Everest- the show

12:07 p.m. on November 3, 2006 (EST)
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Hey I thought I'd pass along some information about this show that I'm working on for my marketing job. The show is called Everest, and it debuts next week on the Discovery Channel.

It follows an inexperienced group of climbers trying to trek the mountain during this climbing season.

Given the nature of this board, I figured you may have some interest or questions about it. Feel free to ask!

You can also find more information here:
http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/everestbeyond/everestbeyond.html?clik=netmain_feat1

12:46 p.m. on November 3, 2006 (EST)
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Gee, just what we need - NOT!

Yet another oversensationalized made for TV movie about a bunch of inexperienced (trailer's own statement) "9 heroic men and one heroic woman" setting out to "conquer" Everest, having paid, what's the going price to have some Sherpas haul you up the mountain (most of the cost going into some non-Sherpa's pocket), $65,000 each. The trailer includes lots of "people die up here", "people lose fingers up here" (with closeups of horribly frostbitten fingers), people falling, and all the "horrendous danger!!!" words and pictures.

Climbing is NOT like that, folks. Yeah, there are people who have a lot more money than sense, and yeah, Everest in particular has become a circus. But that is not what climbing is all about.

Discovery Channel has had some good shows on climbing. But lately it seems that Discovery, History, and several of the other TV channels have felt the need to turn to sensationalism and lots of DANGER!!! and RISK!!! and DEATH!!!

Contrast this kind of garbage with a video like Vertical Frontier, which has been shown recently on PBS stations. Yeah, the photography in the trailer looks pretty, and the scenery around Everest is great. (By the way, several of the falls in the trailer look to have been carefully choreographed, giving me the impression that this is a fictional film, or at least "dramatized").

By the way, nicatrails, you have some terminology wrong - "treking" is hiking the countryside. You do not "trek" to the top of Everest, although you can trek to Everest Base Camp (major commercial industry these days).

3:51 p.m. on November 6, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Gee, just what we need - NOT!

First, the show isn't a movie, it's a show. Second, sorry for the confusion in terminology. I am not an avid climber/treker so I am not too familiar with the terms that are used and what can be interchanged.

I haven't been able to see the show yet, so I can't really tell you if it is sensationalized, which I would imagine that it is not. What I can tell you is that the show seems interesting to me, as a person who likes to learn about climbing and has a husband who loves this type of genre. I would imagine that there are a lot of people out there who attempt this sort of thing a lot and may or may not be successful.

I think that it would be interesting for you, just to see what the climb was like in such a difficult season.

7:37 p.m. on November 6, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Gee, just what we need - NOT!

Judging by the trailer that you linked, the show is sensationalized. Most of the trailer repeated scenes of people falling, closeups of badly frostbitten fingers, exchanges between the expedition leader and people high on the hill arguing over whether to continue in the face of extremely dangerous, probably fatal (leader's statements, repeated several times) conditions, and repeated statements about how these "9 heroic men and one heroic woman" continued in the face of extremely risky conditions, plus repeated statements by the narrator of the trailer about how some will die and others will lose limbs.

Real climbers don't do that sort of thing. At the least, the trailer grossly misrepresents mountaineering. Anyone who continues in the face of such odds, against the advice of an experienced expedition leader is not "heroic", but suicidal.

There is an old saying among mountaineers, "Getting to the summit is optional, getting off the mountain alive is not." The general consensus among climbers is that you have not climbed the mountain until you return home alive.

Yes, there are people who will try to bag a summit, regardless of how ill-equipped or inexperienced they are. There are people who will demand that they be taken to the summit, since they paid their $65,000 (typical fee by guide services for Everest), regardless of the consequences. Just as there are people who play Russian roulette for fun, or people who go over Niagra Falls in a homemade barrel, or people who imitate the stunts on Jackass, despite the disclaimers of "do not try this at home", or "professional driver on a closed course". Is watching someone jump off a building fun and enjoyable? Oh, yeah, I forgot, there are TV shows devoted to this sort of thing, so I guess there must be a market for it.

3:30 p.m. on November 7, 2006 (EST)
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Totally sensationalized!!

Need to sell copy. Count the number of times the word "extreme" is used, that's a good indicator.

Totally hyped up. How could it not be?

To portray this as "climbing" does a disservice to folks who really do climb. This is a reality show with an "extreme" twist is all. Hyped up, cut and pasted, totally packaged for "extreme" consumption.

I'm with Bill, except, I'd probably try to watch it as I can relate at bit to some of the stuff, although it'd probably make me puke.

"Deadly!" "Extreme!" "Controversy!".

Nah..."Horrendous!"

-Brian in SLC

This year's climbing season on Mount Everest was one of the deadliest on record and also one of the most controversial. In April and May 2006, the Discovery Channel documented Mount Everest summit attempts by climbers in veteran guide Russell Brice's expedition, who is based on the mountain's northern face, in Chinese-controlled Tibet.

Using cutting-edge technologies, including high-altitude video and small cameras mounted to Sherpas' helmets, as well as old-fashioned human determination, the six-part production not only puts viewers on the summit of Everest, but also captures the amazing journey of individuals striving to reach an almost impossible goal.

The series documents the two-month expedition from start to finish, highlighting the struggles, highs, lows and triumphs as people from around the world attempt to reach the world's tallest peak.

EPISODE 1: SUMMIT DREAMS
Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

At three miles above sea level, the base of Mount Everest is already higher than any mountain in the Rockies. Since the human body needs to adjust slowly to rising altitude, it is a huge effort just to begin the climb. The expedition team makes seven overnight stops to get to Base Camp (BC) on the mountain's northern face and will take a full month to acclimatize their bodies before they attempt the summit. The air is thin and the climbers feel physically weak, but the camaraderie is strong.

As the team moves to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 21,000 feet to begin acclimatization climbs, they are shocked to discover how badly their minds and bodies cope. The air is so thin at ABC that helicopter evacuation is impossible.

The expedition members begin climbs up to a ridge at 23,000 feet called the North Col, scaling 1,000-foot ice cliffs along the way.

EPISODE 2: THE GATEKEEPER
Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

At ABC, more than 600 climbers prepare for summit attempts. All the climbers on Russell Brice's expedition must prove they're strong enough to climb from ABC to the North Col in less than five hours or he will not allow them to continue. Bouts of bronchitis and other altitude-related ailments call into question whether some climbers will be forced to head back to BC.

Carrying almost half their body weight in ropes, gear and oxygen, six Sherpas from Russell's team are sent ahead to rig four miles of safety ropes to the summit as the rest of the team continues to acclimatize.

Russell, who religiously checks weather forecasts every six hours, spots a period of light winds in two weeks' time that looks ideal for an early summit attempt. To make this window, however, he'll have to push both his Sherpas and climbers extra hard to be ready two weeks early. More than 130 bottles of oxygen and 90 tents will need to be shifted in preparation for moving up to the North Col — all without tipping off other teams at ABC. And, with a few team members continuing to have difficulty, Russell has tough decisions to make as summit day approaches.

EPISODE 3: TO THE SUMMIT
Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

With all high camps ready and a promising forecast, Russell splits the group into two teams for the five-day, 8,000-foot summit climb from ABC. The strongest climbers are assigned to Team One guided by Bill Crouse, including L.A. firefighter Brett Merrell, ER doctor Terry O'Connor and asthmatic climber Mogens Jensen. Led by guide Mark Woodward, Team Two includes double amputee Mark Inglis, Hollywood biker Tim Medvetz and Lebanese climber Max Chaya.

Sherpas will climb alongside the teams, and they are the climbers' best hope for survival if they get into trouble.

After leaving ABC, the climbers will spend one night in each of four high camps. Just after Camp 3, they will reach the death zone at 26,000 feet, where there is 70 percent less oxygen than at sea level.

On the eve of their departure, Russell strongly warns the group of the very real dangers that lie ahead. He reinforces that the Sherpas are not there to die for anyone's personal ambitions or ego — and warns them that he will withdraw the Sherpas if any of the climbers disobey his orders and put them in danger.

After taping personal videos for their loved ones, the teams set off in good spirits, but on the climb from Camp 1 to Camp 2, Brett begins to struggle. Will the firefighter be forced to abandon his summit dreams for a second year in a row, or will he continue, determined to place a flag at the summit to salute his comrades who perished on 9/11?

The climbers face extreme difficulties as they move from camp to camp. Will Mogens, an asthmatic, be able to cope without oxygen? Can Tim, consistently slower than the others and suffering from bronchitis, make it to the high camps? How will Mark's lack of mobility affect him? And will Russell's gamble on an early summit bid pay off for the team?

EPISODE 4: INTO THE DEATH ZONE
Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Team One is the first to head into the death zone, where the extreme altitude shuts down digestion and the body starts to consume its own muscle tissue for energy.

After only a few hours at the top camp, Team One leaves in the darkness at 1 a.m. for the summit. Almost immediately, they are caught in a frustrating human traffic jam that stops them in their tracks. If they can't pass some of the slow climbers on the ropes ahead of them, they could run out of time…and oxygen.

The episode vividly shows the backups that occur at the top of Everest — a shocking row of people lined up on safety ropes — and the potentially fatal risks that inexperienced climbers pose to everyone on the mountain. As frostbite sets in and oxygen tanks empty, will Team One be able to summit and descend safely?

EPISODE 5: MUTINY ON THE MOUNTAIN
Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Members of Team One cope with the aftermath of their summit attempts. Many climbers are in danger from frostbite in the minus 40 degree F temperatures.

Russell instructs Team Two, now at the top camp and ready to begin their summit attempt, to leave two hours early to try to beat the traffic. Although this might help, it also means an extra two hours in the elements before the sun rises on a very cold day. While some climbers make a strong start, others immediately struggle.

Two of the team's slower climbers create havoc on the mountain when they refuse to obey Russell's orders. Because 80 percent of all climbing accidents happen on descent, Russell and others in the lower camps become gravely concerned.

EPISODE 6: THE FINAL COST
Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

As everyone descends, the entire team suffers from the extreme cold. Frostbite affects more climbers on Russell's expedition than ever before.

For each one who made the trek, whether or not they made the summit, the most important trip will be the one home. The climbers reflect on this year's expedition and whether or not they'll return to the mountain.

4:22 p.m. on November 7, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Totally sensationalized!!

Wow, I didn't expect to get this type of reactrion. But your opinions are always good, even if they are not optimistic about the show. I can't really tell you if it is sensationalized or not, just bc I am not an avid outdoors person, but I think it would be an itneresting show to watch even if you are expereienced bc of the shots of the mountain. I mean at least for that it will be cool to see.

12:45 p.m. on November 8, 2006 (EST)
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No drama = boring TV

The idea when you're on the mountain is to have as little drama as possible, but no drama = boring TV for most.

4:51 p.m. on November 8, 2006 (EST)
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Re: No drama = boring TV

Understood. But, it's not like the drama or issues that take place on the show are fabricated. While that may be the ideal situation for a climb, that's just not waht happened in this situation, which makes it even more intriguiging to watch I think.

9:48 p.m. on November 8, 2006 (EST)
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Re: No drama = boring TV

Yeah, but ...

Consider the "news" shows. How much good, happy, pleasant news is there in a typical week on any given nightly news show? one or two stories, maybe? Most of it is the latest murders, missing persons, war stories, political scandals, etc. As adam says, no drama = no audience (at least in the eyes of the producers. The more sensational the better, from their standpoint.

It used to be that History, Discovery, The Learning Channel (now called TLC), and many other channels had informative, factual programs. Now they are doing "Shows" (ain't the same as programs, even if you don't call them "movies"). Many are highly "dramatized", or "re-enacted". Just like the "news" programs (many of which feature fanatical extremists screaming their commentary, and note it is both far left and far right, doesn't seem to be any moderates or unbiased presentations anymore), what is presented is selected for being "Extreme!", "Horrifying!", and so on. You keep coming back to saying that the show will be interesting for "showing what it is like", except as Brian, adam, and I have said, if the trailer is representative (and you say you are working on the marketing of the program, so I assume you have seen enough of the program to tell us), that ain't what real climbing is like. As I noted before, there are several sequences in the trailer of people falling that look very much like they were staged (person exactly centered in the frame, zooming in at the precise moment the person slips, very nice coincidence). The cameras just happened to be rolling on the expedition leader and the persons arguing with him on the radio at both ends - nice coincidence, if it really happened that way. Well, maybe you would say it was "dramatized", which means, really, that the incident is recreated by actors, professional or amateur. It also looksl and sounds like there is a lot of judicious editing. Which means, just like the news media, selecting the most "Sensational!", "Extreme!", and otherwise exciting and frankly unrepresentative moments.

Yeah, lots of people like to watch horror movies (Psycho is one of the most watched movies of all time, after all), shoot-em-up Westerns, murder mysteries, war movies, and so on. Sensation sells. But keep in mind, it isn't really like that. It is "entertainment", plain and simple.

Oh, yeah, I might watch some of the episodes. Can't watch them all, even if I am still curious, though, because I will be off doing some real live mountain expedition type activity for the latter ones.

9:47 a.m. on November 9, 2006 (EST)
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Re: No drama = boring TV

Ok, obviously you all are much more knowledgable about the topic than I am. But, what I can tell you is that this show is not like watching a canned reality show that is very cheesy or overdone. I think that it surpasses most of those shows that you watch on network television. And I think that its main goal is to open the eyes to those less experienced climbers about what CAN happen out there. For those of you who know more about it, well, I thought that you would be at least somewhat interested in watching it, which it seems like you are, even given your reservations. So, great!

12:50 p.m. on November 9, 2006 (EST)
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"Reality TV" that isn't...

"But, what I can tell you is that this show is not like watching a canned reality show that is very cheesy or overdone."

Seems very, nay, "extremely" cheesy and overdone. Would have to be to sell copy.

So, compared to what? Based on what criteria?

"I think that it surpasses most of those shows that you watch on network television."

In terms of what? Viewership? Bet it won't hold a candle to Fear Factor for ratings. "Quality"? That's a hard thing to access.

"And I think that its main goal is to open the eyes to those less experienced climbers about what CAN happen out there."

No way. Its main goal is NOT educating less experienced climbers. That's total horse pucky. Its reality "extreme" drama. Survivor meets over hyped Everest. Greatest Race meets fixed ropes and Sherpas. Not even a stretch as "reality". It seems totally geared toward main stream, lowest commmon denominator viewership.

"For those of you who know more about it, well, I thought that you would be at least somewhat interested in watching it, which it seems like you are, even given your reservations. So, great!"

Which is what this is really about, correct? Ratings and viewership, promotion, and sales. Which is why you're here?

Just like Vertical Limit makes a good drinking game. Heck, I even own a copy. But, in no way does it resemble "real climbing". Mildy good entertainment, though, and almost a parody piece.

-Brian in SLC

5:22 p.m. on November 9, 2006 (EST)
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Re: "Reality TV" that isn't...

Actually, I am here to get an idea of what you think about the show once it comes on, and secondly to learn about your thoughts about the show as opposed to selling the show to you. My main goal is just to make you aware that it is out there, if you DO want to catch an episode and also to see what you think once you watch it.

8:10 p.m. on November 9, 2006 (EST)
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Maybe ...

Hey, Brian and adam,

maybe we are being too harsh with the poor girl. After all, it's just "...this show that I'm working on for my marketing job." She's gotta earn her salary. And the marketing fashion these days for the media is "Extreme!" hype.

nica, if you want to know what climbing is really like, look at the IMAX Everest video that Dave Brashears did, or Vertical Frontier that has been showing on PBS recently. Touching the Void is a very accurate re-enactment of a genuine extreme incident that still provokes a lot of discussion in the climbing community, because it was so extreme.

Films like Vertical Limit, MI-2, Cliffhanger, and the like are considered hilarious comedy by real climbers. Some recent programs that have appeared on Discovery and History have presented climbing in the same vein, even though some have been based on real events.

You have said several times that Everest: Beyond the Limit (talk about an Extreme, overly sensational title!) shows what it is really like out there. But, as I have noted, if some of the shots in the trailer were not staged or re-enacted, the camera people were tremendously lucky to have their cameras rolling at the right time in the right place with the right zoom setting and got their pan and zoom-in exactly right. I have done a lot of photography in the hills and know several of the top climbing photographers who photograph real expeditions under the conditions you encounter on Everest (and K2, and even Denali). There is a large amount of skill, experience, and expertise involved, but there is also a lot of luck involved in having the camera pointing in at least the right general direction when something happens.

Given the shots included in the trailer, I have to be very skeptical about the statements that the program shows the "real thing" with no re-enactments or staged shots. The language used in describing and, yes, marketing the show is, as Brian and adam have also pointed out, so "beyond the limit" that my skepticism is heightened even further.

9:41 a.m. on November 10, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Maybe ...

I don't think we're being too harsh. We haven't even gotten into the name calling part yet. ;)

Nica, the trouble you're encountering is caused by the predecessors of this movie/show/whatever-you-call-it. Not many film attempts previous to this one have been very accurate of what it's like on a mountain. Maybe this show will be different, probably not.

Bill, Brian, Didn't we have a regular well respected poster on the predecessor of this site that was on the tech team as a rigger for one the movies Bill listed as comedies? His initial opinion of the movie being accurate was left on the editing room floor.

adam g
from a Remote Undisclosed Location

12:55 p.m. on November 10, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Maybe ...

adam,
I think you may be referring to Scott Billups. His wife did the rotoscoping on Vertical Limit. Actually he warned us it would be rather inaccurate as to real climbing. I recently read Ed Viestur's book, where he makes some comments about his role in the movie (for nica, Viesturs is one of the top Himalayan climbers currently active, having summited his 14th of the fourteen 8000ers last year. He had a cameo appearance in Vertical Limit and was one of several climbing consultants). Anyway, Ed considers that cameo (he had a 1-sentence speaking part) as a blot, and regrets his association with such a movie.

I have a DVD of Vertical Limit, too, "with special added features", among which are scenes as shot, before the backgrounds were put in and the rotoscoping (method of removing the cables, platforms, safety nets, etc from the scenes). Scott had told us to look carefully at the infamous leap across the chasm and sticking the ice tools scene, since the trajectory is so obviously not the parabola dictated by basic physical laws. The raw scene, with the platforms and cable, shows why the path is a concave circular arc, rather than the physically correct convex parabolic curve.

