Thursday, 24 May 2012

This year's Everest season

Image from an article by Grayson Schaffer on Outside Online (21 May 2012).
I'm keeping an eye on news from Everest through The Adventure Blog and Alan Arnette's site. Over the 19/20 May was the first window and another is expected to open today/tomorrow-ish. There are hundreds of climbers on the mountain, hoping to make the summit. Amazing image above from an article by Grayson Schaffer on the Outside Online site.

As of yesterday morning there had been 11 deaths; higher than the 1996 disaster year. And most of these were not just due to of high winds - they are from human error, like people refusing to turn back, staying up there too long etc.

I have many thoughts (not very favourable) about the number of expeditions, climbers, sherpas and commercial operators on Everest. This all dilutes the sport of mountaineering and diminishes the impressiveness of this mountain. I think there were over 250 summits during the window this past weekend.

This was an interesting comment from the Schaffer article: " helicopter rescues at Camp II, including one this morning for an International Mountain Guides client with a badly frostbitten foot. Today alone, helicopters made roughly two dozen sorties to Base Camp, retrieving both injured climbers and those who'd finished and were simply taking the speediest way home."

Just doesn't seem right.

I've been reading Edmund Hillary's book on and off for a few weeks. It was published in 1955 and tells of 'the' Everest expedition (and Himalayan expeditions before the 'big one'). This is 'real' mountaineering, where they were going into the unknown, cutting steps through the Kumbu Icefall (he was cutting steps and creating routes for his sherpas, not the other way around), rigging their own ropes etc. Everest seems so 'sterile' and packaged now.


seanverret said...

Great stuff Lisa. You have no idea how much press the one Canadian is getting who died there recently. Now they're talking of rescuing her body and using 6 sherpas to do it. Everest is a place I never want to go. It's the Hallmark of mountains....

adventurelisa said...

Article on UK's Guardian website - posted 30 May - relating to the photo and this Everest issue.