Everest Climbing Season 2013

Wodonga Josh

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Well some of the teams are starting to arrive in Kathmandu and the Sherpas are already setting up at Base Camp on the South side.

Hopefully injuries and fatalities whilst inevitable, will be minimal this year, especially for the Sherpas.

Thought it would be worth making a thread for those who are like me mesmerized by this mountain and if life were different would be training for a try at Sargamatha.

Interested to see if anyone else in here watches the news reports with interest to see how the teams go.
 

easty

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I assume a lot of the climbers would love to summit on 29 May to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of Hillary/Tensing summiting Everest.

Hope the weather will be favourable.
 

Wodonga Josh

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If I had no kids, no wife and was a fair bit more self absorbed, i would go for it, but the family is much more important than any selfish ambition and I am supremely comfortable with that, i dont understand how anyone could put a wife and kids through that sort of worry. Im also comfortable with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that i would need to spend in order to even qualify for a shot at Mt Everest!
 

benchives

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Link us up if you have a fave site.

Last year someone linked a way cool site, kind of up to date blog about traffic, but with other links to their own ascent.
 

seak

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SMH kept an ad for Boags towards the top of their web page for many days this month, using motivational words spoken by SAust geologist Duncan Chessell.
Has summitted Everest 3/4 times, although infomercial/article focuses on a successful sea-to-summit ascent of Vinson. From a couple of years ago.

http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/strive/climb-every-mountain-20130312-2fxe9.html
Some of the comments are interesting.
 
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Wodonga Josh

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BobGnarly said:
Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Really?

In order to qualify for Himex Expedition. Would need to Climb 3-4 4000'ers,then probably Denali, and then 2 Himalayan peaks (one 8000'er at least), probably Manaslu. All before even forking out to have a go at Everest.

Taken from Himex site:

Himalayan Experience strongly recommends that you have summited another 8,000m peak before attempting Everest and our experience shows that those who have done so have significantly increased success rates.

Himalayan Experience suggests that you climb a number of 4,000m peaks in order to gain mountaineering proficiency, and also undertake a trip to Denali and/or a 6,000m trekking peak where you experience expedition camping, higher altitude, and how to deal with the cold.

Himalayan Experience then advocates a trip to Manaslu, an 8,000m peak, to fully experience Himalayan expedition life, working with Sherpas and the use of fixed ropes and oxygen equipment. With this experience behind you, you will be ready to attempt Everest.


That being said Russell Brice tends to prefer the south side these days and i would probably prefer to have a go at the North.
 
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Red_switch

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Yeah, and Brice can be a bit of a dick at times anyway.

Generally, way more interesting stuff happening than Everest these days.
 

teckel

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Red_switch

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teckel said:
A pity more companies didn't have the attitude of Himex.

There are lots of other reasons you might criticise himex, they've gotta save face some how.

The Nangpa La incident sort of sums up my feelings on the state of guided high altitude climbing in the Himalayas.
 
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Wodonga Josh

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teckel said:

Thats a crazy line on the Lhotse face.

can only think how important it is that the Sherpas fix that line super well. Cant imagine they invisage that fixed line having the weight of 80 people on it.
 
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Wodonga Josh

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Im gonna try knock off a few good everst/k2/himalaya books this winter.

Have read into thin air, Dead Lucky and One Mountain thousand summits. About to crack into White Limbo now.....any suggestions?
 

CarveMan

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Wodonga Josh said:
Im gonna try knock off a few good everst/k2/himalaya books this winter.

Have read into thin air, Dead Lucky and One Mountain thousand summits. About to crack into White Limbo now.....any suggestions?

Read The Climb by Boukreev about the 1996 incident.

I skied with a bloke yesterday who made it to 8400m without oxygen on the North side about a month after the 1996 tragedy. He said within the community that Boukreev's account is considered more accurate.
 
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Untele-whippet

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Wodonga Josh said:
can only think how important it is that the Sherpas fix that line super well. Cant imagine they invisage that fixed line having the weight of 80 people on it.
Everest is bolted now, the fixed lines have bolted anchors in rocks on the face.
There is an excellent article in Rock and Ice about last years circus and the logistics and tactics of the guiding companies.
 
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Heinz

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CarveMan said:
Wodonga Josh said:
Im gonna try knock off a few good everst/k2/himalaya books this winter.

Have read into thin air, Dead Lucky and One Mountain thousand summits. About to crack into White Limbo now.....any suggestions?

Read The Climb by Boukreev about the 1996 incident.

I skied with a bloke yesterday who made it to 8400m without oxygen on the North side about a month after the 1996 tragedy. He said within the community that Boukreev's account is considered more accurate.