Haven't heard from Scott in a couple years. Wonder whether he ever got back to climbing.

By the way, Brian, I picked up Ed's book at my local Costco at a substantial discount. On mine, the dust jacket, fly leaf, and several other places very prominently notes Dave Roberts' part in writing the book. If I recall, your copy did not acknowledge Dave's contribution.

5:00 p.m. on November 10, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Maybe ...

I thought I had some of the details wrong... thanks for clearing it up. Scott was pretty messed up, but pretty lucky.

5:30 p.m. on November 10, 2006 (EST)
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Viesturs...

Wonder if Ed will mind signing my copy of VL tonight, then? Ha ha. Should be interesting. I'm taking it.

Yeah, I think the copy I have (preproduction paperback) mentioned Roberts (says, "with David Roberts"). I asked Viesturs, jokingly, what he got out of Roberts with regard to the book. He said, "well, he wrote it". He kinda didn't get my point, which, was maybe a good thing.

He's in town tonight.

I support my local bookseller, Kings English, and proudly paid full price for two copies.

Yeah, Ed in VL is almost painful to watch. More funny is the look on Barry Blanchard's face when the lead dude is going on and on about how awesome Ed is.

-Brian in SLC

11:04 p.m. on November 10, 2006 (EST)
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The entire concept of this movie is preposterous from the get go. Perhaps it should be worded " a group of inexperienced trekers decide to climb Everest". The movie and concept is an insult to climbers and especially to those who have climbed and those that have died on Everest and every alpine peak. This is just as stupid as a movie about a bunch of non-climbers arriving in Yosemite Valley and climbing Astroman. In the movie they'd die falling from the harding crack, but in reality they couldn't even get off the ground cause it was too hard. Despite all the BS, Everest is a difficult deadly mountain and no one makes it up without atleast really good to excellent alpine skills. No one is strong enough to carry another down much less up above the death zone, you have to be in excellent almost freaky good condition to even get a shot at it and the concept that you just pay someone and they strap crampons on you and you become a world climber is just ridiculous.

Why not choose a reasonable more normal mountain to die on - a bunch of LaLa people climb Mt Whitney on a warm january day with no food water packs or coats and they all die.
Jim YMMV
P.S. Soap box off - sorry I just learned of the climbing death of a friend who was a world class alpine climber and I being protective. John was a real climber and what he said was this "Only you know where you've been". Means most climbers are kinda shy about talikng about their climbs because its far too complex to relate and only a few would know what you were talking about anyway.
P.P.S. Couldn't you find any good footage of bodies frozen in snow and mangled faces looking up through ice?

3:11 a.m. on November 11, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Maybe ...

No, we're not being too harsh. Too many companies make show and/or movies depicting climbers as adreniline-deficient junkies. Thats not what climbing is about at all. Maybe it is for some, but not for most. If the shows and movies would show what climbing is really like, it would be just as interesting, and far more informative to the general public.

4:32 p.m. on November 13, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Maybe ...

I just want to clarify one small detail, though...the show is actually not trying to show what mountain climbing is like for preofessionals, it is depicting what is is like for a group of unexperiences climbers trying to go up Everest. So, it is a little different than what you are talking about.

4:49 p.m. on November 13, 2006 (EST)
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Basically what you are looking at with this show is "Reality" has finally made it to Everest and that is stupid. Everest has already been ruined by inexperienced people buying their way up and now the TV industry is sealing the deal by putting it all on cable TV - permanent for the record. Will the mountain ever recover? Who knows? Mother Nature always wins in the end I guess.

Message to Discovery Channel: Please stop it!

4:50 p.m. on November 13, 2006 (EST)
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Clarificationn in first sentence: "Reality TV" is what I meant to type.

6:25 p.m. on November 13, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Maybe ...

nicatrails said "the show is actually not trying to show what mountain climbing is like for preofessionals, it is depicting what is is like for a group of unexperiences climbers trying to go up Everest."

Well, none of us who post here on this website are anything close to professionals. And, according to the trailer and the website, the expedition organizer is a professional guide and makes his living running this type of expedition, which makes him a professional, I believe. He makes a statement in the "about the cast" section that the people who are accepted for his expeditions are screened for experience, so saying it is a "group of unexperiences climbers" (I assume you mean "inexperienced") is a bit disingenuous. An important point that all the replies to you have been trying to make is that truly inexperienced people do not belong on a mountain like Everest. Making a TV show out of it is like making a TV show about attempted (and successful) group suicide attempts. The trailer even plays this up ("People die up here!", delivered in an excited, overwrought shout).

The climbers probably are much less experienced than is advisable for such an expedition. One of the real tragedies of Everest is that far too many people pay their $65,000 and have far too little experience and judgment to be on such a mountain. It has indeed become a circus. But that is no reason to glorify such "heroic" would-be suicides. In fact, that is the very reason publicity about such people should not be granted in the form of, as others have put it, a "Reality TV" show.

I notice, by the way, that the trailer being shown on Discovery and other channels is much more subdued than the one you linked.

Discovery could have done a positive service by examining the question of why people want to engage in such risky undertakings, with so little experience (minimum requirements by the guide services are having ascended a certain number of high altitude peaks under a variety of conditions), and with so little knowledge of what they are really getting into. Why do people engage in other risky activities that have potentially such extreme consequences? In such an examination, terminology like "Extreme!", "heroic!", "disaster!", and the rest of the terms in the trailer and the publicity website should be left out.

One thing I have seen more and more in the past 10-15 years is the number of men (and increasingly, women) in their 40s and 50s who all of a sudden get the urge to climb a challenging mountain, never having done much more than a few short backpacking trips, if that. I went on a climb of several of the Mexican volcanoes that a friend was guiding for one of the major adventure travel companies, invited along as an unofficial assistant. Now these volcanoes are not all that difficult, if conditions are perfect. But they have dangers that put them far out of the risk level of hiking up, say, Mt. Monadnock in New England, or Mt. Dana on the eastern border of Yosemite National Park. Severe storms can come up, and it is possible for the inexperienced to fall and slide a very long way. But these clients of my friend were talking about being in "The Death Zone" even at the cars at the trailheads at 10,000 to 13,000 ft altitude (the "Death Zone" is considered by high altitude medical specialists to start at 26,000 ft, not 10,000). Yes, people do get AMS as low as 8000 ft. And, as it turned out, the group never got higher than 16,000 ft on any of the peaks. Over half the group (including those taking Diamox as a preventative) got AMS severely enough that my friend, his real assistant, and I, the unofficial assistant, basically had to haul them down from the high point on Orizaba. After the trip, the group were all excitedly talking about how they had cheated death. So what is the psychology of people that they want to believe they are doing death-defying acts? And what drives them to charge off with eyes closed on something like Everest, where there are known severe consequences for having such a lack of skill and experience? And, what is it that triggers the "mid-life crisis" that sends them into risky activities for which they have little training or experience?

Several of the people who have responded to your initial post have been climbing for literally decades, not like these one-week "heroes" who suddenly decide at age 45 to "climb Everest!", then drop out of climbing after a total of maybe 3 or 4 years. Discovery could have done a positive service by examining what makes the difference between those of us who have been climbing for decades and these one-climb "heroes", who drop out as quickly as they started. Instead, we get "Sensational!" trailers and shows.

12:21 p.m. on November 15, 2006 (EST)
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1st installment

Since I was at a meeting last night, I recorded the 1st installment of the show. Good thing, too! I got to skip over something like 20 minutes of commercials. And when you take out all the "re-start" review after each commercial session, there probably was less than a half-hour of content in the hour-long "show". I guess the commercial breaks are so long that they have to review, because you will have forgotten what happened in the last segment.

Anyway, despite the trailer, the show started reasonably. I did misunderstand a couple things in the trailer. It wasn't "9 heroic men and one heroic woman" - don't know how I got that. It was "8 heroic men and ..." something about the super guide. But as you get into the show (and as those of us who have done a bit of reading about Everest know), an Everest expedition these days involves a whole bunch more people - for example, they did not mention in the trailer that there was an expedition doctor, several more guides (Russell Brice, the "super guide" and expedition leader stays at Base Camp - don't get me wrong, Brice is indeed a very experienced guide and has been on Everest many times), plus a lot of Sherpas to schlep the gear up the hill.

Unfortunately, the show deteriorated rapidly into an obsession with disasters. We find out that the clients are mostly "walking wounded" before they even get to the mountain. This is not to take away from their skills, previous experience, or determination. It's just that the show and narrator obsess on their weaknesses - a double amputee (from being stuck apparently for a couple weeks on Mt Cook in New Zealand, too many images of severe frostbite), a guy with serious asthma, a motorcycle mechanic who seems from the Xrays they show to have about half his skeleton replaced or reinforced with screws, plates, and cages, a guy who was on Everest the year before and didn't make it beyond Advanced Base (except there was a comment about his high point being the North Col camp), and others.

So far, we have seen a Sherpa die from HACE, and Indian team member get hauled down with HACE and HAPE, the motorcycle guy turn back half-way from ABC to the North Col on a conditioning climb (next installment preview hints that he gets thrown off the team), cameraman carried down the mountain on a stretcher, someone getting piggybacked down the mountain with some level of altitude sickness, lots of closeups of someone's cramponed feet scraping on a tiny ledge, one of the Indian climber's evacuation team falling on the descent off the face and spearing the guy below him with his crampons and knocking that guy down, and so on.

Lots of talk about how little oxygen there is (volume density does indeed drop with altitude). There is a scene of the team doctor helping a Spanish climber who apparently has AMS. They show the pulse-ox meter - something like 50% saturation at, I think it was 21,000 ft. Normal at sea level is in the high 90% range (I measure 98%), and dropping as you go up. After acclimatizing, the saturation does rise (at the 17,000 ft camp on Denali, I measured back up in the 90% range after a few days, benefited by sticking to a 1000 ft a day regimen, but I acclimatize quite well compared to most people). At sea level, the Spaniard's measurement of 50% would have put him in the ICU, as the team doctor commented.

Anyway, there were some good segments which were informative, but my estimate is that over half of the actual show (omitting the commercials and reviews) was focussed on the problems. Something between 5 and 10 minutes was spent on getting the Indian HACE/HAPE victim down the hill to ABC from the North Col.

Oh, yeah, we already know from the preview that the double amputee breaks one of his prosthetics, the ones with the crampons bolted to the feet, somewhere high up where the crampons are needed.

Curious thing - I didn't stop the recording to get a closer look, but it looked like the crampons the LA fireman was using were Grivel Airtech Light aluminums. I have a pair of these, and they are great for approaches and on glaciers, but are not intended for anything technical, plus they do get dull fast if you spend much time on rock (a lot of Everest has rock mixed with the snow and ice).

Discovery, you missed a great opportunity to do it right. Your disaster show is a disaster.

8:24 p.m. on November 15, 2006 (EST)
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Re: 1st installment

Bill, Jim, et al., I don't have cable so my chances of seeing this series are less than optimal, but I have been following this thread with interest.

When the "Into Thin Air" debacle happened back in '96, there was a lot of controversy over just what this show apparently depicts-an experienced guide team taking climbers of modest skills and experience up one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. As far as I know, that, plus some bad luck, got Rob Hall and a few others killed.

I have a very modest amount of experience in the mountains. Even when I was in my best condition, I knew, as much I might have imagined it, there was no way I was qualified to climb a big mountain. Other folks, who have the money and the ego, think otherwise, and there will always be guides willing to take the risk to take these big mountain wannabes to the summit, or at least as far as they are capable of going.

Those are the choices they make-guides like Brice want to climb, want someone else to pay for it and guiding is how they do it. The clients want the experience and bragging rights. I don't think it makes them bad people, just unrealistic as to the danger vs. the rewards.

If I had a spare $20M, I'd love to go to the space station for a week; wouldn't make me an astronaut, but it'd be an amazing experience. On the other hand, if it meant endangering everyone else on the mission, then I would hope someone would say no, you can't come because you might get the rest of us killed and we don't want that risk.

As far as the hype on the show is concerned, my guess is much of the drama is manufactured. By that I don't mean that the events were set up, although that is a distinct possibility, but footage gets compressed and edited for the most dramatic effect. I have friends who work in reality tv. A lot of what passes for drama is created in the editing room. As far as the on the mountain drama, the fact that everyone apparently got back, not all that much worse for the wear shows that the situation probably wasn't as death defying as they would have you believe. Not that I think climbing Everest isn't dangerous; no doubt it is, but not all expeditions have the big dramatic moments, otherwise we'd be reading about them every week.

A friend of mine is developing a reality show on SAR. One thing he's been told is that the networks want "extreme" adventures. Just showing a SAR team out looking for a missing kid, as dramatic as that may be,isn't enough. They want the "dangling from the helo in avalanche country" kind of extreme. It's Discovery that runs "Shark Week" and you'd think from that every time you go into the ocean, a shark is out there just waiting to nibble on you. Total baloney.

After reading the episode guides Brian posted, I don't really see what all the fuss is about. Aside from some hyping of the drama, it sounds pretty much what I would expect for a show about a commercial climb. I remember my basic climbing class; some of us were more adept at it than others and some of us were stronger than others (I sort of fit into the "others" category). This bunch probably wasn't much different, except the stakes were much higher.

A show about my climbing class would have been a real snore. Other than my falling chest deep into a crevasse and one of our guides getting whacked on the head with an ice axe (a surprising bit of blood, but no real damage), it was pretty low key. But for me, an adventure nonetheless and I must say, the view from the top of the little mountain we climbed was spectacular. It wasn't Everest, but then, it wasn't $65K and a bunch of frozen toes either. Hehehe.

8:30 p.m. on November 15, 2006 (EST)
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Re: 1st installment

Hmm, I re-read Bill's post and see that I missed the part about the Sherpa dying and the other climber being evac'd. Not sure if they were from Brice's party, but something like that seems to happen at least once a season. Not my intent to gloss over his death because he was a Sherpa in case anyone got that idea.

10:32 a.m. on November 16, 2006 (EST)
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Because I enjoyed the movie Into Thin Air I was interested in seeing this new reality show.I watched the first episode and loved it. I have always been fascinated with Everest and enjoy seeing actual pictures of the beautiful scenery. Seeing and sort of "meeting" the type of individuals who would try an ascent is intriguing. I like getting to "know " more about the person. The sad reality is someone will die from adema(sp)or suffer from altitude sickness to the point of having to leave the expedition.
What I hate seeing is all trash left behind and dead bodies left behind from other expeditions. It truly points out how money can get you anything whether you deserve it or not. This reality shows the "harsh" reality of mountain climbing the Queen of them all and the possiblity of losing your life over your ego and pride. I will watch each episode just because I am interested in the total endeavor of the climb and the sacrifices people make to do it.

12:51 p.m. on November 16, 2006 (EST)
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Do not see "Everest: Beyond the Limit"!

The man who led this expedition is ruthless despite how he appears on TV. Commercializing Everest is one thing, letting fellow climbers die because his clients wanted to summit is shameful. Mountaineering is not all about summits; human life is a precious thing, and to resort to cutting ropes, stealing from high camps, letting his clients climb wiht faulty equipment, and spitting on the lives of dying men is another. This man advised people to pass David Sharp last spring as he was dying - very visibly - near the summit of Everest. If you are an avid mountaineer, then you will know one of the #1 principle is this: always help a climber in need. A rescue team would have sufficed. Everest over the years has become a commercial venture where people pay 50k and expect a summit because of their investment. It's no surprise that Everest climbers on the North side are so cold towards others.

How uncompassionate was his decision? His Sherpas talked to David just 1 hour before he died, as he was saying that he was dying. Guess what they were doing? You guessed it. Filming the Discovery Channel documentary! They have it on tape but did not release it at David Sharp's familys request. Be aware, this is not a fault of the sherpas, who could have brought Daniel back to Base Camp quickly enough to save him, according to many mountaineers and doctors (see explorersweb for more information). 40 people passed this man as he lay cropped against a rock to die, mostly from the Himex team that Brice led!

Boycott this show!!

___________________
Explorersweb article about the show and Discovery Channel's insistance that they publicize it.

http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?news=15279


______________________________
Russell Brice cover-up

http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=10064

________________________

Dr. Morandeira: “Could David Sharp have been saved? Definitely”

http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=10071

1:03 p.m. on November 16, 2006 (EST)
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LOVED THE SHOW!!

I have done some trekking in Nepal. Am not a climber but have hiked the Annapurna circuit and crossed the Thorung-la pass @ over 17,500 feet. I love seeing any show with the mountain scenes in Nepal/Tibet. I am excited to see the rest of it. I know it's contoversial. I can't believe so many people walked over a dying climber without helping him down. This is not the point of the show.

1:26 p.m. on November 16, 2006 (EST)
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Re: 1st installment

Tom,
The young Sherpa who died at Base Camp, before they even got on the mountain was with Brice's party. He was one of the cooks. His death was from some form of acute altitude sickness, although I don't recall them saying what it was. It did show that the old canard about Sherpas being immune to AMS, HAPE, and HACE is another of the false legends. They need to be careful, just like any other human. There has been an effort in the past few years to train Sherpas in modern mountaineering techniques, which will help them set up and run their own guide services. One of these projects is the Khumbu Project, which is the brainchild of Conrad Anker.

The other evacuee who was prominently featured (we haven't been told his ultimate fate yet on the show) was on an Indian team. There was some comment about 70+ teams being at Advance Base Camp.

I understand your comment about the networks wanting "Extreme!" footage and making the events much more dramatic. Although that isn't completely the case. After all, OLN (now called VS, as in "versus") has fishing and hunting shows on which you watch some fly fisherman casting and casting and casting or some hunters sitting in a blind whispering to each other for 10 or 15 minutes before firing one shot, and there are the golf shows where we get to watch silent crowds staring at Tiger Woods or some other multimillionaire carefully lining up on a putt for several minutes at a time. But yeah, violence sells, "extreme" and "dangerous" sell. I see all sorts of series on the cable networks (I mean in the listings, since I don't watch them) about Shark Attacks (which you mentioned), something like "I should have died", "Extreme Adventure", plus fake "survivor" shows and such.

