Everest Claims 3 and 2 Missing

11:26 a.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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11:46 a.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Is commercialism taking over the thoughts of sensibility ?

1:25 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Summit fever and too many on the route at one time.  Poor choices.

2:22 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Like it or not, and no disrespect for those who have summited and those who have died on Mt Everest, but the thing has become a tourist trap. Literally

"There was a traffic jam on the mountain on Saturday. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2:30 p.m. which is quite dangerous," Shrestha told The Associated Press by telephone from Everest's base camp."

"With the traffic jam, climbers had a longer wait for their chance to go up the trail and spent too much time at higher altitude. Many of them are believed to be carrying limited amount of oxygen not anticipating the extra time spent," Shrestha said.

Truly sad of what one of the great accomplishments of the last century has turned into.

It seems to me to be very similar to to Half Dome. One appears to me to be follow the leader up the big rock and the other, follow the leader up the big mountain. Very sad indeed. It kinda cheapens both sites in my mind.

5:13 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Sigh.  It is what it is. 

People all know the hazards and certainly realize what to expect, based on the congestion that also occurs on the way up to the high camp.  As a result "true" climber either take alternative, less crowded routes, or climb the surrounding peaks, while less high, still offer solitude and significant challenge.

Ed

9:35 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I would like to know if anyone at the last base camp, told them not to go?  I have watch some programs that state you can't sleep at the last camp, how long do you think these people were waiting before they started and did they run out of O2.  I just would like know, don't plan any trips that high, 14K is good enough for me. 

9:44 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I don't profess to have any experience at that degree of climbing but my humble observation has been that it has gotten so ridiculous because you don't need to have much experience at all anymore. Not having much experience won't stop me. If I can pay the fee, they will literally "take" me up there. I don't have to be able to get up there, they will take me.

It used to be the realm of people that had serious climbing experience, now, these "guide companies" have the Sherpas rig the whole route for you. They go up ahead and rig the ropes, hell they put up ladders all over the place for crying out loud. Then they come down and do the navigating for you, carry your stuff and bring you up the mountain holding your hand if needed. You hardly have to do anything but walk and climb ladders. Then the Sherpas are expected to get out of the way so they can have their picture taken of them standing triumphantly at the summit.

Wait ten more years and you'll just buy your tickets at wallyworld then stand in line at the escalator and pic up the professionally shot scrapbook at the basecamp boutique.

9:48 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Oldman Mike said:

I would like to know if anyone at the last base camp, told them not to go?  I have watch some programs that state you can't sleep at the last camp, how long do you think these people were waiting before they started and did they run out of O2.  I just would like know, don't plan any trips that high, 14K is good enough for me. 

 Yah, don't even get me started about the TV shows. Bringing unqualified people up there to die for ratings.

4:05 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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yes the guiding companies and commercialization of these mountains has gotten out of control. Yes there have been several instances where rich people simply paid to have their butt carried up (or sometimes off) the mountain.

 

But the guide companies can be a good thing too. They do provide some basic instruction, typically require some pre-req's before letting someone join, and provide access to a part of the world for many people that they would have never been able to see otherwise.

 

If someone is a fairly advanced mountaineer, one could argue that they still may not be good enough to tackle an 8000 meter peak on their own - the logistics, time off, travel, local conections, and more, are simply a nightmare.

 

That's where these guide companies come into play. They can do all that for the fairly advanced climber to help them out...at a pretty penny. Let's not forget that many of these climbers are quite independent and capable, but that they want the company to take the headache out of the expedition for them. They are still in INCREDIBLE shape and have great stamina and strength!

 

Where I do think it's being abused is when unqualified climbers get brought up the mountain by companies with less than stellar reps, just so the company can make some $.

 

Also, the prices they charge are sometimes the problem! If you take a novice climber up Everest for $50,000 +, that's probably a once in a lifetime thing for that climber. They can't afford to come back year after year, and want to try for the top as hard as they can! That leads to trouble...

12:04 a.m. on May 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I say this: The Himex, the Jagged Planet, the RMI.....companies like that have built reputations that are truly stellar. They are the expensive ones and they do take some people that are less experienced. But they provide the support they promise as well. Less money means fewer sherpa, communications gear that is lacking and more exposure to the climber. That may be fine for a real top notch mountaineer. Say, Lincoln Hall...who was up their un a cheap, little support type permit because he had the skill...but he still nearly died. You also have people with no money going on the cheap permits who have no business being up there with so little support.

On my way up the trek trail, there were two guys headed up for a summit attempt who planned to have one sherpa to assist them both. That means nobody to go and haul their gear up for them...Nobody to set and load tents. I suspect when I look for them on the summit list they will not be there. They will not have made it. In High Crimes you read about some of these types raiding others supplies, leaving them vulnerable and in real danger. People die on this and many other mountains because it is dangerous. It is dang dangerous.

12:09 p.m. on May 25, 2012 (EDT)
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this is a tough issue.  on one hand, there are probably people up there who are really on the outer edge of their capabilities, and that isn't fair.  On the other, it is (or should be) human nature to help a fellow climber in distress, even if it means abandoning one's own summit bid. 

