/ NEWS: Griffith, Steck and Moro Attacked On Everest
The climbers had an altercation with a Sherpa team fixing ropes on the mountain, which led to a huge mob of around 100 Sherpas attacking the climbers when they returned down to Camp 2.
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68020
Wow - what an awful episode. Hope something gets resolved in a civilised manner.
Horrendous, so glad that it did not escalate.
That's a crazy situation. Glad everyone appears to be OK.
It appears to be in mainstream news now as well.
The usual drivel of a reporting from the daily fail with wrong names (Wool Stick instead of Ueli Steck) and feet instead of metres...
It's all coming from the same source a blog piece moro posted online in Italian. So whilst the mailonline's piece maybe garbage it's a lot less bad than it initially appears once seen in the context of the Source material. Mind you think they'd have at a minimum gotten it professionally translated rather than just using an online translator (that's where the wool stick is coming from).
was anyone arrested?
I've seen two opposite stories.. no doubt the truth lies somewhere in the middle..
Very sad indeed what the sherpas did. no proper alpinistic behavior what so ever. probably simones italian curses did not make things better but it seams not appropriate how the sherpas behave on the ice face neither what happened down in camp 2. that's nightmarish for sure...
from the Himalyan Times... www.himalayantimes.com
Eyewitness describes 'terrifying' Everest brawl
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
KATHMANDU: A mountaineer on Everest described Monday the "terrifying" scene of two famous European climbers fighting with Nepalese guides in a high-altitude brawl that has sparked a police investigation.
Ueli Steck, a Swiss national who holds climbing records, and Simone Moro of Italy, who has climbed Everest four times, were approaching the 7,470-metre (24,500 feet) Camp Three on Saturday when the bust-up occurred.
The American eyewitness, speaking to AFP by telephone and on condition of anonymity, said Steck and Moro were asked to wait on the mountain while a group of Nepalese rigged up some ropes.
The Europeans, accompanied by a photographer recording their attempt to climb the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) mountain by a new "undisclosed" route without supplementary oxygen, ignored the request and carried on, the eyewitness said.
"The Sherpas told the team not to climb above them while they were fixing the ropes but they did it anyway. Then some ice fell and hit the Sherpas, which made them angry," he said.
Later in the day, a furious mob of Nepalese stormed up towards the climbers' tents and pelted them with stones until the men came outside, after which a loud argument ensued and punches were allegedly thrown.
"After a while the mob left, and the climbers packed up and walked past us down -- as far as we knew they were leaving the mountain," the eyewitness added. "It was terrifying to watch -- they nearly got killed."
Police near the world's highest mountain are investigating the incident, local officials told AFP.
"We were told our clients disagreed with the instructions of the Sherpa guides and went ahead over some icy terrain," said Anish Gupta of Cho-Oyu Trekking, the Kathmandu-based company that organised the Europeans' expedition.
"We understand that at some point the foreign climbers kicked some ice back and it hit one of the Sherpa guides, causing the fight to start," Gupta told AFP.
According to the climbing company, the men have since descended from the upper stretches of the mountain.
Raj Kumar, a police constable in Lukla, told AFP that Steck spent the night at a hospital near the airport in the town but was "totally normal" and did not show any sign of injuries.
On Monday morning Steck flew in a helicopter back to Everest's base camp to rejoin Moro, who had remained on the mountain. The pair are reportedly mulling whether to try again to reach the summit.
AFP was unable to reach the European climbers for comment. Their trekking company said they did not have mobile phones.
More than 3,000 people have climbed Everest, which straddles Nepal and China, since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Every year hundreds more set out in April to attempt the climb.
However, the translation to English that camp2camp have posted (that I assume Frank is referring to above) is far more entertaining! http://www.camptocamp.org/forums/viewtopic.php?pid=1823088#p1823088
The UKC report comes direct from Jon Griffith.
I agree with Frank - we need to hear the full story. It certainly seems like a press release was got out quick from Moro , Steck and Griffiths ( which is understandable ), which means it's there side of the story which gets the coverage.
For whatever reason the whole thing seems to have escalated beyond reason and as has been stated the truth probably lies somewhere in-between. Either way it yet again raises the debate about there being 'to many' people on the mountain.
Completely contradicting Griffiths and Moros accounts.
I suggest you re-read it.
Really? It reads a bit clunky for Jon, I'd initially assumed it was a tidying-up of a translation.
> I suggest you re-read it.
You suggest dutybooty re-read WHICH? The text being referred to (pasted in this thread by Raymond Reyes) does exactly what dutybooty says, unless Jon Griffith's article has been altered since I last read it 2 hours ago
> Really? It reads a bit clunky for Jon, I'd initially assumed it was a tidying-up of a translation.
Alan said it COMES from Jon, not that Jon wrote it.
> The American eyewitness
Sherpas, Swiss, English and Italian involved. So independent of the incident.
No mention of crossing below the Sherpas ropes. But above them. The "Western" accounts say they crossed at a belay below the lead climber, so no ice could possibly fall on any of them. This says different.
> Later in the day, a furious mob of Nepalese stormed up towards the climbers' tents and pelted them with stones until the men came outside, after which a loud argument ensued and punches were allegedly thrown.
Since the Sherpa team involved were 17/18 people. This would constitute a mob would it not? Rather than the 100 quoted.
I don't see what I'm misreading.
Do you think the American eyewitness was up there fixing ropes - or do you think he is providing a third hand account of how the initial incident was described to him?
Did think it was strange there were any Sherpas there at all as its supposed to be a new route and apparently the Sherpas were in a different group/climbing team (from how I read the accounts anyway)
And most likely hearsay, since only the sherpas and the three alpinists were at the incident site.
The team of 17 was at the incident site. The mob of 100+ was a few hours later when they descended at a lower camp.
I can't help feeling that there may be a 'backstory' to this that goes back many months or even years. Obviously, if the European version is even half correct, the Sherpa behaviour was completely unacceptable. However, it does suggest a deep (and very untypical) level of hatred. In my (very good) experience of hiring porter/sherpas, it soon became very clear to me that there was a kind of unwritten code that one had to work within. My porter, who was carrying all my Hasselblad camera gear and tripod in a wicker basket suspended from his head, was very heavily laden, so I offered to take some of the load. He would have none of it, and was obviously offended at the suggestion. The implication being (because he was very young) that he wasn't strong enough. But the 'subtext' most definitely was that he had been hired to do this job and was going to do it to the very best of his ability. There is a hierarchy, yes, but based on total mutual respect. i.e. each member of the team has a prescribed job and is equally important. The Sherpas have a great, and very well deserved, sense of pride in their job/s, and anything which is seen as undermining this is taken as a mark of disrespect.
The nearest equivalent to this attitude in the UK that I have come across is in the film industry, where, under the best directors, every member of the crew is regarded and treated as being equally important, each being a vital part of the whole team effort.
I suspect that, with the revolting increase in sheer commercialism and absurd numbers of teams, climbers, sherpas and porters now involved on Everest, something of these old mores has been lost, and that often sherpas and porters are treated as mere lackeys. I think that skipping about directly above sherpas doing the very important job of fixing ropes may have been taken (perhaps wrongly) as being disrespectful, i.e as if they were mere labourers, to be circumvented. I don't know, just guessing, but suggest that there may have been a long build up of subtle psychological tensions here.
I also see some contradictions between the reports, but really it's comparing apples with oranges with bananas, given all we don't know about the actual incident. There are other issues at play behind the scenes, which may or may not come out. Some of them should come out.
I did find this interesting though:
"Ueli Steck tried to help calm the situation by offering to help fix the lines up to Camp 3 but this only made matters worse"...
so then a bit later,
"... To help smooth things over Ueli Steck fixed a further 260m of rope to Camp 3."
Er, good work Ueli! :-o
> The nearest equivalent to this attitude in the UK that I have come across is in the film industry, where, under the best directors....
Come on Gordon, drop us a name please :-)
Eyewitness to what occured in the camp.
> Eyewitness to what occured in the camp.
Probably, unless the eyewitness is part of another team independent of the sherpas on the mountain.
> I can't help feeling that there may be a 'backstory' to this that goes back many months or even years. Obviously, if the European version is even half correct, the Sherpa behaviour was completely unacceptable. .... The Sherpas have a great, and very well deserved, sense of pride in their job/s, and anything which is seen as undermining this is taken as a mark of disrespect..... but suggest that there may have been a long build up of subtle psychological tensions here.
I agree Gordon, even aside from this particular incident. There are other factors involved as well though. The Sherpas today are better informed, better trained, better connected that they were 10 or 15 years ago and the relationships have changed a bit. They probably feel their side has changed more though and maybe the other side has not come across as much as they'd like. They do many times more trips through the icefall and up the face than the clients, assume that much more risk, some die doing that job, and yet get a fraction of the pay, and recognition, that the paying guided clients get. All sorts of things have been put forward to justify the imbalance, but it's still an imbalance, and an obvious one, and one that is increasingly hard to justify in 2013. Bashing and threatening people is not the answer though.
> Come on Gordon, drop us a name please :-)
Stephen Spielberg is a very good example. I saw it during Raiders of the Lost Ark (I was working on another film at Elstree at the time). He had storyboards of every scene all round the stages in question so that everyone on the crew knew exactly what he was aiming to get. All the best directors, likewise, gave you the same feeling of belonging almost to a family club. Actors too. Albert Finney, was a good example. On the first day of rushes for The Dresser. He came up to me at the end of the rushes (in his full Dresser costume) with his arm extended to shake hands with me. I was gobsmacked. He said, 'I don't know you, and I like to know everyone on the crew.'
Anyhow, we're off topic, but you did ask.