My problem is that the concentration of the shows is on the death and destruction, with full closeup detail of the blood and gore. Was it really necessary to show closeups of the Indian guy vomiting? Did we really need to see the Xrays of the motorcycle guy's plates, screws, and metal spinal cage? Yes, there is a risk of death or serious, permanent injury on a climb like Everest. There is a risk of death or serious injury every time I get in my car and get on the road (a neighbor of mine, late 80s in age, rear-ended me at a stop sign about 4 blocks from our houses, never put on the brakes - seems her meds were getting screwed up, enough so that she was hospitalized a week later and died a week after that - not from the accident, but from her body just giving out - she could have hit the accelerator rather than the brake in her condition, which would have resulted in serious injury to both of us). I risk death and serious injury every time I go on a bike ride (seems like we get a bike death every couple weeks here in the SFBay Area).

My problem with the Everest: Beyond the Limit is that the emphasis and main focus of the show is on the death, injury, "extreme" risk, and such. I also have a problem with the viewpoint presented that the major reason that people climb, not just Everest, but other mountains as well, is ego and having lots of money. Yes, there are people who do it for that, and that is probably a major reason why people buy Cadillacs, Mercedes, Ferraris, and such (look at the current Cadillac SUV ads for a prime example). But the majority of people I know who climb and who I climb with do not have gobs of money, and they don't climb for ego. This show presents people who climb generally as a bunch of crazy (as in "certifiably insane"), obsessed, rich folks. Most climbers I know are closer to dirt bag, homeless people than they are to Bill Gates. Well, I exagerate, they aren't quite that poor. Most of them know the risks and take account of them in being very careful.

Ok, I realize that the nature of a large fraction of the people who go to Everest these days, and who go for the 7 Summits do have more money than sense. A lot seem to believe "it won't happen to me." I suspect that some of them are among the people who blast past me on the freeway at rush hour, weaving back and forth from lane to lane (it always amuses me that after 5 miles of this, they almost always are no more than a couple car lengths ahead of me, and are often several car lengths back). Some of them are probably among the people who seem to believe that driving a big SUV gives them the right of way on the road and exempts them from the traffic laws, like stopping at a stop sign.

Shows like this just encourage people like that. If the show had focused on what it really takes to climb Everest, namely a lot of physical effort, lots of slogging with heavy loads, lots of help from the Sherpas carrying your loads, and so on, I suppose you are right that viewers these days would just yawn and switch to Shark Attack. Even the Weather Channel is in the act - Storm Stories and other similar shows with lots of death and destruction by tornados, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Seconds to Disaster is a prime example of the cutting to leave only the "drama", although that does provide some "lessons learned".

well, enough of this drivel.

1:40 p.m. on November 16, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

annie said "I can't believe so many people walked over a dying climber without helping him down. This is not the point of the show."

Sorry, annie, as dnlgerber noted, it was in fact the team featured in this show who very notably walked past Sharp. I haven't commented on it, because I wanted to see if they mentioned it in the later episodes. One of the things already made evident in the first episode is that this team had summit fever from day one and were intent on getting there no matter what. That's part of what several posters have referred to in comments about the attitude of many of the climbers that "I paid my $65k (or $40k on a bargain tour), and I am therefore guranteed a summit".

I get the feeling that so much of the show time was spent on the Brice expedition doctor helping other groups and the effort of the evacuation of the Indian climber is an effort to portray Brice and his expedition as being very helpful and considerate of others, and hence to avoid the fact that Brice ordered his people to forget about Sharp. I have been wondering about the scene in the trailer and "upcoming episodes" where Brice admits "I'm sorry, I made a mistake up there, it was a wrong decision."

8:56 p.m. on November 16, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Bill, I pretty much agree with you. Maybe they should have had Huell Howser do the show. (For you non-Californians, Huell's a PBS host who travels all over the state doing shows about interesting, or not so interesting,places in CA.)

Here is a story about Brice's party and Sharp; it has some interesting background about Brice and his 2001 climb.
http://tinyurl.com/y3uylg

Another, more detailed account-
http://tinyurl.com/uwbjc

9:19 p.m. on November 16, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Another, very angry account of Brice and his actions. The story isn't signed so no idea who wrote it. They are no fans of Brice and his company.
http://tinyurl.com/y3zblz

A story on the same site about high altitude rescues.
http://tinyurl.com/no8o7

11:09 a.m. on November 17, 2006 (EST)
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Yeeeouch! Most shameful in history...

Nice link, great story.

-Brian in SLC

"Six-part series about greed, blind ambition and money"

Filmmaker Dick Colthurst says he went to Mount Everest hoping to learn why people risk their lives climbing. After 48 days on Everest, he told AP he still doesn't understand. "While I admire what they do and how they do it, and the sheer mental and physical strength that it takes to do it, I'm honestly no nearer to understanding why they do it," the executive producer for London-based Tigress Productions, told The Associated Press.

Of course he doesn't understand - the soul of high altitude climbing won't show in 48 days - even less through the eyes of Himex.

"My name is David Sharp, I am with Asian Trekking" were the last words of a dying independent climber speaking into Discovery Channel's camera. Then, the camera was shut off, and the crew was ordered by Russell Brice to descend. David died later that night, alone out in the cold, a mere one hour's climb from the warmth of high camp.

But we won't get to see that. Whatever it is we will see on Tuesday, it won't be about mountaineering - or Everest even. It will be a six-part series about greed, blind ambition and money. Such a documentary airing on a channel like Discovery is yet another nail in the coffin for Everest climbing.

2:44 a.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

It is sad that Sharp died up there BUT ALL people take the risk of death when trying to climb Everest. From what I have read Sharp was up there on his own, he didn't have ANY support team up there with him on his push for the summit. You are kind of on your own when you decide to climb Everest, knowing the risks, ESPECIALLY without support. He was playing Russian Roullet. So this team being filmed brought along a doctor who seems to be helping all the others teams up there. It is risky business to pull someone off of a mountain. Should they have risked their own lives saving a stranger who was irresponsible enough to try to climb Everest without a support team. It is sad and senseless that people die up there and I think it is fair to say that ANYONE who goes there has to go there with the understanding that they might not be coming back and EVERYONE who goes there is there to summit Everest wants to make it happen. I'd be pissed if I spent my life savings to follow my dream only to find that my team had to take care of every other team who came unprepared. People shouldnt't be cheaping out when it comes to something as serious as climbing Everest, it's not a day hike. I bet if Sharp could do it over he would have spent a little more money on a support team! Was Sharp assuming that if he went alone that strangers would risk their lives to drag him down? I am guessing not, I'm sure he knew the risks and didn't expect other people would drag him down if he got into trouble. It is such risky business that most of the people who die up there are left up there forever.

8:30 a.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Annie, Remember what you just wrote if someday your laying near death along the side of the road. Why should anyone stop to help, afterall they're coffee is getting cold, why should they waste that money spent for the coffee? Or does this only apply to your 'life long dream' attempt?

Sharp was only an hour from camp but the cast of characters opted for their summit in lieu of saving a life.

Very little of the attitudes & personalities seen on Everest represents the rest of us that spend time in the mountains but the viewing public doesn't understand this.

Annie, you may like the show for the entertainment value but it's a disservice to those of us who go to the mountains.

adam

1:24 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Annie-
Judging from what you wrote, you do not do any climbing. The point many of the posters are trying to make is that if you go out in the hills, you have a responsibility for your fellow climbers. You help them, just as you expect them to help you. Yes, it is the Golden Rule and the Categorical Imperative, and true, society today has forgotten about those basic rules of civilization. But the majority of climbers, and especially expedition climbers, do follow them. Everest: Beyond the Limit glorifies one of the few, Russell Brice, who violates and ignores those basic, unwritten rules of the mountaineering game.

The "expedition doctor", by the way, was NOT on the HimEx team as an official expedition doctor. He was a paying client, just like the others. In doing what he did to help other teams, he was following the Hippocratic Oath that all MDs take, and doing what the majority of mountaineers do. According to reports from other teams that appeared during the expedition season last year on Everest.com and other websites, he got chewed out by Brice for spending so much time with other teams.

You said, "...ALL people take the risk of death when trying to climb Everest."

Yes, true. But we all, including you, live with the risk of death in our daily lives. As the old "joke" goes, the number one cause of death is being born - everyone who is born will or has died. No matter where you live, you are subject to natural disasters. I live next to the San Andreas Fault, and went through the Loma Prieta shaker in 1989. It wasn't all that big, but something like 50 or 60 people died. I lived for 10 years in Mississippi, where we had dozens of tornadoes every year (but I didn't live in a "tornado magnet", aka mobile home park). I bicycle a lot, including daily commuting most of my life before retiring, which is high risk. I drive on freeways, and even city streets (more than half of all car accidents happen on streets, and the fatality rate on city streets is astoundingly high). We all live with the risk of fatal diseases, many of which have a high contributing factor of our genetics (that is, we have ancestors who passed down potentially fatal genes).

So making a statement about going to Everest carrying the risk of death ignores the fact that the majority of people die in bed. So should we not get into beds? The reason, of course is that people spend more of their lives in bed than anywhere else, 1/3 of every day.

You might not think about the risks of sudden, violent, painful death in your everyday life, but it is there, whether it be getting run down while crossing the street, burned alive when the building you are in catches fire accidentally, getting served a contaminated meal in a restaurant, getting poisoned when something goes wrong with the city water system, or having some crazy setting off car bombs, engaging in a gun battle as you happen to drive by, or whatever.

Take your choice - you can sit on the couch watching Everest: Beyond the Limit portraying wannabe "heroes" ignoring common sense safety practices to tag the top of some peak, while your arteries clog and result in a heart attack or stroke, or get out there in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery, exercising to stay in good health, and taking the occasional "risk" (that probably is less than on the drive home from work). You can die as a couch potato or having a great adventure.

You also said, "I'd be pissed if I spent my life savings to follow my dream only to find that my team had to take care of every other team who came unprepared."

Sorry, but that's part of the game - responsibility for others. As adam hinted, if we see a car accident, we have a moral and ethical obligation to help the victims in any way we can. How will you feel when you are injured in a serious car crash (50% of Americans are in a serious car crash during their lifetimes - look at the insurance company statistics!), and no one stops to help or bothers to at least call 911? In Brice's case, he ORDERED his people, including "his" Sherpas and film crew to continue to the summit. Look, the mountain will be there another day. What is more important, the summit or a human life? You seem to feel that the money is more important - "...I'd be pissed if I spent my life savings to follow my dream only to find that my team had to take care of every other team who came unprepared." Everyone who climbs knows, or should know, that the money is no guarantee of success. There is no guarantee that you or anyone else will ever achieve your dream - that's why they are called "dreams", after all. Some dream of being "world-famous" whatever, and are disappointed and depressed because they don't achieve the notoriety (OTOH, being "world-famous" carries costs that most people don't realize and a lot of "world-famous" people discover to their regret that the costs are too great).

Something else you are ignoring, or maybe just don't realize, is that Sharp is just one of many people who do things like climbing solo. Some of those depend on others being there to help or to leach off of. Some do it to "prove" something. Some do it because they prefer to be self-sufficient - you only have responsibility for yourself, and only yourself to blame if something goes wrong. But Sharp wasn't truly solo. He had come on someone else's permit, and his supplies and gear were transported by that organization. It is true, however, that this "organization" just exists to provide an umbrella for those who want to do things solo or in tiny groups.

Just so you know, I hike an average of about 50 miles a week, plus 100 miles a week bicycling. In season, part of those miles get converted to skiing miles. And a day or so a week is spent climbing, except for the 2 or 3 times a year when I head out for a week to a month on a climbing trip (I leave for 3-4 weeks of climbing in another 20 days. And like my companions on this trek, I have been doing this sort of thing for about 5 decades, with no serious injuries or accidents). Like most of my climbing partners, I have helped lost and injured hikers, climbers, and backcountry skiers. That's what most climbers are like.

2:20 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Are you trying to impress me with all of your miles Bill S? Speaking of couch potato, how long did it take to write up that last rant?

Adam- He may have been an hour away from camp if he was able to walk but it's a little different when he had been out overnight and was near death by the time Brice's team came across him. He wasn't able to walk. We all know that it would have meant a major rescue operation of carrying the guy. Was the guy with no legs supposed to throw him on his back and carry him down?

If you crunch the numbers, for Every 10 people that summit Everest there is about one death in attempts and summits. Its a little more risky than riding a bike or letting your coffee get cold. This kid went up there with TWO oxygen cylinders, he was out of air before he even got to the top. He went with an outfit that doesn't provide support on the mountain so basically is was there on his own. I would assume Sharp knew that by skimming on oxygen AND going ALONE for the summit he might not come back. It's one thing to help save a person when there is a chance that they might live but by the time the Discovery team got there it was too late.

No I am not a climber. If you read my above posts I stated this. I have done some trekking in Nepal, I am a mountain hiker. Sharp shouldn't have been up there with only two oxygen bottles, on his own and without appropriate gear. His summit attempt was too risky and he brought that risk on by attempting this on his own. Would it be fair if I decided I wanted to climb Everest next May and decided I would skimp on equipment, gear etc hoping someone would save my ass if I got into trouble? The guy didn't even have a way to communicate with anyone below. He shouldn't have been up there. I read he didn't even have appropriate gloves on!
He didn't follow the golden rule of being prepared. It is sad he died but it would have been more sad if more people would have died saving him. It would have taken many hours and possibly a day to rescue this guy, not just an hour. I'm sure if he would have been savable he would have been saved. On all accounts this guy was living popsicle by the time Brice's group stepped over him. its not like they kicked him aside- People tried. You don't hang out on Everest so somene doesn't die alone unless you want to die yourself. Many people stopped and tried to get him going, gave him oxygen etc but he was too far gone. Just because someone WANTS to climb Everest doesn't mean they should be allowed to do it. Climbing Everest is a major deal and you have to be prepared to die when you decide to go there.

2:25 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

It's already been said, but I can't help but reiterate what Adam and Bill have said about the ethical choice between saving a life or making a summit, even the summit of Everest. I personally find it sad that some people think it’s okay to leave a person to their death simply because they are so focused on their own goal, no matter the size of the goal.

I’m a pretty goal-oriented person myself (some would say too much so) and I can barely imagine how disappointing it would be to give up a life-long climbing goal, like Everest is for some. But, I’d personally rather live with that disappointment than the fact that I didn’t step up and help someone in need when I had the chance, especially someone who then died. You can never undo that. Obviously everyone should climb responsibly and within his or her own limits. But even if everyone did there would still be accidents and complications and as human beings we have a responsibility to do what we can to help others in need. It’s not a question of doing what feels fair, but of doing what is right. Surely a life has more value than standing on top of any mountain.

As many of you probably know, later in May, after the David Sharp incident, another climber, Lincoln Hall, was left for dead on Everest. In this case, guide Dan Mazur and his two clients came across Hall and ultimately saved his life. This meant that Mazur and his clients gave up their own summit bid, something Mazur reportedly still feels guilty about. National Geographic Adventure named Mazur in their “Best of Adventure ’07” in the recent December 2006/January 2007 issue. The profile mentions that Mazur has had a marked drop in his Himalaya climbing enrollments, possibly because no one wants a guide who backed off the mountain. I find that last part ludicrous. Personally, I would rather go with a guide who has the proper perspective on life and climbing than someone with summit fever.

When I first learned to ice climb and was introduced to mountaineering several years ago, the guide who taught me described some of his successful and not-so-successful expeditions around the world. One thing he said that has stuck with me is that the mountain will be there tomorrow. I remember that often when making decisions.

Also, I think a large part of the problem is that we tend to avoid getting involved with other people’s problems (whether it’s on the street or in the mountains). Sometimes it’s hard to know when or how to get involved when someone else is in need. My method of deciding is to imagine the person in need is my own son. What would I then want someone else to do in my place? The choice is usually pretty darn clear.

-Alicia

4:39 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Not helping someone near death is just that regardless of the situations that lead up to it.

What if for example while on a trek you got caught in an unexpected snow storm that you weren't prepared for? The people you may encounter will see you as someone under/unprepared for the situation. Should they help you or ignore you? Let you live or let you die?

4:50 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Wrong on the stats...

"If you crunch the numbers, for Every 10 people that summit Everest there is about one death in attempts and summits."

Not quite true.

3010 succesful summits versus 203 deaths.

From 2000-2005, there were 1393 summits, compared with only 27 deaths.

See article below.

I don't know how anyone would feel justified walking by a person in need based on that person making some sort of "mistake". Pretty callous.

-Brian in SLC

A number of large media including Reuters reported today that "the death rate on Everest remains alarmingly high, with about one death for every 10 successful ascents". Media cite an article in the Aug. 26 issue of the British Medical Journal by British Doctor Andrew Sutherland, who states that 15 people died on Everest only this year.

In fact, in the last six years the Everest summit/fatality rate is less than 2% - or 1 death in 50 successful ascents. A climber's relative chance of dying on Everest is less than a third today compared to the nineties and only a fraction of the risk before 1990.

In 2006, there were 11 deaths on around 450 summits - a 2006 summit/fatality rate of 2.4% and an overall (1922-2006) summit/fatality rate of 6.74%.

Here goes a breakdown:
(Years/Summits/Fatalities)

1922-1989; 285/106 (37.19%)
1990-1999; 882/59 (6.69%)
2000-2005; 1393/27 (1.94%)

1922-2006; 3010/203 (6.74%)

Since 1990 there has been an explosion of summiteers and fatality statistics have changed. Up to 1990, the Everest fatality rate is a whopping 37%, with 106 deaths and only 285 summits. Yet from 1990 until 2006, the rate has dropped to 3.8%; thus, the rate decreased to about ten times less than the pre-1990 fatality rate. In the new Millenium, the rate has dropped to below 2%.

Everest only tenth deadliest

The British Doctor states that 15 climbers perished on Everest this spring. It's unclear what facts he bases his report on, as only 11 have been officially confirmed (check below).

Sutherland, who had never been above 8000 meters before his Everest summit this year, elaborates on the cause of the deaths on Everest, offering his opinion that although many of the dead were veteran climbers with experience on peaks above 8,000 meters, "things start getting significantly harder over 8,300 meters."

Yet statistics show that Everest - although tallest - is only number 10 on the list of the 14, 8000ers in terms of fatalities. Annapurna (8,091 m), Nanga Parbat (8,125 m), K2 (8,611 m), Kangchenjunga (8,586 m), Manaslu (8,163 m), Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Makalu (8,485 m), Gasherbrum I (8,080 m), Shisha Pangma (8,027 m) are all deadlier - some, like Annapurna (8,091 m), far deadlier with a summit fatality rate of 40%.

