began a phantasmal second life to those events, one that played out on an international stage in a media firestorm of books, movies, documentaries, and online blogfests, where anyone, climber or not, can voice ruthless attacks.
Even before Anatoli and I departed the slopes of Everest, our plight had landed us on the international covers of both Time and Newsweek. Magazine and newspaper editors reached us by satellite phones at base camp and later, at all hours, in Kathmandu hotel rooms. TV newsmagazines jockeyed for exclusivity. We became embroiled in arguably the most recognized and scrutinized mountaineering calamity of all time, most notably detailed in Jon Krakauer’s best-selling firsthand account, Into Thin Air.
Krakauer’s Outside magazine piece, the basis for Into Thin Air, hit newsstands in the fall of 1996. A friend called to say he had “it” and that he never imagined how inconceivable the story was. He brought me the already worn copy and I sequestered myself in my bedroom for hours, ingesting every word. It was the longest piece ever printed by the magazine, nearly one-third of a book. Krakauer, an extraordinary writer and investigative journalist who climbed to the summit with us, was the first to piece together the complex timeline of what happened on the mountain. It was a captivating read and an out-ofbody experience to be part of the story—that story. Krakauer was careful to narrate the facts as he saw them, but he also took several people to task for their actions on the mountain. One of those was Anatoli.
Krakauer felt strongly that no lead guide, especially one with Anatoli’s experience, should have climbed without oxygen and that he never should have departed while clients were still ascending. Anatoli’s hasty summit exit became the single-most polarizing event of the aftermath’s discussion. It represented an ethical and moral conundrum that pitted Anatoli and his followers against those who dared to impose Western guiding norms on the iconic folk hero that he had fast become.
- If the outcome of that day had only been thwarted summit bids or some frostbitten toes, not the deaths that occurred, perhaps this controversy wouldn’t have gathered the steam it did. But, in Anatoli’s eyes, Krakauer’s barbs were akin to a far greater prosecution than bad style. Anatoli fired back with his own account and book, The Climb, cowritten by G. Weston DeWalt.
During this period, Anatoli looked heavily to me to publicly defend the case he made for leaving the summit early. In his book, he claimed that he saw the disaster unfolding a priori, and by heading down he would be able to climb back up the mountain yet again, carrying extra oxygen for those who would certainly run out. I didn’t believe he had that insight and, furthermore, even if he did, I felt it would have still been the wrong decision. Help was needed there and then, not later when few options remained. If we could have reached the South Col even minutes before we did, or had there been a few more capable hands on our descent, the outcome could have played out differently. I never, though, felt Anatoli was conscientiously derelict in his actions. I felt he was unsuspecting of all the circumstances that laid in wait. Moreover, he needed to descend because of the position he put himself in by climbing without oxygen. I chose to keep my silence rather than speak out against my friend, especially when it became clear to me I couldn’t defend what he was saying. Anatoli was hurt and angry over my unwillingness to speak up, and I felt I was doing him a favor by not.
I’d first met Anatoli nearly a decade earlier, when he landed in Boulder, Colorado, as part of a climber’s exchange. At the time I was 28 and doing the best impression of an aerospace engineer I could muster while aggressively pursuing my own climbing and adventure ambitions. My friends and I climbed and ran and drank with Anatoli. He, in turn, slept on our couches, ate us out of house and home, and flirted with our girlfriends. In other words, he fit right in.
Fiercely proud and quite the physical specimen, Anatoli, at an early age, was invited by his country to join the National Climbing Team. It afforded him a small stipend and a chance to learn from some of the best and baddest high-altitude climbers in the world. It was his job to bring success and pride to his country. And he learned well. He was personally awarded Master of Sports with Honors in 1989 by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1994, when Anatoli and I climbed Makalu, the world’s fifth-highest peak, located 14 miles east of Everest, it would become his sixth of the 14 peaks above 8,000 meters climbed, all without using bottled oxygen, which greatly increases the difficulty.
- Makalu had been especially galvanizing in our friendship. It was a tedious and difficult expedition for the 10 climbers involved. Alone on the mountain, we were a ragtag team whacking away old-school style, without Sherpa support, bottled oxygen, or any type of communication to the outside world. Our beat-up tents, recycled ropes, and borrowed mismatched clothing would seem wildly out of place today on any of the big, crowded climbs. I broke two ribs coughing and was advised if I didn’t depart, I’d probably puncture a lung. Fortunately neither happened.
Our team made several attempts on the summit, all of which came up short, and the expedition was finally called. But Anatoli got in my ear immediately after I returned from just a few hundred meters shy of the top and said, “You and me, we’re not quitting. We’re heading back up to do it in one 24-hour push and we’re leaving after dinner tomorrow.” As unlikely as a two person, nooxygen, one-day ascent of this gigantic mountain sounded, we summited together, alone in our own “Private Idaho,” as the rest of our team abandoned base camp. He was the first Kazakh to reach Makalu’s summit, and I was the seventh American. These kinds of experiences are never forgotten.
It was also the beginning of our quasi-professional relationship, a partnership that had us dreaming of being paid to guide expeditions to remote places and to further our goals of climbing the world’s highest peaks. Compatible in our climbing pace, we also shared a similar temperament and philosophy, strangely enough, considering we came from such different cultural backgrounds. Just a few months after Makalu, Anatoli and I worked together guiding an attempt on 26,906-foot Cho Oyu.
The following year, a gregarious, up-and-coming commercial expedition leader named Scott Fischer, a friend of ours, tagged us both to guide with him on Mount Everest in the spring of 1996.
In the 15 years that have passed since our ordeal on Everest, chances to return have come and gone. None seemed just right. Finally, one such offer resonated, and in April 2011, I walked into the base camp of Everest with a small team of friends, intent on scaling the mountain for a second time.
- Chris Davenport, a well-known Aspenite and accomplished big-mountain skier, had been guiding an individual for a few years who wanted to attempt Everest. Dav and I had been friends for a long time. I had skied some of the most difficult of the Colorado 14ers (Pyramid, Capitol, and his last, Longs Peak) with him when he was doing his successful Ski-the-14ers-in-a-Year project. Those experiences cemented our friendship and trust in each other’s abilities. When he asked if I would help guide on Everest, I quickly answered yes. These were precisely the right circumstances for a return climb that I had hoped would someday come.
But I soon realized that my motivations to return to Everest—the stage for so many haunting memories—would be tough to sort. My initial rationale made sense: I wanted to guide again with a small, qualified team, pay my respects properly to those who died, and make peace with the mountain. But I knew there was more to it, and those mysteries would have to be revealed on, and by, the mountain.
Approaching the tiny ramshackle village of Lobuche, nestled in the majestic Khumbu Valley, lays a prominent plateau overlooking the expansive valley below, cradled by the great knifing spires of Cholatse, Nuptse, and Pumori. Here, dozens of large stone monuments have been built to remember the fallen on Everest. The peak’s climbing history can seemingly be read through the memorials.
On one large rock, Scott Fischer’s name is engraved. Prayer flags and a brass plaque adorn the rock’s face. I had brought along an old, weathered backpack lid that was Scott’s. He had been carrying it when he died, and for years I intended to do something appropriate with it. Returning it to Scott’s memorial seemed fitting. It was here, for the first time on my return journey, that I experienced the weight of suppressed emotions of so many years of articles and interviews and conversations about the events of ’96. It was all very real now. Not just memories and thoughts, but a big rock with my friend’s name carved deeply in its side. Clarity of purpose began to evolve. Now my climb really began, and it was good to be doing it with close friends and supportive family back home.
- After passing Scott’s memorial, we spent five hard-earned weeks on the mountain prepping for our summit push. We climbed up and down establishing camps, getting acclimated, and even doing some skiing. One afternoon, Dav and I anxiously clicked into our skis at over 24,000 feet to descend the imposing Lhotse Face from above Camp 3. Powder turns on Everest—who would have thought?
Eventually, Dav and I sat on the windswept, 26,000-foot-high South Col, the exact spot where, 15 years ago, 11 of us huddled through the night, fending off cold, sleep, and death in a blistering windstorm. This was where Anatoli had come to rescue several people after a few of us had struggled desperately to find Camp 4, where Anatoli anxiously waited during a break in the storm. And it was also where Yasuko Namba had died not long after I had walked her down, arm-in-arm, off the mountain’s higher terrain. In a few more hours our team would ready ourselves and depart for the summit, passing where Scott, Rob Hall (head guide), Andy Harris (junior guide), and Doug Hansen (client) each had been lost during the ’96 expedition. But unlike in ’96, this new day was calm and strangely peaceful.
Under a cold and surreal moonlit sky, we strapped on our crampons and wrestled with masks and tanks. At midnight we climbed away from Camp 4. Upward progress came easily as the highest mountains and cols in the world fell away below us. Spirits were high.
- But unexpectedly, just before dawn, I began to struggle and dropped off the pace. My world shrank around me and I heaved and slobbered into my rubber oxygen mask, fogging my eyewear with every labored breath. I checked and rechecked the oxygen cylinder, the regulator, the flow indicator, and the mask. I could hear gas hissing through the device. But it seemed of no help. Had my body finally had enough of the years spent at high altitude? Was it shutting down in revolt? Or was this the beginnings of HACE (high altitude cerebral edema), a severe form of altitude sickness, or some other medical problem?
Lumbering toward the 29,035-foot summit, it was all I could do to take care of myself and snap a few tilted pictures. I contemplated turning around. But even in my oxygendeprived state, I drew strength and inspiration thinking about Scott, Anatoli, and the others on the mountain in ’96. I imagined Scott in this same bad way, with the pressures and responsibilities of being the leader. I considered where Anatoli’s head might have been after shunning the use of oxygen the entire climb. And I remembered back to my own descent, when my oxygen ran out and a barely conscious Yasuko was draped on my arm, how difficult it was trying to guide a large group of people back to the safety of the Camp 4 tents on the South Col.
It’s easy to believe we can understand someone else’s situation and circumstance, but it most likely happens with our own mind frame projecting itself on to another’s world. But to truly experience another’s dilemma, we must wear the same boots—or in this case—breathe the same thin air. At 8 am I plodded the last steps to the summit. It was a glorious day. I took some photos and tried to take it all in. But mostly, I kept trying to figure out why I felt like I was on the moon, not just the top of Everest. After an hour on top, I needed to descend. Before I headed down, I asked Bill Allen, another guide with us, to give me the once-over, in case I had damaged some part of my equipment trying to fix it. He looked me up and down, knowing I wasn’t right. Then he moved to within inches of my mask, studying it intently. Pulling his glove off, he reached up and grabbed the side of the device and, with an audible pop, snapped a pucker of the rubber mask back through the frame straps and into the correct position. Within seconds, a warm tingling wave rushed through me like a large shot of schnapps on a cold night. My breathing slowed for the first time in hours, and, in just a few minutes, my brain emerged from the tangible fog. Bill and I would later re-create the mask failure that exposed the oxygen inlet port directly to the ambient air. The system was working, but the oxygen was escaping out the side, never visiting my lungs. I had climbed the last four hours to the summit without oxygen.
- Earlier, when I had first arrived at the top, Dav and I sat together and I attempted to explain how Scott, Anatoli, and the others from ’96 had been with me on my ascent. Dav was listening to me, keenly even, but I know now he couldn’t possibly have understood what I was babbling about unless maybe he had turned off his oxygen hours earlier, too. This is exactly the point that easily gets missed concerning ’96: Until you experience your brain with no supplemental oxygen— completely addled and relying solely on the one-third of sea-level oxygen up there—you can’t fully comprehend what the real limitations are on your faculties and physical abilities and the hallucinatory effects it causes. It was one of those serendipitous experiences where an unexpected bad had become the gift of understanding.
I n returning to climb Everest, I knew I had a chance to close a chapter with Scott and the others who died that day. But it never came to mind that I would be able to do the same regarding Anatoli. Most of our disagreements and the eventual falling out occurred over how it all played out after Everest, not during.
- I always believed that some of what Anatoli (or his author) had said in his book was spun to support his early descent from the summit. Clearly, as a professional climber, his climbing reputation meant everything to him, and for him to admit any kind of personal foible during the climb was not going to happen. The irony is that in his dogmatic purist style of no-oxygen climbing, it was the lack of oxygen that made him leave when and where he was most needed. As a result, for some people, it tarnished the very reputation he sought to protect. His descent off the mountain that day in ’96 was never intended to be coldhearted or negligent. It was simply the reality of climbing without oxygen and the effects it had on his power and reasoning.
I wish I could have shared these thoughts with Anatoli before his passing and been able to convince him that his heroic rescue of people from the Col would be more than enough to make up for any understandable, and very human, error in judgment or oversight earlier in the day. But that possibility ended when the turmoil of Everest partially influenced Anatoli to seek out the most ambitious, and in his mind, redemptive of routes on Annapurna.
As for me, unsuspectingly, the insidiously dangerous and unforgiving effects of high-altitude climbing tapped me on the shoulder again, forcing me to relive not just what happened, but how it can all happen to anyone, even Anatoli, one of the strongest climbers of his generation. With it, reconciliation came while climbing with Anatoli and Scott’s presence to the summit of Everest a second time. It has given me a greater understanding and, with that, peace, than I ever anticipated could come from returning. And for that I am thankful
Read more at
- Do they have a tour for this? It would be very profitable!
- Not sure if this was posted, but a good article outlining 1996 events on everest from the imax team. here is an excerpt
..."Through the night of May 10 and the morning of the 11th, we at Camp II were unaware of these struggles—until, at five in the morning, we heard Rob's despairing radio call, beginning with the terrible pronouncement, "I'm all f---ed up."
By that morning, Rob had gotten down some 350 vertical feet (107 meters) to a spot just short of the South Summit. Somehow he'd survived the night, without even a bivouac sack for protection. But Doug was gone. We would never learn what those three words really meant. Did Doug die on the way down, from hypothermia and exhaustion? Had he broken through a cornice and plunged down the Kangshung Face? Or had he frozen to death bivouacking there beside Rob, only to be buried by snow
Now Rob's voice over the radio was badly slurred. "I'm stuck here," he said. "My hands are f---ed. When is somebody coming up to help me?" Listening in the tent at Camp II, Veikka was in tears.