With each successive trip I have taken to the area I have found the locals to be less genuinely welcoming and more commercially minded, but that is understandable and to be expected. It would be surprising if the financial imbalance between the two societies does not start to create problems as their tourist industry (and the people of the region generally) develops and, as other have said, they become more aware of it through the media and their own travels.
This report came directly to UKC from Jon Griffith at Everest Base Camp. It was written by all three climbers.
Jon also included the photograph of the three climbers at camp 2 after the incident, but before they 'legged it' back to basecamp. The photo was sent after I requested it.
There are translations of this report elsewhere online, and there are English translations of the translations of this report elsewhere online!
La sportiva crosslites: http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/mountain-running/crosslite
now back on topic ...
> Obviously, if the European version is even half correct, the Sherpa behaviour was completely unacceptable.
I don't think the attack is in question just circumstances leading up to it.
Regardless of the background you do not attack someone over what actually sounds like a fairly minor incident. Hopefully the attackers will be identified and suitably punished just like you or I would if we threw a rock in someone's face.
Agreed, it sounds like a crime was committed. But I am simply daring to suggest that there may be a deeper malaise that led to it, and also needs to be addressed.
Aye fair point...given that nobody was seriously hurt perhaps some good could even come of it.
Once they've calmed down it would be nice to see the climbers (and their sponsors) do their bit to highlight some of the issues Sherpas face. I'm sure they'll be interviewed about this MANY times in the next few weeks so there'll be plenty of opportunity.
I can't imagine offering to carry a sherpa's rucksack let alone fix his ropes unless it was said with a great deal of humour.
To then go ahead and fix those ropes anyway would have been construed as confrontational to say the least.
They would also want to check the work done, regardless of his reputation, so a stupid act. Only my opinion ;-)
> I agree Gordon, even aside from this particular incident. There are other factors involved as well though.
"The reasons behind the attack are complicated and deep-rooted and to do with the relationship between Westerners and Nepalis on the mountain over many years." - Jon Griffith
Is it possible the Sherpa leading was giving Ueli and Co some verbal, and when he abseiled Ueli's "lifting hands to protect himself" was something more?
I'm just playing devils advocate here.
Simone just looks plain freaky in that pic.
but what I could think of is that after the leading sherpa refused Uelis offer to fix ropes up to Camp 3 he and his sherpa friends realy pissed off as he did anyway. If it's true and the sherpas felt awkward already because Ueli ond his pack moved so fast and without ropes besides them, this could have been the straw that broke the camels back.
They all look a bit amped up don't they.
Series of quotes from Steve House on Twitter:
Steve House ‏@stevehouse10 17m
In 2011, while acclimating on the normal route on Makalu we climbed solo next to fixed lines. Lead sherpa threatened us there as well.
Steve House ‏@stevehouse10 16m
There is a gross misunderstanding of modern climbing by most sherpas in Nepal, likely created by Everest and Ama Dablam "guiding".
Steve House ‏@stevehouse10 15m
We explained we were going to attempt to climb new route on West Face. They replied: "If you fix a new route, we will not follow you."
Steve House ‏@stevehouse10 13m
I can see that the Everest workers/sherpas could feel threatened by what they see as the 'emergence' of climbers who don't need them.
> I can see that the Everest workers/sherpas could feel threatened by what they see as the 'emergence' of climbers who don't need them.
Surely that's not a realistic fear as it is only a very small minority of climbers who will attempt to climb in this way?
> Steve House ‏@stevehouse10 13m
> I can see that the Everest workers/sherpas could feel threatened by what they see as the 'emergence' of climbers who don't need them.
Maybe it's a concern that if "light and fast" becomes popular, there will be more accidents? Sherpas are often involved in rescues of other parties aren't they?
Probably quite similar to the multitude of "thin end of the wedge" alarmism that happens here. It doesn't have to be realistic to scare people who depend on the job.
> Is it possible the Sherpa leading was giving Ueli and Co some verbal, and when he abseiled Ueli's "lifting hands to protect himself" was something more?
> I'm just playing devils advocate here.
If you want to indulge in ill-informed speculation then the bit that leaps out at me is the "get the apology in first" explanation of Simone Moro's behaviour.
But - as I said that would be ill-informed speculation in the highest traditions of UKC ;-)
I'm sure there is no difficult situation, under stress and at high altitude that cannot be improved with the arrival of an Italian guide...
( :-) to indicate that this is a joke)
So we can at assume that Sherpas are at least sophisticated enough not to pelt stones at some random climbers just because they walked over their ropes, in the process endangering the whole expedition i.e. their livelihood. Western Media has hyped this story too much without considering the Sherpa's side of story. Portraying Sherpas as the culprit do not do justice to the group of people who have served the climbers from all the world with smile and dedication for more than half a century. I wished journalist have uncovered the whole story before reporting like this in all the major medias of the world.
The opening quote is inaccuarate:
"Police in Nepal are investigating an alleged fight between two famous European climbers and their Nepalese mountain guides on Mount Everest."
That statement suggests that Steck and Moro were being guided.
I think the real threat comes from the hundreds of unprepared amateurs who try to "conquer" Mt Everest every season and not from the very few, highly skilled professionals who go "light and fast". It would be a bit hypocritical if the sherpas referred to safety-issues while fixing ropes for their many, mostly incompetent customers.
Sorry you'll have to explain that. I'm afraid it makes no sense at all to me.
Yup...what I was alluding to was that more unprepared amateurs might start trying "light and fast" ascents.
"There is a gross misunderstanding of modern climbing by most sherpas in Nepal, likely created by Everest and Ama Dablam guiding"
This sounds very strange to me, like a lack of consideration and respect towards the local guides. Especially in climbing, I have always understood that you had to follow the rules and habits of the locals. You have to accept the idea that these are "their" mountains (well, unless they completely lose respect for their own mountains) and "tourists" (no pejorative meaning here) should go by the local rules. You can be a better climber, you still have to pay respect to the local habits. If they don't do "modern climbing", deal with it - and don't call it "gross misunderstanding".
Regarding the "western" report, I am certainly not at this level of technique, but since when is stepping over the lines ok? (maybe always. You will tell me :) ) I find it quite dangerous and if someone had done it to me, I would be quite unhappy and scared that the rope could be damaged (and Steck actually stepped on it, not good at all). Of course threats and violence are an excessive reaction.
As always in this type of situations I will consider both parties are wrong.
None of the hundreds of punters staggering up there would step on it, of course.
Keep in mind these are fixed lines, not a rope between two climbers. So basically, it runs from BC to the summit (when they are fully fixed). If you were never to step over there, that would mean you couldn't cross from one side of the mountain to the other. So yes, it's ok to step over them.
Last year Ueli Steck said this in an interview...
"Going to Everest is a different game. It is not real mountaineering but I have to accept the rules. I often had to wait behind the rope-fixers but I would not pass them out of respect for their work".
Well, exactly. I don't expect Steck has paid to get the right to endanger other people's lives. He has to show the money before being a moron! (I am joking)
Even if it's a fixed rope for mass tourism, I find it wrong as it could lead to damage to the rope (but once again maybe I am wrong myself). Customers are equally wrong but I don't suppose they would understand. Steck is of another caliber.
Ah thanks for pointing that to me, I am afraid I have a gross misunderstanding of the installation of fixed ropes :)
Still, I suppose this is a kind of ethical grey area but while they are being installed, I wouldn't dare to cross them either.
Some wonderful comments in the papers from the "chattering classes", UKC may be uninformed but the ignorance on display in the MSM is awe-inspiring
> I think the real threat comes from the hundreds of unprepared amateurs who try to "conquer" Mt Everest every season and not from the very few, highly skilled professionals who go "light and fast".
Are you not allowed to go light and fast unless someone is paying you to do so? Or is money the only motivation to climb in good style? what on earth is the world coming to?
Perhaps admitting responsibility?
At that stage I doubt there would be a lead climber tied to the 'top end' though, Jon.
- Clients trying to pull me off thinking my rope was one of the fixed ones even after being yelled at 4 or 5 times by myself and their guide about exactly which rope not to pull on.
- A guy climbing up along side me, getting his elbow in my ribs and trying to bodily lever me out of the way.
- A cluster of climbers and ropes in the middle of the slope, all shouting at each other and going nowhere.
"cluster***k" didn't even come close to covering it. If you get on extremely crowded, very easy routes up very popular mountains, you are going to get anger and recrimination right and left. You don't have to search very far to find stories of totally unacceptable things happening on routes like the Hornli ridge. Everest is now an exceptionally crowded easy route (technically) where people pay HUGE amounts of money to be there, so really it should come as no surprise at all that egos and tempers will flare and clash and ever more acrimonious incidents will pile up.
I can't really understand why these hardcore guys would be wasting time with Everest. It's been done without oxygen plenty times already and there have to be hundreds of incredibly hard alpine lines they could try on other summits that would be equal or greater than the challenge of the one they have picked.
Denis Urubko is there too, planning to attempt a new route up the Southwest Face in alpine style:
One look at that picture should explain the appeal of Everest to these climbers: to attempt extremely technically difficult routes at the highest altitude.
> At that stage I doubt there would be a lead climber tied to the 'top end' though, Jon.
Someone running out a static rope on easy snow in order to fix it is hardly a lead climber, Andy. In any case that's rather irrelevant when in the days to come there'll be dozens - no, hundreds - of tired folk jumarring their way to oxygen soaked glory on that rope - and inevitably trampling all over it!
What an awful incident! Can't see them being very keen to go back.
> One look at that picture should explain the appeal of Everest to these climbers: to attempt extremely technically difficult routes at the highest altitude.
