Crowding on everest

6:52 p.m. on May 23, 2019 (EDT)
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9:41 p.m. on May 23, 2019 (EDT)
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Doesn't that sound like fun?   All that money for the adventure of a lifetime, and you stand in line in the death zone.

1:42 a.m. on May 24, 2019 (EDT)
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I have never understood the appeal of climbing mountains, much lessones half way around the world that are crowded and can killl you.  Anyone know what it costs to try to climb Mt Everest?

4:57 a.m. on May 24, 2019 (EDT)
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The direct cost of climbing Everest is somewhere north of $50K. 

Choose the time you wish to live large and in the moment, else risk that moment lasting forever.

I understand how folks are driven to take on difficult, even dangerous, challenges.  Did my share of some dumb adventures.  But Everest is not so much a challenge of one's mettle; it is primarily a lottery, betting survival and life itself against the odds of bad weather or a chink in one's genetic makeup.  Everest may once have been the edge of what is possible, garnering it that romantic notion of mountaineering at the highest level.  High, yes, but nowadays there are numerous climbs that are more severe tests of one's mountaineering mettle.  Everest today is a well trodden, curated march, lock step with the rear end two meters in front of your nose.  It is not your grandfather's Everest.

At some level many folks climbing Everest, today, are motivated largely by vanity issues.  Ego often is the basis of ambition.  For some it's having the biggest yacht in the marina, for others a room full of trophies kills mounted on plaques lining the walls, and for others it's getting their name on the door of the corner office or in big gold letters on tall buildings.  Everest wannabes aspire to be King of the Hill.  In  Donald Cash's own words they want to be, the "Chief Executive Mountaineer."  Look at me and what I can do!  Ambition for the sake of vanity.

The real peril is when our ego gets over invested in bagging the summit, where the ego needs this conquest for it own validation, as bad as it needs the admiration of others.  Vanity compels many to make poor choices.  Back in the day I participated in expeditions which required passing a thorough medical screening; a bad tooth or swollen lymph nodes were reasons enough to disqualify one from the team, not to mention a bad heart.  Someone wasn't forthcoming in this instance, and that is unfortunate.  Someone with a bad ticker has no business up there.  The first mistake here was made well before Donald got anywhere near the mountain.  

All of Mr. Cash's kin and social circle now celebrate his life while morning his loss.  He must have been one hell of a guy.  He left a legacy, he inspired others.  But his ambition left a dark legacy, too.  Someday, it is going to dawn on someone while watching the footage from his Go-Pro conquests, that he gave it all away for little more than being a hero cam star.  That thought will leave a taste of iron in the mouth and haunt them to their grave.


9:47 a.m. on May 24, 2019 (EDT)
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The current situation on Everest and many other "destination"peaks is a travesty of what the outdoor experience should be.

I started climbing, hiking, and backpacking more than sixty years ago, and commercialization was almost non-existent then.  I learned with other kindred souls - did we have what was necessary to surmount the obstacle, whatever that was - a tricky move on an exposed ridge, deep snow, a twenty mile tramp - whatever.

In confronting these challenges, I forged friendships and relations that have proved deep and meaningful - Mrs. Hikermor and I will soon be celebrating our 30th anniversary - we met and courted in the outdoors.

None of this involved spending a lot of money.  More essential was the need to train and prepare the body and mind, recognize potential hazards, and develop strategies for dealing with them.  This led eventually to heavy involvement in SAR, with corresponding rewards.

The one positive about the Everest situation is that at least some of the money is infused into the local economy.  Other than that, it is a hideous distortion of what climbing should represent - teamwork and camaraderie working to achieve an objective, which is not a bad model for life in general.

7:26 a.m. on May 25, 2019 (EDT)
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I love being outside and love hiking in bad weather. A rainy day clears the trails and generally isn't a major hurdle. Cold or windy weather with the right gear can be managed.  But that's only valid if people honestly assess their own limits and the severity of the weather and the trail conditions. I guess delay needs to get baked in as a risk factor with major overcrowding.  

Personally, I would rather visit a less popular mountain than get my trip spoiled by this kind of logjam, and that doesn't even factor in the risk of getting marooned, freezing, physically spent and unable to breathe. 

9:40 p.m. on May 31, 2019 (EDT)
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As a member of the American Climber Science Program, I would like to clarify some points. The ACSP has been engaged with doing studies in several parts of the planet. Most of my work is centered in Peru with many of the members being graduate students, along with members of various other parts of the world.