It was then that David Breashears exhorted me, "Ed, you get on the radio. You know Rob best. Talk to him. See if you can get him to move."
By now we knew from relayed reports from the South Col that people were missing all over the South Ridge. Scott Fischer had not even made it back to the col. The plan was for whichever of the Sherpas had the strength to try to go up on the morning of May 11—all the way up to the South Summit, if possible—to try to bring down Rob, Scott, and the other missing guides and clients. But that was asking a lot of Sherpas who had gone to the top only the day before. And the storm was still raging.
This was the hope, however, that I had to hold out to Rob. We knew that he was about 20 feet (6 meters) below the South Summit, in a little saddle on the far side. He'd actually have to climb up those 20 feet (6 meters) to start down. I got on the radio. "Rob," I pleaded, "crawl if you have to. Get to the South Summit. If you can start moving part of the way down, the Sherpas will meet you somewhere below. You can shorten their day getting to you."
When there was no answer, I tried to joke with Rob, anything to rally him to action. "When this is over," I radioed, "we'll go to Thailand, and I'll get to see your skinny white legs on the beach for the first time." Rob never wore shorts, even in the hottest weather, so in fact I'd never seen his bare legs.
He actually laughed and said, "Thanks for that." I'd gotten Rob to laugh! That gave me new hope that we could rescue him. "We'll get you off the hill," I radioed. My mantra was don't say anything negative. "But Rob, you've gotta move!"
At this point, Paula radioed us. Others at Base Camp, especially Guy Cotter and Helen Wilton, had also been trying to rouse Rob. Now my wife said, "Ed, everybody's being too nice. You've got to yell at Rob. Get mad at him."
She was right. Even though it belied my true feelings to express anger, now I broadcast, "Rob, come on, man! You can't just sit there!"
- One of the first interviews of Jon Krauker upon returning from Everest in 1996:
(NYT) At sea level in the verdant tangle of a Seattle spring, Jon Krakauer is sorting through things he brought back from the top of the world: summit rocks, pictures that will always haunt, the moon gear needed to walk at an elevation known as the Death Zone.
This is the easy part, putting aside the physical scraps from climbing Mount Everest. Sorting through the psychic load may never end. Mr. Krakauer has been having nightmares of late. "A few days ago, I just broke down and cried," he said, nursing a pot of tea. "I can't explain what happened. All I know is I've never climbed a mountain with such a high ratio of misery to pleasure."
What should be a season of triumph is shaping up as a long slog through second-guessing and doubt. About a year ago, he wrote a book about a highly romantic 24-year-old son of privilege who decided to chuck it all to live as a raw ascetic and ended up dead in an abandoned school bus near Mount McKinley in Alaska. The book, "Into the Wild" (Villard Books), spent five weeks on the New York Times best-seller list earlier this year. And the paperback sale has just made Mr. Krakauer, a longtime mountaineer, rich beyond a climbing bum's most vertical dreams.
Then there is the Everest summit, which he reached nearly two weeks ago. What 42-year-old would not love to point to a picture of the 29,028-foot roof of the planet and utter the words that originated in mountaineering: been there, done that.
The 1996 climbing season on Everest made history. But not for reasons that Mr. Krakauer or any other mountaineer would care to be associated with. During a ferocious storm that kicked up around the summit on May 10, eight people died on the mountain -- the worst single loss of life ever to occur on Everest.
"Yeah, made the summit of Everest -- for whatever that's worth," Mr. Krakauer said, at home in the Ballard section of Seattle, where the blue Olympic Mountains can be seen through low clouds.
He has a two-bedroom house that would hold barely hold half the people who shivered with him at the high camp on Everest. In the few days that he has been home, Mr. Krakauer most appreciates being able to get up in the middle of the night, barefoot, and walk to the bathroom.
Mr. Krakauer was on Everest as a paying client, assigned by Outside magazine to try to answer the question of whether the world's highest mountain has been devalued by the parade of trophy climbers looking for the ultimate thrill. (The magazine negotiated a lesser fee for Mr. Krakauer; tourist climbers pay up to $65,000.)
Among the people he was climbing with, six made the summit and four died. Among the dead were two of the world's foremost climbing guides, Scott Fischer of Seattle and Rob Hall of New Zealand. Mr. Krakauer was close to both men. He considered them bulls, strong and somewhat invulnerable.
Whether those guides died trying to get Mr. Krakauer and the other clients to the top is just one of many questions that will likely follow the author for the rest of his life.
The climbers had cellular phones; Mr. Hall called his pregnant wife just hours before he died in a snow hole at 28,000 feet. They communicated to a world audience over the Internet -- a Summit Journal on the World Wide Web. They had equipment that Everest pioneers in the 1950's would have given their frozen toes for. None of it made any difference when the wind starting knocking people down on the disorienting retreat from the top.
On the issue of whether Everest has been devalued, Mr. Krakauer has an answer. "I came away with a huge respect for that mountain," he said. "You can get a lawyer with two months off or a New York socialite who wants to play at being Lewis and Clark and put them up there, but Everest is still in charge, it can still kick butt."
- In his book, Mr. Krakauer explores the moral dimensions of risk. Why did Chistopher J. McCandless, with the world ahead of him, isolate himself in the Alaskan bush in 1992 with little more than a 10-pound bag of rice and a largely worthless .22-caliber rifle?
When Mr. Krakauer first raised this question in an article on the McCandless death for Outside, it generated more mail than any other piece in the magazine's history. Many readers thought the victim was a reckless idiot asking for death by reaching for some Tolstoyan high ground. Others sympathized.
The author wrote in his book that he was "haunted by the particulars of the boy's starvation and by vague, unsettling parallels between events in his life and those in my own." As a young man, Mr. Krakauer climbed a suicide peak in Alaska, Devils Thumb, pushed by the same inexplicable force that pushed Mr. McCandless to the edge.
Never did he seek to justify it. And now, back from the tragedy that visited Mount Everest, he does not seek to rationalize what happened there.
"I worry a lot about all the other Chris McCandlesses out there," he said. "It's amazing how many people have come up to me and said his story is their story. It touched a nerve, I guess, because it's in the American tradition of Huck Finn lighting out for the territory."
As for the question to which George Leigh Mallory once famously snapped, "Because it's there," Mr. Krakauer has no soothing homily that would fit on a sunset poster.
"Why climb?" he asks. "That's a question that baffles me. It perplexes me. I really asked that a lot on Everest. I can't justify it. I can't say it's for a good cause. All I can say is, look at the history of exploration: it's full of vainglorious pursuits."
A doctor's son from Oregon, Mr. Krakauer has spent his adult life climbing mountains or writing about people who do. He is short and wiry -- appearing even more so since he left 20 pounds on Everest -- with intense eyes and a subtle sense of humor.
When he married Linda Moore nearly 16 years ago, he promised her he would give up alpine pursuits. He did not. And they are still married, with no children.
When he wrote "Into the Wild," he thought it would reach the same size audience his first book, a collection of climbing essays called "Eiger Dreams," did -- about 5,000 people. But again, there was something in the seemingly irrational impulse of young McCandless that resonated.
When Mr. Krakauer first arrived on Everest nearly a month ago, his concerns were far different from those he brought home with him. In an on-line interview from the base camp, Mr. Krakauer said Everest was like "this little city where people have amenities like showers and satellite telephones and the food is great."
He doubted whether he would make the top, and he was appalled at the number of people without technical climbing skill. "There's a lot of people who shouldn't be here, and maybe I shouldn't be here," he said. "People who wouldn't have the time and the experience, but they have the money, they can do this, so it's neat."
The great irony, then, was that it was not the well-off novices who died in the big storm, but the seasoned guides. Mr. Fischer, a towering presence in mountaineering, had climbed to the highest points of the Himalayas without supplemental oxygen.
"I passed Scott on my way down from the summit, and he was his usual 'What me, worry?' self," said Mr. Krakauer. "Scott used to call it the Yellow Brick Road. But the way to Everest is not a Yellow Brick Road."
Mr. Krakauer now wonders whether guides should continue holding out the promise that any reasonably fit person can make it to the top of Everest. In his view, the guides died for their clients, nothing more. Mr. Hall, he said, used to run advertisements in outdoor magazines boasting of "100 percent success" for determined clients.
- "Rob Hall was, without doubt, the most competent guide in mountaineering," he said. "But the last thing he said to me was, 'Too bad we couldn't get more clients to the top.' "
As for Mr. Fischer, he said, "He was really tired, and I'm not sure he was paying attention as much as he should have. In a way, he was a victim of his own hubris."
Mr. Krakauer came down from the summit before most of the guides. But from the top, he could see the storm brewing. As he retreated to the high camp with the wind at hurricane force, nearly out of oxygen and his fingers turning to wood, he saw Andy Harris, another New Zealand guide. Less than a hundred yards from camp, Mr. Harris disappeared into a whiteout, a spectral figure on Everest. His body was never found.
By default, Mr. Krakauer became the camp guide, he said. He has more than 20 years of climbing experience, but never at an altitude above 17,000 feet. Out of the wild the survivors went, down to base camp below 18,000 feet.
A few days later, Mr. Krakauer took part in a memorial service at the base of the mountain that was attended by climbers on the way up and those on the way down. His thoughts were of Douglas Hansen, 44, a postal worker from Seattle and a single parent, who also died in the storm.
"Everybody was talking about how Rob and Scott would want us to go to the top," he recalled. "I said: 'Look around you. Five of us are dead. Think about your kids. Think about what you're doing."
It is the same lecture that several adults tried to give Chris McCandless, the subject of Mr. Krakauer's book, as he hitchhiked around the country without so much as a note to his parents in suburban Washington, D.C.
When Mr. Krakauer arrived back in Seattle, he was greeted by the children of one of the victims, Mr. Hansen. "I sort of ducked it," he said. "I didn't really know what to say to them. I still don't. All these little conclusions you're supposed to have just don't fit."
Mr. Krakauer was asked if he planned to write a book about the disastrous Everest trip. No, he said, he was going to work on his home, become something of the carpenter-climber he used to be in Boulder, Colo., nearly 20 years ago. He will not give up the mountains, though.
"There's something about being afraid, about being small, about enforced humility that draws me to climbing," he said.
"But right now, I need to recover psychologically," he added. "I'm enjoying the green, the rain, the city." And the writing? Mr. Krakauer said he had no plans to write about what happened on Everest because, with "Into the Wild," he had already written that story.
- [quote]Sherpas have only lived in Nepal for 400 years or so.
Are they vampires or something or does the high attitude preserve their life and retards the aging process.
- I like this passage from Ed Viesturs (he's one of the handful of climbers who tackles the world's 8000+ meter peaks without supplemental oxygen) about what happens in the Death Zone.
[quote] The "Death Zone" simply means that above a certain altitude, you can't live forever. You could lie in your tent, flat on your back, eat a bunch of food, drink water, and your body would still slowly wither away, because there's not enough oxygen to build tissue.
- Is that why you start burning muscle tissue at those altitudes vs fat?
- r342, thank you for the link.
I cannot believe the cartoon some arrogant asshole posted there. The D-Day one.
You're comparing the deaths of a group of maladjusted, narcissistic adrenaline junkies, many with personality disorders who probably couldn't fit into society, to soldiers who accepted their own deaths for a greater good?
- r393 -- your point is valid, but remember, the people with personality disorders didn't show up in the mountains until they thought their money and equipment would make their "dreams" possible. Until then, most of the people up there were serious and liked the sport -- and they had to have the skills necessary or death was a given.
I don't pretend to understand those Mallory sorts, but I do appreciate their love of quest is sincere and not based on Mommy problems, or whatever.
Too bad -- they are the ones who are suffering as crowds swarm their mountains.
Well R390 oxygen IS an oxidant.
- Take a look at this clip of a "prank" that evil Sandy Pittman pulled on some poor Sherpa.
- R392 Muscle needs oxygen to function. The current theory is that under high altitude hypoxia (i.e. body tissue doesn't get enough oxygen) the body reduces the amount of oxidative tissue like muscle to reduce stress on the body. They have found that obese people lose weight at high altitudes due to muscle atrophy rather than fat loss.
- Jesus, please stop posting about that Krakauer douche.
- After the backlash from the disaster, Pittman-Hill hired the lawyer best known for defending the Church of Scientology, who began sending threatening letter to everyone, especially Krakauer.
- Christopher McCandless struck me as a stupid, naive rebel without a cause type trying to escape the "Man". Kind of like a hippie who missed out on the sixties. Apparently his family was very nice and middle class and he was just a rebellious little shit IMO.
- Anyone want to see the bare ass of the snowboarder I shacked up with on Everest? Click the link, 2nd pic down.
- What if you have to piss or take a shit at 28,000 feet? Do you just go in your pants?
- It really isn't as big of a deal as most people think. For urination, they just go where they stand. In the middle of the night in cold conditions, climbers can't get out of their sleeping bags or tent to go into the cold without putting on gear, so they usually keep a separate plastic bottle to urinate in at night. Make sure you use a bottle of a different shape than your water bottle so that you don't go in or drink the wrong one!
For going #2, that depends a lot on the location:
- in the woods or a robust environment, bury it at least 6 in deep in a cat hole and cover it well
- in an alpine or fragile environment, smear it on a rock
- on a glacier, drop it down a deep crevasse
- on a heavily-traveled route on some peaks, climbers use blue bags to carry their waste down off the mountain
As for on Mount Everest, base camp and advanced base camp have latrines (ditches with rock walls). At higher camps or on more remote peaks, climbers just go as they can. Most climbing clothing has going to the bathroom in mind and there is often a horseshoe zipper that can be undone to use the bathroom without removing any layers. It really only takes a minute or so to go and in all but the most extreme arctic conditions, this isn't an issue.