Obviously climbing the SW Face alpine style will be a major undertaking. Not saying that face doesn't have some appeal but it was climbed in the 70s - so will hardly be 'the leading edge' nowadays in terms of technicality. Please correct me if I'm wrong!
> Perhaps admitting responsibility?
and realising perhaps that stoning the "best" climber in the world, is not good for the Sherpa image ?
> Denis Urubko is there too, planning to attempt a new route up the Southwest Face in alpine style:
> One look at that picture should explain the appeal of Everest to these climbers: to attempt extremely technically difficult routes at the highest altitude.
There are much bigger faces. There are much harder faces. There are much more dangerous faces. And there are faces with any combination of those factors.
I'd be a lot more impressed by a harder route on a more serious and less well known mountain. Literally the only thing this route has going for it is "It's on the worlds highest mountain" which isn't much of an accolade at all among climbers.
Agreed heartily. One has to imagine the prolonged insensitivity and lack of tack and respect towards the Sherpas by Westerners over recent months and years that must have led to this very uncharacteristic burst of violent hatred.
> Obviously climbing the SW Face alpine style will be a major undertaking. Not saying that face doesn't have some appeal but it was climbed in the 70s - so will hardly be 'the leading edge' nowadays in terms of technicality. Please correct me if I'm wrong!
Well surely, it depends which path you take.
So whats your point? Moro, Steck and Griffiths have the right to be there but guided teams don't? There is much talk of the guided teams being full of wealthy people who have no experience what so ever of mountaineering ' taking advantage of sherpas'. I'd like to see some info to support this broad statement. Are you suggesting that most westerners treat sherpas badly?
While there will be a small element of wealthy incompetents buying a guided trip through a 'small' operator I would surmise that the majority of clients on guided trips have indeed some experience of mountaineering - my understanding ( I may be wrong) is that most operators require clients to have done several trips to altitude previously. Say Aconcagua, Ama Dablam, McKinley etc.
Well yes. No doubt I'm wrong here but from what I can recall it looks pretty similar to the line climbed by the 1975 expedition? As far as I understand it the only 'difficult' climbing is through the rock band.
I'm think nowadays many are guided up who previously have only done the likes of Kilimanjaro.
It does however probably help to leverage sponsorship.
> Well yes. No doubt I'm wrong here but from what I can recall it looks pretty similar to the line climbed by the 1975 expedition? As far as I understand it the only 'difficult' climbing is through the rock band.
It actually looks independent of the bonnington expedition line, just crossing it near the top. I think its line through the rockband had been attempted prior to the Bonnington expedition.
You seem to hold absolute distain for those on guided expeditions, and talk of Everest as being a sacred mountain.
Are some mountains not 'sacred' and therefore ok for guiding? Is it ok if the 'easy' route up certain mountains become popular?
I may be wrong but you sound elitist.
Agreed, sounds like a case of Swiss Guide's arrogance vs Sherpa Power.
I've climbed in the Alps and Himalayas many time - many of the European guides I have encountered have been obnoxious and arrogant...I've only even encountered modest, pleasant Sherpas.
Some folk seem to have a 'whiter than white' view of Sherpas. As with all types of people you will always get a few 'bad apples', so the fixed rope incident is entirely plausible. What's more surprising is what happened back at Camp 2 but what seems certain is that a) it happened, b) it's shocking, and c) there was absolutely no justification for it.
If the Sherpas did get ice kicked down onto them causing injury I guess I can see why they might have been a bit upset.
You've only got to read some of the comments that get posted on UKC to realise how upset some people can get over things, and how that quickly turns into a mob (and that sounds like what happened back at camp).
I'm sure tensions run high amongst everyone on the mountain who has their own agenda, and I'm sure none of us will know the true story as those involved will have their own view of what happened and now be trying their best to manage the press.
I think your opinion is unrealistic and elitist - and in a sense a 'theory'.
You wish to preserve the mountain and wilderness so it can be enjoyed. My question is enjoyed be whom? An elite?
> Agreed, sounds like a case of Swiss Guide's arrogance vs Sherpa Power.
I think you'll find he was otherwise engaged at the time. As in being beaten and feart for his life.
> So whats your point? Moro, Steck and Griffiths have the right to be there but guided teams don't? There is much talk of the guided teams being full of wealthy people who have no experience what so ever of mountaineering ' taking advantage of sherpas'. I'd like to see some info to support this broad statement. Are you suggesting that most westerners treat sherpas badly?
FFS, it's not about 'rights' to be anywhere! Treat Sherpas badly? Usually not. Taking advantage of Sherpas? Yes, they do. But it's not obvious extreme bad behaviour is the problem. It's that the accepted status quo that commercial expeditions, particularly Everest, are built on is exploitative and the Sherpas are getting jack of it, unsurprisingly. They take multiple more risk for a fraction of the reward on offer. Everyone has accepted this due to some self-serving ad hoc theories of international economics, but that is bullshit and it always was bullshit, it's just bullshit that worked in our favour. They're human beings, not inputs to an economic equation.
Moro has just said almost exactly what I wrote further above in this thread, about the changing relationship:
"But the relationship between Sherpa and westerners has changed a lot. I think the Sherpa are aware of how much money goes into all of this and they no longer accept that it’s not all theirs."
Steve House's comments are yet more evidence that large-scale commercial expedition mountaineering on Everest / Ama Dablam etc has filtered through to other mountaineering, in a detrimental way. I've banged on about that here countless times, but Steve is famous, so take it from him, not me. These things don't happen in isolation, we can't just do what we want, our actions affect others, it's not a free-for-all. So many people seem to have a hard time understanding that, because it affects them getting what they want, and nothing else matters than that.
I suspect you're getting near to hitting the nail on the head.
PS. The kind of deeper analysis that you're applying to the problem is surely what needs to be done now.
Are those comments aimed at me or DanMooreClimbing ? Or a general point?
DanMooreClimbing has a very elitist attitude and suggested that climbers doing hard new routes are eligible to be on the mountain but other guided parties not. I was asking him to clarify his point.
I'm not disagreeing with what you say, but unless there is suddenly a very small number of permits issued I wonder how the issue can be resolved re numbers, or what can be done done share the profits / give the sherpas a higher stake in proceedings.
> PS. The kind of deeper analysis that you're applying to the problem is surely what needs to be done now.
Exactly. Glib elitist remarks complaining about 'hordes' not deserving to be on the mountain isn't going to solve it - whats needed is a deeper debate.
It's so obvious, isn't it? We've got to analyse just what's gone wrong to bring one of the truly nicest peoples in the world, famous for their calm, wit, intelligence and fortitude, to such a state of anger. Like Neil Gresham, I have never met such strong, calm, solid, nice people in all my life as the Sherpas. I see them as icons that we should all try to emulate.
I meant really 'role models' rather than 'icons'. And I'm being 101 per cent serious about my evaluation.
Indeed I agree.
I'm very aware, of course, that I'm generalising. Because, of course, in the old days, only the creme de la creme were fortunate enough to be hired up by westerners. When I went there 14 years ago, I was truly stunned by their calm, fortitude, humour and total lack of bullshit.
Separate subject, though a very important one (belongs to what I called earlier 'a broader malaise'.) The whole subject is like a massive tier cake. I'd be delighted if we could tackle this problem, idealistically, 'top down'; but, really, we're stuck first with the nasty problems at the very bottom.
this is all a side effect of the guiding culture within climbing - which has a long old history. For all we harp on about self sufficiency and responsibility and the need to accept your own personal risk/responsibility when we go climbing, it seems that the rules are completely different on Everest. the commercial guides / expeditions who are whoring themselves out to make a living are doing it at the expense the fundamental principles of the sport. For me, guided climbs are just the complete antethesis of what climbing is about. Irony.
How do legislate against it though? And how do you stop the problem moving elsewhere?
Lets say the UIAA put guidelines in place and along with the relevant authorities put in place a system whereby those on an Everest expedition and to have a log book signed saying they had done x y z previously. Would that work?
Say all commercial expeditions were outlawed - only small teams of 4 - using in fast and light alpine style were allowed on Everest with a limited number of permits allowed. Would that work?
What would 'mr successful needing a challenge' do? Decide to walk to the South Pole on a guided expedition ? Would the poles become a circus like Everest - would that work?
While I appreciate the issues - I wonder what the answer is.
There was a debate at Kendal a number of years ago - the panel included Kenton, Bonnington, Doug Scott, Russell Brice and Messner.
One of the comments made was that at least if all the major expeditions go to Everest it leaves large tracts of the Himalaya free for those looking for 'real' challenges.
> It's so obvious, isn't it? We've got to analyse just what's gone wrong to bring one of the truly nicest peoples in the world, famous for their calm, wit, intelligence and fortitude, to such a state of anger. Like Neil Gresham, I have never met such strong, calm, solid, nice people in all my life as the Sherpas. I see them as icons that we should all try to emulate.
They're just people, Gordon, just human beings. Elevating them to some sanctified state does no one any good, even them. Because they get angry and jealous and hurt and frustrated just like the rest of us weak humans, even if they never show it to outsiders, their employers. The economic disparity that has existed for most of the history of mountaineering has put them in a relatively subservient position. As noted above, this has started to change.
It all started in the alps and continues today doesn't it. In my personal view (which is probably elitist) any ascent that is guided is pure cheating. Climbing isn't just a physical act, its about skills, and paying someone else to make up for your skill shortage is poor form to say the least.
There are always going to be spineless people prepared to pay for it , but its the climbers who allow it.
OK, I don't disagree with that ... but they start from a fantastic system of calm values that should be the envy of the western world. I was fantastically moved seeing school children on the same open air terrace on which we were camped, in a circle, listening and eagerly following what their teacher was saying in a concentrated, enthusiasic way that I've never, ever seen in England.