Only this past summer season, K2 (8,611m) and Nanga Parbat (8,125 m) killed 6 climbers on a mere 8 summits between the two peaks.

According to most veteran Himalaya climbers, the main difference on Everest is ignorance, selfish ambition, theft in camps, bad guides, and insufficient supplementary oxygen. Also, the secrecy surrounding Everest is unprecedented on other Himalayan peaks. Veteran climbers criticize not the number of deaths on Everest - but rather the general decay on the peak; which includes hustling of bad oxygen, commercial efforts to discourage independent climbing, indifference to peers in distress and cover ups of accidents.

5:12 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

anniek,
I am glad to see that there is someone out here that liked the show. From what I have heard of my own friends in a poll I have done, they have all liked it also. I can't wait to see tomorrow's...I think that it is going to be very interesting.

5:18 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Wrong on the stats...

The reason why it is safer to climb Everest these days is because people are going more prepared. Check the stats on the non sherpa death rates and what type of expedition they went with. The same big commercial type expeditions that you are slamming are the reason why there are less deaths. These big expeditions offer support. Basically if you pay the money you are set up succeed. You not only have numerous support people on summit day to drag your ass down in case you decide to sit on the top of the mountain and die. You also have trainers, weather reports, communication etc. This is why people pay the money to help them get to the top of Everest. The mountain won't always be there tomorrow for most people who have spent their live savings at one chance to summit only to get to the top and have someone who didnt buy the right gear, didn't bring enough oxygen etc. dying in the snow. I am NOT saying this kid deserved to die because he took too many risks but he did die because he took too many risks. Brice said right on his show as his team was training that the Sherpas arent there to risk their lives to save a paying client. I believe if this kid could have possibly been saved that he would have been saved. I am sure it was a hard thing to see him up there and not have been able to save him as It wasn't possible- it was too late for him.

Trekking in Nepal can't even be prepared to climing Everest. Its stairmaster vs a mountain face. Not really very risky.

5:29 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Several people I know are all waiting for Tuesday. I have class Tuesday nights but I have my TIVO set.

6:11 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Sharp was experienced...

"On that morning, over 40 people went past that young Briton. I was one of the first, radioed and Russ said look Mark, you can’t do anything. He’s been there X number of hours, been there without oxygen, y’know he’s effectively dead. So we carried on. Of those 40 people who went past this young Briton, no-one helped him except for people from our expedition.”

And then he was still alive when they passed him again on the way down?

Was Sharp's third attempt on the peak. He had the experience and equipment. When folks passed him initially, he was fully dressed.

If you get a chance, read Viestur's book, No Shortcuts to the Top". He has some things to say about helping out fellow climbers. And, look at how he and his team helped out others in the '96 debacle. Did they continue filming? No, they pitched in and helped their fellow climbers. Because they felt they had to.

Maybe, for "guides" and "clients", they don't feel the need as they aren't "fellow climbers"? I don't know. If you can help a guy with no legs get up to the summit, you'd think you'd be able to help a guy who's knackered get down. Maybe if Mazur had been the guide on that day, Sharp would still be alive?

I'm not sure I could walk past a dying person on the way to any summit. Could you? I guess I'm not really a guide or a client, in that mindset, perhaps.

Everest seems to be monopolized by these huge expeditions. Far cry from the bar Messner set on his solo trip there.

I think it taints your ascent, not in the least, that you stepped over a dying man on the way to your own glory. Something to be proud of?

Of course, there's something to "Discover" here...worth more than yet another over hyped, bought and sold, blown out Everest expedition. Maybe someone will make a nice documentary on it. Ie, there's reality TV, then there's reality...

Crazy stuff.

-Brian in SLC

7:27 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Money Spent vs. Life

What concerns me most is the arrogant idea that if you paid enough money (or more money than someone else) and/or your ambitions are big enough then you don’t have to get involved and help another person in need.

In that case, how much money determines that you get to look the other way anyhow? Is there a scale that says $60,000 or a life-long dream means I can ignore another person’s life? Is it higher or lower for me, for you? And how do you judge whether or not an individual deserves your help? This reasoning has troubling implications.

Whether or not David Sharp could have been saved or might have been saved, what matters is whether others tried to help him when it was in their power to do so. I’m not saying people are required to risk their own lives to save that of a stranger. But, risk a chance at a summit bid in order to stop and save someone’s life? Well, to me, that sounds like the right thing to do (I just hope it’s what I would do if faced with that situation).

Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do. But that doesn’t change it from being the right thing. It just comes down to what you value more—a stranger’s life or standing on a summit.

9:42 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Anniek asked "Are you trying to impress me with all of your miles Bill S? Speaking of couch potato, how long did it take to write up that last rant?"

No, I am not trying to impress anyone. My point was that most of the people who have replied in the negative about the show are active climbers and in the outdoors a lot.

How long did it take to write? About 5 minutes. Doesn't take long when you know how to type and aren't making a typo or grammatical error every sentence or two. For how I spent my time today, 5 hours was spent on the trail (I do volunteer patrolling for the local Open Space District), an hour on the computer (mostly paying the bills with ePay for my spouse and son who are in New Zealand and dealing with the tax people for some problems with my late mother-in-law's estate), and several hours on the phone with members and logistics people for an upcoming expedition. Tomorrow, I will be spending about 3-4 hours wrapping up the paperwork for the climbing instructor course I taught last week. I don't have a couch, and no room amongst all the climbing, camping, and ski gear for one, so no couch potato-ing here.

nica, take close note of the fact that the people who are praising the show are non-climbers, and the people who are expressing criticism are climbers who feel strongly that the show misrepresents climbing and climbers, and that it centers on a guide who has a very negative reputation in the climbing community. Although he hasn't said it, most here know that Brian is a very active climber, contributing several articles to the American Alpine Journal.

9:57 p.m. on November 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

By the way, annie and nica, you probably do not realize the history of this forum. Some years ago, the predecessor of this board was started by a fellow in New England for climbers and backpackers who wanted to talk climbing, backpacking, and other backcountry stuff. In our various travels around the country and world (there are climbers here from other countries as well), many of us climbed and hiked together (and still do). In April 2000, one of our group disappeared on Mt Shasta. The website became a communication center for people from literally all over the continent heading for Shasta to help in the search. Many of the people knew of John only by reading his posts, so they were basically strangers, travelling on their own money, across the continent to help. This wasn't even a case of stopping to help a stranger who is lying on your climbing route. Unfortunately, the search was not successful, and John's body not recovered until 6 weeks later (his partner, Craig's body was found fairly early on).

As things developed, the original owner of the site was moving on to other things not long after. Dave and Alicia bought the site, saving it from disappearance, and have maintained it ever since. Many of the regulars are still here and posting over 6 years after John's accident.

So, annie and nica, you are talking here to a group of people who have had a very personal involvement with a climbing tragedy. We have seen and experienced the outpouring of the climbing community. That's why shows like Everest: Beyond the Limit are so offensive - we know what climbers are really like, and the vast majority are not like Russell Brice.

And, this one took about 6 or 7 minutes to write, after I signed back on to the site.

12:03 p.m. on November 21, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Bill- Thanks for the background, I can appreciate your last post and where everyone is coming from. I don't believe that Sharp deserved to die but before everyone is lashing out about how evil these climbers were for not helping to save him, I think we need the full story. If indeed Sharp could have been saved but was left for dead it is tragic. From everything I have read it seems as if he was too far gone. If he was so close to camp and could be saved I would think a rescue effort would have been mounted. If this isnt the truth then shame on everyone for choosing a summit over saving a life. From everything I have read, Sharp was asleep when people passed him on the way up. He was thought to be in a coma and near death. People stopped and tried to get him up but he wasn't responding. He was conscience 11 hours later which surprised people. In hind site I bet everyone wishes they would have helped but hindsite is always 20/20. From the sounds of it Sharp was thought be on the verge of death and wouldnt even wake up. Why do you feel over 40 people would just step over a savable person?

You started the couch potato comments. Its not as if watching a one hour show once a week makes you a couch potato. You don't know my life, what I have done, what mountains I have trekked, what countries I have traveled to. I am not a climber. I can't know what it is like to be on the top of Everest or to encounter a person near death when you don't believe they can be saved. I can see why Mark Inglis is getting so much crap for stepping over Sharp on his climb to the top. He himself was recued and knows what it is like to be on a mountain close to death. He could have said "I am not going any further, let's turn around and save this guy and we'll try our summit bid in a few days" I like to think people aren't evil. I would think if they thought Sharp could be saved they would have tried.

1:22 p.m. on November 21, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Annie commented - "You started the couch potato comments. Its not as if watching a one hour show once a week makes you a couch potato."

The comment was not aimed at you personally or anyone who was posting in this thread. I am sorry if you took it that way. And I regret that you took it out of context.

My point was that everyone has, and makes, a life choice, with one extreme being "couch potato" and the other being "active adventure". hmmmm, well that makes it seem one-dimensional, where it is actually multidimensional.

Anyway, no matter what your life choice, everyone ends up dead in the long run - die from clogged arteries or die in a climbing accident (or crashing in a F-1 race, or at the receiving end of an AK-47 wielded by a terrorist or drug dealer shooting at someone else, or crushed under a building in an earthquake or tornado, or from a genetically transmitted disease from your ancestors, or ...). No matter what the cause, you die sooner or later.

At the one extreme (ooooo, there's that word), you can choose to just sit and watch fake "reality" shows, hyped "extreme" movies or TV shows, or the other escapist junk that the networks are pandering. Or you can choose to do volunteer work in the ghetto (running the risk of getting caught in the crossfire between gangs). Or you can choose to meet and overcome the challenges of your personal physical and mental limitations (and everyone has physical and mental limitations, including those of us who are supposedly "whole" and the superstars of adventure).

Since you can't avoid death, my choice is to try to control my risks as best I can. By getting out into the hills and woods, I can minimize my risk of dying of clogged arteries. Yes, I increase certain risks (during yesterday's trail wanderings, I encountered a mountain lion - he was in plain sight for almost 5 minutes, roughly 200 meters away on a ridge across a ravine - low risk, and unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me). Others don't change - earthquakes around here, although I was right along the San Andreas fault, with one of the trails being named "Earthquake Trail" and going right along the fault scarp.

The show portrays climbers as being without conscience, lacking morals and ethics. It's one thing to choose adventure that has risks, if you are aware of and take account of the risks and your responsibilities to others. It is quite another to abandon someone and not only refuse to try helping, but to actually order your clients and employees to refuse aid. And it is also quite another to make a show portraying the expedition leader as heroic and caring and deliberately omit the fact that he gave the orders to refuse aid.

You can argue legitimately that in giving aid you should not make yourself another victim (we are taught that in our WFA and WFR courses). Don't compound the problem. But there is a huge difference between sacrificing a summit and not "achieving your dream" that cost you tens of thousands of dollars on the one hand, and at least attempting to get the guy who is still breathing and has a pulse back that one hour to camp where more aid can be given. Triage is legitimate, but not where the alternative is the summit vs possibly saving a life.

9:48 p.m. on November 21, 2006 (EST)
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Re: LOVED THE SHOW!!

Hi All,
Please lets have some peace here. Most of us have lost someone in the hills. There's a reason that this isn't really a good place to bring up "fake" climbing shows:
This is "rec.climbing.useful". This has traditionally been a climbers forum, and climbers hate climbing movies - period - thats just the way it is.

Jim S

3:24 p.m. on November 22, 2006 (EST)
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Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Watched the episode #2 from Tivo. It's great but why do they have to replay everything and repeat everything? How many times do I have to see the Indian guy spitting or puking and the scene where his eyes are bulging?? You would think that they would be able to get enough footage and interesting tape from all the weeks they were out there. I swear it was almost halfway through the show before they got to any new stuff. I love Tivo where I can fast forward over the repeat stuff. I did love the show though and can't wait to watch it next week. I hope they show tons more of Mogens Jensen, he is the best part of the show. I wonder if he is single....????

7:23 p.m. on November 22, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Annie asked "why do they have to replay everything and repeat everything? How many times do I have to see the Indian guy spitting or puking and the scene where his eyes are bulging??"

Because that is what this show is all about - Extreme! Risk! Danger! Death!

There were several things included that are to the credit of the film editors and producers. First, they showed that the Sherpas go to the summit first, and several times, hauling all the gear, placing the fixed ropes and oxygen bottles, doing all of the trail breaking so the clients only have to deal with the altitude and cold. The altitude and weather are challenging, yes, but having someone else move the gear up and putting in the route with fixed ropes reduces the challenge substantially. So the real credit for making the climb should go to the Sherpas, who mostly went unnamed. Note well that the clients did not carry much of their own gear - no tents, no food (except trail lunches and snacks), no cook gear, no sleeping bags - all that was relayed by the Sherpas. On most big mountains, every climber carries his/her own gear and part of the group gear and food. Everest, a few of the other Himalayan peaks, and Kilimanjaro are among the few exceptions (on Kili, you are required by law to hire local porters and guides, which may be done for you by a non-Tanzanian guide service at a big markup).

Second, the extended views of the Indian with HACE that you are so offended by, hopefully brought home the real risks of being unprepared and what AMS, HAPE, and HACE are like. It doesn't have to be like that, if you are prepared and proceed up the hill in the manner that has been well proven. They made a big deal of Brice pushing his Sherpas and clients to move up in 2 weeks less than is usual, but they downplayed the very much increased risk of doing so.

Oh yeah, about the repetitiousness - that's what climbing a big hill at altitude is all about. Lots of moving up and down to relay gear and supplies, lots of time spent waiting on the weather, lots of just exercising maybe by moving up and down between camps (or more commonly by real climbers, between caches). That's another very good thing that was included - lots of monotony and boredom, although the scenery makes up for it.

5:58 p.m. on November 27, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Hahaha...not sure if he is or not. But, as someone else said they repeat the stuff because that is what makes it more realistic. The trials that these people are going through on the mountain and seeing them do this over and over again is what they had to do, so it's just a better depiction of what it's really like out there.

2:16 p.m. on November 28, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

I have my tivo set for tonight's episode.

12:43 p.m. on November 29, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Glad the firefighter backed out, he was annoying. Great show. The hour goes by much too fast! Mogens was adorable as usual. anyone else love this show as much as I do??

3:06 p.m. on November 29, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

I caught it today on Tivo. It was SO good! I felt bad for the firefighter...seemed like he really wanted to make it up. And it was interesting to learn that the tragedy of 1996 not only affected the leader, but also one of the trekkers! It was so sad to hear about.

9:33 p.m. on November 29, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Hi all.

The actual reason they repeat scenes in reality TV is cost. They have to fill 43 minutes of hour shows and 23 or so for 1/2 hour shows. They do not have that much content so rather than shoot more footage, they re-purpose for much of each episode and give you only tidbits of new stuff each week. That way, the producers can achieve the most profit for the dollars put into it (trust me, not only do I know the climbing community pretty well, but have made documentary TV shows - some of those on climbing).

That is not the only reason reality TV is simply not that compelling - not to mention reality TV shot on Everest. Once a sacred place for only those who earned and worked for the opportunity to see it in person, not too mention attempt to stand on its summit, is now a circus and any pure alpinist would even bother with it. That sacred element was gone from Everest a long time ago. This show didn't create it, only added another portal to abuse it.


So, basically everyone is arguing about nothing. The point is, these climbers don't belong there, but they are not the first. The team leader is not that great, but most insiders already knew that. And, reality TV is a big waste of time for anyone who watches it. So, please move on as there is nothing you can do other than watch something else or better yet, read a magazine.

4:39 a.m. on November 30, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

I have to wonder if they attempted their summit bit two weeks later if the firefighter would have done better.....

Love the show. I find it amusing how just because there is a documentary and more people attempting Everest these days that it is now soooo beneath a few people on here. Lame. I think a few people are just jealous that they can't climb Everest. :-)
Does anyone on this sight know Mogens Jensen?

11:44 a.m. on November 30, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

LOL! We now have Everest groupies! Just like matadors and race drivers have their groupies. There's something about the "risk" and "smell of death" (that's from a Hemingway book) that seems to attract groupies (gushingly "Mogens was adorable"!).

Annie opines "I find it amusing how just because there is a documentary and more people attempting Everest these days that it is now soooo beneath a few people on here. Lame. I think a few people are just jealous that they can't climb Everest. :-)"

Ya completely missed the point Annie (and nica, too). There have been plenty of documentaries about Everest, and well-done ones, too. Among the best are the original one of the first ascent in 1953, the one of the first American ascent in 1963, and the IMAX one by David Breashears. Everest: Beyond the Limit is NOT a documentary. As pointed out by many, it is a pathetic attempt at "reality TV", with a huge emphasis on the "extreme" and "people come up here to die".

"Jealous" and "beneath"? Consider that several of the people who have responded have climbed far harder routes on far harder peaks. An interesting aspect is that in hearing comments from people who have watched the episodes, people seem to fall into 2 camps - those who liked ("loved") the show and those who have a strong distaste for it. The "liked" category are pretty much all people who "couldn't" climb Everest (a large fraction of whom seem to be very much overweight or otherwise non-athletic - to quote one woman who I talked to last night "my camping days are over, and besides I would be scared out of my wits to try something like that"). The "strong distaste" group are virtually all climbers, with the strongest distaste being expressed by currently active climbers, especially those who know of Brice's reputation.

A major contributor to the deaths and injuries on Everest is the very factor you seem to think makes real climbers consider Everest as "beneath" them, namely that more people are attempting the climb. With the huge crowds, there are bottlenecks at critical points in the climb. Climbers are forced to spend a large amount of time waiting around for the slow to clear the fixed lines or move through the bottlenecks. This was a major contributing factor in the 1996 disaster. No, the reason for the comments on the "circus" and the crowds is that with so many people (literally hundreds on the 2 main routes, all jockeying for position for the couple weeks of weather window), the risk escalates.

Everest was, as Clepley noted, a place where you earned your way to attempt the mountain, not a place where your gear was carried up the hill by underpaid, exploited Sherpas, and you followed clipped to a fixed line, in an expedition arranged by a white sahib who commands "his" Sherpas and climbers to ignore and abandon a dying climber.

Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World, demands proper tribute, and will exact it one way or another.