Also, during mountaineering trips, climbers burn tremendous amounts of calories. Combine this with a lack of appetite at altitude and the difficulty of taking enough food up the mountain, and going to the bathroom may only be necessary once every couple days.
- Reading all these accounts of fatal attempts to summit Everest and other mountains, the thing that strikes me the most and just seems the most terrifying is the cold and the lack of oxygen and what that means for the body.
Surprisingly, the chance of falling into a crevasse, getting crushed or buried in an avalanche, or fatally struck by falling rock or ice, doesn't really freak me out the same way. Sure, it would be awful, but, I don't know, it just seems "natural" since you're on a mountain with those hazards.
Of course, the lack of oxygen and the cold are just as natural of conditions. I just can't get over how cold it is and how people can basically be flash frozen. Many climbers get severe frostbite even with their high-tech cold-weather gear. If trapped, hypothermia and freezing would just seem like an incredibly painful, awful way to die. And, the high altitude cerebral and pulmonary edema and how that can play out seems equally terrifying.
- [quote]If trapped, hypothermia and freezing would just seem like an incredibly painful, awful way to die.
It's really not. Didn't you ever read "To Build a Fire" by Jack London? It's actually a fairly peaceful way to die--you just go to sleep at the end.
- I have read it, R405. But, while the end may be peaceful, the period before would certainly suck.
- However, there is a locked room up there
with an iron door that can't be opened.
It has all your bad dreams in it
It is hell.
Some say the devil locks the door
from the inside.
Some say the angels lock it from
The people inside have no water
and are never allowed to touch.
They crack like macadam.
They are mute
They do not cry help
where their hearts are covered with grubs.
I would like to unlock that door,
turn the rusty key
and hold each fallen one in my arms
but I cannot, I cannot.
I can only sit here on earth
at my place at the table.
- Best thread in years.
- It was good, but I think the Golden Globes killed it.
- A Beating on Everest
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
A brutal beating high on Everest threatens to raise tensions in Tibet
The details are sketchy. The incident occurred on May 22 on Tibet’s North Col route up Everest, according to a British climber who witnessed it. The climber in question, a Han Chinese whose name we still don’t know, drew suspicion when he camped apart from the other two Chinese expeditions on the mountain. If you’re trying to poach Everest—that is, climb it without a permit—keeping to yourself and camping away from other groups is a dead giveaway.
As with climbing from the more popular south (Nepalese) side of the mountain, permits on the Chinese side of Everest represent only a small portion of the total cost—$25,000 on the low end. Even so, the risk of getting caught, having to pay a large fine, and forfeiting the expense and effort that goes into the rest of the trip usually dissuades people from attempting to climb it illegally. Plus, the vast majority of climbers enlist the services of professional guides, who wouldn’t even consider signing up an unpermitted climber. Still, it does happen.
But how exactly a group of graduates of the Tibet Mountaineering Guide School (TMGS), who were working as rope fixers on behalf of all the other commercial expeditions, figured out that he was climbing without a permit, and why they decided to do what they did, remains unclear. (Attempts to reach officials at TMGS have thus far gone unanswered). The incident started at 25,500 feet. The TMGS grads confronted the Chinese climber, who wielded his ice axe as a weapon. They subdued him, bound his hands, and marched him down to the North Col at 23,000 feet.
The British climber, who asked not to be named, described the incident in an email to Billi Bierling, the assistant of Everest historian Elizabeth Hawley. It read in part:
“I did see the permitless chap being ushered down the hill. The Tibetan rope fixers were sent up to get him. I saw them bringing him down the ropes from the North Col to [advanced base camp]. It was disgraceful. They literally kicked him down the ropes. It was a disgusting example of a pack of bullies egging each other on and literally beating him down the hill. It was absolutely unnecessary as he was offering no resistance and was scared out of his mind. The Tibetans should, and could, have just escorted him down the hill and let the authorities deal with him.”
Kari Kobler, 57, a Swiss guide and the proprietor of one of the world’s largest outfitting operations, Kobler & Partner, also encountered the procession. Kobler has climbed Everest five times and has been guiding the mountain since 2000. He filmed the brutal scene playing out in front of him but hasn’t made the footage public. Though he wouldn’t let me watch the video when I met with him over lunch in Kathmandu, he did briefly describe it after I mentioned that I’d heard rumors about it.
The men dropped their captive, “like a rucksack with an oxygen tank, but actually it is a human being,” says Kobler, who believes that the incident could inflame tensions in the region or give the Chinese authorities an excuse to further restrict Tibetan freedom. “It’s a tough one. It’s really tough. I know all of them.”
“The reason I made this video—If I don’t have proof, nobody will believe me. [The TMGS grads] can lie and say nothing happened. But now I can go to them and say, ‘Please, young boys.’
Kobler says he has no plans to release the video, though he did show it to Hans Schallenerger, the Swiss-born head of Chinese mountain gear maker Ozark—his main gear sponsor and a major supporter of the Tibet Mountaineering Guide School. Together they decided to handle the incident internally, so as not to risk an overreaction by the authorities. In a recent email, Kobler wrote: “We decided instead of making bad news to the students to teach them what they have to do in such situation.”
- However, this isn’t the first time they’ve had problems with graduates of the non-profit school, which was founded in Lhasa in 1999 and provides free job training for locals who want to work in the mountaineering industry. “They did some other big mistakes [in addition to this incident],” says Kobler. “I don’t want to say now when the [audio] recorder is working but they made a big mistake that has nothing to do with the Chinese; it has to do with oxygen.”
The insinuation, of course, is that TMGS grads may have been involved in the theft of high-priced oxygen canisters—a serious crime that can endanger the lives of the climbers who pay roughly $1,000 per bottle. Over the years, there have been reports of both theft and the sale of fake oxygen bottles, though prosecution for such crimes is rare. Theft is, in fact, so common that some outfitters like Kiwi Russell Brice, who until 2007 operated his company, Himalayan Experience, on Everest’s north side, haul cable locks up the mountain to secure their precious bottles.
“If someone needs a cylinder in an emergency” he recently wrote in an email, “they just need to call on a radio and we can tell them the combination of the padlock.”
The question now is whether the school’s supporters, like Schallenerger, and the outfitters that hire their graduates are capable of preventing future incidents from occurring.
As for the permitless Chinese man, Kobler isn’t sure what happened to him, though he did survive and walk off the mountain. “He’s not killed,” says Kobler. “They beat him only.”
- If they really wanted to wreak havoc on the moron, they should have hauled him UP to the death zone and left his ass.
- Boy, capitalism really enhanced this experience...
- Why hasn't anyone tried to thaw out the bodies or crack the outer ice shell to revive them? Maybe they can tell us something.
- [quote]Or a frau from Arizona can take 10 kids with severe food allergies to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! I am not kidding.
Kilimanjaro is technically a hike to the top rather than a climb. But to take kids with allergies is still stupid. A few of those kids will be done in by altitude sickness if the cold doesn't get them first.
- All those studies on narcissistic disorders and dysfunctional group dynmaics can be boiled down to a person with some excess cash who, at the end, just wants to say -- "See? I'm not so bad after all!"
Yet the decision to step over / walk past dying people is made long before climbing (you don't have much choice once you're up there, but it's disingenuous to shrug at cocktail parties etc. while you bask in glory).
I do not think that everyone who climbs Everest is pathological but I agree with you - oh the irony!
- "Also, Krakauer's book about the 1996 expedition disaster was well written, but I remember finding out a lot of his attempts to paint "villains" for the story (Boukreev, Pittman, etc...) ended up laced with bullshit. Still recommend the book, but take it with a grain of salt."
I read the book, and I didn't see that he attempted to paint anybody as a "villain."
He simply reported what happened. He seemed very objective to me, which kind of annoyed me. I would have liked it better if he had really lit into Sandy Pittman, who truly would have deserved it. She's an awful person: spoiled, conceited, arrogant and determined to have her own way no matter how detrimental it might be to other people.
Unfortunately R418 the type of personality that would scale Everest in this technology assisted age and then also write yet another book about it, is probably going to guild the truth with some caca.
I still want to read different accounts, but it's best to keep in mind that these people aren't necessarily truth telling sages.
- They remind me of the through hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Those who walk it from start to finish. It's ridiculous. It was never designed to be a through trail.
I've hiked lots of sections of the AT and loved every minute of it. Never did more than a five day trip and saw some amazing sights.
But there they are everywhere you go. They're called creepers and they are just miserable. Sick, dirty, wasted away, swollen feet, and not enjoying a single second of it. Just trying to go from start to finish. Just like this climb I wonder what the point is.
- [quote]They remind me of the through hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Those who walk it from start to finish.
Maybe they think the Native Americans did this.
- I think it's disingenuous when witers claim the bodies are "preserved" or insinuate that they are unchanged from when they died. All of the bodies are corroded in ways. Some go them are fully skeletonized, some are missing pieces of face, scalp, fingers, noses. I keep reading how Mallory's body is "perfectly preserved." No, it's not. Particularly the bottom half.
A PBS special showed bones that surface every spring in the Ice Fall. No faces, no skin, just bits of femur and pelvises here and there.
- Conrad Anker on finding Mallory:
The winds of the decades had torn most of the clothing away from his back and lower torso. He was naturally mummified — that patch of alabaster I'd spotted from a hundred feet away was the bare, perfectly preserved skin of his back. What was incredible was that I could still see the powerful, well-defined muscles in his shoulders and back, and the blue discoloration of bruises.
Around his shoulders and upper arms, the remnants of seven or eight layers of clothing still covered him — shirts and sweaters and jackets made of wool, cotton, and silk. There was a white, braided cotton rope tied to his waist, about three eighths of an inch in diameter — many times weaker than any rope we'd use today. The rope was tangled around his left shoulder. About ten feet from his waist, I could see the frayed end where the rope had broken. So I knew at once that he'd been tied to his partner, and that he'd taken a long fall. The rope had either broken in the fall, or when his partner tried to belay him over a rock edge.
The right elbow looked as if it was dislocated or broken. It lay imbedded in the scree, bent in an unnatural position. The right scapula was a little disfigured. And above his waist on a right rib, I could see the blue contusion from an upward pull of the rope as it took the shock of the fall.
His right leg was badly broken, both tibia and fibula. With the boot still on, the leg lay at a grotesque angle. They weren't compound fractures — the bones hadn't broken the skin — but they were very bad breaks. My conclusion was that in the fall, the right side of the man's body had taken the worst of the impact. It looked as though perhaps in his last moments, the man had laid his good left leg over his broken right, as if to protect it from further harm. The left boot may have been whipped off in the fall, or it may have eroded and fallen apart. Only the tongue of the boot was present, pinched between the bare toes of his left foot and the heel of his right boot.
Goraks — the big black ravens that haunt the high Himalaya — had pecked away at the right buttock and gouged out a pretty extensive hole, big enough for a gorak to enter. From that orifice, they had eaten out most of the internal organs, simply hollowed out the body.
The muscles of the left lower leg and the thighs had become stringy and desiccated. It's what happens, apparently, to muscles exposed for seventy-five years. The skin had split and opened up, but for some reason the goraks hadn't eaten it.
- No one said anyone was perfectly preserved. just not decomposed.
- [quote] No one said anyone was perfectly preserved
Many writers claim bodies are preserved. Google "dead bodies Everest perfectly preserved"
- In "Everest: Beyond the Limit" you see maybe 100-200 climbers lined up waiting to climb the last part of the mountain.
It's an accomplishment--I sure couldn't do it--but it doesn't look like fun at all.
- I'm so rich I can risk my life in one of the world's most deadly traffic jams. If I make it alive, it just goes to show how special I am. It means I'm more special than the rich who died up there.
- Is that from a book, r423?
The Mallory expedition fascinates me (thanks to this thread and Google).
THAT was climbing - not this amusement park Everest has become where anyone with more money than sense can buy their way up. Disgusting.
What disgusts me is not the money but the arrogance and disrespect that type of "tourist" has for the mountain and Mallory/Hilary, et al. who understood the danger and respected the mountain.
- For r428 --
The Lost Explorer
Finding Mallory on Mount Everest
By CONRAD ANKER and DAVID ROBERTS
Simon & Schuster
The first chapter is excepted by the NYT and the link can be found in the book review.
- Thank you, r429!
That sounds like a great read!
- I found this site that has some fantastic photos of treks to base camp and other locations around the world. The couple who run it appear to be dedicated and appreciative trekkers who favor exotic locations, but they've hit the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and Dallas among other places.
- r428, read Wade Davis' book for more context on the times.
I personally didn't like the book, because Davis 'inned' him, but it's a good portrait of the toff adventurers of that era.
It's also an interesting take on the effects of the Great War on that group of people.
I forget the title, but you can just google Davis' name and Mallory.
- Great, great pics, R430.
The hike to Everest base camp looks fun, challenging, beautiful. Obviously, still somewhat dangerous, as any hike of that size would be, but clearly more doable and sane, and way less dangerous, than an Everest summit attempt.
- Whoops, meant R431.
- I guess there are still expeditions in search of Irvine, who is thought to have Mallory's camera. If they find Irvine ad the camera, and there are photos of them on the summit, it will turn history on its head.
If they find Irvine and the photo of Mallory's wife, it will mean Mallory sent Irvine ahead to summit alone.
- I'm reading it right now, r432. It's called "Into the Silence".
Not very far into it - the WWI horrors have me crying every night. I guess I'll be reading more on WWI once this Everest fascination is spent.
Thanks again to whoever started this thread and those who keep posting interesting tidbits and perspectives. This is one subject I never would have found remotely interesting before reading the discussion here.
So I've been schooled. And I thank you.
- Despite our knowing why many non-mountaineers endanger themselves by climbing peaks far out of their level of expertise, the quest to heal narcissistic wounds continues:
CONCORD, N.H. January 18, 2013 (AP)
An avalanche has halted an attempt by a retired Marine and amputee to climb the Northeast's highest peak, but if his past comments are any indication, he'll likely try again.