> They're just people, Gordon, just human beings. Elevating them to some sanctified state does no one any good, even them. Because they get angry and jealous and hurt and frustrated just like the rest of us weak humans, even if they never show it to outsiders, their employers. The economic disparity that has existed for most of the history of mountaineering has put them in a relatively subservient position. As noted above, this has started to change.
To say anyone is 'just a human being', is, I think, a bad premise.
Those that use a guide aren't always those with lack of ability. I know people who have used guides as they have certain objectives a short window of opportunity and the easiest way to satisfy that is to hire a guide.
For example a few years ago I was working in Washington State in the winter - there is some excellent ski touring in the cascades. I was there on my own - it would be unwise to tour in an unknown backcountry area solo. I hired a guide and had an excellent day out - relishing the landscape and the environment around Mount Baker.
I have a friend who is retired, he is in his early 60's and fit and can climb mid week. On occasion he will head up to Scotland when conditions are in and hire a guide as he knows he will have a reliable partner who has some knowledge re conditions etc. Is that wrong?
Sure: that is the very problem.
> What would 'mr successful needing a challenge' do? Decide to walk to the South Pole on a guided expedition ? Would the poles become a circus like Everest - would that work?
It's known as The Outhouse Effect. Keeps all the sh!t in one place.
The Poles have already become their own little circus, for brief windows of time, as are the other Seven Summits sometimes little microcosms of Everest. Everest is just a bigger stage, with more actors on-stage at once and more risk.
I don't see more, or any, regulation as the answer. We just need more honesty in the community about what is involved with all this, the real ramifications and broader effects. If 'climbing' Everest was put in some broader contexts - the dependency, ineptitude, exploitation and mendacity involved - it might not seem so attractive to so many. Even if the numbers did not decrease, the whole thing might progress in a different way.
Unfortunately there is no immediate financial return in that happening like that, whereas there are interests to be protected by maintaining the status quo. I'll somewhat unfairly pick out Adrian Ballinger here, who gives (I think) a fair account:
"To me, the bottom line is that multiple mistakes were made by both sides. On Everest, the professional climbers (even when attempting new routes) also benefit from fixed ropes, trails broken, and rescue caches placed, primarily by the Sherpa. The professional climbers involved could have and should have chosen somewhere else to acclimatize on this day, instead of solo climbing above the rope fixing team. Everyone knew about the rope fixing effort, and other teams that would have liked to be climbing where the incident occurred respected the rope fixing effort and stayed off the Lhotse Face. Even if no rock or ice actually was knocked off by the professional climbers, and even if no rope-fixing sherpa was injured, there was still a perception of disrespect for the effort. As part of past rope-fixing efforts on Everest, I can attest to the importance of not having other climbers pushing the team from below, or putting the team at risk from above. With that said, the response from some (not all) of the Sherpa was inexplicable and inexcusable." Continuing at http://alpenglowexpeditions.com/blog/everest-best-and-worst-0 but in the end I think he shies away from dealing with the deeper and broader issues.
Of course, when it is used on Alan Arnette's site, he typically evades the point and tries to sweep it away under the carpet with:
"I think most expeditions see it as an embarrassment and want it to go away. I believe it will pass but be used by Everest critics as yet another reason Everest is a bad thing." (UKC won't accept the link)
Yeh, well, it is another reason Everest is a bad thing. But it's a bit more than an 'embarrassment'. That kind of self-serving myopia only prolongs the problem, it doesn't fix it.
> There are always going to be spineless people prepared to pay for it ,
My word what an arrogant, spiteful and ignorant person you are. Elitist doesn't even come close. I hope to God I never meet you.
I've had similar experieces while overtaking guided parties in Chamonix on the more popular routes. There was never fighting but there was quite bad words.
I can image the situation there. First they climb pass the lead sherpa and shortly after they do his job. I can imagine this being bad in culture where saving your face is important.
> I've had similar experieces while overtaking guided parties in Chamonix on the more popular routes. There was never fighting but there was quite bad words.
> I can image the situation there. First they climb pass the lead sherpa and shortly after they do his job. I can imagine this being bad in culture where saving your face is important.
"Alpinism is ego" - Voytek Kurtyka
I am entitled to my opinion as you are yours. What's your counter argument seen as you have failed to mention it?
Some things don't need to be all inclusive. Some people believe that everything is for sale but that is not true. Some things in life require commitment not just in the short term but the long term, a commitment to building the foundations and then a continued commitment to build on them and make sacrifices to achieve your long term goals, which for people with day jobs will likely take decades.
Paying for an experience when you haven't earned the right to be there manifests itself in what is all that is wrong with the commercialisation of climbing.
I am not ignorant of the current affairs in the climbing world nor spiteful of people who happen to have 50G's to pay for a ride up Everest - In fact, I'm about to go on a trip with one. But you can't compare like with like.
I'd love to know what qualifies you to be so judgemental.
> Paying for an experience when you haven't earned the right to be there manifests itself in what is all that is wrong with the commercialisation of climbing.
Who is to say that someone who may have made sacrifices at points in there life, worked hard and possibly created a situation where they can afford 50k to go on an expedition to Everest or wherever 'hasn't earned the right' ? How would you decide who has and hasn't earned the right?
There seems to be a misplaced view that commercialisation of climbing is a new thing. The very earliest Everest expeditions were commercial in many respects - funds were raised, equipment donated etc. In 1924 John Noel bankrolled the expedition to the tune of Ł8000 by putting the money up front and then selling shares in his film. He was an entrepreneur intent on making a few Ł. Mallory and Finch toured after 1922 - one of the reasons Finch didn't go in 1924 was because he felt he should be able to go and do his own lectures without having to handover money to the Everest committee. There was also huge pressure to get news back to London for the newspapers.
There does seem a certain irony about people getting flak for going to Everest with little experience - again thats always been the case. Sandy Irving was no great mountaineer, neither was Geoffrey Bruce in 1922.
Who is to say that someone who may have made sacrifices at points in there life, worked hard and possibly created a situation where they can afford 50k to go on an expedition to Everest or wherever 'hasn't earned the right' ? How would you decide who has and hasn't earned the right?
I would say they haven't earned the right when they have to pay someone to make up for their shortfall in skills. I would also say that climbing up a fixed rope that has been fixed by someone else is not climbing. The thing is, I don't actually blame them for it. This whole thing is inductive of the guiding culture in climbing which started hundreds of years ago.
This wouldn't be acceptable because most Brit climbers can understand and rationalise what is going on, because they have had experiences in the same sphere so to speak.
So do you agree with any aspect of guiding? ( see my earlier examples)
Or are you against guiding on 'big' mountains - but are happy for someone to be instructed on - say Little Chamonix at Shepherds Crag in the Lake DIstrict?
I have no problem with instructing.
I also have no problem with guiding. But paying for guided climbs reduces climbing purely to a physical endeavour. In view this is completely missing the point of what climbing is about. Climbing is not just the physical challenge, but the process of planning, preparing, decision making etc that makes for a completely different experience than just a physical one.
But to say a guided client is on par with someone who is self sufficient is quite ignorant to say the least (not you but the other person up thread).
>or what can be done done share the profits / give the sherpas a higher stake in proceedings.
I should have thought the sherpas unionising was the obvious answer. Send Bob Crow out there on sabbatical, couple of choruses of Joe Hill, two or three wildcat strikes when the sahibs are at camp six or so, and I think we'd soon see the sherpas getting a fairer whack.
This seems like a huge own goal for the Sherpas. Like others, my experience was that they were friendly and helpful, but there is definitely a business and financial side to Sherpa life. There is undeniably an inequality between western climbers and climbing Sherpas, but an equally big gulf between the elite climbing Sherpas, and the low-lander porters, who got the lion share of my sympathy.
I also got a sense of the importance of status among Sherpas (I remember the almost religious awe that the BD Cobras of our head climbing Sherpa were greeted with by the other Sherpas), the increasing desire to be regarded as of equal or superior climbing ability to western climbers. This is probably easier with the majority of expedition clients, but if they are your normal yard stick of comparison, a Uli Steck is going to put your nose out of joint.
Warning: middle of the night diatribe coming up .. because I've just woken up, read your post and feel I must respond. 'Own goal'. This is such a 'western' analysis of what's happened. 'Own goal' is a term that, if applied correctly, refers only to organised policies that have gone wrong/backfired. I believe that this is a fundamental misreading of what's happened in the Solu Khumbu. This looks to me like an explosion of anger and no organised protest at all ... as a result of months and years of maltreatment, in every sense, but primarily at a business level.
'Friendly and helpful.' Again, what a patronising little box you put them in. I.e. that they are very amenable, and typically toe the line just as you would wish. Everything else you say points out correctly how they have been corrupted by western commercial values, but appears to show no respect or, perhaps, memory of the fact that Nepal was only opened up to the western world, and all its very corrupt and materialistic values as late as c.1952.
I don't know how many people have seen a recent piece of video footage that Kenton Cool put out on Twitter a few days ago (I'm sure because he was equally appalled by it), of how Everest Base Camp now typically looks from a helicopter. It now extends all the way from where it used to be, roughly east of Kala Pattar, all the way southwards on the moraines to opposite Gorak Shep.
I see this whole phenomenon as little more than yet another example of the way western values have corrupted the world, and very little to do with mountaineering as such. It's really, really disgusting. I recommend that you read again the enthusiasm of those dear old Brit Everest vets for the beauty of Nepal when they were first allowed in there in 1952 (e.g. Murray and Hunt's books). Since then, the Khumbu has been turned into this childish arena for the very shallowest of western values. A commercial litter bin, that treats the local people and culture with complete contempt, because they have, literally, nothing in common.