On my 1999 heli trip in India most of the guides as well as some of the guests (me included) were reading one or more of the various books that then recently came out from the climb. Most people then and since seemed to think that Boukreev's account (The Climb) was the more reliable.
 
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Wodonga Josh

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CarveMan said:
Wodonga Josh said:
Im gonna try knock off a few good everst/k2/himalaya books this winter.

Have read into thin air, Dead Lucky and One Mountain thousand summits. About to crack into White Limbo now.....any suggestions?

Read The Climb by Boukreev about the 1996 incident.

I skied with a bloke yesterday who made it to 8400m without oxygen on the North side about a month after the 1996 tragedy. He said within the community that Boukreev's account is considered more accurate.

Wow. Im sure he would have been an interesting person to talk to. Will pick that book up and read it! 8400m without supps is a huge effort. Has he summited any of the other 13 8000'ers
 
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Owen_Makalu

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Should be an interesting year on Everest with Simone Moro and Ueli Steck, and Denis Urubko and Alexei Bolotov attempting new routes on the south and south west faces respectively. There's also a Russian team trying the East Face. First time in years there has been a new route attempt I think...
 

Heinz

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Owen_Makalu said:
Should be an interesting year on Everest with Simone Moro and Ueli Steck, and Denis Urubko and Alexei Bolotov attempting new routes on the south and south west faces respectively. There's also a Russian team trying the East Face. First time in years there has been a new route attempt I think...

Saw a German doco on the Swiss guy Ueli Steck a few years ago. Pretty amazing stuff. Speed climing up the Eiger - insane.
 
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Wodonga Josh

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Owen_Makalu said:
Should be an interesting year on Everest with Simone Moro and Ueli Steck, and Denis Urubko and Alexei Bolotov attempting new routes on the south and south west faces respectively. There's also a Russian team trying the East Face. First time in years there has been a new route attempt I think...

Will be interesting to see how the Russian team goes on the kangshung face. It's a gnarly piece of mountaineering. Any ideas if anyone trying the magic line this year?

I watched an interesting vid on YouTube with Ed viesturs speaking. His climbs on Annapurna were supremely interesting.
 
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D

d15812

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That photo of the conga line on the Lhotse face has to be taken in context.

The Chinese had shutdown the mountain because they wanted to take the Olympic torch to the summit. No permits were granted to climb from the north at all and they muscled Nepal into shutting down the South side until they got the torch to the summit from the North.

On the South side there were military personel with rifles at the base of the Lhotse face with instructions to stop any climbers who attempted to pass.

It took the Chinese quite a while to top out and once Nepal opened the mountain from the South almost every single climber on the hill headed for the summit over 2 nights because the weather windows were extremely limited.

That line represents full sherpa teams from every group on the mountain heading out of camp 3 in preparation for the climbing teams that were a day behind. It's not like that is a normal day on Everest.

And yeah, there are fixed lines but they are safety ropes not magic carpets. There are also a few bolts in the yellow band but again it's for the safety line, not a link for the elevator.

I find it funny that people have such an issue over a couple of bolts to attach the fixed rope yet don't seem to have a problem with all of the ladders used through the ice fall and up at the second step on the North side.

Regardless of what safety equipment and how many cappuccinos you can get in base camp you've still got to climb the mountain one foot after the other and then get back down again.

Anyone who climbs any mountain has my full respect not matter how many guides they paid to show them the way and provide advice. I've been as far as base camp and it hurts just standing there, I can't imagine how inhospitable it is on the upper mountain in the dark with a howling wind in your face, -40 degree temps and 1.5km shear drops on both sides of the ridge.

Alan Arnette does a good blog and is worth keeping an eye on: http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/everest-2013-coverage/

His write up of his own climb in 2008 is a good read: http://www.alanarnette.com/downloads/Everest%202008%20Report.pdf
 
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Untele-whippet

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People on guided parties now start using supplemental oxygen from camp 111 at 7172 M, whereas for decades it was only considered normal to use it from 8000 M onwards. Its a bit like mass blood doping for those not physically capable of summiting.
Over 4 days in May 2012, around 250 westerners summited Everest BUT 270 sherpas and tibetans also summited as chaperones to the punters.
The conga line photo was taken in May 2012, it looks like a vertical cash register IMO.
 

Red_switch

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Wodonga Josh said:
teckel said:

Thats a crazy line on the Lhotse face.

can only think how important it is that the Sherpas fix that line super well. Cant imagine they invisage that fixed line having the weight of 80 people on it.