Retired Sgt. Keith Zeier was in the hospital Friday, a day after he and two fellow climbers were injured in an avalanche on Mount Washington. The climb was part of a project called "Ascents of Honor" and was the latest of several grueling challenges the 26-year-old has taken on to raise awareness and money for the families of special operations forces killed or wounded in action.
"In the middle of anything that is difficult, we have the option of quitting, slowing down, or changing course. My life has been about ignoring that option," Zeier wrote last month on the Ascents of Honor blog.
According to an update on the group's Facebook page, Zeier was part of a 12-member crew trying to reach the 6,288-foot summit Thursday evening when a slab avalanche brook loose and swept three climbers to the bottom of Huntington Ravine. Zeier and the other injured climbers were able to slowly make their way to rescuers who assisted them off the mountain, the group said.
"While this is certainly not the outcome we had hoped for, we are thankful that all in our party are safely off the mountain," wrote Thom Pollard, the project's head cameraman.
One of the injured climbers, J.P. Politz, was released from the hospital Friday. His father, Andy Politz, also was injured; his condition was not available. Zeier's mother said Friday morning she had not yet spoken to her son but his doctors said his prognosis was promising, and a nurse told her he was resting comfortably in stable condition.
Denise Zeier said the episode brought back memories of her son's injuries in Iraq in 2006. When she heard there had been an avalanche, "I knew. I just knew it was going to be him," she said.
Before his leg was amputated several years ago, Zeier ran several marathons to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, his mother said. Last summer, he climbed Washington's Mount Rainier and was looking forward to Thursday's climb, she said.
"He has a good heart. He'd give you the shirt off his back, and he gets very passionate about things he believes in," she said. "He has no fear. He was in special ops himself, so he has a lot of skills."
Tiffany Benna, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service in New Hampshire, said there was a "moderate avalanche advisory" in effect for Huntington Ravine on Thursday, meaning the likelihood of a naturally-occurring avalanche was nil but a human-triggered avalanche was possible.
The forest service received the first call about the avalanche at about 5:30 p.m. The agency's first ranger arrived by 6:45 p.m. and the injured climbers were loaded into ambulances by 9:30 p.m. Also participating in the rescue were members of the North Conway Mountain Rescue Service, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Harvard Mountain Club cabin caretaker.
Asked whether the climbers should have been scaling the mountain after darkness, Benna said it would depend on their level of expertise and the gear they carried.
"If you're prepared to be in that type of weather and in darkness, it's a hard thing to say 'should' or 'shouldn't have,'" Benna said. "I don't know how they were outfitted — if they had headlamps and gear to do a nighttime trip."
According to the Ascents of Honor website, the group was keenly focused on safety and had assigned one climber to oversee safety decisions ranging from gear choice to navigation. The group plans to produce a film that would inspire viewers to contribute to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and do whatever they can to help veterans in their communities.
- I LOVE THIS THREAD.
- Check this out. A panorama of Everest. Doesn't look all that big, does it?
Well, click on one of the green boxes and keep zooming in. Yeah, it's THAT FUCKING BIG.
- Has anyone read the following? I vote Mt. Everest as the most unusual place for prostitution.
- Is there a certain time of year climbers can try to summit the mountain? It seemd two tragedies happended in May (1996, 2012), is that the climbing season? Is there activity on the mountain now?
It seems like the scariest place on earth. It's so serene, with it's white noise and intoxicating vistas. I would think a person could become so captivated by it that their body could begin dying and they don't even realize it.
- interesting, R439 and R440.
- Yes, r441.
Typically it's early to mid May before the monsoons hit. I guess they create a ton of upper-air disturbances and storms can blow up on Everest at the drop of a hat during monsoon season.
I'm reading Davis' bio of Mallory now thanks to this thread and it is absolutely amazing how much NO ONE knew about the Himalayas even in the 1920's. It was totally terra incognita.
The entire Himalaya range is stunning. The valleys and rivers are painfully gorgeous.
- It all seems fascinating, beautiful, and absolutely terrifying. I would never, ever attempt the summit.
I watched some Everest documentaries on Netflix and YouTube. Even though written accounts may be embelleshed, I think their totality makes a better picture that what I've seen of the English language documentaries.
- Someone upthread mentioned "Touching the Void" and everyone should see that documentary.
Don't try to read anything about it in advance, just watch it.
Also there was a German film a couple years ago about summiting the Matterhorn in the '30s. It was based on a true story. Heartbreaking.
- How well was Mallory's head preserved? Has anyone ever said? Just wondering if any of his facial features survived.
- I wondered about that too r447 since his head was face down in gravel and I don't recall seeing any shots of his face from the side.
They think some Chinese climber might have tried to cover him with rocks, but they washed away.
- The expedition which set out to find Irvine actually found Mallory and they "buried" him by putting rocks on top of his remains. They did not turn him over to see if he still had a face.
- Mallory was pretty high up and the expedition tried to uncover him enough to identify him (his shirt tags had his name) and recover some objects. They also were looking to find the camera before they realized they had found Mallory and not Irvine as they had initially thought.
From what I've read of the expedition that found him, not only were they tired from the climbing and moving the camera equipment, they felt he had been "buried" on the mountain and did not want to disrespect his remains by "digging him out".
They removed some objects from around and on his body, noted his condition (broken limbs, broken rope around his waist), took a ton of photos then covered him with rocks.
He should be left there, IMO. That's where he belongs.
- Everest is the most extreme example, but I've noticed once gear and "guides" made various endeavors not only more impressive but easier for newbies with money and mental issues to try, many amusing pursuits have collapsed under this ugly new weight.
Bikers complained that doctors have priced Harleys out of their reach, and golf courses now teem with assholes who just want to say they play.
Do not get me started on what happened to Napa/Sonoma wine tasting...
- Everest is similar to the Titanic wreckage -- initially explored by the learned and respectful, then the capitalistic Russians invaded and trashed it.
- I just finished Krakauer's book Into Thin Air last week. The most fascinating part to me was how destructive the high altitude can be. He described a Sherpa who ended up dying in a hospital in Kathmandu after being evacuated from the mountain. Blood was entering his lungs and he was breathing blood out all over himself. This was before the group started for the summit and nowhere near the Death Zone. The man had lived in the high altitude all his life.
When they did get up into the Death Zone the bottleneck of climbers caused a lot of people to run out of bottled oxygen early. Krakauer was one of the first to summit and make his way back to the safety of the camp. His descriptions of the behaviors of people he passed on the way down to the camp make it sound like no one was thinking clearly. He himself was hallucinating. I'm actually surprised more people didn't die. The story of Beck Weathers survival is just unbelievable.
- I can never comprehend the cold. You have to have money to make an Everest summit attempt. I'm assuming nearly all climbers are decked out in the very best cold-weather gear, boots, gloves, etc. and all know how to use layers and ans sublayers for warmth.
Yet, people still freeze to death and get severe frostbite. It's that cold, which is insane.
Clothes obviously don't really directly warm you up - they protect you from the elements and trap in your body heat so you can "stay" warm. But, is it so cold that the climbers body temps lower anyway, or their bodies simply are not emanating a lot of heat, trying to be efficient in such a harsh environment. And, if you ever have to take a glove off or there's even split-second exposure to the cold, then what?
- That's because people are stupid, r454. Like r451 said anyone with $$ can do it. And if they have $$, they EXPECT to summit like it's a walk in the park.
Krakauer's book just goes to show how people with more money than sense have NO CLUE and think they're entitled to summit because they paid for it. They figure if they throw enough money at it, they will be able to do whatever they want. Sadly, it was this sort of guilt that may have contributed to the deaths of Rob Hall and Scott Fischer.
They felt they *had* to get their clients to the summit since they had paid so much. They ignored the dangers because they didn't want their clients to feel "ripped off".
It's the entitled attitude of these "tourists" that gets people killed. They think working out at the gym on a stairclimber is going to give them the ability they need to climb Everest. No kidding.
They just can't fathom being in 12F weather for TWO WEEKS, altitude sickness, dehydration, intestinal issues and the lack of oxygen. It never crosses their mind.
Thankfully, Mother Nature still believes in Darwinism.
Want a taste of Everest? If you're on the East Coast, go outside tomorrow (2-2) when the wind is howling at about 20mph and the temp is in the single degree F digits. That will give you an idea of the cold.
- [quote]Want a taste of Everest? If you're on the East Coast, go outside tomorrow (2-2) when the wind is howling at about 20mph and the temp is in the single degree F digits. That will give you an idea of the cold.
And do it in only a hoodie with a plastic bag sealed over your head with only a tiny pinprick on one edge to let in fresh O2 while you are climbing up the side of a building on a broken ladder.
- Excellent analogy, r456! (Tomorrow in NYC might actually be too warm!)
- It's like "climbing Mount Everest" is the new "warshing Aunt Polly's fence with milk paint".
R456, maybe you could charge people $40,000 for the privilege.
- Also, Krakaur stated that Rob Hall and Scott Fischer thought the business of climbing and taking unexperienced people up the mountain was far more lucrative than continuing their own careers as climbers. Both were getting older and not able to climb as well as they were expected to by sponsors. Each climb had to be more spectacular than the last. It had become a pain to solicit sponsors so they went into business.
They may have felt guilt in getting their clients to the top but it seems they could have vetted their clients more extensively.
- [quote] And, if you ever have to take a glove off or there's even split-second exposure to the cold, then what?
On the Discovery Channel series, this French guy insisted on taking pictures (he didn't even summit, IIRC) and took off his gloves. He lost his fingers.
- Thread closed.
THREAD CLOSED, GODDAMNIT! WHERE THE FUCK IS THE DELETE BUTTON??
- TV review:
Climbing Everest with a Mountain on My Back: The Sherpa's Story
This year I’m going to climb Mount Everest. Well, I say ‘I’, but actually I’m going to send a team of Sherpas up instead. They can climb it on my behalf and plant a flag in my name. They’re good at that sort of thing.
In fact – and I didn’t know this at 8.59pm last night – because generations of Sherpas have lived at high altitudes near the world’s tallest mountain, they have evolved a different genetic structure to the rest of us. They really are natural born mountaineers.
So, while I might be quite handy on a bike – the result of my genetic structure adapting to save money on petrol – Sherpas are very handy when it comes to Everest.
And although every year 1,000 climbers aim for the summit of The Goddess Mother of the World (as they say in downtown Kathmandu), more than half of them are Sherpas making sure glory-hunting westerners get up and down in one piece.
Not only that, they carry the tents, load up the yaks, maintain the equipment and do the washing up.
Honestly, stay at home and let the Sherpas get on with it. You’d only be slowing them down – some have been to the summit nine times.
And, what’s more, they’re not doing it for the glory. No, they’re doing it for spiritual reasons, for enlightenment, and because they see helping others to reach their goal as a good thing.
Yes, I certainly learned a lot watching The Sherpa’s Story, even though at times it was a bit like one of those ‘Our World’ documentaries they showed in geography lessons – although with much better photography.
The programme was of particular interest because it was bookended by a joint Austrian/German attempt to find the body of Andrew Irvine, who died on Everest with George Mallory in 1924.
Irvine was not long out of Shrewsbury School, and some think he and Mallory made it to the summit years before Sir Edmund Hillary – who took no chances and climbed with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.
But the expedition never did locate Irvine’s body – even though the Sherpas appeared to be doing all of the actual searching.
Still, one day I’m sure his lonely resting place will be found. And I bet the Sherpas get none of the credit.
- Edmond woman hopes to climb Mount Everest
BY STEVE GUST | Modified: January 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Published: January 23, 2013
EDMOND — Reaching the summit of Mount Everest is probably the most irresistible and monumental dare known to climbers, and an Edmond woman will soon be one of the few adventurers to take that dare.
Valari Wedel will venture in March to Asia and the Himalayan mountain range. The quest is dangerous, expensive and one that Wedel anxiously awaits.
“I had decided it was time for me to pursue this dream,” she said.
On the surface, Wedel doesn't appear to be the run of the mill international mountain tamer. At 52, she's on the upper age limit of people who attempt to scale the world's tallest mountain of 29,029 feet.
And the married mother of three adult daughters didn't even take up climbing until 10 years ago.
She'll be setting out on the trek with International Mountain Guides, a professional guide company that handles expeditions including Mount Everest.
“I only made the decision to do this about six months ago,” she said. “This was the right time.”
Climbers need weeks to acclimate to the conditions. There are climbs between various camps and elevations below the summit as climbers get used to the thinner air before making the final push.
Her husband, Greg, will accompany her to the base camp. From there, they will part and she'll be finishing the trek with the group, which likely will number between 12 and 20 people. Among those will be the Sherpas, the famed ethnic group of Nepal, who are acclimated to the Everest's high altitudes and routinely accompany mountain expeditions.
If all goes right, Wedel will get her chance to climb Everest the first or second week of May, in what is the small window of weather opportunity given to summit seekers.
The last few hundred feet are probably the most dangerous, with climbers needing oxygen and pushing their bodies to the maximum. Sometimes the sheer numbers of other mountaineers can be dangerous. A human logjam going up Everest leads to delays that can exhaust the energy and oxygen of those waiting.
It's estimated dozens of bodies line the route, would-be Everest tamers who died along the way. Retrieving the bodies isn't possible. How will the Edmond Memorial graduate react to seeing the fallen climbers?
“I'd like to think I can handle it, but then again I won't really know until I get up there,” she said.
“You don't even attempt something like this thinking the worst.”
She's climbed other peaks, including Cho Oyu in the Himalayas in 2010, and in 2005 Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska with an altitude of just over 20,000 feet.
“I do a lot of running, biking, lifting and yoga,” she said.
She burns a lot of calories and will burn even more on the trail up Everest. While most people use the new year to lose weight, Wedel needs to put on pounds. She'll need the extra weight for the push on Everest.
“I'd like to gain another 15-20 pounds, but have only added six so far,” she said.
Her 4,000 calorie a day regimen includes three 850-calorie shakes a day. If she still hasn't gained weight closer to her March 23 departure, she has a plan B.
