May 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm #1290165
This is sad, but seriously, whatever cachet Everest had is long gone. When you're dying because you're stuck in mountaineering trafic jams it's time to pick new routes.May 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm #1879869
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Maybe they need to have two lanes – one up and one down : )May 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm #1879890
This was a huge concern even back in 1996 when eight died on the mountain. I guess nothing has been done about it.May 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm #1879946
…May 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm #1879966
I was on a Winter trip in Scotland last year and one of the guys was using it as skills trips before he went to Everest, I found out after he was youngest Irishman to summit Everest.May 22, 2012 at 8:48 am #1880111
same could be said for those hikers on half dome with those crowded cables … or any other of crowded hikes/climbs
im generally not one to call someone's life dream/ goal idiotic … even if its not my cup of teaMay 22, 2012 at 10:30 am #1880138
Sure, who am I to sh*t on their dreams? But you're not going to die on Half Dome because of the crowds.May 22, 2012 at 10:46 am #1880143
@johnjLocale: Orange County, CA
One of my first real hikes was up to Half Dome on a crowded day, years ago. It was standing room only on the boards, and the only people making progress were speeders outside the cables. That might be semi-safe (compared to Everest, for sure), but I declined. I'm pretty sure some do die that way.
(I was up for a few day hikes at Yosemite this past weekend, and noticed on a Vernal and Nevada falls loop that "Cables are down for season." Whatever that means.)
Re. Everest, I'm not really a peak oriented guy, but if I were … I agree that less traveled peaks would hold more adventure.May 22, 2012 at 10:47 am #1880144
About 5 years ago I listened to a BPL podcast about climbing Denali with ultralight gear. That attempt did not result in reaching the summit (due to weather) although a later attempt did. One of the team suggested the following prioritized goals of mountaineering:
- Come back alive.
- Come back still friends.
- Reach the summit.
Spending $100K on an Everest attempt might tempt some folks to lose sight of numbers 1 and 2 in the above list.May 22, 2012 at 11:07 am #1880154
Half dome may be fatal mostly because someone slips on wet or ice. If crowded going up or coming down and it starts to rain, you can get caught in a bad situation. Bet it's what has happened in the past.May 22, 2012 at 11:29 am #1880159
you can die on the dome
How many people have died on Half Dome?
There have been more than 20 deaths on Half Dome itself, and if you count the trail leading up to Half Dome, the number leaps to more than 60.
People have died on Half Dome from a variety of causes: falling off the cable route, heart attacks while climbing the cables, lightning strikes, failed base jumps, climbing accidents, and even a few suicides. There were two deaths on Half Dome in 2011: a hiker fell off the face of the dome on August 22nd, and another fell while descending the cable route on July 31st after a rainstorm had made the route even more slippery than usual. In June of 2009, a San Ramon Man fell while trying to descend the cables during stormy conditions. In June of 2007 a Japanese climber fell to his death while ascending the cables, and another hiker fell to her death the same year trying to climb the route when the cables were down. The cable route is extremely dangerous; please don't do it unless you're well prepared. These tips on surviving the cable ascent are a good starting point.
Deaths on the trail to Half Dome, rather than on Half Dome itself, are usually above Nevada or Vernal Falls, and usually occur when someone wades into the the water above the falls or slips off rocks into the water and gets swept away. In many cases, their bodies have never been found.
on a side note we just climbed the dome last week … the cables were down so we had to descend hand over hand … i suspect that with hiking shoes and packs, accidents can easily happen on crowded days …May 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm #1881754
@explorimentLocale: Niagara Escarpment
The news up here in Canada last week had the story of a woman from Toronto who died on Everest. Sad, feel bad for her family….but….reading about it had me shaking my head. From what I could gather, her training consisted of running with a pack on and climbing hills in the Toronto area (for those not in the know – barely a hill at all – and compared to the Himalayas – a pimple.) From what I can gather, she had no mountaineering experience at all. She mortgaged her house to the tune of $100,000. And, she died. Now the news features stories of how a bunch of Sherpas risked their life so her body could be retrieved.
After reading Into Thin Air, where some dilletantes who had climbed a mountain or two in the Cascades had a Sherpa literally carry them up to the top so they could get their moneys worth, they seemed like hardcore mountaineers compared to her. A website with lots of feel good exhortations about believing in oneself, and a can do attitude and never give up….somehow looks really foolish when altitude sickness hammers you, and your oxygen runs out as you wait in a traffic jam behind 150 others all waiting their turn for their two seconds at the top.
I suspect some of these folks imagine they are going to parlay their incredible story of being the first deaf Paraguayan to climb Everest into sold out lecture audiences or their tale of being the first diabetic Zambian female to summit the worlds highest mountain into a spell binding best seller. I just read Wade Davis' Into the Silence. Now there was an amazing tale of Everst climbing. When no westerners even had a clue how to approach the mountain, let alone get to the top. The story of Oliver Wheeler's herculean efforts to map the area around the mountain is more interesting by a long shot than any of these folks.
There are probably nine other tall peaks in the Himalays, just as much of a challenge to climb, just as difficult, where there is not a single person ahead of you.May 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm #1881797
@mtnratLocale: Southern Cdn Rockies
For those who talk about the book "Into Thin Air", I think a book that you would really like, and gives another perspective of the same situation is "The Climb" by Anatoly Boukreev.May 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm #1881843
…Jun 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm #1885362
@artemisLocale: Great Plains
"There are probably nine other tall peaks in the Himalays, just as much of a challenge to climb, just as difficult, where there is not a single person ahead of you."
Of course there are. But many of the folks who are trying to summit Everest don't have the mountaineering experience to climb those. My understanding is that as far as 8,000 meter peaks go, Everest is one of the easiest ones to summit. It's just sheer bad luck that it also happens to be the tallest mountain in the world. If K2 or Annapurna held that record, there'd be a lot fewer wannabe mountaineers trying to summit the world's tallest peak.Jun 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm #1885586
@jephotoLocale: New ZealandJun 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm #1885598
Watched a few series of Everest beyond the limits on Netflix
last week, great show but it showed folk loosing the plot with summit fever.Jun 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm #1885758
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
"Everest, Kilimanjaro, etc are brand names. People brag about a Rolex. Locally here, Mt San Antonio (Baldy), San Gorgonio, San Jacinto are the bad boy peaks. very close to each summit is a perfectly good cousin summit. I never heard anyone brag about or mention Jean Peak, it's always Jacinto Jacinto Jacinto."
It is like that in Colorado too. Everyone wants to do the 14ers. Trail-less 13ers? Not so much. :)
(Though as more people for 14ers, the big trend is now do the "Centennial 13ers"…so it goes)Jun 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm #1885762
I hear you Paul,
Not exactly 13000's but in the Uk and Ireland its the same, the biggest Peaks are jammed and the slightly smaller cousins are empty.
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