I suspect the guide services could do a better job assessing how fatigued their clients are, turning them around if they are in serious distress, and enforcing turnaround times.  this year, climbers were clearly headed uphill when they were well short of the summit and when the time of day dictated that they should have turned back.  too many people, too - footage i saw of the climb looked like half dome on a popular day. 

the same day those four climbers died, an Israeli climber on the way up with a sherpa found an acquaintance, who was on his way down, collapsed and in distress.  He abandoned his summit bid and spent several hours helping the climber back to advanced base camp; both ended up suffering some frostbite.  Bravo. 

7:03 p.m. on May 25, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree that as humans, our individual summit bid should not trump death of a fellow climber. I would hope that there could be adequate assessment of the climbers as they ascend, but nobody up there that high is truly clear minded. Lincoln Hall would have died had his rescuers not abandoned their bid. I also think that if someone ditched 60k to save me, my life would be worth doing all I could to try to pay them back the cash I could over  time for their loss and my obvious priceless gain. That line last weekend is not unique. It is somewhat troubling however. In this day and age every single person headed to Everest knows that is what they will encounter. I had thought I read that there were now two fixed lines to address the bigger issue which occurs while you have that line yet some are coming down at the same time and having to continually clip in and out as they pass each other.

11:37 a.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Once again the Climbing forum becomes the "People Killed While Climbing" forum. 

I think that the People Killed While Climbing discussions (unless they center on lessons learned to make future climbs safer) underlie a stark division between climbers and hikers.  I think it shows that in a subtle way, hikers think climbers are foolish.  

I think that the climbing and hiking mindset, while they converge at times, are fundamentally different.  The hiker goes only so far, pitches his tent and enjoys the view from camp.  The climber looks out from the tent at the peaks around and says, "I wonder what it looks like from up there."

 

 

9:54 a.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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The guys and gals who climb, be it, free soloing or in an expedition type climb, I see nothing but skill, guts, determination and the love for the outdoors.  I do not have the intestinal fortitude to tackle the exposure that takes place with climbing.  I'm not envious of the folks that do it, but it astounds me at how they are able to block that aspect from their head and go forward with the climb.  That being said the closest I will ever get to any climbing is the day I go to Long's Peak and take the hike to Long's summit through the Keyhole Route.  That last mile and a half circumnavigates the the upper part of Long's, is entirely on rock, has areas of exposure of over 1500ft but it's designed to be completed without ropes.    

8:43 p.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

 

Once again the Climbing forum becomes the "People Killed While Climbing" forum. 

I think that the People Killed While Climbing discussions (unless they center on lessons learned to make future climbs safer) underlie a stark division between climbers and hikers.  I think it shows that in a subtle way, hikers think climbers are foolish.  

I think that the climbing and hiking mindset, while they converge at times, are fundamentally different.  The hiker goes only so far, pitches his tent and enjoys the view from camp.  The climber looks out from the tent at the peaks around and says, "I wonder what it looks like from up there."

 

 

As a climber - or perhaps soon to be ex-facto climber, I must agree with the non climbers: we are foolish.  How else to explain taking the most difficult way up, especially when the alternatives often include non technical maintained trails?  Or why subject one's self to a bowling alley of tumbling choss?  Speaking of choss, why seek out the most exposed and awkward possible stance for miles around to relieve one's self?  These are but a few of the odd and illogicals of rock climbing, things the more balanced person has an understandable hard time reconciling.  

It does no good to wax poetically of the fine vistas to be had from the top of nowhere, or the nature of brotherhood that forms when you share a portaledge with someone possessed by a bad gastrointestinal bug.  Don't try to explain to a non-climber why why John Denver's Rocky Mountain High is quaint but a bit hokey, while Gerry Garcia’s To Lay me Down is absolutely sublime.  It is plain lost on others that climbers are also a very literate group, generally speaking, yet most only notice the hero cam tubes of soloists narcissistic enough to think anyone else cares about their exploits. Perhaps Hillary should have hired a publicist.

Ed 

10:23 p.m. on May 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Sage. I think you got it all wrong. All aspects of climbing or hiking are free game, IMHO. It is Everest Season. Some of the deaths are technical, some are more of the hike portion of the climb and some are simply accidents of nature or abuse of alcohol at base camp. But to think that it has become the forum of the anti climbers by talking about it,  think you are plain wrong. I Love me some Mount Everest and respect those who try these difficult things. But there are aspects of the commercial climb that many still debate. Especially where Everest is concerned. I climb, albeit very novice. On the other hand, when my brother is planning an outing and then they say to him "AND THEN WE GET THE ROPE" he bows out. But he has respect for the climbers. I just think you are wrong on this one Sage, with all due respect.

12:00 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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At the base of it all, I think climbers and hikers are driven by the same motivation, a desire to explore new places, to see what's over the next ridge or around the next corner or at the top of the mountain, and to do something they've never done before. 

I've done a bit of climbing but found the risks involved (especially when there are easier routes available) to not be worth all the extra effort. That doesn't mean I don't want to get to the top and find out what the world looks like from up there. It just means I'm too careful, and perhaps too lazy.

I'd rather hike to the top, taking my time and  enjoying the journey, but I can understand why people want to push their limits, too, especially the young guys who enjoy the thrill. But even for them, that sense of adventure and curiousity is shared by us all.

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