“I'll be going to the fast-food restaurants quite a bit,” she said.
Conquering the famous peak isn't going to be an annual event. This will be a one-time shot for Wedel. Oklahomans achieving the feat are rare.
- In 2007, Dr. Douglas Beall, of Oklahoma City, who worked in Edmond at the time, completed the quest. He said he was the first registered Oklahoman to climb Everest. Another reason for the rarity of the climb could be the cost. Guide companies can charge $40,000 and more for the various expertise and permits required.
Women routinely make the climb, although the first woman to scale Everest didn't accomplish the feat until just 20 years after Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach the summit in May 1953.
“I think women can have the same stamina and mental toughness to do it,” she said.
If all goes to plan, May 30 will be the return date to Oklahoma. She'll go back to studying nursing at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she's taking the semester off. She'll also always be mom to Colby, 25; Jessie, 24; and Abigail, 20 — a junior at Oklahoma State University.
Wedel places no limits on herself.
“If I could say one thing, it would be that it's never too late to go after your dreams or whatever you want to do,” she said. “I'm going to be a nurse and I'm going to climb Mount Everest and I'm in my 50s.”
An official with an Alaska Native corporation has set his eyes on a big prize.
Ty Hardt, the communications director for the Arctic Slope Regional Corp., has announced he will attempt to climb Mount Everest in March.
He's doing this is a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska.
The corporation says in a release that the club has a chapter in Barrow with more than 130 members. Boys and girls across the state are expected to follow Hardt's attempt to climb Mount Everest.
- I posted the above stories so we can learn the players in this upcoming season and follow how they do.
Sort of like that California kid who said he'd climbed Everest, but had odd proof.
- Team of Airmen to attempt Mount Everest climb
Posted 1/19/2013 Updated 1/19/2013 Email story Print story
by Amber Baillie
Academy Spirit staff writer
1/19/2013 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) -- Four Air Force Academy graduates may be busy preparing to climb the world's highest peak in May, but they haven't forgotten where mountaineering first began for them: here, climbing Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks as cadets.
A team of six seasoned Air Force mountaineers; currently stationed in Colorado, Alabama, Florida, Texas and Virginia; will venture on a bold, 50-day journey, encountering frigid temperatures and demanding conditions, to stand atop Mount Everest's 29,029-foot summit. They will be the first American military team to attempt Everest and if successful, the first military team to have climbed each continent's highest mountain.
- They'd all be toast if it weren't for the Sherpas.
You would not believe the weight those guys carry.
- I was thinking about this year's summit attempts. Thanks for posting those stories. Fundraiser? Doesn't a simple car wash do anymore?
- [quote]Her husband, Greg, will accompany her to the base camp.
But, not up the mountain to the summit.
I think Greg has a grand plan to get rid of his wife. Well played, Greg. Looks like you're just supporting your wife's "dream".
- Is this the new way of offing your SO? Talk them into climbing Everest then let Chomolungma do her worst?
- Wedel has three daughters in their early 20's and she's still going to risk her life and possibly deprive those young ladies of their mother? At least she waited till they could care for themselves. Still, if she dies, they won't have a mother and their children won't have a maternal grandmother.
I wonder if she'll have a facebook page documenting the expedition like Shirya Shah did? It's strange reading it.
- [quote]I think Greg has a grand plan to get rid of his wife. Well played, Greg. Looks like you're just supporting your wife's "dream".
I'm thinking comedy, r471. Vince Vaughn, Charlene Therzon -- with Reese Witherspoon as the base camp MD who isn't as smart as she looks.
- [quote]Wedel has three daughters in their early 20's and she's still going to risk her life and possibly deprive those young ladies of their mother? At least she waited till they could care for themselves. Still, if she dies, they won't have a mother and their children won't have a maternal grandmother.
Seriously. That's so fucking stupid. As you said, she didn't do this when she was raising her kids. Now they're adults. So, any duty to forgo the risk of her summit attempt are gone. While, I personally see the whole Everest summit attempt as crazy, I don't think adult children should be a reason for a person to not do it.
- Don't get your panties in a twist R475. I was just expressing an opinion.
- Tokyo, January 19 (ANI): A veteran Japanese mountaineer is eyeing to break his own record for the world's oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest at the age of 80.
Alpinist Yuichiro Miura announced the challenge, slated for this spring, at a news conference on his 80th birthday on Oct. 12, Japan Times Online reported.
Miura, who was born in Aomori Prefecture, learned how to ski from his father, Keizo Miura. He competed as an Alpine skier and later turned professional, becoming the first person to ski down Mount Everest in 1970 when he was 37 years old.
By 1985 he completed his adventure of descending the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, on skis.
At the age of 70, Miura became the world's oldest person to climb to the summit of Everest.
He took it one step higher by again reaching the summit at age 75 and is now hoping to break his own record once more at 80. (ANI)
- Maybe the old boy wants to summit the last time and expire at his final resting place on the descent. A 73 y.o. Japanese woman did it last spring.
- Need to clarify. The woman also descended successfully. She's just the 2nd oldest to have gone all the way up.
- I wonder if there would be any money left in the wallets of those dead climbers? You know, to maybe use at the Starbucks at the top of the mountain.
- Adventurer's trek will end on Everest
(Press NZ)Paddy Freaney is taking one last stab at Mt Everest, the one peak he never managed to reach.
The larger-than-life adventurer passed away in March, but that has done nothing to quell his exploits or position in the Upper Waimak Basin community.
At the end of March, Freaney, wife [...] Rafferty, and mutual friend Russell Brice, will travel to the Himalayas for their bid to conquer the highest mountain on Earth.
Rafferty will carry her partner of 20 years all the way to the summit in a small canister.
- Help Hannah climb Everest for charity
Hannah and Sarah Brown will be raising funds for Hannah's upcoming Everest Adventure with a series of table top sales in Chapel and Skegness.
Published on Saturday 2 February 2013 10:00
A student from Skegness hopes to raise thousands for deprived children when she embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to climb part of the world’s highest mountain in June.
Hannah Brown hopes to raise at least £2,500 for Childreach International when she jets off to Mount Everest with 30 fellow Nottingham Trent University students this summer.
She said: “I have always been a keen traveller and seeing as much as possible of the world is my main goal in life, so this is my current challenge.
“This challenge is going to be physically and mentally strenuous and although I am nervous, I know I will be helping an amazing organisation.”
The former Skegness Grammar School student has already raised more than £500 towards her target.
But before she sets off on the 15 day hike, climbing 5,000 feet through the Himalayan foothills to reach base camp, she needs a further £2,000.
Hannah and her mum Sarah have planned two table top sales at Chapel St Leonards Village Hall on Saturday morning on February 2 and 16.
Further tombola ticket sales are also planned for the Hildreds Centre on February 23 and April 13.
Sarah said: “I think it’s brilliant that Hannah is doing all of this for such a worthy cause.
“And she has always loved travel so this is a great opportunity for her and we hope the local people help her raise the funds she needs,” Sarah continued. To donate visit mydonate.xx.com or attend one of the sales.
- Alex's Mt Everest is the real thing
(Press NZ) Nine-year-old Alex Mulholland loves nothing more than scaling new heights out in the bush.
The Raumati South School pupil has spent the last five years climbing to 48 huts in the Tararua Ranges, and now has his eyes set on a new goal, climbing Mt Everest.
"I like tramping so I just came up with the idea of doing Everest," he said.
"I've done all these huts and I'm doing all the Ruahines too. I know I can do it and it's not going to be super super hard."
In March, Alex will travel with Kapiti's Parawai Tramping Club to Nepal, where they will trek up to Mt Everest's South Base Camp.
Alex has been climbing since the age of 4, with the support of parents Vicky and Mike, and reached Field Hut in Otaki Forks after his fourth birthday.
"It's a pretty scary thing," Vicky said.
"There's 246 bodies or something on that mountain that have never been recovered because they can't get them off. It's obviously not any mother's dream to send their kid off to do that but well, we'll back him as much as we can. It's a hard trek up to base camp and we'll just see how he goes from then. I've always told him you've got to dream big."
Alex hopes to become the youngest climber to scale Mt Everest, out-doing now 16-year- old Jordan Romero from the United States, who climbed the peak when he was 13.
- Christ. Parents are really insane.
- Fucking idiots. Seriously.
Do you think prepping for a few months is going to cut it, people? You're fucking insane. Not only are you insane, but the rest of us intelligent folk will be subjected to constant news stories about your Darwinian demise and how "tragic" it all is.
Fuck. You get what you deserve.
- This climber runs a great blog on Everest. Yes, there is a post on dead bodies
- Forgot to add, if you google "myintothinair.pdf" or "intithinair.pdf" you can get a copy of the book online for free!
- "Hannah Brown hopes to raise at least £2,500 for Childreach International when she jets off to Mount Everest "
That's right, spend $50,000 to raise a pittance. Why not donate the $50,000?
- If she donated the fifty grand, she'd fade into obscurity.
By climbing Everest, she can continue to cash in for years.
- That's what I thought first, as most of these expeditions just turn out to be boondoggles done in the name of charity. But it looks like it's a school trip of some sort with 30 other kids that was already planned. Must be a very posh school.
It seems that some people do not realize that prepping for that climb isn't about cardiovasculat fitness only; you'll either get cerebral edema or you won't - you'll either get caught in a whiteout wind storm or you won't.
You can't be fit enough to be unaffected by oxygen deprivation - and if the climber in front of you causes a bottleneck at a crucial point (because they aren't physically up to the climb and never should have scaled), or if your group leader had not anticipated a danger, then how "fit" you are will not matter.
There are so many variables that spring from altitude sickness and weather. When rich, vainglorious adults sign a waiver on their life, people shrug... but now adults are signing waivers for their young teenagers?? I hope this is a joke.
- [bold]What are some of the greatest misconceptions the public has about Everest?[/bold]
Every year we have more and more documentaries and stories about this person or that person going to Everest. People that are raising money for their climbs pitch this idea that climbing Everest is this noble adventure—a group of like-minded people all helping each other out—and that is inaccurate. It’s a very cutthroat game, with climbers hoarding resources and sometimes stealing from one another.
Another misconception is the idea that the biggest problem on Everest is how much trash is up there. Climbers have been pretty effective at cleaning up the mountain and yet every year expeditions court money from corporate sponsors—often a lot of money—promising to clean up places that are really not that dirty anymore. There’s a great irony in that, particularly in a place like Nepal. You are dealing with the poorest country in South Asia and hundreds of thousands of dollars are sometimes committed to lugging a few pounds of trash off that mountain, when in villages all around it you have some of the worst environmental problems in the world. Even some of the most jaded climbers find that to be very frustrating.
[bold]What else can be done to improve the situation on the mountain?[/bold]
For everybody that doesn’t want to climb Everest but is interested in the mountain or adventure sports in general, be very aware about where you focus your interest. If you are going to give money, be careful which expeditions and ventures you support, and make certain the people you support are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Step back and consider whether giving money to someone climbing Everest is the best way you can support finding a cure for cancer, for instance.
The thing that really bothers veteran mountaineers is that you have all these sponsored climbers on Everest, while really good climbers can’t find support for the first ascents they are doing, often in very remote places. The best thing the general public can do is to broaden their horizons. If you are interested in mountaineering then look into some of the really incredible exploratory climbs that are being done.
- [quote]Another misconception is the idea that the biggest problem on Everest is how much trash is up there. Climbers have been pretty effective at cleaning up the mountain and yet every year expeditions court money from corporate sponsors—often a lot of money—promising to clean up places that are really not that dirty anymore.
That German MD who died last spring was "cleaning."
- Another pair to look out for:
[quote]There are rumors of a new route attempt for 2013 by Denis Urobko and Alexei Bolotov. They are looking at the Southeast Face starting from the Western Cwm.
- Thank you to r487 for the info on the Krakauer book online. I was actually going to buy it for my kindle today and now I don't have to.
I feel bad to laugh about it but the first death he mentioned made me crack up. A Taiwanese guy with pretty much no experience got out of his tent to take a whiz and was only wearing slick boot liners and so slid off the mountain and into a crevasse. What a way to go, I picture someone frantically trying to get footing while wacky music plays, imagine the last seconds of your life turned into a fucking 'Yogi Bear' cartoon..
- It seems insane to me that all these bodies are left in full view on the trail and people hike by like whatevs. I couldn't walk by such sights. Could you?
- R496, if I were on the verge of passing out from oxygen deprivation, I wouldn't care what the fuck I walked past.
Seriously, people in the "death zone" are feeling so awful that they can't spare any energy for being grossed out.
- Thank you for reminding me of that , r495. I had forgotten about the guy who ended up with his ass sticking out of a crevasse. What a way to go.
Thanks for the Yogi Bear visual. Now I'm giggling like an idiot.
- Valerie Wedel (in [R465]) actually sounds better prepared than these others, despite her age - the article says she climbed nearby Cho Oyu (26,906 ft) successfully in 2010, when she'd have been 49 or 50. She's been in similar conditions at slightly less altitude with fewer ropes and support (and much lighter traffic) so she'd have a more realistic idea of conditions than the rest of these yahoos. She might be going with a group she's climbed with before. And she's putting on weight for the climb - sounds like she might know what she's doing.
- Just for shits and giggles, here's the IMG information sheet, with prices (and options! For 110,000. you can have a personal Sherpa AND a personal "western guide" too!) And there are insurance requirements:
REQUIRED insurance: Everest climbers will need at least $30,000 of helicopter rescue coverage (to cover helicopter from Camp 2) and Trekkers/Lobuche climbers need at least $10,000 of rescue benefit (to cover helicopter evacuation from Everest Base Camp). Your policy must also cover the repatriation of your remains.
IOW if you die and they can get you, be sure they can get you back home.
- I can't help but think part of the motivation of these people is to have medical attention concerning their health while attempting the climb. Were they ignored as children due to the ill health of another family member?