The fixed ropes are what they are. Mostly un-rated, non UIAA, non climbing ropes. There was a video on the black diamond website a year or so back, testing the strength of a piece of rope that had been used on a fixed line in the Himalaya (can't remember if it was on Everest or not). It was a total piece of shit.
 
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piolet

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Wodonga Josh said:
If I had no kids, no wife and was a fair bit more self absorbed, i would go for it, but the family is much more important than any selfish ambition and I am supremely comfortable with that, i dont understand how anyone could put a wife and kids through that sort of worry. Im also comfortable with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that i would need to spend in order to even qualify for a shot at Mt Everest!

wasn't having a go, just trying to say 'climb your own everest'
smile.gif


Wodonga Josh said:
Im gonna try knock off a few good everst/k2/himalaya books this winter.

Have read into thin air, Dead Lucky and One Mountain thousand summits. About to crack into White Limbo now.....any suggestions?

i really liked 'annapurna'
 
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GS

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tele-whippet said:
People on guided parties now start using supplemental oxygen from camp 111 at 7172 M, whereas for decades it was only considered normal to use it from 8000 M onwards. Its a bit like mass blood doping for those not physically capable of summiting.

I thought the greater use of supplementary O2 was simply because climbers weren't spending as much time acclimatising? Everyone seems to be time poor these days so it's probably easier to pay a few extra $$ for a sherpa to carry more bottles up then spend another month or 2 on the mountain.
 
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Boodwah

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fast_limey said:
Climbing's little helper.
Interesting article (7 pages).

There's no real evidence for dex. It's a pretty harmless drug if used correctly (small quantities over a couple of days). I administer it every day w/out incident. That guy in the article obviously got bad advice coupled with a seemingly low intelligence (not infrequently a lethal combo). I hope his next religious mission is safer - the best advice his GP could have given him is that 1 in 10 Everest attempts will die. That's all-comers, believers and non.
The Everest Extreme group are returning this year to do some more research including viagra and dex. Some of the data they got last time was astonishing
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0801581

http://www.xtreme-everest.co.uk/download...SH_final_v2.pdf
 
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Boodwah

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The NEJM article caused a bit of stir when it was published. If your PO2 (normally around 100mmHg) suddenly dropped to 24mmHg, it would probably mean that you had died - a while back. Even your veins just before they dump into the right side of the heart (the blood having discharged its O2 to the rest of the body) under normal circumstances has a PO2 of at least 40mmHg. Yet these (acclimatised) climbers breathing ambient air are moving and performing normal tasks on the Balcony of E with arterial PO2 of 24mmHg. Extraordinary.
 

GS

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Boodwah said:
The NEJM article caused a bit of stir when it was published. If your PO2 (normally around 100mmHg) suddenly dropped to 24mmHg, it would probably mean that you had died - a while back. Even your veins just before they dump into the right side of the heart (the blood having discharged its O2 to the rest of the body) under normal circumstances has a PO2 of at least 40mmHg. Yet these (acclimatised) climbers breathing ambient air are moving and performing normal tasks on the Balcony of E with arterial PO2 of 24mmHg. Extraordinary.

Were they the doctors featured in that TV doco awhile back? I remember one of them commenting that when he normally sees blood like that he had declared the patient dead! As you say, extraordinary. Amazing what the human body can do.
 
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d15812

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tele-whippet said:
People on guided parties now start using supplemental oxygen from camp 111 at 7172 M, whereas for decades it was only considered normal to use it from 8000 M onwards. Its a bit like mass blood doping for those not physically capable of summiting.
Over 4 days in May 2012, around 250 westerners summited Everest BUT 270 sherpas and tibetans also summited as chaperones to the punters.
The conga line photo was taken in May 2012, it looks like a vertical cash register IMO.
That shot does seem to be from 2012, there was a similar one from 2008 - my mistake. 2012 was a weird year in that there was very little winter snow and the top half of the mountain was very bare.

It's the snow layer that holds all of the loose rock together and there was significant and constant rockfall early in the season. The entire icefall was especially unstable and there were numerous large scale collapses. Several climbers were hit by rocks, a couple didn't turn out so well.

Climbers were held back from climbing early due to the dangerous conditions. Himex cancelled their entire commercial climb and pulled all teams off Everest & Lhotse citing the dangerous conditions.

The conditions eventually improved after some snowfalls and the climbers set a new route significantly right of the "normal" route up the Lhotse face to try to find some protection under the lines of seracs.

The new lines weren't fixed to the summit until mid may, the monsoon normally arrives by the end of May and the icefall doctors take down the route at the end of May as everything starts moving around too much.

The end result was everyone squashed into a very tight weather window.