The ACSP has carried out several treks in the Himalaya. The primary studies in the Himalaya have centered on studies of snow and materials being subjected to "blackcarbon" . Lhotse, a peak close to Everest, has shown deposits of the blackcarbon (think of it as "a type of charcoal" that is generated and dispersed over much of the globe from materials produced by human-produced materials, such as burnable materials like firewood, gasoline, etc. During my visits to the Cordillera, our experts collected samples of much blackcarbon have found that this is widespread, which is an indication of how widespread human climate change can be.

Without going into the details, this is an indication of what needs to be done to save our planet. John All, the lead of ACSP has summited Lhotse to collect blackcarbon, while our staff studying parts of South and Central America have been determining how widely black carbon is spreading. Studies carried out in Peru, parts of the Himalaya, and other studies have been carried out with safety.

Doing research does not have to be as dangerous as the Everest over-crowding events.

10:10 a.m. on June 3, 2019 (EDT)
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Everest might be the best example in the world of a mountain that is loved to death.  There is trash all over the place, things like empty oxygen bottles and fuel containers.  The management of human waste is an issue all over Nepal.  Once the obvious is taken care of, people can start worrying about blackcarbon. 

Most countries in the world pay little attention to air quality.  They have open burning, no pollution controls on cars and trucks.  The air quality in most Asian cities is terrible. In Nepal the traditional tea house has a low fire, but no provision for the smoke to escape like a chimney. 

2:24 p.m. on June 22, 2019 (EDT)
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Everest is in my list. My health condition is okay at my 40 but I may have to miss Everest my this life time. No one from my family wishing me to leave house for Everest. 

11:24 a.m. on August 29, 2019 (EDT)
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i think it is good idea, i have drem to climb on Everest too.

2:01 a.m. on August 30, 2019 (EDT)
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Everest sounds scary for me, but I am envy you, guys. I am still newbie in climbing and hiking. I have plan to make some trip in mountains too. I found some needed equpments walkie-talkies+binoculars like 

2:31 a.m. on August 31, 2019 (EDT)
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Nick and Hwan:

I did some high altitude climbs decades ago, but never considered trying any of the 8K meter mountains (or anything even close to that).  I found 21-22K' were more than enough for my entertainment.  I have never met someone who was serious about Everest, so I was wondering: what drives your thoughts?

Do you have a mountaineering background?

What is the highest climb you did?

What is the most difficult climb you did?

Why Everest, given the crowding, versus other mountains almost as high and a lot less crowded, or others that are more technically challenging?  

1:27 p.m. on September 2, 2019 (EDT)
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If I climb Everest, which is the highest, that means I must be a really proficient climber, right??

WRONG!! There are many peaks lower than Everest that are more challenging and difficult, including K2 (#2 in height) and Kangchenjunga (#3, with a fatality rate around 20%).  Patagonia has many summits, far lower than Everest, which are infinitely more technical and challenging.  So do Arizona, Alaska, and California, among other regions.

Altitude is just one of many factors which are involved in determining the challenges that a mountain presents.  others include terrain configuration, weather, and accessibility.

Everest is set up for prosperous wanna be climbers seeking bragging rights who are lacking in skills and experience.  It is a grotesque and distorted example of what climbing should exemplify.

10:45 a.m. on September 4, 2019 (EDT)
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the vast majority of people who attempt Everest probably fall into the category of climbing tourists - they want to say they have made the summit of the tallest mountain in the world, are heavily guided, climb one of two standard routes, most likely the southeast ridge. they probably need to meet some minimum level of fitness and proficiency. (I would say they're also heavily dependent on others and supplemental oxygen, but I think most 'serious' climbers work with Sherpa guides and bottled air too).  

there are also people up there who are more engaged in climbing. they might go without supplemental oxygen. might take a route other than the northeast/southeast ridges that the vast majority of climbers use.  southeast ridge was where the photos of the crowding were taken, and that route involves the icefall earlier in the climb that had a major collapse a few years ago. no tourist-climbers, very few climbers period, on the west ridge or east face.  

regardless, the weather and altitude make it extremely challenging.  way more than I would ever attempt.  

9:11 a.m. on October 25, 2019 (EDT)
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Interesting their remeasuring Everest this year...To see the acutual height...

February 26, 2020
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