Where is the reward? You get to stand on the top for only a few minutes and you can't be in a good state of mind to appreciate it. It's not like they'll be parachuting or skiing down. I'm confused as to why people would go back again after one successful climb to the top.
The camps are cold and depressing. The competition is cut throat. Has anyone ever offered any theories of why these people would risk their lives and limbs?
- Ego mania, r501. Pure and simple.
- "Where is the reward? You get to stand on the top for only a few minutes and you can't be in a good state of mind to appreciate it"
They've got to think the bragging rights are worth the trouble, because the experience itself sounds ghastly.
What kind of person risks their life just for bragging rights?
- [quote]What kind of person risks their life just for bragging rights?
Shriyah Shah for one. She was all about getting to the top never comprehending that the far more important half of the battle is getting down alive and intact. It is pathetic to read the posthumous congratulations to Ms Shah from well-wishers who say, "you achieved your goal!" as if the glory of having done so were worth forty or fifty more years of life.
- Galway Advertiser, February 07, 2013.
By Martina Nee
A Tuam man is planning to reach new and greater heights this year when he takes on the gruelling challenge of climbing the Mount Everest to help raise funds for suicide and self-harm prevention charity Pieta House.
Climbing enthusiast Peter O’Connell from Dangan, Tuam, Co Galway, is currently making preparations for the expedition of a lifetime and is filled with hope of becoming the first Galway man to climb the world’s highest mountain. Setting off on April 4 the ten week challenge will see Mr O’Connell reach the summit of Mount Everest in late May.
The ‘Everest for Pieta’ is entirely funded by Mr O’Connell, through his construction company O’Connell Construction - OCC, however, he is taking this opportunity to help raise funds for Pieta House, a charity which is close to his heart.
Commenting on the challenge and the reasons for undertaking it, Mr O’Connell said: “I feel I should make the most of this opportunity to help raise funds and awareness for this important charity that actually saves lives. Unfortunately suicide is something that affects everybody and a little help can go a long way. It all just fell into place when I contacted Pieta House and they told me they hoped to be opening a new centre in Tuam to service the west, only a few miles from my home.”
“To get the chance to climb Mount Everest means the world to me. I always thought it was just a dream and that only superstar mountaineers could go to Everest, but I put my mind to achieving this goal in 2011 and have been working hard since to achieve it. I believe if someone else can do it then so can I, and if you put your mind to something you desire, no matter what it is, if you want it enough, it can be achieved.”
Pieta House is a non-profit organisation that provides a free, specialised treatment programme for people who have suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harming. If successful Mr O’Connell will join the elite group of only 33 Irish people to climb Mount Everest. Standing at 8,848 meters the world’s highest mountain has been climbed by just over 3,000 people since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered it in 1953.
To support this campaign log on to www.xxonate.ie/peteroconnelleverestforpieta2013 One hundred per cent of the funds raised go directly to Pieta House. To follow Peter’s progress, follow him on facebook at www.facebook.com/Peteroconnelleverestforpieta or check out the website www.occo.ie/everest
- Sorry if this was mentioned already, I saw a guy on Anderson named Cason Crane, he wants to be the first openly gay guy to scale Everest and the seven summits. I don't have a link I just saw him on TV. Anyhow, he is one of the players this year.
- so its really a death watch, isn't it?
- I just finished "Into Thin Air." Very gripping read, fantastic - and incredibly easy. I think I finished the 300+ pages in 4 hours or less. It's a page turner.
I think I'm going to read "The Climb" next. And, then maybe the book abut the 2008 K2 disaster.
- I vaguely remember the '96 disaster and was surprised I hadn't read about it before because I love Krakauer and have 3 or 4 of his books. This thread has been very interesting, I never knew about the bodies and the scandals. I can't wait to see how this year's crop does.
- I think one reason they climb is simply because the mountain is just so damn high! You'd be on the top of the world. People climbed trees as kids or played King of the Mountain or have homes on the side of a mountain with a spectacular view. Pyramids, castles, penthouses, the moon...
Height/up = prestige, success, nobility, power.
Most people don't strive for the gutter or to live in a basement, cave, etc.
Down = hell
- Capitalism ruins everything.
- [quote]Sorry if this was mentioned already, I saw a guy on Anderson named Cason Crane, he wants to be the first openly gay guy to scale Everest and the seven summits. I don't have a link I just saw him on TV. Anyhow, he is one of the players this year.
Now THAT is an accomplishment. Especially K2 and Annapurna. Those separate the tourists from the climbers.
The more I read about Everest, the more astounding the early expeditions seem to me. Nobody should be allowed to climb Everest unless they do it without oxygen and drugs.
From what I've read, a lot of those tourist climbers inject hormones while on the mountain to keep going. It used to be hormones were injected if someone was on the verge of death but now it's common.
- [quote]Now THAT is an accomplishment. Especially K2 and Annapurna. Those separate the tourists from the climbers.
But, I don't think those are included amongst the seven summits. The seven summits is in reference to the highest mountain on each continent. Not that the achievement isn't remarkable anyway.
- The guy who ruined mountaineering for mountaineers, I think his name was Richard Bass, and turned Everest into a rich guy's trophy, did it through a Seven Summits campaign. Some say he cheated by climbing the tallest mountain on the Australian mainland and not the tallest mountain in Oz, but he didn't care -- he didn't have to care.
He openly bragged that anyone with enough money, O2, and Sherpas could get to the top of Everest, and he proved it was true.
- Annapurna is, r512. And it seems to be the most dangerous due to avalanches.
Yes, Bas is the arrogant ass who turned the sport into tourism. The fucker.
- [quote]Nobody should be allowed to climb Everest unless they do it without oxygen and drugs.
George Mallory conceded that supplemental oxygen was a necessity. Surely you don't intend to impugn his integrity.
- [quote]George Mallory conceded that supplemental oxygen was a necessity. Surely you don't intend to impugn his integrity.
But several dozen climbers have summitted without oxygen.
- Yes, R516, but that alone does not justify banning the use of oxygen tanks. There are plenty of serious dedicated climbers who couldn't make it to the summit without oxygen. Most of those who have summited without oxygen on some climbs have found it necessary at other times.
- That may be, r517, however the use of oxygen and drugs has gotten totally out of hand and turned what should be a test of endurance into a carnival of idiots with more money than sense.
Restricting or outright banning the use of oxygen would certainly keep the riffraff off the slopes and you wouldn't have those bottlenecks for tourists trying to summit.
Honestly, I believe that if Mallory had better clothing and gear, he could have summited without oxygen. He had great stuff for the time. But if he had the gear in use today, he certainly could have made the climb without oxygen.
Nov 14, 2004 – Implosion. Connecticut Climbers Defied Death At The Top Of The World, No One Imagined The View ... By Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes
- This link is from a university course which contained EVEREST'96 - Into Thin Air. There are a lot of links with great info. Since it is an older course, many links are broken, but there are some great articles and .pdf!
- [quote]That may be, [R517], however the use of oxygen and drugs has gotten totally out of hand and turned what should be a test of endurance into a carnival of idiots with more money than sense.
I think the phrase "more money than sense" is operative here. I'm thinking of Shirya Shah who really is the ultimate Everest tourist. She didn't even know how to put crampons on her boots upon arrival and had to be shown. The story is upthread somewhere, but she consumed an ENORMOUS and disproportionate (relative to other climbers) amount of oxygen on the way up (don't know about hormones or drugs) and was on the summit for about 30 minutes. The sherpas could not persuade her to come down.
I don't know if she was suffering the cognitive effects of altitude and couldn't process what the sherpas were telling her. But if she had used so much oxygen, you'd think she was reasonably clear-headed. Regardless, you could argue that the use of oxygen contributed to her death. No way in hell she would have gotten up there without it and it probably contributed to a false sense of security and lack of concern about the descent that eventually killed her.
But how would the use of oxygen be legislated? Nepal relies on tourist and permit money to the point that they seemingly do not place a limit on their issuance. Tour operators are competitive either for economic, sporting, or narcissistic reasons. Who or what puts the brakes on this?
- A lot of these climbing fuckers have a lot of nerve calling their expeditions "fundraisers". It's not much of a fundraiser if it costs you almost $100,000 to do it. Some fucking nerve.
- And they have fundraisers to pay for their fundraising climb. People think moms selling girl scout cookies at work is ridiculous..at least you get cookies. Imagine if someone asked you to kick in so their kid could climb Everest!
- [quote]At least they don't stink since they're frozen.
Should I freeze my pussy?
- I'm not quite sure why, but in Krakauer's book he said that supplemental oxygen at high altitudes does not equal what you're getting at sea level. When you're at 29,000 feet you're getting the equivalent of what you'd get at 25,000 feet or so. I don't know why. I'm guessing it has something do with the pressure changes in the body(?)I know that a couple of the common problems with high altitude climbing is that with so much less atmospheric pressure outside the body, the gasses inside the body do not act properly, causing blood to be forced into areas it shouldn't.
Does anyone know how the supplemental oxygen thing works? I mean, how much oxygen are you really getting?
- It seems like people could do it without oxygen if they would take longer to acclimate. I know that Krakauer and his climbing service people did two weeks at each higher camp to get used to it. I think that the Shah woman was hurrying and skipped the acclimation parts and that's why she couldn't breathe as well and died.
- I believe that's what I read somewhere as well, r525. People suffer edemas because the pressure in their veins at those altitudes is not sufficient - supplemental oxygen or no. I guess it must be like diving and getting "the bends".
Like r526 said, you are *supposed* to acclimate. Spend at least 2 weeks at each altitude so your body can adjust.
Some of the more intelligent and serious guides have their clients climb from camp II halfway to camp III then return to camp II. They do this for a few days then move up to camp III. They start all over again at camp III and work their way up the mountain.
But you know a lot of the "touristy" types don't want to be bothered with this process because it "takes too long" or it's "too hard". So they depend on oxygen and the Sherpas.
Of course, UP is the EASY part. It's the decent that kills the most people because they're tired and they get sloppy.
- I remember reading his book R513. He came across as a rich yahoo.
- Richard Bass.
- "But several dozen climbers have summitted without oxygen."
The earliest expeditions had more need for oxygen than modern climbers do. Everest now has so many ropes and ladders in place that the climb is a comparative whiz, Mallory and his contemporaries had to struggle over every unknown rock and snowbank, not knowing if they'd have to go back down and find a new way up, and their equipment was heavy and primitive. Making the first climb, without modern equipment, was much more physically demanding than following a known route.
- Reading "Into Thin Air," I was really surprised and impressed by the climbers (highly skilled or not) who really wanted to summit, but let common sense take over. There are numerous examples in the book of people who paid a lot of money and got very close (at least to Camp 4) and due to paying attention to their body and being realistic about their condition, or simply looking at the weather conditions or the log jam in front of them, said "Fuck it" and decided to to stop. In fact, I think it was 3 members of the Mountain Madness expedition in 1996 who were literally in line to climb the Hillary Step, but it was already 11:30 and the turn around time was supposed to be 1:00 or 2:00 pm at the latest and they were told that it would be at least 2 hours before they were on the summit due to some sort of delay, so they just said "no." And, some independent climber (think he was German) who was on the mountain got up to within 100 or so vertical feet and decided he wouldn't have enough energy for he descent. He went all the way back to base camp if I remember correctly and summited later that season (which is rare, since people who fail to summit usually don't try again until a different season).
Not that climbing Everest makes a lot of sense, but if you do it, at least try to gauge the situation like these people did and not give in to "Summit Fever."
- r531 and everyone who likes Christopher McDonald, there is a movie version of "Into Thin Air" on youtube starring McDonald as Krakauer, it's actually not bad, I watched it when this thread was first started.
- Interesting that low atmospheric pressure = fewer number of air molecules to carry oxygen = cuts do not heal.
Hyperbaric chambers = high atmospheric pressure = larger numer of molecules = accelerated wound healing.
- This has to be the most bizarre thread I've ever read on Datalounge. Bizarre because it's so long for a topic I'd never expect to be discussed in depth on DL Bizarre for the lack of sniping and getting off track. People are genuinely interested about the topic and it's very informative and entertaining.
- r534, I know, this thread is awesome and very informative. I never knew about all the bodies or a lot of these things.
- Yeah, this seems to be one of those rare threads where the only people here are the ones that are truly interested in discussing the subject.
Reading Wade Davis' book on Mallory has been very enlightening as well.
I have to say that it's given me a new respect for the Sherpas and the other people who live in the region.
It is a fascinating area of the world that I never really thought of until the OP posted this thread.
- I'm really looking forward to the first week of May when they start ascending. I bet Cason Crane does well since I think he has done the other seven summits. I bet the schoolgirl will need assistance. I'm sure we will need a new thread by then.
My thought exactly R522. When people are so kindly raising big money for "awareness", how does that even work? I never see an explanation given in the write ups. I do understand, sort of, the whole running a marathon to raise money thing- but we are supposed to believe that an average wage earner with expensive ambitions to scale Everest is not also going to dip into this poorly understood donation based funding source? Come on.
When someone "raises money" for a cause, that person is not legally compelled to disclose their monies to the public or anyone - only tax entities are. So fundraising is an honor system - a person needs only to claim that your money is going where they claim it will.
- Anybody know the story about the South African expedition in 1996? Krakauer described some of the shenanigans going on with that team. Most of the team dropped out and left base camp without even attempting a climb, others apparently left some time during the climb. In the end there were only 3 members left (plus their Sherpas), and one of them died after summiting. The leader of the team seemed like a raging asshole narcissist.
- I find it interesting that climbing Everest from the southeast route doesn't involve just climbing Everest. After base camp, climbers climb over the Khumbu icefall and then through the Western Cwm. This is like a steep valley, which I guess is technically on Everest, but it looks like it's actually between Everest and the mountain to the right in pictures (not Lhotse, as that is straight ahead and is where the Western Cwm terminates).
Anyway, even if the Western Cwm is part of Everest, climbers then climb the 3000 foot face of an entirely different mountain - Lhotse. After that, the climbers set up camp 4 on the South Col, the area between the peaks of Everest and Lhotse - and then proceed to climb the rest of Everest, including the south summit, Hillary step, and the summit.