I don't understand the angst at people using guides, be they Western or Sherpa. Carveman is one of the skiing heavyweights around here and no-one seems to think any less of him because he employed a guide in France. In fact I think that there have been several discussion about how sensible he was in doing so and venturing off into the Alps on your own with no guide is very foolhardy......
 
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d15812

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The "Everest: Beyond the limit" series is an interesting watch - the full episodes are available on youtube.
 

Untele-whippet

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Guides are fine in many situations
I may be wrong but I don't think CM would approve of skiers only capable of snow plowing to be guided down the routes he skis in the alps cos they have the money and want to.
IMO Everest has been dumbed down to a vertical cash register.
That's just my grumpy opinion.
I'd like to be guided in the 100 M Olympic final using a Ducati cos I can't run very well but want to ---- please
 
D

d15812

Guest
Ahh, don't be so grumpy
wink.gif


Your point of people snow plowing the routes that's CM is skiing is not a bad analogy in that it really would be possible. You'd have to have a reasonable level of ability to even be there. There is only so much a guide can help you with.

They definitely get the odd shocker turn up and try to climb but the average person there has worked their ass off to get to the point that they are at. Despite what you might think, there is no easy way up.

The Sherpas fix the route, carry & establish the high camps, cook at camp 2 in the Western Cwm or North Col (they climbers fend for themselves above there) and stock the high camps with fuel and oxygen. This is a huge assistance but it's not a new thing, it's how Himalayan climbing has always been done.

The commercial elements of modern society are obviously very present and the media certainly harps on those elements a lot but each person who makes it to the top has to have done the hard work to get there.

I don't see the use of supplementary oxygen to be cheating as extremely few people actually have the physiology to be able to survive at those altitudes without the use of supplementary oxygen. It's not a simple matter of working harder and therefore not needing the oxygen.

I would actually compare it more to freediving Vs scuba. There are a few people in the world who can hold their breathe for 5 minutes and free dive without tanks. Everyone else uses air tanks to be able to experience the same thing.

Your analogy of a motor bike in a foot race is just not an appropriate comparison. Every single person who stands on the top of that mountain does so by strapping crampons to their boots and climbing to the top. No-one is winched by up by the hired help.

I understand your dislike of the commercial elements that reflect modern society. It's the reason why I avoid Niseko and holiday regularly in Furano even though it has less than half of the snowfall.

I don't think that it's fair to downplay the efforts and achievements of the individual climbers.

As I mentioned previously, I've hiked to base camp on the south side before which sits at about 5,600m and the effort required to walk up a slight incline at that altitude is huge. You honestly get out of breath just trying to get your sleeping bag back into the stuff sack.
 
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tbnext

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Books, have a few not necessarily all Everest:
Annapurna by herzog
Eiger dreams by krakauer
Forever on the mountain by tabor
Minus 148 degrees by Davidson
Thrives, liars etc by horrell
Thin air: encounter by Greg child
Qf32 by de crespigny (not a mountain book but fits)
 

Wodonga Josh

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Boodwah thats what makes me so interested. When i was studying nursing my lecturer did a picture on the board and looked at the drive pressures on everest vs sea level vs Mt Kosciusko. What amazed me was how little oxygen is being passed over when blokes are summitting without O2. You cant control the atmospheric pressure but you can control the saturation of O2 you breathe in. Thats why the likes of Messner etc in my mind are in a completely different league to the other 2750 odd people who have summited with o2. I think a few years back there were just 250 people who'd summited Everest without supplemental o2 and only 29 who'd completed the 14 8000'ers without O's.....now thats amazing.
 

Wodonga Josh

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spaceman347 said:
As I mentioned previously, I've hiked to base camp on the south side before which sits at about 5,600m and the effort required to walk up a slight incline at that altitude is huge. You honestly get out of breath just trying to get your sleeping bag back into the stuff sack.



Would be interested to see some pics of your journey. Legging it to Base camp is a long term goal for me.

Its a huge effort for the average person to exist at that altitude, Everest base camp is not that far below the summit altitude of the other 6 of the 7 summits.
 
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CarveMan

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tele-whippet said:
Guides are fine in many situations
I may be wrong but I don't think CM would approve of skiers only capable of snow plowing to be guided down the routes he skis in the alps cos they have the money and want to.

You could argue that in many respects what we're doing in the alps is not too dissimilar to a client being dragged up Everest. To do on our own what we do here would require a serious amount of training

Yesterday I toured up an active glacier and then was short-roped while climbing a long, steep couloir, to then be lowered down a rappel and then ski down another active glacier.

I guess the skills I lack in that situation are routefinding, and inability to deal with an incident, especially a crevasse rescue. The skiing skills are there, but in the whole scheme of things they are just a small part of the spectrum.
 
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