PLEASE, do not blame the Nepalese for the very confused state they have now been left in by this behemoth of western greed.
PS. Can you remember the history of how the monarchic Nepalese government held out for decades against western values, because of their fear of what those values might do to their beautiful country if they let westerners in? They finally gave in in c.1951/2, and I think all their worst fears have now been vindicated.
Absolutely no offence to you, Gordon, and I appreciate your posts here, but I personally want to listen to what Nepalese say about Nepal.
For interested readers, here is just one place to start:
The Nepalese people have suffered through over a decade of often brutal civil war where some were victims and others perpetrators; like all civil wars I'm sure this has done huge damage to the fabric of the country's society. I don't think some hugely romanticized view of either the Sherpas or the much wider Nepalese society is going help explain what happened on Everest.
I never referred to a perfect native society, simply to their fears of what might happen if they let western commercial tourism in.
Could easily be. But it seems like a good time for us to have a closer look at the immense mess we have made of Everest and the Khumbu region ... not just culturally, but materially. I cannot see how it is anything for us westerners to be proud of. All the problems I'm talking about are ones we/western tourists have brought into their beautiful country.
I wasn't wanting to romanticise it at all. I simply said that their fears of the effects of this influx of an utterly different culture proved to be well grounded. Further point. The much lauded Buddhist 'religion' has given them a culture that is totally impotent to stand up to the realities of human greed and power politics (thus, as you rightly say, the problems of civil war and the rise of Maoism in Nepal).
The Sherpas as a group seem to have done a lot better than most Nepalese out of the country's tourist industry. You can't close a country (well DPRK are trying), and people will try and make a living with what opportunities are available.
Well that's what you were doing it.
Buddhist monks have been central to stirring up murderous sectarian violence just weeks ago in Burma and over recent years in Sri Lanka. Maybe Nepalese Buddhism is different, but Buddhists are people too.
BTW .. didn't my last reply suggest that I have a rather contemptuous attitude towards Buddhism?
BTW2. I have to get to work soon. I can only indulge in these kinds of discussions in the middle of the night ... and I'd like a coffee now. It 'amuses' me just how many people on these UKC forums, paradoxically the most right-wing ones, spend huge amounts of the day pontificating on these threads about work, for example, while the rest of us are working.
Some one or maybe several people have done some great diplomatic work here.
Nice bit of racism there.
That's funny Gordon - given that UKC is about the most pinko liberal foruum I've ever come across. Mostly in a nice way but don't pretend this comment doesn't just reflect your own political leaning.
As to your posts on Nepal culture, you fluctuate between having a right go at anyone who hints at being a tad condescending to their culture and then doing exactly the same yourself. As someone else said above, they are only human when all is said and done (ie. they have largely the same feelings as us), they just display them rather differently.
Just remembered an article by Ortner from the late 90s called 'Thick resistance: death and the cultural construction of agency in Himalayan mountaineering'. Not directly relevant to the current issue, and I'm sure a lot has changed but it's a nice reflection on the contact between international mountaineers and the Sherpas. I don't have much time to read it properly again but she's an anthropologist who spent a lot of time doing fieldwork with the sherpas, and so has some interesting things to say about them.
If anyone is interested in a copy I can send them it.
> That's funny Gordon - given that UKC is about the most pinko liberal foruum I've ever come across. Mostly in a nice way but don't pretend this comment doesn't just reflect your own political leaning.
> As to your posts on Nepal culture, you fluctuate between having a right go at anyone who hints at being a tad condescending to their culture and then doing exactly the same yourself. As someone else said above, they are only human when all is said and done (ie. they have largely the same feelings as us), they just display them rather differently.
I don't follow you at all. I'm about as pinko liberal as they come, i.e. neither left nor right, and about 100 per cent pro the Nepalese re their treatment at the hands of the west (not talking about their internal probs). The only way I may have sounded condescending towards them is my criticism of their Buddhism in that (imho) it ill equips them to face some of the nastier aspects of modern western culture ... and, anyhow, it's not their real 'religion', which is really Bon, plus Hinduism. Their Buddhism was a much later, elitist, intellectual addition, I think.
Just as English people are not really Church of England ... but pagan (oops, that's letting a nasty cat of truth out of the bag, isn't it?) :))
PS. Aren't you as shocked as I am at just how right-wing some people are in these forums? It's forgivable in the old, of course, but really shocking in the young (well, I find it shocking), because, almost by definition, it means that their values come from received opinions i.e. they've swallowed whole just what they've been told to believe.
This whole 'affair' has brought a wide range of issues to the fore - the role of guiding in mountaineering, commercialism of the wilderness and mountain environment, effects of tourism on local populations, some sort of malaise and moral greed in 'western society'.
As has been mentioned 'the human condition' is in many ways the same the world over, personally I doubt we can 'wind the clock back' to some time when life was all harmonious ( when ever that was ?! )
Various walks of life are consumed by a desire for motivated individuals to attain there personal goals and it can manifest itself in a selfish greed - look at corruption in business and politics and use of dope in sport. The whole Lance Armstrong case is a case in point. So it may be naive to think that 'mountaineering' and 'wilderness travel' should be immune from such emotions.
( I'm not suggesting that those involved in this incident are motivated by a selfish greed - but making a general point)
Yes, the Hobbesian picture is probably more truthful and useful than the Rousseauesque one (of a mythical 'Golden Age') in that it accepts that, at bottom, at an uncivilised level, we are brutish.
> PS. Aren't you as shocked as I am at just how right-wing some people are in these forums? It's forgivable in the old, of course,
but really shocking in the young (well, I find it shocking), because, almost by definition, it means that their values come from received opinions i.e. they've swallowed whole just what they've been told to believe.
Whereas you formed your values in a pure vacuum unsullied by outside influence and they are therefore better than anyone's who disagrees?
But what can that mean? They are not just passive victims with no agency of their own. It's 30 million people; some are nice, some are nasty, some are generous, some have sharp elbows in business. Their "internal problems" aren't separated from Nepal's relations with the rest of the world; they are part of those relationships (periphery/rural marginalisation; ethnic/caste tensions; geo-political meddling from two huge neighbours etc etc).
And I'm not sure where all this gets us in relation to what happened on the Lhotse Face last week.
> PS. Aren't you as shocked as I am at just how right-wing some people are in these forums? It's forgivable in the old, of course, but really shocking in the young (well, I find it shocking), because, almost by definition, it means that their values come from received opinions i.e. they've swallowed whole just what they've been told to believe.
Oh please, Gordon! "Right wingers" have no more swallowed received opinion than a leftie form a leftie background. We are all influenced by our backgrounds but most of us synthesise, sometimes reject them entirely, but usually emerge with some variation of our own which itself changes with experience and learning.
But your earlier post "Can you remember the history of how the monarchic Nepalese government held out for decades against western values, because of their fear of what those values might do to their beautiful country if they let westerners in?" sounds exactly like a romanticized Golden Age. Maybe they held out because they wanted to maintain absolute control over a caste-bound and impoverished country for their own personal benefit? "Western values" at the time (Moscow being west of Kathmandu) included both liberal ideas such as universal votes and early moves towards the emancipation of women, as well as socialism and the destruction of traditional land owning elites.
But anyway, as we are name checking philosophers, perhaps we should hope that this incident introduces some sort of Rawlsian social-democratic dimension to the discussion on tourism around Everest, and the wants and desires of the Sherpas get some attention. Nobody has mentioned the building collapse not so far away in Dhaka that happened around the same time. That seems a far more brutal example of western capitalism meeting third world realities than this; and there is already discussion about what legal changes must result from the horror (Primark have to their credit already stepped forward to say they will help support survivors). The Sherpas seem to already have more negotiation power than Bangladeshi garment workers; so hopefully a better situation can arise from both incidents.
Well I object to extreme left wingers as much as extreme right wingers, but they seem very thin on the ground now in UK, and thus much less of a problem.
> But your earlier post "Can you remember the history of how the monarchic Nepalese government held out for decades against western values, because of their fear of what those values might do to their beautiful country if they let westerners in?" sounds exactly like a romanticized Golden Age.
OK, fair enough. I didn't write clearly enough what I meant. (Their monastic system being crap, I know.) But I thought I put that comment in the context simply of what the impact would be once they opened the floodgates of tourism? And I believe that was their chief worry.
>Maybe they held out because they wanted to maintain absolute control over a caste-bound and impoverished country for their own personal benefit? "Western values" at the time (Moscow being west of Kathmandu) included both liberal ideas such as universal votes and early moves towards the emancipation of women, as well as socialism and the destruction of traditional land owning elites.
I certainly can't deny this as a possibility, and you almost certainly know more about the realpolitik situation than I do.
> But anyway, as we are name checking philosophers, perhaps we should hope that this incident introduces some sort of Rawlsian social-democratic dimension to the discussion on tourism around Everest, and the wants and desires of the Sherpas get some attention. Nobody has mentioned the building collapse not so far away in Dhaka that happened around the same time. That seems a far more brutal example of western capitalism meeting third world realities than this; and there is already discussion about what legal changes must result from the horror (Primark have to their credit already stepped forward to say they will help support survivors). The Sherpas seem to already have more negotiation power than Bangladeshi garment workers; so hopefully a better situation can arise from both incidents.
Very, very good points. But of course the reason why we're talking so much about the Everest bust up here is that this is a climbers' web site.
Sorry, bad typo: I meant monarchic system, not monastic system.
Absolutely, and because of the general bizarreness of the story.