- Yeah, R540, that was interesting. Ian Woodall was the leader and apparently a total prick -refusing to let other teams use some equipment in an emergency (at camp, where it could have been spared),and just a general control freak.
Bruce Herrod was part of the South African expedition and he died after reaching the summit about two weeks after the May 11-12, 1996 disaster. Probably succumbed to HACE or HAPE and/or exposure/exhaustion, not that it was Woodall's fault. I guess he could have fell as well, since his body wasn't immediately found.
- Herrod's was another case of reaching the summit alone late in the day and not having enough energy to get back to camp. As the leader of the expedition, I'd have thought Woodall would have told Herrod to turn back around. The South African team were up in the high camp during the storm that killed the 8 others. They went back down to base camp instead of trying for the summit and then came back up 2 weeks later. Apparently Woodall learned nothing from it.
- [quote]I'm thinking comedy, [R471]. Vince Vaughn, Charlene Therzon -- with Reese Witherspoon as the base camp MD who isn't as smart as she looks.
I read that as "Charlene Tilton". Here's a scene with her oxygen cannister.
- r519, thanks for the link, that was an interesting (if rather depressing) read. What a nightmare that expedition must have been. There appears to be something not quite right with Dijmarescu, to say the least.
- r519's link, watching what the Russians did to the Titanic, and living near Glendale has made me conclude that when the Wall came down, it wasn't a blow for freedom, it let loose a poison across the world.
- This quote from r519's story sums it all up:
[quote]"George is a menace ... a real sadist with delusions of grandeur, intemperate ambition, poor judgment and endless egotism," Koga wrote to me in an e-mail. "He is the very embodiment of everything that is unacceptable and dangerous in a mountaineering teammate. He uses intrigue, rumor-spreading, and manipulation to divide a group and take power over them."
It's scheming, smarmy fuckers like this George asshole who get people killed. Someone needs to push him off a ridge for the good of mankind.
- It's like Kodas says in the article, "Money is like blood, and blood attracts predators."
- I just finished Anatoly Boukreev's account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, "The Climb". He was a lot harder on Sandy Hill Pittman than Krakauer was, but then again she was actually part of his expedition. Sandy had climbed Everest twice before without reaching the summit. He thought she made several dumb decisions which hampered her high altitude acclimation, including hiking all the way from Base Camp to the nearest city (along with Sherpas to carry her stuff) to meet with friends for dinner the night before the team headed for the summit.
- Currently watching "Touching The Void". Harrowing.
- r548, do you know if his book is excerpted? I will look but just wondering what are some of the more obnoxious things Sandy Hill did? I love hearing about this lady, what a vapid twit. In the Krakauer book he said that he wasn't sure whether Hall told the Sherpa too short rope her to make sure she summitted or whether she asked to carried up. Thanks.
- Sorry R550 I don't know where to find excerpts from the book. Boukreev mentions the short roping incident, but doesn't say whose idea it was. It seems that expedition leader Scott Fischer was there at the time, so if it was not his idea then it was at least done with his permission. He also mentions that Lopsang, the head Sherpa was so drained from pulling her that he was vomiting while they were supposed to be fixing the ropes for the climbers to follow to the summit.
Boukreev tried to get Sandy to come down from one of the higher camps while they were still in their acclimation phase and she refused. He mentions the media equipment and the fear that Fischer had of her giving him bad press. Also, she didn't get along well with her tent mate Lene.
Really, his biggest criticism was that last minute excursion of hers before the push for the summit. He felt she tired herself out unnecessarily. By most accounts she was actually doing ok with the climbing before that. Once she got into the high altitude she crashed. The group with her in the snow storm were convinced she was dying and she ended up using almost double the oxygen that was allotted to each climber.
- Thank you r551. I did try and look up Boukreev and Sandy and it was funny the times when both their names came up together it was her defending him about the disaster. I wonder if she knows what he has said about her. Not that it sounds like he slammed her, per se, he was just honest. I know she does not like Krakauer. I may have to download that book but it sounds like there is a lot to watch about it too.
- It seems a lot of people who were on Scott Fischer's expedition were critical of Krakauer's book. From what I can tell from both books, although the teams did cross paths several times they didn't spend much time together. Krakauer didn't personally witness most of what happened to them.
I found Into Thin Air a more compelling read, but Krakauer definitely made judgments about the character of the people involved. Boukreev's book was also good, but more of a cut and dry account of what happened. His criticism of Sandy Pittman was over some choices she made and things she did, not an assessment of her perceived character. Also, he risked his life to save hers so at least she has the good grace to be grateful to him for that. Krakauer, on the other hand, was sleeping in his tent during the ordeal of the others climbers caught out in the storm.
- Sorry that I said Hall, I meant Fischer on post 550. Thanks r553, that is interesting. I guess I didn't know that Krakauer didn't necessarily see everything as it happened. I think that was one of his first books. I wonder if he would be more objective about it now. Anyhow, this thread is very cool and has me looking up things that I have never really thought about or been really interested in before so I am glad to be learning from all of you.
- ...Sandy Hill Pittman was ridiculed as a social-climbing adventuress long before tragedy struck on the mountain. Her responses after the blizzard didn't win her new friends. Like Richard Nixon, Sandy Hill Pittman was done in by the cover-up. She never mentioned that she was short-roped up the mountain by the Sherpa Lopsang, just as she never mentioned that she was carried out of the blizzard by the guide Anatoli Boukreev. By the time others mentioned it to the swarm of reporters circling the story, Pittman's reporting looked suspect.
So, she's not a good reporter. Does that make her a murderer? OK, so she had the Sherpas running the latest copies of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Allure up the mountain after they'd been sent by DHL to Kathmandu. So she hooked up with a guy on the mountain, the 26-year-old California snowboarder Stephen Koch. So she had a Sherpa carry her 40-pound satellite phone up to Camp 4, where it didn't work. So call her a princess on a hike. But not a murderer. Not even Krakauer thinks that Pittman's mistakes on the mountain were as fatal as those made by some of the others.
But every time Pittman opened her mouth, she got into trouble again. She told Wilkinson in Men's Journal that she would "think twice about going on supplemental oxygen again. I acclimatize really well." How could Lene Gammelgaard -- the climber who was ordered by guide Neal Beidleman to hand over her oxygen canisters to a suffering Sandy -- have felt, reading that quote? It's no wonder, as blame is being assigned and reassigned for what went wrong on the mountain, that "everybody hates everybody," as one survivor told Men's Journal.
Even Pittman's friends who weren't on the trip have been keeping their distance. Upper East side hostesses whisper that the Brokaws have been distancing themselves from their former friend. She wasn't at their big Christmas party last year, for instance. (Another woman in a messy divorce -- Judge Kimba Wood, who's splitting from journalist Michael Kramer -- was at the party, with rich beau Frank Richardson in tow.) By the time Bob Pittman was photographed in the New York Times this spring with his new girlfriend -- Veronique Choa, the estranged wife of climber and film-maker David Breashears -- Sandy Hill was off cruising the Mediterranean with her new boyfriend, Stephen Koch (the 26-year-old from the mountain). Women's Wear Daily reported she's planning to travel overseas with party planner Robert Isabel this summer.
When push came to shove, Hill retreated back into her money, like Daisy Buchanan. She hired a famous libel attorney -- Jonathan Lubell, who once defended the Church of Scientology -- to protect her name. He sent threatening letters to some of the more vocal survivors, including Jon Krakauer.
Everyone's got an opinion. (Maybe that's why everyone's writing about this in the first person.) Everyone, that is, except Hill herself. Her coffee-table book is "indefinitely on hold," reports Sarah Bailey, a spokeswoman at Chronicle Books. "The Everest climb ... pretty much changed her perception of her other climbs. And changed her," Bailey reports. "She really wanted time to think about what kind of a book she wanted to write." When called by Salon, Hill sounded cheerful and upbeat. "No, I really don't want to talk about it," she said. "I think I'll just stay quiet, if you don't mind."
June 11, 1997
- Sorry I'm bombing this thread with replies. I've become fascinated with this subject since coming across this thread. I'd be very interested to read a story from the perspective of one of the other Mountain Madness climbers who were part of Sandy Hill Pittman's expedition. From Boukreev's account there were only 3 guides - himself, Fischer and Neil Beidlman. The uncle of Lopsang, the head Sherpa, got into what proved to be a fatal accident early on and Lopsang went with him to the hospital in Kathmandu. This left Boukreev doing a lot of the advance work that the Sherpa team normally does. Fischer had to shuttle between camps personally escorting a couple clients who were having more difficulty acclimating. This left one guide with the climbers for a good part of the trek. They were on the mountain for 6 weeks altogether, and from Boukreev's account there were days they didn't have a guide at all as Beidlman had to help Fischer.
- r556 I have been bombing this thread too. I also love hearing what everyone has to say. I wish they would make another movie about this. There was on made years ago with Christopher McDonald, it was ok but it would be nice to have other viewpoints like you said.
- In 2011, there was "Neal Beidleman's Return to Mount Everest," but it contained not a single word on Pittman.
It didn't even mention her name.
- Thanks R558. Either Boukreev was lying or Beidleman was. Boukreev said that Scott Fischer was okay with him not using supplemental oxygen. Beidleman says Fischer wasn't. Boukreev says he had an oxygen cylinder and regulator in his backpack to use in case he needed it. He ended up giving it to Beidleman who had run out. Beidleman doesn't mention this.
- From r555 --
[quote]When push came to shove, Hill retreated back into her money, like Daisy Buchanan. [bold]She hired a famous libel attorney -- Jonathan Lubell, who once defended the Church of Scientology -- to protect her name. He sent threatening letters to some of the more vocal survivors, including Jon Krakauer.[/bold]
- [quote]In 2011, there was "Neal Beidleman's Return to Mount Everest," but it contained not a single word on Pittman.
It probably should have, but it probably didn't need to. I've read a lot of articles, "Into Thin Air," and "The Climb."
Pittman definitely deserves scorn and criticism, no doubt. She played the role of spoiled NY socialite well. And, her not owning up to the situation afterwords make her more of a cunt.
But, I really think people focus on her just because she's an outrageous character. Especially on DL - she's an entitled frau, let's rip her to shreds, that's what we do. It's fun, I understand.
But, the situation around her climbing and by her rescue by Bourkeev is such a small part of the story. She was an experienced climber, albeit one not having a good climb - like many before her she wasn't doing well on a particular expedition, her body was saying "no," and she should have turned back, but didn't. That's not unusual at all. It happened to other climbers during the 1996 disaster (and other years when people died or nearly died), and as much as Everest writers talk about climbers being overtaken by "Summit Fever", it seems like one of the main roles of the guides is to be the voice of reason and demand that the client not continue.
Make no mistake, Pittman needed a lot of assistance. On the descent she was injected with a steroid and Beidleman had to help her down. But, again, this seems to happen on a lot of expeditions where climbers get into trouble and someone needs extra help. Anyway, in the end, when the storm became too much, Pittman was huddled with other climbers a couple of hundred yards from Camp IV, but not knowing it, unable to see, and too exhausted to make a move. Bourkeev left camp IV and saved not only Pittman, but Fox as well. Neither would have survived without his assistance. Namba and Weathers were left to die (or already thought to be dead) based on their apparent condition. Amazingly, Weathers showed up at camp one or two days later.
I'm not trying to defend Pittman (well, I guess I am somewhat). Again, the scorn is well-deserved, and she did present problems - but the actual problems she presented (the additional oxygen, the additional assistance, the refusal to turn around) is pretty common on expeditions that go bad. There's nothing unusual about her being a problem climber - she wasn't the first or the last. I have no idea why Lopsang short-roped her on the ascent. But, there's no way she could have made him do it.
It's such an interesting story and reading everything that I did, I never came away feeling like Pittman should be the focus. Certainly, she deserves a place in the story and criticism. But, there's so much gossipy delight in her character, that I understand why she's focused on to a degree which, IMO, is out of proportion in the bigger picture.
- I think the reason people hat Pittman is because she epitomizes everything that is WRONG with people buying their way to the top of Everest.
She was totally unprepared, out of her league, spoiled, arrogant and thought she was entitled to summit simply because she had paid the money.
People are going to hate on her because she and people like her are disgusting entitled assholes. She's just the face of entitled assholes on Everest.
- But, I thought Pittman actually was pretty experienced. Krakauer even points that out. Of course "experienced" and "prepared" aren't necessarily the same thing.
She had climbed six of the seven "Seven Summits" prior to Everest, including Denali/McKinley which, although "only" 20,000+ feet, the extreme cold and combination of high altitude and high latitude make the air super thin, much moreso than if Denali closer to the equator. Though, she didn't seem to have any 8000m experience, which has proved fatal to other climbers.
Anyway, again, I totally agree she deserves much criticism. My point was simply that the plight Sandy Hill-Pittman and her entitlement should not be the MAIN take-away from the 1996 Everest story.
- Krakauer mentions Pittman in his book for two reasons, really. Firstly because she was the most "famous" of the people involved and therefore got, and courted, a lot of media attention. Secondly because his whole presence on Mount Everest was for the purpose of writing a story about the commercialization of Everest and Sandy was basically the poster child for it. It takes a lot of money to go on these excursions, $50,000 and up, and the expedition companies popping up left and right were looking for people like Sandy as their customers.
Boukreev had more stories about her movements versus the other climbers because she was publicly documenting her climb. It was her reports from the mountain for NBC that brought the events of May 10th to worldwide notice. Boukreev said he was completely stunned at the media attention that surrounded him that began as soon as they got to base camp. As an experience mountaineer he had been around these kinds of tragedies many times, and in fact a year and a half later became one.
Although Sandy crashed hard at the high altitude, so did several other people, including seasoned Everest climbers. She was not the reason the climbers did not make it back to camp before the blizzard hit.