11:53 a.m. on November 30, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Annie,
that's an interesting point. I am not sure. I feel as if attempting to summit is a combination of skill, preparation, as well as luck. The weather seems to have been what really got to him at that point when he gave up, but two weeks earlier or later, the same thing may have happened.

Mogens...I don't know him...but he seems INSANE! I can't beleive he is trying to summit without any oxygen! Especially since he is asmathic. That would be a HUGE feat for him.

1:09 p.m. on November 30, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

I believe he doesn't make it with the preview for next week. I wish he would just slap the oxygen tank on and get it done! I agree that it is crazy giving it a try without oxygen. To be honest I don't really get why anyone would want to torture themselves like that! He was wearing a wedding ring so it looks as though he is taken.
I hope they do a season two and have some of the people try again. Maybe they should get some more drama going. Have a divorcing couple, a stripper, a mentally unstable guy etc etc. (had to add that to push a button or two...)

2:15 p.m. on November 30, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Reading some of this dialog it also dawns on me that those engaged in this conversation fall into two other camps:

Group 1: Knows what a true mountain experience is - solitude, beauty, challenge, peace, respect, humanity, nature...

Group 2: Has no idea what I am talking about describing group 1. Thus, does not care that Everest and its spirit is being destroyed (temporarily as noted earlier). All this group is evaluating is wether or not they are being entertained.

It is perfectly fine to want to be entertained. Entertainment is fantastic. But the difference here is that THIS entertainment is coming at the expense of something that is sacred, precious and fragile. Something that we should ALL cherish and respect. If you want to be entertained by "rugged" sexy people watch the show Lost. I do. But I have also spent time in and climbed some of the most beautiful and challenging mountains in the world. And, live in a metropolitan city. Thus, I feel that I have perspective. And opportunity to fall into either group.

6:33 p.m. on November 30, 2006 (EST)
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missing the point

Nicely put, clepley. It is clear that nica and annie fall into your group 2.

Part of this is perhaps because the objections of the climbing community haven't always been made explicit.

1. The distaste is not for the clients. Since everyone has physical, mental, and emotional limitations, anyone who sets a challenge for themselves and seeks to meet it is to be admired, as long as they do not endanger others. Thus, the asthmatic Dane attempting the climb without oxygen, the double amputee (a friend of mine who is a double amputee was featured on a much more reasonable Discovery Channel show that emphasized his working to overcome the challenge), even the former Hell's Angel who is seeking to overcome the limitations of his injuries. The LA Fireman who made the decision to turn back found his limits and wisely decided to turn back. The Dane knows the risks and high probability of not succeeding without oxygen. But he chose his own rules of the game.

2. The first problem arises from featuring Russell Brice, the expedition leader and head of HimEx. The show portrays him as caring, whereas his reputation in the climbing community is one of exploitation of the Sherpas, shortcutting gear (such as the low quality of the oxygen supplies he contracted for), and disregard for the safety and well-being of others on the mountain. This showed in the ordering of his Sherpas, guides, and climbers to abandon Sharp, as has been well documented. Then to top it off, even while Sharp's family is suing to get the videos taken of this whole fiasco, Brice claims he is honoring the family's wishes. Sounds like his reputation for ruthlessness is deserved. I don't know Brice personally, just the wide-spread reports of the incidents in the climbing press.

3. The other big problem is the way the show is being hyped with all the comments about "extreme" and "risk". The statements and implications are that this is the way climbing is and the way climbers act.

I believe, clepley, that anniek has so lost sight of reality for "reality" swooning over the sexy Dane, and nicatrails has her marketing job to do, that they will never understand your group 1 nor will they understand what it is the climbing community objects to so strongly in this "show".

Annie said "I wish he would just slap the oxygen tank on and get it done!"

No, annie, he made his choice of challenge. Yes, he could change his personal rules of the game, and should if the risk gets too great (that is, use the oxygen to descend). To slap on the oxygen mask just to finish the last few hundred meters and bag the summit changes the rules. But that is his decision and his alone.

And, nica, he would not be the first to summit without oxygen. Attempting to do so does not mean he is insane. He made his own choice.

10:17 p.m. on November 30, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Bill, Did you see the recent article in National Geographic about Reinhold Messner? Great story and photos from some of his climbs.

For those who don't know, Messner is often considered the best climber ever. He was the first to climb all 14 8000M peaks and has climbed hundreds of mountains, some of which are far more dangerous than Everest. And yes, he has climbed Everest and many other peaks solo or with just one partner and also without oxygen. He has called bolting (and similar techniques used in commercial expedition climbing)"murder of the impossible."

To me, climbing Everest or any big mountain is an accomplishment. But, so is doing a lot of other things. My guess is that there are a lot more people who given the chance, could climb Everest, but never will because they can't afford it or for plenty of other reasons. They may have the talent, the will and the skills, just not the opportunity. I'm not one of them and never was. I make no pretense otherwise.

I would rather have a little adventure on my own than get involved in something like a reality show. My little adventures won't impress anybody. Perhaps thousands of people will have gone before me, but I don't really care. The fact that they have done it doesn't change the fact that I have done it too. Being dragged up a mountain by guides doesn't interest me. Being guided somewhere within my abilities would.

I spent many years taking tourists on introductory scuba dives in Hawaii. What I may have found boring after the 1000th time in the same place, I can assure you that some people found it to be the most exciting thing they'd ever done. Every time I heard that, I was amazed and quite happy that I had made that happen for them. Adventure is all relative.

12:13 a.m. on December 1, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Yes, Tom, I saw the article. Excellent summary of a very complex person's life and accomplishments (and the many controversies).

On your commentary - very well put! Indeed, each person's adventure and each person's challenge is his/her own. But far too many get their adventure vicariously. And too many who do get out and do it rely too much on gear instead of knowledge and skills they have built up through experience.

1:13 p.m. on December 1, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

For me, the bottom line is respect. If people are doing things, in this example climbing Everest, and do it with the respect for the place, the people and the challenge then it seems fine. Those of us on the sidelines watching someone attempt something (even if we have done it ourseleves in the past), have no right to tell them what they can or cannot do. Nobody "ownes" the mountains - All humans do.

But in the specific case of Everest, for many years the mountain just simply has not been respected by humans. And, humans have not respected eachother in their attempt to stand on her summit. It is as simple as that. If the people in this reality show or people we read about in magazines demonstrated a little more respect, I think the rest of us would be a little less agitated. At least I would.

1:15 p.m. on December 1, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Mogens Jensen on Everest- Yum!

Don't know if they will be doing a season 2 yet. But in terms of Mogens, I guess he is just trying to challenge himself to the limit. It is not something that I would do, bc I think that you are already taking a big risk in trying to summit Everest, so why make it even harder on yourself, but hey, I guess every person has their own goals. We'll see if he makes it?!!

1:17 p.m. on December 1, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

sorry for the typos.

11:37 p.m. on December 1, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Tom-Do you still scuba dive? I love diving, I have never tried been to Hawaii to dive but maybe someday......
Are you a dive master?
Clepley- How are Everest and it's spirits being destroyed? Do you think that the people on the Discovery Everest show don't appreciate where they are at? At least Bill S who seems quick to judge my character sees that that the guys on the show are there for a reason and their own challange.
Bill S-I don't think I need to be classified as someone who doesn't appreciate nature just because I think Mogens is a hottie and I am enjoying the Discovery Everest show. I personally enjoy watching it and I don't see this show as "true reality TV." Its a show following a group of climbers who have a few odds stacked againsts them (i.e. athsma, no legs, pins and bolts etc.) Do you know Brice? You seem so quick to judge him and everyone and seem put yourself above people, you seem a bit arrogant. Take a chill pill or go get laid.
I have mentioned in an earlier post that I am not a "climber" I can say I am an outdoors person. I enjoy hiking, trekking etc. I have done the Annapurna 3 week circuit trek, I have hiked the easy route on Kilimanjaro, Done lots of hiking in Yosemite, Yellowstone, N Thailand. And I enjoy watching shows like "I should't be Alive", Survivorman" and this Everest show we are discussing. So what!

12:15 p.m. on December 2, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Annie, you are still missing the point. As for Brice, I am not judging him myself, rather reporting what has been widely reported in the media, both the general media and in mountaineering circles. The fact that he ordered his Sherpas, guides, and climbers to abandon Sharp was reported at the time, almost in real time on the everest.com website, and when asked, Brice himself says that is what he did. His excuse was that Sharp was already as good as dead (though he was alive enough a couple days later to tell people who he was and who his guide service (Asia Trekking) was).

Perhaps the biggest point you are missing is the way in which Discovery has been promoting and marketing the show. They are the ones who are using words like "extreme", and they are the ones who produced the trailer showing people slipping and falling, the Indian climber suffering from HACE, and so on. They are also the ones promoting Brice as, in the words of the show and the trailer, the most experienced and best guide and expedition leader on Everest, despite his widely reported reputation. According to fairly widely distributed reports, some of which were linked during this discussion, Brice has lost climbers and had them suffer serious injury, despite the statement repeated several times on the show that he has never had a fatality on his expeditions. Now maybe they are cutting a fine line and maybe his clients were on other mountains (one was on Mt Cook in NZ where he is from). But the statement as repeated was that he has had no incidents. I can only go by what is reported in the media and comments from friends who have been on mountains with him. No, I don't know him personally, and can only trust media reports and comments from friends and acquaintances in the climbing community who have been on mountains at the same time as Brice.

I did not say you don't appreciate nature, nor does that have anything to do with your presenting yourself as an Everest groupie. What I, and several others, have said is that if you haven't spent time climbing on serious climbs, you do not understand what climbing is all about, nor do you understand climbing ethics. An Annapurna trek is nice, but it isn't climbing. It makes a big difference when you are on the sharp end, and when you and your partners are dependent on each other literally for life. It also makes a big difference when you are solo and completely dependent on yourself, your own skills, and your own experience.

By the way, for your information, I have twice abandoned my own climb to help get other climbers in serious trouble off major peaks. In both cases, I came back later (in one case 5 years later) and summited. Does this make me "better" than other climbers or other people generally? No, this just says that this is the moral obligation that most climbers feel toward one another.

By your own statement, 'I am not a "climber"', and thus not in a position to understand what this interdependency is, nor the moral obligation to help others (and expect help in return), even when doing a climb solo, as Sharp was. By the widely reported ordering of his Sherpas, guides, and clients to ignore Sharp, Brice was thumbing his nose at that trust among climbers, and Discovery is complicit in going along with the elimination of the footage in question and not even mentioning the incident.

While you are enjoying the show so much, I would suggest you do a little research and find out what really is going on with the whole circus-like scene on Everest over the past few years. Everest is no longer a beautiful wilderness. There is a huge amount of debris and garbage all over the mountain. Most of the commercial expeditions do not pack out their gear and garbage after their expeditions, but abandon their tents, ropes, climbing gear, oxygen bottles, food waste, and human waste. Read the mountaineering literature, like Krakauer's Into Thin Air, or Viester's autobiography, or Dave Robert's books.

Mostly, I would recommend you put yourself in the shoes of real climbers. Get out there and climb some serious mountains, and with non-guided parties, not a commercial group where all is arranged for you. Yes, take training first with one of the top companies (NOT HimEx!). It doesn't have to be Everest or any other Himalayan peak. There are plenty in the Cascades, Rockies (US or Canadian), Alps, Andes, New Zealand. Or if you don't care for cold weather, then take some training in Yosemite from YCS and afterward do some small routes in the Valley or Tuolumne. Then you will begin to have a basis for understanding what the objections to this particular Discovery Channel show are all about.

In the meantime, in a few days, I will be off to a month of climbing a serious peak or two in the Southern Hemisphere.

8:35 p.m. on December 2, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Bill, I think you’re pissing in the wind…

Annie, what Bill said about being on the sharp point is close to what I was thinking earlier. If you haven’t organized your own trip, created your own team, loaded your own pack (with no one to say bring this, don’t bring that), and made your own decisions (sans guide) to get to a summit you won’t understand. There is something that happens to the person that can’t be explained or shown on TV. You can try but it’s not the same as actually living it.

Like Bill said, learn to climb, you’ll never regret it.

Bill, where you off to?

ag

2:29 a.m. on December 3, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

adam, you are most probably right. But I keep experimenting with folks like this. It's like Mallory said, he climbed mountains "because it's there." Which means nothing to those who haven't done and everything to those who have. Or the old saw, "if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand."

Why do I climb up thousand-foot rock walls? Why do I venture into climbs above 20,000 ft, in places where the temperatures are sub-zero, or, as in the recent thread on the Backcountry side, down to -40 and winds of 50+ knots? Why did I race formula cars for a year (couldn't raise the money for a second year is why)? Why did I fly bush as a pastime for about 10 years?

Well, if you have to ask, ....

And as you noted, those who haven't done it can't understand the moral and ethical side of the activity.

Everyone has their own choice of what is an adventure for them. Trekking has its place, as does through-hiking (been there, done that for both, but sorry, hiking for me is just a way of getting from the trailhead to the interesting activity site - it gets awfully boring putting one foot in front of the other, even in spectacular scenery). To each his/her own, except when it violates the principle of what Messner called "fair means."

Where am I going? Details in January, when I know the final answer. But, as a clue, it's in the Southern Hemisphere, far south, and very cold and pretty high.

7:56 a.m. on December 3, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Fly into Chile? Travel over to Argentina? Go a bit north, find one big rock not matched outside of the Himalayas?

12:25 p.m. on December 4, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Spirit being destroyed? For starters, trash on the mountain in tons, not respecting other climbers in trouble, standing in line to "conquer" the mountain (for the record, humans don't conquer mountains)... It is all in the attitude towards the place. No respect for it. Broad generalization of course, not everyone in base camp has that attitude. But many do. And shows like this one, help promote that point of view. Just to name a few examples...

3:34 p.m. on December 5, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

I don't really agree with you here. I think that the show only relates what these people are goign through trying to summit the mountain, and does not intend to in any way portray what the climbing community is like in general. I think that viewers are aware of that fact, and if you don't agree with what it presents, then I would suggest maybe not watching it.

I believe that it is doing a good job at representing THIS particular gorup of climbers. I would not say that it portrays the entire community, but again, that is not weaht it sets out to do.

6:57 p.m. on December 5, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

I have to disagree with you strongly when you say that this show represents only this particular party. The show has said in all 3 installments I have seen that this is what all climbers on Everest go through.

I find it interesting to read what Russell Brice's own climbers have to say about the climb. Mountainzone.com has constant coverage of the Everest climbing scene during the year and this page is a summary of the David Sharp incident (climb.mountainzone.com/2006/david_sharp/index.html). Notice that it says -

Brice's account differs from one given by his star client, New Zealander Mark Inglis, a double amputee and a main character in a Discovery Channel documentary that was being filmed during the expedition. Inglis initially told an Australian radio reporter that he contacted Brice about Sharp on May 15, when he was on his way up the ridge. (Inglis has since told Men's Journal that he either misspoke or was misquoted, and that he didn't radio Brice about Sharp until he was on his way down.)

Given the sophistication of Brice's tightly run organization, it is hard to imagine that Himex's guides and Sherpas (some of whom we re wearing helmet cameras) failed to communicate Sharp's situation to Brice. If Brice truly didn't hear of Sharp until May 15 at 9:30 am, then it appears his top climbing guides made the decision not to initiate a rescue.

------------------------

You don't seem concerned about the environmental impact of all the climbers and the trash they leave behind. Maybe you should do a search on the net about the garbage problem there and the literally thousands of discarded oxygen bottles and the tents and other gear just abandoned on the mountain by the expeditions. Since there are no sewerage plants or even outhouses at the basecamps on the north and south sides, the human waste problem has exploded. When you get to the basecamps, what you see is a garbage dump and piles of s**t all over the place. That is the reality of the impact of the large expeditions. Here is a picture of discarded oxygen bottles on the mountain.
www.svcn.com/archives/wgresident/07.05.00/gifs/cover2-0027.jpg

6:01 a.m. on December 6, 2006 (EST)
Re: Gee, just what we need - NOT!

Knowing one of the people who participated in this show - one of the featured climbers. I can assure you that it a)wasn't sensationalized and b) all were VERY experienced climbers. My friend for example, had summitted every peak in the region before attempting Everest.

Actually, one of the main problems was actually the traffic jam getting to the peak, as the show explains. In addition, it was the various disabilities of the group that makes for spectacular adventure.

11:28 a.m. on December 6, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Gee, just what we need - NOT!

I disagree that the show was not sensationalized. The show was and is being promoted in the ads as "EXTREME!!!" with bold face, flashing type and the exclamation points and other words of the same sensational kind. The background music and sounds are all geared to the ominous as something "terrible" or "threatening" comes up, like the voices saying "Ever Ever Ever rest rest rest" and what sounds sometimes like "never never never Ever Ever Ever rest rest rest" over and over again.

I don't know if the outcry in the climbing community on the Usenet rec.climbing and other climbing forums is being heard, but I notice a few changes in the ways things are being presented. One example is that Terry, the MD who is on the climb was labelled as "Expedition Doctor" in the first couple of episodes, and on last night's fourth episode is now just a climber. Which is the real case. He was a client who just happened to be an MD. I looked through Mountainzone and several other websites that cover the Everest scene, and they reported at the time about Himex and Russell Brice ordering the expedition members to stop helping other expeditions and to move on from Sharp.

Everest is a hard climb even with Sherpa help. no mistake about that. I have been in the Himalaya climbing, but not on Everest another 8000 meter peak. But Everest gets the mobs and has the piles of garbage and the traffic jams.

1:32 p.m. on December 6, 2006 (EST)
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Jimi asks, "are you experienced"?

"Knowing one of the people who participated in this show - one of the featured climbers. I can assure you that it a)wasn't sensationalized and b) all were VERY experienced climbers. My friend for example, had summitted every peak in the region before attempting Everest."

Wow, that's impressive. I hadn't heard that one person had climbed Nuptse, Cholatse, Baruntse, Pumori, Ama Dablam, the other eight of 14 8000m plus peaks, Tawache, Kangtega, etc etc etc. Must be a very well known climber.

"Very experienced". And...who might that be? When I think of "very experienced" climbers, my mind doesn't conjure up the list of clients waiting to summit Everest on a guided trip.

