Jul 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm #1305928Jul 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm #2010312
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
Wow, and I thought the amount of people I saw on last night trip was bad :-)Jul 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm #2010322
@kedwardLocale: Portland, OR
Seems red is in this year.Jul 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm #2010327
I seem to recall that Yogi Berra had something to say about that kind of situation.Jul 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm #2010330
Yeah, no thanksJul 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm #2010337
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
Everybody conga to the top of the world!!!
Don't cross the sherpa's ropes!!Jul 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm #2010339
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
The photo that Brandon posted appears to be shot from the bottom of the Hillary Step on the Nepal side.
Geez, they've made it almost into a staircase. That takes all of the fun out of it.
–B.G.–Jul 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm #2010345
Bob, good eye. I came across that photo while reading an article talking about a potential plan to install a permanent ladder on the Hillary Step. How's that for taking the fun out of it!Jul 29, 2013 at 4:35 am #2010479
The good news is that they are building a strip mall there so you can get a fair-trade-venti-soy-mocha-latte-crapachino and take care of your dry cleaning while you’re waiting in line.Jul 29, 2013 at 5:27 am #2010482
Put up a tram and be done with it. ADA accessible too.Jul 29, 2013 at 5:49 am #2010485
Respect to the guy using the tumpline.Jul 29, 2013 at 11:08 am #2010583
@tracedefLocale: Southern California
The other good news is that the Everest Conservancy Group has spurned McDonalds and Jack in the Box as their partner in providing a truly enjoyable dining experience atop Everest for the local favorite franchise, Sherpa Taco Shack.Jul 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm #2010615
The whole idea of waiting around like that scares the crap out of me. I have no idea how the serious climbers NOT buying their way to the summit deal with that. IMO Everest is dead; the days of seeing leading-edge alpinism there are gone, replaced by this commercial "summit shuttle" they've created. That's alright, Alaska and other such places have 100 lifetimes' worth of wilderness alpine climbing. Beats going to the "amusement park" every time…Jul 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm #2010626
@lotuseaterLocale: Colorado Foothills
"The good news is that they are building a strip mall there so you can get a fair-trade-venti-soy-mocha-latte-crapachino and take care of your dry cleaning while you’re waiting in line."
The bad news is all espresso drinks are made with yak's butter. And it'll be a lukewarm crapochino as the boiling point atop Everest is a mere 71 °C (159.8 °F).Jul 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm #2010633
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
No crowds there. Or, climb the south face of Lhotse, drop down to the South Col at 10:00 PM, top out on E, then drop down to the North Col. Or, climb straight up the North Face. If you can't find a challenge on the Big E, you're brain dead.Jul 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm #2010634
@baughbLocale: So Cal.
For the barefooted sherpa smoking a cigarette with 75 lbs strapped to his head taking a piss in the distance…Jul 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm #2010655
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
This touches a nerve with me because just as I was getting to bed last night, my Facebook notifications lit up with lots of links to a friend, Marty Schmidt, who grew up across the street (our parents still live there) in Castro Valley, CA and was in my Boy Scout troop. I found my challenges and peace of mind on the trail, but he found his in more technical and harshly beautiful places. He went into the USAF with the intention of going into SAR. By finishing first in his class, he got to pick his assignment, went to Alaska, climbing Denali while on leave and upon discharge, guided Denali in the winter while commuting to New Zealand where he raised his family.
Then he went on to guiding Everest, doing alpine style, self-supported trips for more capable clients while doing his own more cutting edge climbs. He was last on Everest with clients last month. His 25-year-old son met up afterwards and they were on K2 hoping to be the first father-son team to summit. They remained in Camp 3 after a storm and, all signs indicate, were swept away in an avalanche yesterday (or maybe the word got out yesterday?).
There are consolations – the things you tell yourself which are perfectly true like, "They were doing what they loved.", "Marty was so active, alive and enthusiastic about everything he did, he fit many lifetimes into his 53 years." and "We've each lost a son, but his pain and awareness of that was for seconds or less." Still, I didn't sleep very well last night.
Is "trying to the first xxxxx" akin to "hey, guys, watch this?" as potentially one's last words? The other person I knew who died in the Himalayas, Marty Hoey, was trying to be the first US woman to summit Everest.
Not my cup of tea, precisely because of the danger and that there are such significant risks you can minimize only so much. But I'll queue up for the cables on Half Dome or walk past hundreds of people on the Bright Angel in GCNP, so I'm not going to fault someone for doing that at 25,000 feet.Jul 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm #2010657
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"If you can't find a challenge on the Big E, you're brain dead."
The Kangshung Face is more than a challenge. It is more of a death wish.
–B.G.–Jul 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm #2010696
Gotta agree with Bob here; the Kangshung Face is a deathtrap with those hanging glaciers. The North Face looks to be worse. What I really lament is the permit system; the only way to make an attempt is to pony up huge money, or find a sponsor willing to do the same. I'll never be a sponsored alpinist, but I'll bet my abilities, though declining with age and infrequent use, exceed the vast majority of "clients" on Everest. The cost of an Everest trip would be a financial impossibility for me or most of the climbers I've ever known. Whereas Czech Direct on Denali, or the Polish Route on Anconcagua, would be something doable, at least financially. Of course, you gotta have the skills; nobody's fixing ropes and ladders up those routes for you.
This isn't a knock on the responsible guide services on Everest, they seem to be the last remnant of sanity on the mountain. But there are irresponsible guides as well, ones who are more than willing to take under-prepared, inexperienced clients. It's all about money for these folks, regardless of the potential consequences. And the permit system does nothing to regulate this, it's merely a revenue-generating scheme. This needs to change, or things will get a lot worse. The crowds have gotten bigger since 1996, and I bet the skill level and experience of the average climber has gone down with so many services in operation now. It's only a matter of time before the crowding contributes to another major incident.Jul 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm #2010706
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
First of all David, I am sorry for your loss. Even though people are killed "doing what they love", it still is a loss. Climbers like that are really wired differently.
On my trip home from Lake Powell last month we listened to "Into Thin Air". I have read it before but it was interesting to go through it again. Everest is still quite the risky endeavor, especially, with all the guided groups. I think if Jon Krakauer had been on his own and not tied to a group he would have summited and been back in camp five hours earlier missing the storm by even more time.
Those that did lose their lives, and they were some of the best, did so probably because the margin for error is so low up there. Those few hours made all the difference. Also, they did not turn back when they knew it was getting too late. Once again, probably due to the need to get a client to the top. It is something I will leave to others.
So far, I've only been to 14,500 on a hiking trail. I'm pretty happy with that.Jul 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm #2010710
Just saw your post concerning your friend. I'm sorry for your loss. A climber willing to test himself against K2 is one of the greats in my book. I imagine he was like the truly great alpinists I've met: an amazing person regardless of his climbing exploits. While it's no consolation I know, I'm glad he was with his son, and in a place so remarkable, when his time came.Jul 29, 2013 at 8:14 pm #2010751
how many people here have done the gongshow on half dome?
most climbers think that hiking up halfdome is "stupid" … if you dont have the skills to do the easy 5.7 (one move wonder route) you shouldnt go up it at all
what people do is up to them … if they want to wait in line thats their choice … if they want to spend $$$$$, thats also their choice … better than wasting it on blo n hookahs IMO …
almost everyone here havent been and will never go up everest … almost everyone here will armchair general those with the drive to be up there though
is this you ??????Jul 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm #2010761
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
I bet there's a pic of the AT like that too
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