To no-one in particular; I was reading around a bit on this and came across Alan Arnette's site (which I think Damo mentioned earlier) http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/ . Not being very interested in Everest I hadn't read it before; but he seems highly regarded for accurate tracking of what goes on there. It's interesting that he is a bit of an expert on Everest, having written about it for Outside for instance; but notes himself that while he does a bit of ice and rock climbing he never leads. There is of course nothing wrong with that, and he makes no claim to be some super hard mountaineer, but it again makes the point rather clearly how different an activity guided ascents of the big peaks is to what most of weekend punters do as "climbing". Moro, Steck and Griffith were doing what they do as alpinists I guess - (soloing quickly and unroped up moderate [for them] ground), while the Sherpas were doing some completely different. Everyone is wearing/using similar gear, but they are still very different things.
Indeed - and people find the differing approaches fulfilling.
Meanwhile there appears to be a sense amongst some that their personal fulfilment is of a higher order. This I find smug and elitist.
> Indeed - and people find the differing approaches fulfilling.
> Meanwhile there appears to be a sense amongst some that their personal fulfilment is of a higher order. This I find smug and elitist.
But some people's fulfilment negatively impacts on others' fulfilment. Someone going off to climb a new route on an obscure 6000er does not impinge on the Everest clients' experience, but the filtered-down elements of Everest/commercial/fixedguided climbing is starting to impinge on the experience of the former. Hence the comments from House above, my various previous rants (insurance, media, red-tape etc). Do what you want - just don't muck it up for others.
Despite how it may seem from my numerous posts up this thread, I actually couldn't give a flying fcuk about who does what on Everest, guided, famous or otherwise. But I am interested in how things that happen there either affect, or are affected by, broader issues in mountaineering in general and how it all fits into a broader historical, sociological and psychological understanding of climbing.
The comment wasn't aimed at you by the way, and I don't disagree with what you're saying either.
And I to refer to the complex issues in a previous post - and how intertwined they all are and how difficult it will be to now separate them. Hence Doug Scott's comment about let them have Everest and others can go elsewhere. In a sense things have happened because of climbings history and how people have understood it.
On a lovely summers day would people go to Shepherds in Borrowdale or a remote mountain crag in Scotland or for that matter some sport crag in France? I would suggest they choose what works for them and what they wish to 'get' from climbing. Invariably there will always be 'honey pots' - which in sone senses go back to early writing / art and guide books ( such as viewing stations built in the Lake District to allow visitors to witness what was deemed a 'picturesque view ).
The anthology 'Philosophy, Risk and Adventure Sports' by Mike McNamee touches on some of these issues raised by this debate, and there is plenty written on the notion of 'wilderness'.
So in a sense what you'd hope for is a trickle down of 'best ethical practice' in the different aspects of mountaineering / climbing?
Something that I'm sure we'd all support - but as I said in a previous post I doubt that is now possible. I dunno !
storm in a tea cup, yet another season of had-wringing over 'the everest problem' as it only gets bigger. a few pin up sponsored athletes pissed off a few other minority locals in a small corner of nowhere. these tiny elite groups represent no one but themselves, its a parody. join the circus.
that the daily mail carried it says it all.
Interesting attempt at a summary from earlier in that blog:
'I have received some insight into what happened directly from people who were there. One point is that, publicly, we only have Moro’s version of the story. It is doubtful given the Sherpa culture, that we will have the same level of detail for the Sherpas involved so for now the Moro version will control the media.
This is what I think happened based on my investigating and first hand reports. I could be way off so this is just an opinion.
Moro, Steck and Griffith were climbing to spend an acclimatization night at Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. At the same time, the Sherpa team was trying to set the lines to the same Camp to be used by a large number of commercial climbers located at Camp 2.
There is an unwritten rule that all climbers stay off the Face while the Sherpas are fixing rope. In fact, a team of Russians began following them, were asked to stop by a Western Guide and complied with the request, turning back to wait until the work was finished.
The Sherpas had been working hard to find a safe route up the Lhotse Face. They had been stalled the previous day after finding a large crevasse near the normal location of Camp 3 thus needing to return the next day and find a new safe route.
In 2012, several Sherpa were injured by falling rock due to low snow levels that year prevented lose rock from being attached to the Face. In 2013, early conditions were similar so they had initially taken a longer, more difficult route to avoid the hazard but then ran into more difficulties. Now they were taking the normal direct route up the center of the Lhotse Face.
Moro and crew were anxious to reach their camp and started climbing a bit away from the Sherpas working on the Face. They must have had little patience for the slow moving Sherpas who had to go slow since they were carrying line, anchors and setting protection every few hundred feet, a slow and tedious process by design.
The Sherpas seeing the three climbers, asked them not climb above them due to potential rock fall. They also asked them not to touch the ropes, a common request given they need to be manipulated during the fixing. Everyone agreed but the three continued climbing higher and became parallel with the Sherpas but still trying to be very careful along the way.
Once they reached their high point and location of a tent previously established by Denis Urubko, they traversed across the Face just above the Sherpas. A piece of ice was dislodged, falling down the face and hit one the Sherpas who works for a large commercial guiding company. He was slightly injured.
This continued movement and falling ice enraged the lead Sherpa who reacted emotionally. He decided to take action.
The lead Sherpa fixing the ropes, approached them and apparently he and Steck touched, most likely by accident. However, there was one report of a Sherpa being “grabbed” by his jacket. The situation became even more heated and the Sherpa team descended to Camp 2 leaving Moro and team alone on the Face.
Moro and Steck took some of the fixed rope and continued climbing higher and finished fixing the line to Camp 3. Perhaps this was an effort to appease the Sherpas. However, it probably inflamed the situation as now they were doing the Sherpa’s work.
Moro and team returned to Camp 2 where words were exchanged, tempers flared, threats were made. Other Sherpas joined in, most likely standing around to see what all the yelling was about. Western climbers and guides also came out of their tents.
One Western Guide was reported to have swatted a rock out of the hands of one of the Sherpa. This was the final straw for the Sherpas.
With the huge crowd gathered at 21,500 feet, tempers flared, a few rocks were thrown and there was a push or two. Some of the more senior Sherpa and Western Guides interceded to calm things down.
Moro and crew returned to Base Camp as did the Sherpas crew but by different routes avoiding each other.
The rope fixers took Sunday off intending to resume work on the Lhotse Face Monday.
As for how Ueli got his “deep cuts”on his face, that I have no idea and will not speculate but hope he is safe.'
It now seems they've all kissed and made up:
> Absolutely, and because of the general bizarreness of the story.
Less bizarre in the light of most people's experiences of meeting Italian guides, perhaps.
I'm afraid I find that a somewhat baised account both in tone and what it leaves out. Hard working sherpas vs impatient westerners. Complete contradiction about climbing above the Sherpas - no attempt at explanation. A "push or two" (not the widely reported kicks, slaps and punches).
Fwiw, I agree with Icesolo that this particular incident is a storm in a tea cup. However, there is clearly a far wider issue and perhaps JCM is not far off the mark - unionisation? God help everyone ;)
I came here looking for more info on this story, I've never been on this forum before.
There are some interesting thoughts and discussions but I had to register in order to comment on my dismay at some of the elitism from some of the posters.
Who am I? Nobody to you, not a climber.
I did do a month long expedition to Patagonia, using a guide (gasp). I can tell you that for me, camping in Snow on week long treks was very very challenging, especially considering my 'skills gap'.
We climbed a frozen waterfall, obviously using ropes set by one of our guides. Truly magical for us. To most of our 'normal' friends back home, our expedition was 'extreme' and they thought we were crazy but to some of you it seems we're just tourists who don't deserve to be there.
Patagonia is beautiful and I am truly privileged to have been there, a trip of a lifetime that will stay with me always. Day trips wouldn't have allowed us to see it in all its majesty, it would be a few photos and back on the bus. So a guide allowed us to experience it.
In my 'real life; I have been able to do amazing things that your 'skills gap' would not allow you to do without help. Would I encourage you and offer you advice and help, or would I say, get off my playground, amateur?
People I have met in the climbing community have always been cool, with a passion and hunger for life, maybe you don't care but I feel some of you are letting the side down and perhaps have forgotten the wonder that should be taking you up those mountains in the first place?
Hey ho, it takes all sorts.
> In my 'real life; I have been able to do amazing things that your 'skills gap' would not allow you to do without help. Would I encourage you and offer you advice and help, or would I say, get off my playground, amateur?
I think the issue is that many people don't feel that Everest (or any serious mountain) should be considered a "playground".
I second that...It does seem strange that somebody as "fast and light" as Ueli Steck can't get out of the way of somebody abseiling....
Fair enough, I wasn't suggesting it is a playground, that was a turn of phrase, in much the same way as my areas of expertise are not playgrounds.
My point is if someone is capable of the mental and physical needs but needs a guide, to fill skill gaps, who is to say they shouldn't?
Jon Griffith about to be on Radio 5Live
I think the issue hear is that hordes of people trying to climb something that is beyond their skills and experience and is only made possible for them through money changing hands with people who are prepared to fix a rope to the top for them, has a negative impact on other groups who would like to climb the mountain in better style.
Its a bit like buying a ticket to enter the tour de france, sticking a motor on your bike, turning up at the start line and expecting everyone else to not to start the race until you've finished picking your nose.
Maybe in hindsight they should have acclimatised on another peak before trying their new route which would have avoided going near the commercial circus side of it?
I can see the logic in that, but would they not need a separate permit to do that (which I guess wouldn't be free)?
Also, if they had already established a camp, then the acclimatisation trip may well have had an additional purpose for the expedition.
Something stinks here. The story that is being told in the media is completely one-sided, and quite frankly hard to believe. The Western climbers seem to be in damage control mode.
To you maybe. I'll accept Jon's story as an alpinist I look up to.