Be interesting to see what type of "experience" these "climbers" really have. Guided trip up Rainier. Guided trip to Denali. Guided trip to Aconcagua. Guided trip to Kili. Guided trip to Cho Oyu. I'm not sure that kind of "experience" makes for an "experienced climber". Maybe an "experienced client".

Seriously, though, for the sake of discussion, I'd be very curious to know what type of climbing routes this person has done that qualify him as an "experienced climber". Maybe a break down between guided and non guided trips.

I've known a number of folks that have gone on some of these types of trips. That phrase, "experienced climber" really gets abused and stretched, methinks.

"Actually, one of the main problems was actually the traffic jam getting to the peak, as the show explains. In addition, it was the various disabilities of the group that makes for spectacular adventure."

Traffic jam? I haven't seen more than a minute or two of the show and missed that (not trying to be a smarty). Was the flights to Lukla backed up (as usual?). I can't imagine the trails having a traffic jam, and, you can take a bus to Jiri and hike in...

Maybe there was a herd of yaks in the way?

Traffic jam getting to the peak a major problem: wow. I can't imagine.

That is...sensational!

-Brian in SLC

3:46 p.m. on December 6, 2006 (EST)
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Re: Jimi asks, "are you experienced"?

I don't really follow climbing all that closely, but I too would like to know who this guy is. As far as I know, there are only a handful of people who have done this (climb every major peak in the area)and they are full time, professional climbers like Ed Viesturs. According to Wikipedia, only 13 people have climbed all of the 8000m peaks and Viesturs is the only American. I'm not sure that Stephen is saying his friend accomplished that feat, but it sounds close to it.

I'm not putting down anyone who can climb at this level, even on a guided trip. After all, they have to do the climbing themselves. But, and I think this is the point of Bill and the others,doing all the planning, routefinding, setting protection, etc. yourself requires a different level of skill than just being fit enough to follow in someone else's footsteps.

4:12 p.m. on December 6, 2006 (EST)
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Latest Episode

Anyone watch it? I was happy to see that at least one of the climbers int eh first group made it, and it seemed to be the one who had the least excperience among the three, yet he was very fit! I was sad to see Mogens have to abandon his dream, but am happy to see that he was able to take notice of the fact that he wasn't going to make it.

What was most astounding was the fact that there was so much traffic on teh mountain. I did not expect that at all! I didn't know so many people were there at one time.

10:54 a.m. on December 7, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Latest Episode

You didn't know "so many people were on it"???? What do you think the comments about the spoilage and degradation of the mountain were all about? What did you think the comments about the circus were saying?

Maybe now you are just beginning to get the picture of what a lot of the people here are saying.

4:27 p.m. on December 7, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Annie, I used to be an instructor, but haven't been diving since I moved back to the Mainland (LA). I was a guide for novices who wanted a "dive experience" without all the lessons. We would take a small group-no more than 4, give them a short lesson and then dive in shallow water in a marine preserve on Oahu-Hanauma Bay. I've done novice dives off a boat, but that is more risky. Not everyone can adapt to the gear quickly. Some people take to it right away (I was like that), but some get claustrophobic or will panic if they get water in their mask. Since you breathe through your mouth, water in the mask is really just an inconvenience, but it can cause people to freak out. Just human nature. I've been with certified divers who had the same problems.

I also taught small classes. Scuba diving has its own perils, but when done in a moderate environment-no big waves, heavy currents, etc.- is very safe. If you can swim, you can learn to dive. Unlike climbing, fitness is not as much of an issue with scuba diving. One of my friends was a paraplegic, but he got certified and I dove with him quite a bit. I highly recommend it.

2:38 p.m. on December 8, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

Tom-

What a fun job! I am a diver, have been all over the world diving (Favorite being PNG and Solomon Islands) I don't get to do it as much these days as I live in MN where this is no good diving (I don't like drysuit diving in Lake Superior) plus I have a toddler who keeps my traveling to a minimum. I got my start in diving by doing a resort dive similar to what you guided.

Nico- I watched the show Tuesday night, was sad to see Mogens have to drop out. I also noticed his wedding ring...

Does anyone know if the biker summits??

4:16 p.m. on December 8, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: missing the point

Anniek - Looks like you'll have to wait til the final episode to see if the biker makes it. Kinda hoping he does. He rocks.

Bill - The word extreme isn't in any of the promos or trailers that I have seen, and from the look of the show and everything else I have read about the events surrounding this climb, it warrants the emphasis of risk, danger and drama. People are losing fingers, experiencing real frostbite, and suffering from exhaustion. It's real. You're just used to the overhype of Survivor and the rest. This doesn't seem overhyped or staged at all.

I think it would far worse if they represented the mountain/climb as easy, merely majestic, and inviting. I'm guessing you haven't seen this show really. It's damn exciting stuff.

5:16 p.m. on December 8, 2006 (EST)
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Re: missing the point

I am rooting for the biker too. I guess he wasn't originally going to be on the show but ran into the right people in Kathmandu and they added him to the team. I guess all his nuts and bolts and lack of experience made him eligible for such a show. I heard they were originally going to title this show "Everest, no experience necessary." He came with a bag of cash. I thought he would be out a long time ago but it looks like he is going strong! I think the Dr on the expedition was a paying customer but gets a big discount from the Himex because they want a doctor along. I wonder if these guys made any $$ doing the show?
Looking forward to next Tuesday!

5:18 p.m. on December 8, 2006 (EST)
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Dude, its "extreme"

"The word extreme isn't in any of the promos or trailers that I have seen"

Here, I'll help you out...

EPISODE 6: THE FINAL COST
Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
As everyone descends, the entire team suffers from the extreme cold. Frostbite affects more climbers on Russell's expedition than ever before.
EPISODE 3: TO THE SUMMIT
Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
The climbers face extreme difficulties as they move from camp to camp.

I've only watched a very short snippet of it. Would have watched more, but, needed my beauty sleep (climbing the next day, actually).

Some of us are probably pretty sensitive to it, to be sure. Seems like most of the entertaining shows on Discovery are also pretty edjucational and fun. This one seems to stretch it a bit. Given all the science based shows that have been done on Everest, seems a shame Discovery didn't give us something a bit more aesthetically cerebral instead of this survivor-esque reality charade. Wierd slant for them.

-Brian in SLC

7:12 p.m. on December 8, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Report of June 1, 2006 on everestnews.com

www.everestnews.com/everest2006/sharp06012006.htm

EverestNews.com has been informed from a member on the Russell Brice (Himex) expedition that David Sharp was seen talking and was alive and lucid enough to state to least one of those climbers, "My name is David Sharp and I am with Asian Trekking".

This occurred several hours after Sharp had been pronounced "effectively dead" and as the climbers who had passed Sharp on their way up to the summit again encountered him on their descent according to the member on the Russell Brice (Himex) expedition.

To add more astonishing news to the story, the Brice (Himex) expedition member also divulged that film crew members of the Brice (Himex) team had taped footage of Sharp alive and speaking to them on May 15th. Helmet cams reportedly worn by Sherpas supporting the Brice (Himex) team and their Discovery filming project were sending a live signal to advance base camp where the producers watched the grim drama unfold in real time. Tigress Productions, the company commissioned to produce a documentary series for Discovery, has confirmed to EverestNews.com that they do in fact have film of Sharp while he struggled for his life on May 15th.

One of the questions that is deeply troubling, when an expedition says, "no-one helped him except for people from our expedition.."; How do you know that? How do they know that? Dan Mazur and the guys stayed with Lincoln Hall and radioed for help. True, they put their lives in danger by staying, they know what happened while they were there. But when you pass by a climber, even if you stop for a few minutes and go on, how do you know what others did???? How???

Forty Two people are reported to have walked by David Sharp on the 15th of May while David struggled for his life. People assume that most of these people walked by David twice, once on the way up and once on the way down the mountain. Only a few have spoken to the media about the final hours of David's life.

Sir Edmund Hillary have condemned those who walked by David. Eric Simonson, an expedition leader on Everest that runs Everest expeditions every year and a man with first hand knowledge in rescuing clients on Everest was appalled at the actions so many climbers. Eric's expedition in 2001 rescued 2 members of the Russell Brice expedition in 2001 from a much higher and much more difficult location (the Third Step) on the mountain "Climbers can be too selfish, I don't know how those people can sleep at night. It's abhorrent." Simonson was quoted.

Russell Brice's team split their summit attempt into 2 days, the 14th and 15th on May. Others teams were also summiting on the 14th and 15th of May.

David attempted Everest not on the 15th but on the 14th of May. At some point on the 14th of May David started his decent. Climbers have informed EverestNews.com that during that descent after the First Step, David was seen working on his oxygen system. Climbers have speculated that because he only had two bottles of oxygen and because of the length of time he was above high camp that he was probably out of oxygen at that point.

It is unclear if anyone attempted to help David on May 14th. It is also unclear who passed David while he struggled for his life on the 14th. However, at least one climber saw him as he struggled for his life on the 14th.... Did anyone call for help on the 14th? Did the expeditions who were preparing to summit on the 15th have knowledge that David was in trouble? Many questions, few answers.

On May 15th, 2006 climbers reported going up the mountain found David. Among those climbers attempting the Summit on the 14th and on 15th of May was a film team which was part of the Russell Brice expedition under contract for Discovery.

A press release from the production company before the expedition stated,

"An 18-member crew will follow 11 climbers and their Sherpa guides for the 6x1-hour series, tentatively titled Everest: No Experience Required. It will air on Discovery channels in the U.S. and the U.K. this year"

The reports from the climbers on Everest vary to the state of condition of David on May 15th; with some climbers claiming David was on his feet talking, one claiming he was on "his hands and knees shivering" when they saw him on the way up, to others stating he was frozen. As we said before, "We will never know the whole story of who helped David and who did not. We will never know the whole story of his summit attempt and descent... But we do know where he froze to death on Everest."

EverestNews.com has been told that several climbers had to unclip from the rope to get around David. It was very hard to miss David...

EverestNews.com has been informed from a member on the Russell Brice (Himex) expedition that David Sharp was talking and stated to least one of those climbers, "My name is David Sharp and I am with Asian Trekking".... The member stated that the film crew had film of David alive and speaking on May 15th. He said that the HD camera used by the guide Mark Whetu froze up, but the Sherpas helmet cams were working and sending a live signal to base camp where they watched the drama unfold.

Various climbers have encouraged us to publish this story and call for the unedited release of the film so the family and the world can judge... The production company, Tigress Productions, has confirmed to EverestNews.com that they have film of David while he struggled for his life on May 15th. The production company was aware David attempted Everest on the 14th of May, but unsure if footage of David existed from the 14th from the Brice Team. Dick Colthurst, producer for Tigress Productions who was in base camp, confirmed to EverestNews.com that the HD camera used by the guide froze up, and that the Sherpas helmet cams were working and sending a live signal to base camp. Dick stated that the quality of the helmet cam film is poor as the Sherpas move fast... Viewing the film for the family would be a very difficult decision; do you remember David in life or as struggled for his life left out on Everest overnight?? A very very difficult decision for the family assuming they were allowed to see the unedited video... Our thoughts and prayers go out the family.

We asked Dick Colthurst, producer for Tigress Productions, if David Sharp would be in the TV Series, Dick said, "It is going to be hard to ignore".

7:23 p.m. on December 8, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

From Himex's website

Looks like the Hells Angel didn't make it, despite his having a big argument on the radio with Brice:
www.himex.com/c_pub/en/news/2006/reflections_on_everest.php


My first member reached the summit at 06.15, and the bulk of the team reached the summit at 07.03.

It was at this stage that I noticed clients Gerard and Tim were moving too slowly, so at 07.05 I asked them to turn around, but they refused. Tim asked for ½ an hour more time to prove that he could reach the top of the snow slope. At 07.25 I again asked Tim and Gerard to please come back. At 07.45 Tim did reach the top of the snow slope, and Gerard was still half way up the snow slope. Tim and Gerard met with our main team coming down from the summit at the top of the snow slope, and it was not until 08.00 that another client Wayne managed to convince Tim and Gerard to turn around. Both of these members immediately required a considerable amount of assistance to get them down from this location. Tim was moving extremely slowly, and Gerard was sitting which required one Sherpa to pull and one to push him, so in fact I was having a hard time to get these two members down the mountain. Behind them was Inglis who reached the bottom of the Third Step at 09.15.

7:31 p.m. on December 8, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

How is Everest being trashed?

Check this story out. Russell Brice and company being hired to set up a Via Ferrata up the North Ridge. Then anyone can do it without a guide, just pay the entry fee (not quite!)

www.mounteverest.net/story/EverestNorthStairwaytothesummitApr262005.shtml

Everest North: Stairway to the summit?
image story

Related Links
Duncan Chessell’s DCXP
Previous on rope-fixing contract on Everest North
Previous on K2 rope-fixing
Kari Kobler’s website
Himex


Apr 26, 2005 11: 49 EST
The times, they are a changin’ on Everest’s North Side. As ExWeb recently reported, for the first time in Everest history the CTMA (Chinese/Tibetan Mountaineering Association) contracted one of the expeditions in BC to take charge of the rope-fixing tasks on the route. The chosen outfitter is Russell Brice’s Himalayan Experience, with its strong team of guides and Sherpas.

Men at work

Russell’s crew attacked the task with amazing efficacy, plus a little help from some other teams. They hauled in 10,000 meters of brand-new, extra strong blue rope from Kathmandu. Old ropes have been replaced, belays have been checked, and ladders put in place over crevassed sections.

In addition, top of the line tools and some innovative ideas imported from the Alps may change the appearance – and climbing methods – of the summit ridge forever. Swiss guide Kari Kobler, who coordinated the rope-fixing tasks on K2 last summer, joins Brice this year on Everest. Kobler is credited with helping to prove that the “savage mountain” (K2) could be managed much like Everest, as far as bolting and fixing is concerned. Now he’s back in the Everest game, suggesting a revolutionary idea: Bolting metal stairs similar to the ‘Via Ferrata’ routes on many European walls.

Australian Duncan Chessell, currently guiding for Himex, reported on the bolting plans for the upper sections of the mountain.

High-bolting technology

“Kari Kobler and Russell Brice are pictured at ABC – check the picture - with the best of the Hilti bolting technology: A 36V cordless hammer drill capable of sinking a 16mm diameter bolt into the summit ridge of Everest. A battery pack can be worn under the down suit, allowing the battery to stay warm enough to drill more than 100 holes. The plan is to use the drill to fix 10mm bolts.”

Steps to the summit

“Kari wants to fix “Via Ferrata Style” 150mm long “step bolts” onto the second and first step to speed up the climbing for everyone. Hmmm this is a new level to the commercialization of Everest. Already we have ladders, fixed lines, pitons, Sherpas and oxygen – now we are looking at metal steps for the tricky parts…”

“Currently there are no plans to develop the world’s highest crag by bolting routes on the side of the third step but there are rumors that Himex is considering to fix a ladder on the Hillary step -from the Tibetan side - the extremely strong Himex Sherpa team has almost finished it's work on the North side and it is still April.”

The CTMA have contracted Himex, led by Russell Brice (NZ), guides Duncan Chessell (AUS), Bill Crouse (USA), Dean Staples (NZ), Mark Woodroofe (NZ) and David McKinley (NZ) with 12 Tibetan and 20 Nepalese Sherpas to fix ropes from ABC (6,400m) to the summit. “Himex will directly organize this task using mostly their own Sherpas, but also some from other expeditions as necessary. The CTMA is administering the finances with Himex NOT gaining financially from the deal,” reported Chessell in a previous chronicle.

Blue Water supplied the specially designed 7mm static rope (blue colored) – all 10,000m of it! The Maoist strike meant that the rope had to be transported by helicopter to the Nepal-China border, then moved by CTMA trucks to Everest BC over two days

Last season one ladder was required to provide easy access across a narrow crevasse below the North Col. This season is no exception, and the ladder has been re-installed. A second ladder was expected by mid April to be installed over a new crevasse on the way to the North Col.

This is an excerpt from the agreement, sent out to all North side expeditions:

"Instead of letting each group fix different parts of the routes, which has been very difficult to coordinate during previous seasons and also lead to poor quality, and even dangerous situations, we have decided to make a pool of strong and highly qualified Sherpas from all expeditions arriving in due time to take part in the fixing work."

"There will be one easily identifiable line of new strong, static blue rope along the whole route. Wherever needed, poor belays will be replaced. All old ropes will be removed and carried down. The steepest places where abseiling is recommended or passing is difficult will be provided with double ropes."

The total cost is US$ 30 000, and with approx. 300 climbers expected on 25 different expeditions this spring, the whole work will be covered by only US$ 100 per climber. (Sherpas pay nothing). Russel Brice (Himex) will lead the work and TMA CMA (Tibetan Chinese Mountaineering Association) will contribute to the system by collecting the money from all groups arriving at Base Camp.

Swiss guide Kari Kobler proved last year that it was possible to apply Everest methods on K2: Ropes, camps, O2 and strong Sherpa support. He spared no cost to provide a ‘safer’ mountain for his clients. More than half of them would end up on the summit. Kobler is currently leading a team on Everest Tibetan side through the classic North Col route. Team members are: Veronika Meyer, Norbert Burgener, Christian Eiterer, Mario Rizzi, Robert Miller, Dieter Kramer, Peter Fichtner, and Thomas Kulhanek.

2:14 p.m. on December 10, 2006 (EST)
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24 forum posts
Re: How is Everest being trashed?

Well if they are going to have so many inexperienced climbers trying to go it alone as well as all the expeditions they need to do something. By the way that article is almost 2 years old.

12:08 p.m. on December 11, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: How is Everest being trashed?

anniek posted "By the way that article is almost 2 years old."

Which just emphasizes the point that Russell Brice has been doing this sort of thing and the trashing of Everest by the huge expeditions has been going on for a long time. Maybe you are finally getting the point that many have tried to make here.

You also made a comment about "so many inexperienced climbers" that something has to be done. Maybe, just maybe, what needs to be done is to not allow the big expeditions of inexperienced people and just maybe Discovery Channel should not be publicizing this sort of expedition. Then just maybe people would not be getting the impression that all you have to do is pay your $65,000 (or bargain discount to Russell Brice and his type of $40,000), and the Sherpas will haul your gear and set up the ropes, and save your butt when you screw up. It won't stop the people who still insist on going on their own (read John Krakauer's great book Into the Wild about a person who did just this, and died a tragic death). There is no "911" on Everest or most of the other parts of the world. Climbers have to help each other. We can't just ignore someone who may have screwed up or seriously misjudged. Because someday that might be us, and our fellow climbers might be able to bail us out.