Also, personality wise Sandy had some fierce competition. Krakauer said Beck Weathers and Yasuko Namba (who died) were very 'out there' characters. Scott Fischer and Martin Adams were very large personalities and Lene Gammelgaard sounds borderline nuts. God damn I wish Sandy had brought a film crew with her. It would have been a hell of a show even without the blizzard.
- Ian Goodall from the South African expedition, who was on the mountain with Hall's and Fisher's groups (but summited weeks later after an aborted attempt), was also an outsized character, and apparently an enormous asshole.
Filming an Everest expedition would be the ultimate reality show.
- Beck Weathers seems like he is a balls-out guy. He had to get his hand amputated and he still does crazy shit. Someone had said he was depressed as a person and does this stuff to feel alive. I know that it wasn't all Sandy, it was a perfect storm of everyone and all the events. As someone mentioned it was her cover up more than anything. She definitely made the carack about how she had to have the best coffee and cappuccino maker, etc. and then seemed stunned that it was mentioned and claimed to not have said that or done it. She should have just not said anything at all and I'm sure it would have blown over.
- [quote]Filming an Everest expedition would be the ultimate reality show.
David Breashears was filming in 1996, then saw his girlfriend run off with Sandy's ex-husband.
The Sherpas continue to insist that Sandy fucking her boytoy at Base Camp (and continuing to do so even after the Sherpas protested) angered the spirit of the mountain and brought the storm.
- I never understood why the supposedly "hard" turnaround times (2:00 pm at the latest, preferably 1:00 pm) weren't followed. Hall lectured his clients about this before the summit attempt. It's not like they went a few minutes over. Some climbers didn't summit until 4:30 or 5:00 pm and there were still people up there in the early evening, which is crazy.
- r567 There was also an Everest Reality Show (of course, why should it be exempt?) called "Everest: Top of the World" filmed a few years ago. Someone here mentioned it. It's on youtube and is ridiculous as you may think. One woman has never worn crampons and can barely walk, one guy had both legs amputated due to an earlier climb and is still going, some dude Cher was dating is on it. It's not bad, you should check it out.
Pittman's ascents had been so well documented over the years that the only nugget left for me to report, in the New York magazine that hit newsstands on April 8, 1996, was a minor update: She was going to be covering her climb on her very own Web site. And she was planning to rendezvous at base camp before the final assent with girlfriends Martha Stewart, Blaine Trump and Sharon Hoge. By the time the New York Observer came out with "Sandy Pittman Social-Climbs Mount Everest" a few weeks later, Stewart and Trump had pulled out of the Nepal trip. But the Observer published a picture from an earlier expedition to Sikkim: There was a smiling Martha Stewart, in a tent, serving crepes suzette to Pittman, Trump and Hoge. The most embarrassing line in the piece, predictably, came from Pittman herself: "I wouldn't dream of leaving town without an ample supply of Dean & DeLuca's Near East Blend and my espresso maker," she had breathlessly told her online readers in a Web dispatch quoted by the Observer.
- Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, the two expedition leaders, badly wanted as many clients as possible to reach the summit. Hall had failed to get any of his client to the summit in '95. Fischer was trying to expand his company by including Everest excursions. It was his idea to have Krakauer come along so he could get good press and free ad space in Outdoor magazine. In the end Hall made a better offer. Later, Fischer signed on Sandy Pittman. Both Hall and Fischer were under a lot of pressure to get good press.
Most of the climbers had summited by 2:30 pm. Hall stayed at the summit to wait for a straggler that he mistakenly thought was going to be along any minute. The turnaround time has to do with the climbers making it back to camp before nightfall. Hall, Harris, Hansen and Fischer were way too far from camp when the white out hit, but the tantalizing part of the story is that 8 of the climbers plus 3 sherpas were extremely close to camp and could see the lights but lost their way in the storm. Beck Weather had been sitting for 8 hours waiting for someone to guide him back to camp as he had gone snow blind. In a comedy of errors people kept passing him by. He was already frostbitten when the larger group found him. Yasuko Namba was in very bad shape when she was found. She could not walk under her own power.
- When they reached extreme high altitude, Hall's client, Doug Hansen, decided to abandon his quest for the summit. It would be his second failed attempt in two years but he felt he'd had enough. Hall turned back after him and gave Hansen a pep talk that made him change his mind. Hansen continued upward.
Hours later during the storm when Hansen was in dire distress, Hall's teammates radioed him from base camp telling Hall to abandon Hansen and save his own life. Hall replied, "we're both listening." Hansen disappeared in the storm, presumably falling to his death. Hall died awaiting rescue after making a heartbreaking final phone call to his wife back in the USA. He made a fatal mistake when he didn't allow Hansen to obey his own inner directive to turn back before the storm began.
- No one has ever said much Doug Hansen other than he was a postal worker who did little other than work and save his money for Everest. I don't recall hearing anything on his mountaineering background -- only that Hall felt so bad about turning Hansen back in 1995, he took him up for a reduced rate in 1996.
- I find it odd that Krakauer and Beidleman put some blame on Boukreev. Hall and Hansen died because of Hall's mistake. Fischer died because even though he was struggling and all his clients had already made the summit and turned back, he decided to go to the summit himself. No one quite knows what happened to Harris.
Beidleman seems to think that if Boukreev had stayed with the group they would have made it back to camp. He bases this on the fact he had to help Yasuko Namba, who was struggling badly when they found her and slowed the group's progress. Beidleman and Krakauer both think that Boukreev headed for camp because he doesn't climb on oxygen and he couldn't stay in the top elevation any longer. I don't buy it. According to Boukreev, Scott Fischer was the one who did the "sweep". He pulled up the rear and assisted climbers who were struggling. At that time no one knew how sick he was. He should have looked after his clients instead of heading to the summit. I know it's hard to point the finger at a man who was a friend to both of them and died, but I find it interesting that no one points that out.
- I find those men who cast blame on the socialite woman to be pussies. I can't stand "men" like that.
- It's a totally boring conclusion, but the more I read of 1996 Everest, the more I think it isn't anyone's fault.
The conditions are absolutely brutal and people are making decisions under the most stressful of circumstances, sometimes maybe even while not all mentally "there" due to the conditions. A chain of unfortunate events happened. Decisions were made and in retrospect it can be argued that they were not the best, but only in retrospect. Everyone tried their best once confronted with what happened (I know, another cliche, but true, IMO).
Read about the 2006 happenings (40 climbers passed David Sharp as he died) on Everest or 2012 (which included the death of Shirya Shah) and the accounts of some people totally splintering, trying to save themselves, or people walking around basically hallucinating in high altitude and walking off the mountain.
1996 was horrible, but, again, having read both books, plus numerous articles. I don't think fault should be pinned on any particular person.
- r576 I agree that it was everything just causing a perfect storm in the 1996 disaster. I need to read up more about the 2006 one.
- [quote]It's a totally boring conclusion, but the more I read of 1996 Everest, the more I think it isn't anyone's fault.
- Okay, now I don't want to sound like an idiot but I am always curious about how people die and what happens to them. I did read a little about Shriyah Shah's death and that she basically stopped talking and shut down but I think she was still walking. Why did she stop talking? What in her was turned off that she couldn't speak anymore but still did the reflexive walking and breathing? How did she die? She didn't freeze to death. TIA.
- Krakauer and Beidleman seem to have engaged in a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking. It's easy to say in hindsight what people should have done, but at the time these experienced climbers were making the decisions they thought were best. And it's not like K & B know for sure that things would have ended up much differently if, say, Boukreev had climbed with oxygen.
- Hall's phone call was made to his wife in New Zealand, not the US, R572
- Re:the Everest reality show and the female climber who was kicked to the curb.
Undoubtedly, the woman -- Betsy Huelskamp (sp?) -- was in over her head BUT -- Russell Brice personally chose her to go on the expedition. He met with her in LA, he was well aware of what her climbing history was and he accepted her as a team member. He even reduced his fee, oractically cutting it in half. Why?
She had interviewed the biker guy -- Tim Medvetz, the one who was dating Cher and was a complete asshole -- after he'd washed out of the first Discovery Channel expedition. She considered him a friend, since they were both bikers and had a lot in common. When she showed up at base camp, Medvetz refused to speak to her and referred to her as a bitch. Other DC crew members were rude and profane towards her.
Brice claimed she exaggerated her climbing experience but I don't beleve she did. I really think Brice chose her because he knew she couldn't make it. He wanted some drama and wanted someone to look like an asshole and Betsey was it.
In the first DC Everest series at least two men washed out. They both spent the rest of the expedition at base camp with Brice, appearing on camera following the progress of the climbers who didn't wash out. Brice kicked Hugelskamp out immediately. Get your stuff and get out. He was really awful towards her. I think he did it on purpose for drama and because he is known to dislike women climbers.
Hugelskamp is a narcissist who thinks she is better than she actually is -- but Tim Medvetz and Mogens Jenkins were, too. Neither one was able to make the summit in series one, but both were invited back for series two.
Once she got to base camp
- R579, it could have been an edema. Apparently they are pretty common in high altitudes but nobody knows the exact cause or who is more likely to get them.
Nobody is blaming Pittman for what happened in '96. But she's an easy person to hate on since she is totally self-absorbed and entitled. A super cunt, as it were.
Frankly, I didn't like Bourkeev in Krakauer's book at first. He seemed like a total jerk who was just out for himself. But when he went back for Beilmann and the others in the storm, I totally forgave any stupid shit he might have done.
That took some serious balls to walk out of camp in that storm looking for the others. He probably believed he might not make it back and yet he went out.
You ask how some people could walk by a dying person and not notice? Well, how much courage does it take to walk out into a blizzard on Everest searching for people who have no beacons and no way to find them? Not everyone could or would do it.
- The biggest mistake make in the 1996 disaster is that Fischer did not give his two guides, Beidleman and Boukreev, radios. If they had radios Beidleman could have called Boukreev back when they were struggling to make progress at the beginning of the storm. He definitely would have been able to guide Boukreev to the position of the group when they reached the South Col. Hopelessly lost they hunkered down for hours to stay out of the wind when, in fact, they were about a 15 minute walk from the camp.
Neither Boukreev nor Krakauer attempted to make sense of Fischer's movements at the end. Several people saw him and thought he looked tired, but not alarmingly so. No one has tried to account for why he decided to go to the summit himself (he had summited Everest before) or why he didn't use his radio to tell other expeditions or base camp that he was in trouble.
- r582 I agree that the woman was set up a bit to be the ditz on the show. r583 thanks for your feedback. r584 It is very odd that they had no radios. It really does seem like it was just all the little things adding up. Now it seems ridiculous and yet people are still dying there. It is weird that Shah's page is still up with the well wishes and everything.
- It really seems like Fisher overexerted himself from the very beginning of the expedition. In Boukreev's book, Fisher begins to not feel well, to have varying degrees of fatigue pretty early on - plus, more so than Kraukauer's book, Boukreev's book explains all of the energy that the expedition leader has to go through managing Sherpas, responding to unforseen events, worrying about money, helping clients, dealing with their own medical issues - just that seems exhausting - and they still have to climb the mountain themselves (multiple times as they acclimate).
Boukreev's book sort of gets into the pressure on the expedition leaders to perform - to get clients to the top so that their business can go on. Other people can just turn around, but could Fisher?
What happened to him? I think he simply was totally empty after he summited and started to descend and stopped and couldn't start again. Probably died from a combo of edema, exposure, hypoxia. Horrible.
- Looks like our collective discussion has pleased the Gods .
Christian Bale to star in a movie about the Everest disaster of 1996.
- Cool! I can't wait to see it.
- Thanks for posting the Bale news flash. Prayers answered.
- It sounds like a necrophiliac's paradise.
- I never go to the movies, the last time I did was 'Tropic Thunder' and I swore I wouldn't go again until the 'Arrested Development' movie came out so my friends will think it is weird that I want to see this but that is the magic of DL, I have been following this thread since day one and am really interested in Everest now.
- I think either Mallory or Irvine made it to the top. I have no proof or anything -- I just think one of them did.
- Here's a first hand description of summiting Everest - I don't think it's been posted here yet. He summited around the same time as Shriya Shah last year. I'm not sure, but the woman he describes as unable to climb down the ladder might be her. I think it's an interesting view into the mind of a climber and all the preparations he went through up to the actual climb. All the people who want to summit Everest (and Everest only) should read this.
- More details on the two new movies about Everest:
- Very interesting, r587.
Maybe the hollyweird types read the DL after all . . . who knows?
ITA, r592. I'm almost finished with "Into the Silence" by Wade Davis about the three Mallory expeditions. Mallory seemed determined to summit or die but I think he did both.
He and Irvine had clear weather for a while then a storm came up. IMO, they DID summit but on the way back down they got caught in the storm and couldn't make it back to their camp.
- My guess is that Mallory failed to summit. A lot of experienced climbers of today doubt that Mallory had the equipment or the know-how to surmount the Hillary Step immediately beneath the summit. Based on where he was found, he was probably either heading up or else turning back from a failed attempt when he fell and perished. Irvine, left alone, may have wandered in a daze and fell into a crevasse where he will never be found. Sad but not unlikely, and in no way does their failure detract from the example of bravery and determination they set for others.
- Conrad Anker climbed the second step in '99 freestyle (without ropes, ladder) to see if it could be done and he did it. There's no reason to think Mallory and Irvine could have done it.
Irvine had already constructed a rope and peg ladder for a crevasse on the col for the porters to use so he could have done the same for the second step. He had the supplies and since he had already made one, the second one should have been much easier.
Mallory was a true climber. I think he and Irvine knew the second step was going to be a bitch so Sandy made another ladder in camp and they took it with them on the last attempt. I think Mallory climbed the second step freestyle with the ladder and secured it for Irvine and the other climbers to follow.
Hopefully one day soon someone will find Irvine or the remains of the ladder or the camera and we'll know for sure.
- Do the Sherpas do Halloween tours where they show you all the bodies? There's another revenue stream right there.
- Come on, now, we're almost to 600! Don't give up now!
- And here we are at 600! Do we get a new thread now?