Had this not had been Stick and Jon I think UKC would have been far less supportive..
I just think hold off with wild judgements either way..
But this blanket stereotyping of all sherpas as peaceful for eternity is strange..
Its like this sterotyping of buddhists as peaceful.. it maybe on the whole.. yet a group of buddhists just set fire to a muslim man and insisted no one put water on him and he burned to death..
AIUI (from reading only, not having done anything of the sort) it is perfectly normal practice for climbers to acclimatise by going up to the intermediate camps for a while and then coming back down to base camp.
Meh. I don't simply accept someone's story when there is something to be gained or lost from the outcome. And I don't care how accomplished a climber is either. Being a good climber doesn't require honesty or integrity. All I know is there was a huge melee involving people who have a reputation for passivity, and the folks on the other side say, "Hey man, we didn't do anything, those guys just went crazy." And they're all over the media to tell their side of the story. C'mon, there's really nothing to find questionable there?
What "stinks"? Something happened in a relatively remote and inaccessible place only a couple of days ago. The different sides are telling their stories and, oddly (I mean that ironically), different people see things differently and tend to see their own actions as justified.
Another version of events from the Sherpas side of the story..
Im sure everyone involved in the 'scuffle' is now hugely embarrassed at it all and how out of hand the reporting has gotten worldwide. Maybe its time to just move on instead of speculating at either the 'Great White God' mentality, or the 'Peaceful Sherpa' myth.
They were two groups of people in a stressful environment who lost it for a bit. Weve all done it at some time,just maybe not had the media. and thousands of others who werent in that situation. speculating on the rights or wrongs .
Is that like black people having a good sense of rhythm? Come on; why put Sherpas on a pedestal anymore than some European climber?
I wonder what the webstats are for those involved over the last few days? I would hate this sorry affair to become the opportunity for people to build careers and raise profiles.
Do you really think there are no cultural differences between Westerners and the Nepalese? I do. A reputation is beliefs generally held about someone(s) or something's character. The Nepalese have a reputation for passivity. That's not putting them on a pedestal. It's a fact. Of course it doesn't always hold true, but that is their reputation.
> Nice bit of racism there.
Ffs. Maybe I didn't make it clear enough it was a joke. I would have thought the smiley face and saying "this is a joke" would have been clues.
Or have you never had any experience of European guides crossing ropes and trying to drag clients up or down past you in the Alps?
As for a reputation for passivity -Ever seen a pissed off Ghurka ?
So it would seem that a meeting was held and 'all' formally signed a conciliatory statement which sought to bury the hatchet. The text is in your link.
And then, now 'out of it', the climbers have made statements about the incident subsequently to the media of the world (certainly Jon and Ueli).
And this will engender trust in the sherpas of the integrity of the people they look after?
No. I don't think they are. I've only heard ONE story (garbled and mistranslated as that might be) which is a peculiar 'third person narrative' account of the incident as it happened from the perspective of 'the three'. Then I've got personal accounts by 'the three'. I've heard nothing else.
> I think the issue hear is that hordes of people trying to climb something that is beyond their skills and experience and is only made possible for them through money changing hands with people who are prepared to fix a rope to the top for them, has a negative impact on other groups who would like to climb the mountain in better style.
So in your view, your personal definition of "better style" should limit other people's freedom to follow their dreams.
And for folks who can't be arsed to follow the link perhaps the relevant section is:
'while these young men were working to fix the route for all expeditions at base camp, no expedition would disrupt or create a distraction for them. Unfortunately, Simone Moro did not attend this meeting, and might not have been aware that this protocol is an unwritten rule on Everest.
Over the next few days all the teams at base camp pitched in and Sherpas carried over 50 loads through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 2. The fixing started on April 26th, for 2 days the Sherpa were scouting the best route on the Lhotse face and by the 27th they were less than an hour from reaching camp 3.
The 3 European climbers set out the morning of the 27th heading for the Lhotse face. After suggestions from both guides and Sherpa at Camp 2 and below the Lhotse face to turn around, because fixing the Lhotse face demands strict concentration, the 3 climbers continued on to the Lhotse face moving up and to the left of the fixing route. The 3 climbers moved alpine style up the Lhotse face and were headed towards their camp (just below camp 3 on the Lhotse face).
At this time the Sherpa fixing team were working on the Lhotse Face and have reached one of the steeper & more exposed areas. The temperature was dropping and the winds were picking up. As the fixing team was moving through a steeper section of the Lhotse face, the 3 European climbers met with the fixing team. The fixing team alerted the 3 climbers to not touch or cross the rope. This is a high intensity environment where people’s instincts are at a heightened state. The lead fixing Sherpa spoke with one of the 3 climbers at which point physical contact was made, at that point Simone came in verbal contact with a number of the fixing team who had now congregated at one of the anchors to secure themselves from sliding down the face.
Simone began to shout, many of the words in Nepali language, and many of the words were inflammatory. At this point the fixing team made the correct decision to drop their loads of rope and hardware, attaching them to the installed line, and descend without any further interaction or confrontation with the 3 climbers. The fixing team descended to camp 2 and went to their respective camps as a number of expedition teams work together to fix the route on Mt. Everest. As the fixing team descended to camp 2, Simone radioed down requesting to know what the Sherpa were talking about. At one point Simone stated over open radio frequency (fixing frequency-tuned in by all the fixing teams and anyone listening on the mountain) that if the Sherpa had a problem he could come down to Camp 2 soon and “f—ing fight”.
As Simone returned back to Camp 2 he again spoke over the fixing frequency a demand to speak with the fixing team comprised of 16 Sherpa (of 8 different teams) back at camp 2. He explained that he would meet them at one of the expedition camps. When he arrived in Camp 2 he went to his tent. At this point some western guides went to Simone’s camp to explain that he should apologize for the situation his team created during a very dangerous workday. As the western guides spoke to Simone, Sherpas from many different teams congregated as a result of his radio call from the Lhotse face and wanted to speak with Simone and get an apology and to explain to him how difficult their job had been that day. The Sherpas who were together felt that Simone’s words and interactions were both hurtful to the individuals, as well as grave and serious insults to the entire Sherpa community. As the Sherpas approached Simone’s camp tensions were high and they wanted to have a discussion with an already angered Simone. Then Simone came out to talk and both sides approached each other in loud discussion at which point a careless western climber who had not been involved up on the Lhotse face arrived and entangled physically with a Sherpa. This was the ignition for what ensued next. It is safe to say that the Sherpa thought this western climber was part of Simone’s team and had initiated a dangerous confrontation. At this point the Sherpa felt as if they needed to defend themselves as they had just seen one of their colleagues attacked. The tense situation ignited and a brawl ensued.
The brawl was stopped by a group of western climbers and Sherpa working together. Simone’s team was protected by both a Sherpa group and a few western climbers and guides. As the group separated, Simone requested to apologize for his actions. After things calmed down, Simone’s team descended to base camp. The following day, April 28th, was peaceful.
An interesting, perhaps slghtly less partisan, take on the situation.
And thanks for that informative link ;-0
Have you not read about Argentine troops around Stanley who fled when they heard Gurkhas were advancing on their positions? They had been told the Gurkhas don't take prisoners, they eat prisoners! Regardless of that silliness, the Gurkhas reputation for hard fighting is fully justified.
You can maybe make an argument about Sherpas (although I'm sure anyone who knows the region well could point out why that it misty eyed romanticism too), but for Nepal generally - no, it's no more peaceful than many other similar developing countries, and possibly worse than some of them.
I wonder what happened to the "careless western climber" who apparently started the whole thing
> I think the issue hear is that hordes of people trying to climb something that is beyond their skills and experience and is only made possible for them through money changing hands with people who are prepared to fix a rope to the top for them, has a negative impact on other groups who would like to climb the mountain in better style.
> Its a bit like buying a ticket to enter the tour de france, sticking a motor on your bike, turning up at the start line and expecting everyone else to not to start the race until you've finished picking your nose.
No it's not!!!! The tour is a race. Not a hobby like climbing, surely you should be able to enjoy your hobby in any way you see fit? You want to climb solo like David sharp go ahead, enjoy, you want to have a bit of a safety net with guides, Sherpas and ropes again go ahead, enjoy, why should it just be for people who climb to the extreme to live there dream? Snobbery I call it
Having found it I thought I should post the counter-point. It doesn't quite seem to add up though.
"I have pieced together an objective version of events"
Now there's a laugh. It's pretty obvious what his opinion and agenda are throughout that whole spiel.
or perhaps not.
reads more like a witness statement drafted with the help of the legal team.
i'm sure much of what is said is true, but see no reason to think that the sherpa side of the story should be by definition any less of a partisan account. its their side of the story told by them, not The Truth.
but thanks for posting it, it is helpful to read for purposes of balance,
You're right there - All of the Nepali boys I work with are so laid back they're almost horizontal but if you pick a fight with one of them the whole rabble will come at you
> I wonder what happened to the "careless western climber" who apparently started the whole thing
Reading Kellog's blog in the other thread might give a hint.
All these people talking about 'alpine-style' and 'alpine' climbing on this route. There is no such thing, has not been for years. Climbers bigging themselves up with claims that conveniently omit the Sherpa fixed icefall are the kinds of things that piss off the Sherpas (amongst other bigger issues).
If professional climbers - superstars, guides, whoever - want 'adventure', 'challenge', blah blah blah then they should go somewhere else and they should know that, or accept the consequences of their hypocrisy - crowds, rules, arguments etc. Ignorance is no excuse.
Using the Sherpa fixed route to acclimatise for your super climb then making a big deal out of your super climb as being so distinct from (and, by definition, superior to) the commercial circus client yak route is not just hypocritical but downright rude. Make your own route through the icefall and acclimatise on Nuptse, at the very least. Or is that not convenient enough?