3:54 p.m. on December 11, 2006 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
96 forum posts
no clue of LNT

annie,
You haven't a clue of what LNT is about and why some of us go through great legnths to leave nothing but footprints.
You can try reading about the practice here
http://www.trailspace.com/gear/guide/leave-no-trace.html and google will find you a whole lot more
but if your going to make comments like this you're probably just wasting your time and don't even understand the basic concept.

Try researching the current dialogue about bolting (banned in some locales) & new aid routes that's been going on for a long time (may even find old articles on this site) and you may get a little insight into why via ferrata on Everest is such a controversy.

adam g

4:32 p.m. on December 12, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Andrew Johnson
Regardless

of what you may think of the person running the expedition, the show is great. My mother is a strong Mountaineer. She has climbed McKinnley, Kilimanjaro (SP?) Reneir, Mt. Hood and a few other. We both think the show is great for one reason. It shows strong people in this world at there weakest. It shows people that you can't just run up that mountain.

I know some of you don't like what happened up there. That is not what the show is all about. So you might want to get off your holier than Thou horse and enjoy the show for what it's worth. Rarely can you see where the greats have been before. Where we will never be.

Sorry if my spelling is not up to snuff.

4:50 p.m. on December 12, 2006 (EST)
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19 forum posts
Re: Regardless

Wow, it's really is great to see someone else here say that the show is great! I think it is not only good entertainment, which is what TV is meant to do, but also serves as an educational documentary about the expedition of climbers who went out and tried to summit the mountain.

Of crouse there are things that are wrong with the show, but that is not saying that it doesn't achieve what it is meant to do. No, I wasn't aware of the condensity found on the mountain, and had I not seen the show, then I wouldn't have known that. So, I think that the show is doing a great job of educating while also entertaining those of us who are nto as familiar with climbing as others.

9:02 p.m. on December 12, 2006 (EST)
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4 forum posts
Re: Regardless

I've learned a lot thanks to this show. Most of which was read on this thread.
BTW, I enjoy the show, but American Choppers is much better.

12:28 a.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Regardless

Gosh, where to start!?!
First, as a high altitude climber, the show is amazing.

For every guy like you who wants to walk in the woods and pretend they don't use toilet tissue made from Amazon Trees, there are millions who wonder what it's like. There are millions who want to be entertained and there are millions somewhere in between. Now that I've seen the show, I've enjoyed just how "real" it is. The climbers are not playing up the camera- having been in a situation where I had a difficult time climbing, you almost get to the point where you simply want to lay down and sleep- regardless of the fact that you might die. Cameras are the last thing on their minds.

The show is very real. Not every "voiceover" but the photos, the shallow breaths, the wind, the conditions, the sense of life. That's very real.

I recommend it. Highly.
T


[edited 12/13/2006 by Dave: no personal attacks, please]

12:32 a.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

The show.. Rocks... So thank you very much. I look forward to it every week. I'll be sad to see it end. I'll be honest, I got here because I was looking for spoilers because I can't take it anymore... Too much suspense. Must know if Tim gets to the top or turns around.

Well done all and all. As for the negativity. Eh, I start seeing it, and skim over the rest of that persons post. Always comes off childish, or that they have some ax to grind for no great reason. Hey, I've never been there, will never be there, and shows like this bring the action to me.

And to think that some people were climbing AND filming. Amazing.

Ok... Gotta sit tight and wait for next week.

3:17 a.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)

I love the show. Have you everb heard of entertainment?. If you do not like it change the channel.

8:30 a.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
234 reviewer rep
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PLEASE READ

A note to those of you who've recently found this thread through a search engine:

Trailspace is a community of climbers, backpackers, and other backcountry enthusiasts. We're here to discuss climbing and related topics.

If you have something constructive to add to this thread from a climbing perspective, please do. Otherwise please refrain from posting. Replies along the lines of "it's entertainment, get over it" do not add to the discussion and will be deleted.

1:47 p.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
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I think that the show is not only entertainment, though. It has served its purpose I think in educating and exposing the environment of the mountain to others who are not as familiar with it. The majority of people on this board are very familiar with climbing and with Everest. And many of them have spoken about their dislike for the show, but what I think that is interesting about it is that the show has actually served a greater purpose and has allowed others to appreciate what they already know about cliombing. At least that is what it has done for me.

4:14 p.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
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24 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Yes I have a huge clue of LNT. I am an outdoors person. I also thnk that because there is no one telling people they can't go climb everest and so many inexperienced/unprepared people are just showing up to give it a go that it is a good thing that someone is putting safety measures to at least help out. You can be a glass half empty person or a glass half full person. You can look at the guy Brice's team couldn't save or you can count the people he has saved. If there are 50 people climbing on any given day in May how much slower would some of the bottle necks be without some of these aids put in. How many people would be freezing to death because the lines took even longer than they do?? People have been leaving their bottles and trash up there for years, even before climbing Everest became so popular. It doesn't make it OK, it's as equally as bad a thing then at it is now. I am guessing there are still spectacular views up on Everest even if there are a few bolts on the tricky sections. I don't view this show as "Reality" It's a documentary with a commentator who seems to add a little flare. There are "real" climbers out there. I love the show and I don't see why so many people have to get so high and mighty and judgemental on here. I'll miss the show when it's over. Only one week left!

5:37 p.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
MODERATOR
38 reviewer rep
1,757 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

We should all remember that Nicatrails started this thread for one reason and one reason only: to promote a tv show he is marketing. What he was looking for was free publicity for his show and he got it. Dave, the site owner, has been very patient with this promotion, which has turned into a "isn't it great television?" thread that has little to do with the focus of this forum, which is backpacking and climbing. Other sites I belong to aren't this tolerant-your post is really spam and would have been deleted long ago.

You wanted free publicity, you got it. Congratulations, your boss should be proud of you. Call it "viral marketing," or "guerilla marketing," it's still marketing for which the site owner is getting no benefit.

Some of the people who have responded negatively to the show and the ethics it represents have many years of wilderness experience, including teaching others to enjoy the outdoors. Their opinions, regardless of what you may think, are valuable to the members of this community and to newcomers to backpacking and climbing who read this forum for advice and guidance. If you are unable to understand that, then you should find another venue for your marketing efforts.

7:52 p.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
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24 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Tom-

It sounds like what you are saying that because some people responded positively to the show that their opinions AREN'T valuable to others? Wow! I think EVERYONE is entitled to their opinion about a show about climbing. Positive OR negative this is a discussion forum is it not? Wouldn't it be boring if no one had an opinion? I have used and recommended this site for a long time. Do not assume that just because I am not a member with a profile that I am a newcomer. I have visited this site often for a long time. Some of the people who have responded POSITIVELY to the show also have many years of wilderness experience including teaching others to enjoy the outdoors. Their opinions reguardless of what YOU might think are ALSO valuable to the members of this community, to newcomers to backpackers etc. I appreciate that Nica started this thread and I have to mention that it's probably a good thing to have people interested in climbing stumble across this site, no?? In any case I think that it is a bit odd that because you don't share the same opinion that you use the threat of removing posts. Not everyone has the same opinion and as a matter of fact it seems that many people who have negative opinions of this show continue to watch it and make comments on this thread which is fine with me, it makes a discussion happen. If people don't want to discuss the show they don't need to click this thread, there are plenty other topics available to them. I value EVERYONES opinion positive or negative or anywhere in between. Discussion on issues we love such as the outdoors is a good thing. Not everyone can agree or have the same opinion on everything. My opinion is that I don't think people should be able to just show up to climb a mountain like Everest without being prepared or skilled but they do and because they do (in hordes) something needs to be done to make it a little safer, even if it means adding a few bolts and ladders and a little regulation. Would it be better if this wasn't the case? Yes. But the fact of the matter is that it IS commercialized and people show up without legs and without proper gear to give it a go. What do you do? If 300 people a year summit Everest how is the number on the mountain managed?

9:57 p.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
MODERATOR
38 reviewer rep
1,757 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Annie, I think you have missed my point. Nica is involved in a commercial venture-promoting his program. His interest isn't in climbing, it is in promoting a tv show that just happened to be about climbing. If it was about cars or cooking, he would have posted something similar on another website. My argument isn't about having different opinions about the program, it is that I don't think posters should use this forum to promote a product without paying the site owner, just like his other sponsors do. That is how sites like this one get supported. I get the benefit of those sponsors because the site is free for me. If people want to argue the merits of reality tv, great, I just don't think this is the right place to do it.

Disguising advertising as something else isn't honest, no matter what the subject. News programs sometimes run what appear to be new stories that are little more than thinly disguised ads for drugs and other products. I don't see the difference here.

10:18 p.m. on December 13, 2006 (EST)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
234 reviewer rep
942 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Tom is right. We generally do not permit commercial posts in the forums.

After much consideration, I chose not to delete this one because Nicatrails was quite upfront about his/her intentions and also because, let's face it, there hadn't been a ton of activity in the Climbing forum lately. I figured this might get people talking in here again.

8:24 a.m. on December 14, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: no clue of LNT

I´m just a guest here, although I have been lurking for a while. Anyway, when I saw the sudden string of posts on Dec 12-13, I wondered why there were suddenly a bunch of favorable even enthusiastic posts. somehow I get the feeling these were all the same person and they are just spam. There all sorts of clues this is the case.

Annie you said something about a lot of experienced climbers were praisng the program. But every forum I look at where there is a way to easily find out how much experience the person has, not just bragging, the people with experience almost all are upset with the way the show is presenting climbing and those who knew about Russell Brice and the whole scene last May have been very negative. Your comments about there being 300 people on the mountain shows how poorly informed you are. It is a lot more than that.

You said some things about wilderness experience. Sorry, wilderness experience is not the same as climbing experiencein wilderness situations. You said something about a few bolts. It is a lot more than that, and there are permanent ladders. And more. And the fixed ropes are just abandoned as are all the oxygen bottles, tents, garbage, food containers, and human waste (no latrines, no efforts to even bury it or conceal it, and it doesn´t deteriorate).

As others have said it better than me, you really don´t have a clue.

9:54 a.m. on December 14, 2006 (EST)
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19 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Dave,
Thank you for your openness about this topic. While I completely understand that the show is conflictive for many of the members here, I sincerely thought that it would be something that many would at least appreciate. I believe in the product and would not be promoting it if I did not. Again, it has to be said that I am not an avid climber as most of you are. So that may be why my point of view is different from yours. I think that to say the least, the disucussion that has gone on has at least opened everyone's eyes to different points of views and has educated everyone in one way or another.

10:30 a.m. on December 14, 2006 (EST)
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24 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Johnny-

If you want to go back and reread what I wrote it was "If 300 people a year summit Everest how is the number on that mountain managed?" I am aware of how many people are on the mountain in recent years and I do have a clue. My partner is a climber and so are many of my friends. I don't consider myself a climber because I realize trekking and climbing are two very different things. I am a mountain person and have "trekked" to the summit of a few tall mountains but don't consider myself a climber because I don't climb on anything that is considered technical. The most I do is slap crampons on my boots when the trail becaomes slippery and icy. I will climb anything that doesn't reqire more than pulling myself up my hands and feet. Just because I don't agree with your opinion doesn't mean I don't have a clue.

10:51 a.m. on December 15, 2006 (EST)
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408 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

"My opinion is that I don't think people should be able to just show up to climb a mountain like Everest without being prepared or skilled but they do and because they do (in hordes) something needs to be done to make it a little safer, even if it means adding a few bolts and ladders and a little regulation. Would it be better if this wasn't the case? Yes. But the fact of the matter is that it IS commercialized and people show up without legs and without proper gear to give it a go. What do you do? If 300 people a year summit Everest how is the number on the mountain managed?"

I think the number on the mountain is "managed" by the number of permits issued by either Nepal or China. So, its regulated in that way.

Folks who show up with little in the way of mountaineering/climbing experience are usually clients that are being guided.

You'd have to have a fair amount of "legs" and gear to even get above base camp. And, its always debatable on what would be the "proper" amount of either.

Something "needs" to be done to make it safer? I dunno. Its been streamlined, to be sure, by the folks that fix routes through the ice falls and string fixed line. Ends up being a time and equipment saver as most groups use a single route, rather than plug in their own.

Interesting stuff to ponder, to be sure.

-Brian in SLC

4:25 p.m. on December 15, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Andrew J.
Re: no clue of LNT

I don't think it should be made safer. If you die on the mountain that is your problem. Everyone is always trying to make something safer. Everest is what it is. One of the hardest most challenging things to ever do.

If you die on it I feel bad. However the reason why most of us don't try and climb it is because we don't want to die on it. I am not expert in Climbing. I have complete Marine Corps mountain Warfare school and have been in extreme cold for long periods of time. You can't stop stupid. You can't tell someone they can't climb. If that someone dies then they die.

Climbing is about being as safe as you want to be. I climb small mountains in Colorado although they are over 14,000 I still know what I want to avoid. That is the big ones that I have little control over.

Thanks for hearing me out. This is a great site and although the thread started out as a promotional tool. It has opened up some great debate.

A Johnson

5:55 p.m. on December 15, 2006 (EST)
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24 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

You make a good point. I guess if they didn't make it easier, so many people wouldn't be showing up to give it a go.

7:51 p.m. on December 15, 2006 (EST)
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4 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Why not just pave a road? I think that would be a lot safer. Maybe rummble strips on the side too.

I guess it sounds a lot cooler to say "I climbed Everest", the it does Kanchenjunga or Annapurna.

9:29 a.m. on December 18, 2006 (EST)
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1 forum posts
Re: no clue of LNT

Just out of curiosity, how many on this board have climbed Everest? Of those, how many were there with David Sharp and Mark Inglis that day? Nobody? Really?

The truth is, you weren't there that day, and you don't know what happened. People are making some pretty serious accusations about Inglis and what he did, or didn't do. Though we really don't have any idea at all. I've seen so many people on this board link random hypothesis-like articles about what happened and people take them as fact. Not to mention that none of you know Brice, his crew, his climbers, or the Discovery crew, yet pass judgment as carelessly as you breath air. They are real people. Some of whom have lost friends and family on the mountain. Some of whom (Inglis) have been stuck on a mountain. Some of whom have climbed their entire lives. They are regular people, and to so easily assume that they left him to die without any thought or care seems a little illogical doesn't it? Since we don't know what happened, we just assume that they all left him to die? Inglis knows that you should never give up hope. He was rescued after 2 weeks on a mountain! Don't you think that he, of all of the people that day, would have understood what Sharp was going through?

This is a show, but I dare you to show me a more real portrayal of what it is like to climb Everest. Start to finish, you get a very good glimpse of it. People have also mentioned that it is dramatizing the trip. Isn't that true though? Don't people die climbing it? Aren't people's camps being robbed (Vitor Negrete)? Aren't there too many inexperienced people on the mountain? This show addresses it all, the camaraderie, the challenges, the hardships, and the mortality of life?

...and stop being so rude to each other. Would you talk to your wives, husbands, daughters, or sons the way you are talking to each other?

10:36 a.m. on December 18, 2006 (EST)
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Re: no clue of LNT

Well said Vitaminoccy.

4:20 a.m. on December 19, 2006 (EST)
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Re: no clue of LNT

very well said finally a comment about the show from someone who actually climbs and just to add my two cents i think the show is a little dramatic but that is what discovery needs to do to sell commercials that's television and like vitamin said that is actual drama up there these things happen every year and coming from a climber myself, my hat is off to mark inglis and tim medvetz a guy with no legs and a guy of that size and all that metal in his body to get that high right on tim and mark keep climbing

12:40 p.m. on December 19, 2006 (EST)
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Re: no clue of LNT

Well, I have been happy to see that the show has received both raves and rants on the board. I know it is difficult for some to take it in as both entertainment and education, but that is how I have seen it. The finale is tonight, so it should be interesting to see how it ends and to see the final reactions from all of these climbers. As well as all of yours as viewers.

8:01 p.m. on December 19, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

Great show. Sorry tonight is the last night. It is my understanding that Discovery might do it again this upcoming season. Any insight?

8:23 p.m. on December 19, 2006 (EST)
(Guest)

I posted my message without reading the entire thread. Decisions were made. Major choices long before landing in Nepal. Brice's loyalties are to his team and as difficult as it may seem, as ethically simple as it may seem to "help out someone else, another team member," Brice's job is to act as if his team member's lives are more important. His job is to get them home. I am no expert. Certainly no purist mountaineering about the continents. But I do know that a leader has to be able to center his focus on those he is enlisted to protect.

At the end of the day, this day, in fact, it is a television show that answers to "the man." Get over it. What I think this boils down to is a bunch of men who don't want more people on THEIR mountains. By the way, define deserve, please.

10:26 p.m. on December 19, 2006 (EST)
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sorry wrong forum

Gee,
I must be lost in netspace - WOW - I must have entered the name wrong, this can't be "rec.climbing.useful" [deleted out of respect for civility]...

But if thats what it takes to generate posts [deleted out of respect for civility]. After getting really angry we understand ourselves a little bit more. See I said we needed a rant forum...
Jim S
P.S. [deleted out of respect for civility]

12:00 a.m. on December 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: no clue of LNT

I loved it!! I still believe after watching that even if they would have mounted a rescue expedition, Sharp wouldn't have made it. I hope they do it again next year- I'll watch.

8:42 a.m. on December 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: no clue of LNT

I think it is a difficult call to make. It definitely makes for an interesting debate in an Ethics class...this would have been a heated discussion in my own Ethics class that I took about a year ago. I must agree, though, that the expedition leader has to be responsible for his own team , and if he felt that they were somewhat in risk by helping this guy out, then it was a good call on his part. There would have been many more losses if this would have gone down anotehr way.

In terms of there being another season, I am not sure, but I will be sure to keep you up to date.

