Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » This is why climbing Everest is stupid.


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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 15:00:13 MDT Print View

http://i.imgur.com/wqQV1LX.jpg

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 15:28:47 MDT Print View

Wow, and I thought the amount of people I saw on last night trip was bad :-)

Kevin B
(kedward) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 16:29:17 MDT Print View

Seems red is in this year.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 16:48:46 MDT Print View

I seem to recall that Yogi Berra had something to say about that kind of situation.

Brandon M
(s2bmay) - F

Locale: DC
Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 17:04:58 MDT Print View

Yeah, no thankseverest

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 17:13:37 MDT Print View

Everybody conga to the top of the world!!!

Don't cross the sherpa's ropes!!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 17:17:59 MDT Print View

The photo that Brandon posted appears to be shot from the bottom of the Hillary Step on the Nepal side.

Geez, they've made it almost into a staircase. That takes all of the fun out of it.

--B.G.--

Brandon M
(s2bmay) - F

Locale: DC
Re: Re: Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/28/2013 18:00:25 MDT Print View

Bob, good eye. I came across that photo while reading an article talking about a potential plan to install a permanent ladder on the Hillary Step. How's that for taking the fun out of it!

Ian Destroyer of Forums
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/29/2013 05:35:56 MDT Print View

The good news is that they are building a strip mall there so you can get a fair-trade-venti-soy-mocha-latte-crapachino and take care of your dry cleaning while you’re waiting in line.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/29/2013 06:27:28 MDT Print View

Put up a tram and be done with it. ADA accessible too.

Ryan Slack
(RWSlack) - F - M

Locale: Minnesota
First photo, foreground on 07/29/2013 06:49:20 MDT Print View

Respect to the guy using the tumpline.

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
McDonalds on 07/29/2013 12:08:46 MDT Print View

The other good news is that the Everest Conservancy Group has spurned McDonalds and Jack in the Box as their partner in providing a truly enjoyable dining experience atop Everest for the local favorite franchise, Sherpa Taco Shack.

Edited by tracedef on 07/29/2013 12:11:57 MDT.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Scary on 07/29/2013 14:28:30 MDT Print View

The whole idea of waiting around like that scares the crap out of me. I have no idea how the serious climbers NOT buying their way to the summit deal with that. IMO Everest is dead; the days of seeing leading-edge alpinism there are gone, replaced by this commercial "summit shuttle" they've created. That's alright, Alaska and other such places have 100 lifetimes' worth of wilderness alpine climbing. Beats going to the "amusement park" every time...

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Where the air is thin
Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/29/2013 14:47:35 MDT Print View

"The good news is that they are building a strip mall there so you can get a fair-trade-venti-soy-mocha-latte-crapachino and take care of your dry cleaning while you’re waiting in line."

The bad news is all espresso drinks are made with yak's butter. And it'll be a lukewarm crapochino as the boiling point atop Everest is a mere 71 °C (159.8 °F).

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Just climb the East Face on 07/29/2013 15:03:31 MDT Print View

No crowds there. Or, climb the south face of Lhotse, drop down to the South Col at 10:00 PM, top out on E, then drop down to the North Col. Or, climb straight up the North Face. If you can't find a challenge on the Big E, you're brain dead.

Bob Salcedo
(Baughb) - F

Locale: So Cal.
Still looking... on 07/29/2013 15:05:52 MDT Print View

For the barefooted sherpa smoking a cigarette with 75 lbs strapped to his head taking a piss in the distance...

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: This is why climbing Everest is stupid. on 07/29/2013 15:31:38 MDT Print View

This touches a nerve with me because just as I was getting to bed last night, my Facebook notifications lit up with lots of links to a friend, Marty Schmidt, who grew up across the street (our parents still live there) in Castro Valley, CA and was in my Boy Scout troop. I found my challenges and peace of mind on the trail, but he found his in more technical and harshly beautiful places. He went into the USAF with the intention of going into SAR. By finishing first in his class, he got to pick his assignment, went to Alaska, climbing Denali while on leave and upon discharge, guided Denali in the winter while commuting to New Zealand where he raised his family.

Then he went on to guiding Everest, doing alpine style, self-supported trips for more capable clients while doing his own more cutting edge climbs. He was last on Everest with clients last month. His 25-year-old son met up afterwards and they were on K2 hoping to be the first father-son team to summit. They remained in Camp 3 after a storm and, all signs indicate, were swept away in an avalanche yesterday (or maybe the word got out yesterday?).

There are consolations - the things you tell yourself which are perfectly true like, "They were doing what they loved.", "Marty was so active, alive and enthusiastic about everything he did, he fit many lifetimes into his 53 years." and "We've each lost a son, but his pain and awareness of that was for seconds or less." Still, I didn't sleep very well last night.

Is "trying to the first xxxxx" akin to "hey, guys, watch this?" as potentially one's last words? The other person I knew who died in the Himalayas, Marty Hoey, was trying to be the first US woman to summit Everest.

Not my cup of tea, precisely because of the danger and that there are such significant risks you can minimize only so much. But I'll queue up for the cables on Half Dome or walk past hundreds of people on the Bright Angel in GCNP, so I'm not going to fault someone for doing that at 25,000 feet.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 07/29/2013 15:43:47 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Just climb the East Face on 07/29/2013 15:39:05 MDT Print View

"If you can't find a challenge on the Big E, you're brain dead."

The Kangshung Face is more than a challenge. It is more of a death wish.

--B.G.--

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Just climb the east face on 07/29/2013 17:22:55 MDT Print View

Gotta agree with Bob here; the Kangshung Face is a deathtrap with those hanging glaciers. The North Face looks to be worse. What I really lament is the permit system; the only way to make an attempt is to pony up huge money, or find a sponsor willing to do the same. I'll never be a sponsored alpinist, but I'll bet my abilities, though declining with age and infrequent use, exceed the vast majority of "clients" on Everest. The cost of an Everest trip would be a financial impossibility for me or most of the climbers I've ever known. Whereas Czech Direct on Denali, or the Polish Route on Anconcagua, would be something doable, at least financially. Of course, you gotta have the skills; nobody's fixing ropes and ladders up those routes for you.

This isn't a knock on the responsible guide services on Everest, they seem to be the last remnant of sanity on the mountain. But there are irresponsible guides as well, ones who are more than willing to take under-prepared, inexperienced clients. It's all about money for these folks, regardless of the potential consequences. And the permit system does nothing to regulate this, it's merely a revenue-generating scheme. This needs to change, or things will get a lot worse. The crowds have gotten bigger since 1996, and I bet the skill level and experience of the average climber has gone down with so many services in operation now. It's only a matter of time before the crowding contributes to another major incident.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Everest on 07/29/2013 18:03:09 MDT Print View

First of all David, I am sorry for your loss. Even though people are killed "doing what they love", it still is a loss. Climbers like that are really wired differently.

On my trip home from Lake Powell last month we listened to "Into Thin Air". I have read it before but it was interesting to go through it again. Everest is still quite the risky endeavor, especially, with all the guided groups. I think if Jon Krakauer had been on his own and not tied to a group he would have summited and been back in camp five hours earlier missing the storm by even more time.

Those that did lose their lives, and they were some of the best, did so probably because the margin for error is so low up there. Those few hours made all the difference. Also, they did not turn back when they knew it was getting too late. Once again, probably due to the need to get a client to the top. It is something I will leave to others.

So far, I've only been to 14,500 on a hiking trail. I'm pretty happy with that.