1:03 p.m. on December 20, 2006 (EST)
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Re: no clue of LNT

I have been reading this thread for a while now. I decided not to pass judgement until I saw the entire show. I have watched every episode and have come to the conclusion that Brice made the right decision. I am a climber and teach classes, particularly in mountain rescue, its an Army thing.
A leader's first priority is to the people he is responsible for. If you look at the situations that Russel's other climbers were in then he made the correct choice. Inglis had to be "rescued" himself from a lower elevation because he was bleeding from his stumps. Tim and Gerard would have been a liability on a rescue as well as the camera crew. What would their chances have been had Ingles, or his Sherpas, stopped to help someone else. Look at where Sharp was on the mountain. Ask yourself how long it would have taken to mount a rescue from that elevation. If you look at the technical difficulty of getting there with personnel capable of helping, administering aid, maintaining his condition, and moving a lifeless body across that terrain then he made the right choice. Russel's climbers barely had enough oxygen for themselves. When Max found Sharp he was on the way down, low on oxygen, and exhausted from hours of climbing. The additional loss of life or limb must be taken into account when deciding whether or not to assist others. It not as simple as throwing him some oxygen and encouraging him down.
Some have said that it is sensationized TV. The folks on that show have attempted to tackle a mountain I never have. Nobody climbed it for them though they didnt carry all of their own gear (you get what you pay for). It seemed that the other climbers on the mountain were using HimEx's ropes and ladders too; so, they didnt do it without help either. We cant deny that this aspect of climbing exists; there it is for the whole world to see. Comment has been made about Russel Brice. I dont know him or his crew so I wont pass judgement. From what I have seen, I would hire him to keep my rear end alive. He and his team did help other teams during the expedition. The doctor guy specialized in high altitude medicine, so what if he was a climber too. Since Brice organizes several expeditions to Everest and obviosly has experience, and I havent, I would trust his judgement. If you watched the whole show, he repeatedly tells his climbers that it is their choice to leave the body or stay. Personally I find it hard to beleive that 40 people, from various expeditions, walked by him without one person (guide, Sherpa, climber, film crew)helping him had they felt he could be saved. Did he ever ask for help or was it too late before he could be save?
These of course are just my observations. A good climber is always compelled to evaluate his situation. Summiting is not always possible. There is a time to go solo and a time to be on a team. Knowing your limits and having a plan will keep you alive. Would I stop to help a fellow climber that wasnt prepared for his journey that was in trouble; you bet your !@#$ I would. Bur as a leader, not at the expense of the life of my teammates had I thought they couldnt survive the rescue.
On another note, it's amazing how many Sherpas, guides, and climbers still use TNF gear. Not just on this show but several documentaries I have watched. I am still a fan of TNF gear. Know what your buying, do a little research, and use it for its intended purpose. True, they make some yuppie gear. They sell it to them and reinvest it in the sport. Good for us and them. They also have their gear that is for the real climber, backpacker, etc. Good enough for expeditions, still good enough for me. Thanks for reading, Im ready for the backlash.

Heff

3:24 p.m. on December 20, 2006 (EST)
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a.k.a. Andrew J.
Re: no clue of LNT

Heff,

What you said... You said it perfect.

10:02 p.m. on January 1, 2007 (EST)
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Re: no clue of LNT

PLEASE NOTE: I was asked not long ago by Dave, the board owner, to be one of the moderators of this board. In that capacity, I have deleted the last two posts, one by Ascender and one by Heff. Dave allowed this thread to continue to debate the merits of the show and climbing ethics in general, not to provide anyone a forum to call others idiots and fools. If you can't approach the topic like an adult, don't post here. There are plenty of forums where name-calling is the norm; this isn't one of them.

12:45 p.m. on January 12, 2007 (EST)
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I understand that Discovery declined to include the footage they had of David Sharp introducing himself while seated on the mountain, in the very place he died.
I'd read quite a bit about the show, but when I saw the list of characters you were portraying as heros (commercial expedition organizers who look at Everest as an economic opportunity and see only dollar signs when they look at their "clients") I decided that I'd let this show pass.
It's a damn shame you didn't show the 40 odd climbers and sherpas passing by David, doing nothing to help, as the life drained from his body.
So, in business school, as a marketing major, do they teach "cold hearted bastard" as an undergraduate class or must one attend grad school for that one? I admit to ignorance regarding the requirements for an MBA, my graduate degrees are in a far more technical field.

Peace

Steve

8:15 p.m. on January 13, 2007 (EST)
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Instead of sitting around watching "reality" shows, I spent the last month and a half getting out to the hills, as I often do (Antarctica in this case, and Mt. Vinson in particular, plus a few other peaks nearby, some of which were previously unclimbed or on new routes). My party included 4 of the original first ascent party that did Vinson 40 years ago along with a number of other nearby peaks. I will note that there are still hundreds of unclimbed peaks with hundreds of challenging routes available in this area. In addition, 2 of the children of members of the original party were part of the expedition. Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions handled the logistics (flights, food, tents, and 2 guides to accompany us, though much of our climbing was without the guides). There were several other parties in the Vinson Base Camp (no resemblance to the zoo that is Everest Base Camp) and passing through Patriot Hills on treks to finish the Shackleton South Pole attempt that turned back at around 88 deg south and groups doing The Last Degree (89S to the Pole), as well as a couple of commercial guide services. Note that for the most part, all groups are self-sufficient once on the ice, with the only rescues coming from cooperative efforts among the various groups (there were a couple incidents while we were there, and all groups were indeed cooperative, no walking around someone, gear and assistance freely offered).

I will also note that environmental rules are very strict compared to most parts of the world - nothing is left behind, including human waste (pee and solid waste are flown out in barrels). Leave even crumbs of your granola and you hear about it from other parties on the ice.

Last night, I viewed a tape of the last Everest: Beyond the Limit installation. Given the on the spot reports posted during the climbing season (which I reviewed on the web), what appeared in this episode was drastically different. One of the big differences was between Brice's public statements at the time of the first showing of the first episodes and what he said and showed in this last segment. The statement had been made that there would be nothing on Sharp. Yet, this episode showed the discovery of an "unknown" climber who was dying. If you look closely at the scenes where Brice is talking on the radio to his climbers, sherpas, and guides, you notice that something is not quite right - the continuity people didn't do their job carefully. Brice's clothing, state of shaving, and all change from scene to scene during what is supposed to be a continuous unfolding of the events. Note, too, that during his communications, he is inside a tent, with no outside glimpses of the surrounding scene as was seen in earlier episodes. It looks suspisciously like Brice's end of the conversation was shot later in a studio. Maybe not, but it doesn't look quite right.

There is a lot of discussion about trying to identify this "unknown" climber. Yet at the time the incident was going on, everest.com and other sites were reporting that Sharp had identified himself and his expedition and was still alive (you can read the reports as dated and posted on several everest-related websites for yourself, some having been referenced in this thread previously).

The impression I got from this episode is that a re-working and editing has been done (resulting in a number of inconsistencies and internal contradictions) in an effort to answer some of the critical discussion coming from the climbing community. In particular, there are a lot of changes in statements made in the show from public, published statements dating from last May and June, when the incidents were developing. Yes, hindsight makes some things clearer, but it does not explain why some very different versions of what happened are being put forward now with an attempt to back them up with the video footage (you catch a brief glimpse of Sharp under the rock, but nothing that really shows a genuine attempt to provide help).

I will agree that Brice's first responsibility is to his own clients and his employees (and the Sherpas and guides are indeed his employees). But according to published reports at the time (last May), there were 20 or more Sherpas and a large number of oxygen bottles within an hour of Sharp at the camp below that could have been deployed.

Some things that did not come out - Sharp's "expedition" was a group that does basically only selling of a share of their permit to all comers, and provision of oxygen bottles and some logistical support up to ABC, and not above. A number of questions have been raised about whether the clients on Brice's expedition were truly qualified and experienced enough. One of the incidents on Vinson last month involved a client on a commercially guided expedition who, according to a couple of the other clients, hardly knew how to put his crampons on - which indicates insufficient screening. Brice's expeditions are known for their minimal screening, and screening on the spot in a "trial by fire" fashion. Should this mix of someone who had had a series of altitude sickness problems, an asthmatic, a double amputee, someone held together by screws and plates (and a spinal cage), etc really be allowed on the mountain? When the previous amputees and the blind climber went up, they had the support of several other highly experienced and strong climbers each, where Brice's crew had to depend on others with physical limitations, untested in such conditions. The back-up does not appear to have been there. I have a good friend who is seriously limited (he lost both legs in an accident), but does very challenging hikes and climbs, always backed by a strong support team, far stronger than what appears to have been the case for Brice's team. Scanning through the tape, it sounds like Brice's team was planning on an extremely narrow margin for their oxygen, and cut it even closer due to the participants not really understanding how narrow the margin was (the statement by the former Hell's Angel about having 2 hours of oxygen left, allowing for an hour to summit and an hour back, when he was moving at a pace that would take more like 2 hours up - and then the accompanying sherpa turns the guy's flow rate up higher)

I see that while I was down on the ice, there were several posts claiming to know that people posting here on Trailspace are not climbers (I suggest those people should check publications like the American Alpine Journal where they will see that several of the people posting here are listed with first ascents in remote ranges each year). Well, gee, I guess I was just hiking around in shirtsleeves and shorts in Antarctica (my Kestrel seems to have recorded a few -30 and -40 temperatures, nice T-shirt weather, eh?) No penguins or seals, though - too far inland. No, I didn't summit, nor did most of our team (well, what do you expect from a group of 65-72 year olds, when you have winds gusting to 70 knots and temperatures down to -40, and the High Camp is far enough from the summit to require a 12 hour round trip? We all knew our limits, and so came back "alive, with all parts intact" - the return is more than half the trip).

10:57 p.m. on January 13, 2007 (EST)
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Wow! This thread sure has a bunch of themes/points/counter-points running through it. The first impression I got early on was nicatrails was looking for support and feeback from a climbing community to help her market what sounded like a "semi-documentary" of what it's like to summit Everest. And what she got was some concerns from the climbing community in this forum about how they felt the show was portraying the climbing community in general. The impression I came away with was that the climbing community that comes to this forum had some very real concerns about the way the show was portraying the climbing world, especially to those people outside that world. And they expressed it. The response to their concern seemed (to me) to be dismay that this show wasn't embraced with loving arms. But that really didn't last long. Because...

Bringing mention of this show on this forum has opened up a can of worms - essentially all the issues that stem from people pushing the limits of their abilities and the need to talk about it or not. As I see it, this has covered the following:

Reality vs reality tv and how close reality tv can actually portray reality. - And in this case, whether this show was deemed to have been a thoughtful presenatation of what it would be/is like to summit Everest or whether it was deemed to have been a sensationalized version of what climbing such a peak may or may not be like.

The supreme effort it takes to summit Everest.

The human need to challenge themselves physically and what motivates it - ego, spirit, etc.

Whether or not it is a "worthwhile" endeavor or just another notch on the belt of bragging rights - and questions over how that is determined and, on an almost under the radar sort of way, who determines which it is.

The ethics of aiding ailing climbers and how each person answers that question for themself.

The decisions a person makes when in a situation of extreme duress and the whole "I would have done________ if I were in that situation" answer from either the "been there, done that already" position or the "I would like to think I would do _________" position of someone who has not yet been tested that way.

The appalling state of affairs on Everest - with all the garbage and waste that has been abandoned there. Which, on a little side note, what can we do about that - how can we clean it up - is it possible??? How can we reduce how much is added to it??? - I think this is one that most everyone agreed upon...

The debate over how many people and who do you really allow to summit Everest and who should be qualified to make that decision.

Whether or not it is a good thing or a bad thing that so many people do attempt to summit Everest.

How many of the expedition leaders/companies out there are in it just for the buck and how many are there to share the experience with other like-minded individuals.

The debate about leaving the mountain as it is or installing equipment to make it easier/safer for the weaker individuals who want to summit Everest - and who has the "right" to make that decision.


The unfortunate thing I did see happening with this whole thead is the fact that it has gotten to the point where two posts were deleted with an admonition that this forum is no place for name calling.

I think ultimately, this has pointed out some very basic human questions that we as humans have struggled with forever - how far can we push ourselves, how do we co-exist with others who have very different opinions and views from our own, how much responsibility do we have for the well-being of others, how do we live with the decisions we make in a situation of duress and whether or not we are strong enough to make the "right" one or not, who is the "right" person to make the decision about whether or not someone is allowed to go somewhere or do something beyond the ken of an average person, what is/where is the line between self-aggrandizement/self-promotion and seeking a higher level of being, where is the line between telling a sensationalized version of events and providing a thoughtful, sensitive telling of a situation, where do you draw the line between doing something purely for personal gain vs for the "common good."

Though unfortunate, the fact that two postings had to be deleted because of name calling points out the depth of these issues and how we as humans can have a hard time scrutinizing our own motivations and beliefs. But that very scrutiny is what ultimately helps us to grow in compassion and empathy for ourselves and others.

Now. Let's get back to talking about climbing and the really great stuff about it and the really good things that happen out there!

1:31 p.m. on January 14, 2007 (EST)
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B-groupLizard -

Thanks for a very insightful post. I can answer a couple of your side comments -

1. Conrad Anker has been running the Khumbu training project for several years to increase the training and skill levels of Sherpas who are guiding on Everest and other Himalayan peaks. This increases their safety level and provides training for them to participate in guiding and rescue, and potentially to start and run local guiding companies. Potentially, too, this could reduce the number of outside guide services that do insufficient screening and support of their clients.

2. There are cleanup projects each year to remove at least part of the debris left behind by the commercial expeditions. You can help support these projects by, for example, buying some of the art and craft creations made from the debris, such as the beautiful bells made from recycled oxygen cylinders (these can be found at a number of sites on the web).

A point you hint at that has not really been brought out is the ethical and moral one of responsibility of the climber to others, whether on Everest or in a National Park in the US or even a city park - if a person gets him/herself into trouble, others (most of the climbing community, S&R organizations, rescue professionals) will attempt to provide aid, even at severe personal risk of injury or death. There is a major on-going debate on the obligation of individuals and governments to carry out such rescue attempts, regulate access to risky activities, and responsibility for the costs. Should access and/or participation be restricted, screened, prohibited? Should rescue insurance be required (we were required to have such insurance in Antarctica)? Should the policy be (as it is in Denali National Park, for example) that aid will be attempted if and only if it is at minimal or no risk to the volunteers and professional rangers (otherwise, you are on your own, no matter how many sat-phone calls you make or how pleading a case your spouse and soon-to-be-orphaned children make)?

Disclaimer - this is NOT intended to trigger an new direction for this thread, only to point out that the discussion in this thread barely touches on the depth and breadth of the debate over the question of personal responsibility in undertaking risky activities and the responsibility of others, including governments, in regulating such activities and providing aid in case of disaster (should the government provide ambulance services, fire services, etc etc etc etc).

There is no simple answer.

3:09 a.m. on January 16, 2007 (EST)
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First of all, I am the person who removed the offending posts. As I said earlier,namecalling contributes nothing to the conversation, but new insights do.

Bill raises several interesting points about rescue-who pays and when is anyone obligated to take the risk. The latter is easier to answer-whoever chooses to do so. Professional rescuers choose to put themselves in harm's way to help others. Volunteers often do so as well. It can be serious business. A friend of mine, along with two others,was killed in a helo crash while looking for a lost hiker.

As far as who pays-rarely, at least in the US, is it the rescued party. That is a collective decision of society. Some jurisdictions will charge if the party has broken the rules,gone where they shouldn't or called for rescue when it really wasn't needed (being tired doesn't count). Perhaps if people were charged for their mistakes, they might be more careful. An argument can be made that cel phones encourage people to go places they shouldn't because they figure they can just call for help if needed. Same applies to PLB's. In fact the first guy to use one after they were approved was fined for setting his off twice in a row-he got stranded, set off once, got rescued, went back to get his gear, set it off again because he didn't feel like walking back. The authorities decided once was enough.

3:59 p.m. on January 20, 2007 (EST)
(Guest)

Well, I haven't seen the show but I found the web site interesting.

I realize that I'm seeing a hyped up tale of essentially rich amateurs on a quest for a cocktail party trophy but that's actually what I find interesting to watch.

I remember, as a kid in the 50s and 60s, reading National Geographic stories about early Everest expeditions and being awed by the challenge and accomplishment. I realize it's much different today, but it can still be an interesting story, though for very different reasons.

9:08 a.m. on February 9, 2007 (EST)
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Ok, forgive me for wading right into the middle of this - but I've got to set a few things straight here.

A team of novice climbers this certainly is not. They are - in the main - a group of serious committed athletes.

1. Team meber A: This is the third time on Everest for one of them

2. Team member B: An accomplished Mountain Rescue Team member

3. Team Member C: Has climber the highest peaks of every other continent on the planet

4. Team Member D: This is his second attempt

5. Team Member E: A very accomplished climber, physically the match of any of you on the forum

I have been lucky enough to have seen all six of these throroughly gripping and moving episodes. The climbers are not there purely for our entertainment. Each of them has a history, a story - and hopes and aspirations. They are individuals who fight hard for their dreams. Admonishing the programme in the way that people on this forum have is no way to treat fellow human beings. Their efforts are as valid as anyobody elses, and their courage is proven to be immense.

8:49 p.m. on February 11, 2007 (EST)
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Ludwig -
The problem with the show is NOT with the climbers. The primary problem is the way Discovery Channel promoted the show and the way it was edited as "Extreme" and similar words. The original post by nicatrails stated that these were "inexperienced" climbers - note in that post (the very first one of the thread) that nicatrails was involved in publicizing and promoting the show. To quote her, "....this show that I'm working on for my marketing job. ....It follows an inexperienced group of climbers trying to trek the mountain during this climbing season." (side note: several posters referred to nicatrails as "him". In her second post, she makes a comment about "my husband". Yes, here in the SFBay Area, that could come from either male or female, but I strongly suspect that nicatrails is female).

It became obvious very quickly (and stated in my posts and others) that these were not "novices" as the early publicity stated it. If you want to point a finger, point it at the publicity and promotion people who billed the show this way, not at the people reacting to the promotional material.

As for your "Climber E", knowing several of the people who responded on this forum, which you clearly do not, if I go by the bios posted on the Discovery Channel pages about the show, there are at least a couple of people who post on this forum who currently are physically more than the match, and a couple more who were more than the match when they were the same age. At least one worked mountain rescue for a number of years, matching your "Climber B". At least two have climbed more than one of the 7 Summits.

10:48 p.m. on March 11, 2007 (EDT)
(Guest)

we need to build chair lifts from base camp to summit itself i'm taking donations email me

August 27, 2014
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