There's a very high unclimbed independent mountain almost in sight of the C2 fight club. Any takers? No. Even the pros want Brand Everest. They want the name, the fame, the media that is all part of Everest, because that's where the numbers are. Everest is a click-magnet and sponsorships now factor website hits, Twitter followers and Facebook 'friends' into negotiations over remuneration.
How anybody thought they could keep exploiting the Sherpa work for their own overhyped careers in 'alpinism' is gobsmacking. People die to fix that route that western superstars gloss over in their pr guff. I made this comment on ExplorersWeb a week ago in regard to Urubko's claims for an 'alpine style' new route on the SW face. You think Sherpas can't use the internet? They see this stuff and go 'hey!'.
As someone said above, being a good climber is no guarantee of honesty or integrity or being a nice guy or whatever. This is about money. Ueli could climb anything on earth, so why is he here? Money.
A few years ago Moro did an unauthorised traverse where he lied that it was unintended, that he 'had' to descend the north side, but that he had not meant to. But it transpired that he carried his passport to the summit - who does that? - and had friends set a tent for him on the north side route, with gear marked with his name on it. He lied to the Nepalese and Chinese authorities and just paid a huge 'fee' to be allowed out of Tibet back into Nepal. He has form for lying about his climbing.
So many people want to 'move on' and 'put this behind us'. I'm sure they do. It reflects badly on them because the situation is bad. Peoples' actions are bad. The status quo is bad. But that suits some people.
In fact, why doesn't the tour de france start selling tickets at 50k a piece, for some rich boy to show up on a motorbike, complete the route and go home and brag about it.
It seems acceptable in the commercial climbing world to fix lines, breath oxygen, and pay other human beings to shepherd you and your gear up and down the mountain. I don't blame the sherpas who are only trying to make money the only way possible for them.
Jeff Jackson over at Rock & Ice has written a piece and brought in Luis Benitez with some good comments:
"I contacted Luis Benitez, who summitted Everest six times as a guide for major outfitters and asked specifically about why he thought the Sherpas went berserk. He wrote:
It brings up the ever-present question on Everest: When will leadership in ethics and values play a greater part in not only the goal of summitting, but the road to get there. I keep reading these reports man, this is nuts. Does no one remember Henry Todd [head of a guiding company] being banned from Nepal for three years for violence only to return to operate as usual? How can we not be condemned to repeat history if we do not learn from it? When western media (which mostly knows nothing of Everest) is calling for limits on crowds and team size, who among the guiding community will rise to the challenge? Guiding companies go about their business even when, during the torch relay for the China Olympics, most had satellite phones confiscated and some were kicked off the hill for having Tibetan flags and Nepali soldiers with guns were at Camp 2 halting climbers from passing. The Nepalese government paid attention when China asked them to, but refused to pay attention to the rights-abuses on the mountain. Why? Money. Everest is a money mint for the government and the country.
I read something interesting tonight that Sherpa animosity could be about Westerners getting most of the credit and funds. It’s true. For example, my friend Lhakpa Rita a senior guide for Alpine Ascents, first Sherpa to do the Seven Summits, got barely a nod from the media. There are great org's like the Khumbu Climbing School that are trying to even the odds and Sherpas for many teams like IMG work directly with the western clients, yet only when the western guides are the assistants and the Sherpas are the lead guides will we really, as a climbing community, have put our money where our mouth is. Furthermore, the government will never regulate the amount of climbers on the hill. It is up to the guiding industry to stand up and say something like "we will go every other year" or every third year and have a cap on the amount of clients. The opportunity to do something different is there, it will just take a company that's brave enough to say “enough is enough.”
> Using the Sherpa fixed route to acclimatise for your super climb......... is not just hypocritical but downright rude.
They weren't! And it seems that contributed to the problem.
Probably impracticable. I presume they had permission to us the ropes through the icefall.
Or just maybe because it's the highest mountain on earth? (Sorry not to be cynical enough for you). It would be a shame if proper mountaineering (or as proper as is possible given the joke mountaineering circus going on) became impossible on Everest.
> The tour is a race. Not a hobby like climbing, surely you should be able to enjoy your hobby in any way you see fit?
It is perfectly defensible to argue that this is not true. Just like it is considered reasonable to resist bolting of routes. The Everest circus screws up proper mountaineering on the mountain just like bolting Right wall would screw it up as a trad route.
> I wonder what the webstats are for those involved over the last few days?
So, how do you make a living Damo?
but the same can be said about the cerro torre argument last year. The bolt choppers freed the route but would they may never have been able to do so with the topos / beta of other ascents that had used the bolts.
So even though they physically didn't use the bolts for upward progress, they benefited from the knowledge and beta that came from others experience of using them.
Without this information they may never have succeeded, yet they chopped them anyway so it was never going to be a clean free ascent, yet they received unprecedented support about their style.
Some people want to blame these three for climbing the normal route to acclimatise. Their are plenty of other big mountains where ascending the normal route to acclimatise is perfectly acceptable so you have knowledge of the descent and are closer to scope out lines and weaknesses in the ascent route etc before moving onto something more technical and committing.
People are mentioning Alan Arnette's blog (who self proclaimed has never led anything himself) about an unwritten rule on Everest never to interfere with the line fixing.
Unwritten rule by who? the commercial expeditions that's who, acting as if they own the place!? Russel doesn't want people disrupting his show, afterall he makes a good living out of it. Ever seen the discovery channel documentary? He's happy taking money off people on his expedition who should never be there. His clients at 7000M+ asking their Sherpa to unzip their Olympus mons boot to put a handwarmer inside the gaiter because their feet are cold.
The place is an absolute circus and has nothing to do with climbing but everything to do with money.
> So, how do you make a living Damo?
According to my tax return, I don't.
But those people/groups shouldn't take precedence over other people that want to climb it in a different style, just because they are paying for it.
> They weren't! And it seems that contributed to the problem.
> Probably impracticable. I presume they had permission to us the ropes through the icefall.
I assume they *paid* to use the ropes through the icefall, like the rest. Which is part of the route, so they were using the Sherpa route, Robert, even if they climbed beside the rope in the bit between C2 and C3.
Impracticable? Sure. All the more reason to:
a) not make claims of route superiority, or
b) go somewhere else
There are also two other faces and two / three other ridges right there on Everest that they could climb if doing a new route is so important.
> Unwritten rule by who? the commercial expeditions that's who, acting as if they own the place!? Russel doesn't want people disrupting his show, afterall he makes a good living out of it. Ever seen the discovery channel documentary? He's happy taking money off people on his expedition who should never be there. His clients at 7000M+ asking their Sherpa to unzip their Olympus mons boot to put a handwarmer inside the gaiter because their feet are cold.
> The place is an absolute circus and has nothing to do with climbing but everything to do with money.
Agreed. But with regard to Brice et al, while I'm no fan of taking very inexperienced clients to such a place, the 'independent' or superduperalpinists or hardcore badasses or whatever would have more credibility if they did not use Brice's ropes, the path his Sherpas make, or have the psychological security of his structure at hand. In later years they've been asked to pay, but years they just used all this then turned around and dissed the 'big operators'. C'mon, one or the other...
Yes, using the normal route for acclimatisation, recce, descent prep etc is all fine and normal on many mountains, but in the case of the S Col route on Everest it is a reasonably unique situation with the extensive fixing of the icefall and the process in place to do that.
There was a time when good climbers (e.g.. Roskelley) did not want to do that route because of the work / risk in the icefall, they felt it unjustifiable. But now of course westerners don't do that work, they don't take on that risk, they pay poorer, stronger people to do it for them. They minimise the risk to themselves by bringing more money, and increasing the risk to others, the Sherpas. This has worked for a while. Now, maybe not.
I agree entirely
I want to know more about this:
"at which point physical contact was made"
> a) not make claims of route superiority, or
> b) go somewhere else
Or, all the more reason to end the Everest circus.
Indeed. Given that they were planning a new route, I presume they were only using the "tourist" route to acclimatise (and why not?). I don't know what their intended new route was/is. Steck's blog mentions having been to the west shoulder, so maybe that gives a clue.
> Or, all the more reason to end the Everest circus.
> Indeed. Given that they were planning a new route, I presume they were only using the "tourist" route to acclimatise (and why not?). I don't know what their intended new route was/is. Steck's blog mentions having been to the west shoulder, so maybe that gives a clue.
Complete speculation on my part: maybe a link up of the west ridge with the southwest face?
The Individuals involved are all getting a huge amount of media coverage
- which will no doubt be reflected in the traffic to their websites. Something
Not lost on the media savvy professional. Curiously the least known of
the three - Jon Griffiths seems to be the most pro active in pushing out
the info to the media - the front cover of the Sun featured a portrait
which I was assume was supplied with the press release. And then an interview
on national radio. From a profile raising point of view things couldn't have
gone better - better in fact than a new route.
So although everyone has kissed, made up, and signed this peace document
There is still some PR and marketing mileage to be had it seems.
> So although everyone has kissed, made up, and signed this peace document
> There is still some PR and marketing mileage to be had it seems.
"This ‘peace deal’ was just a pretext for everyone to get out of the situation but for me it was just sweet talk. I don’t think it solved any problems. We are in Nepal and we have to play by their rules but if you think about how they tried to solve something like this, it is actually unbelievable."
"swissinfo: What do your sponsors say about this situation? Have they shown understanding?
U.S.: Of course they understand but on the other hand we are living in the Western world and we don’t get anything for free. The sponsors want to benefit from me. And now, all three of us have to deal with financial disaster. We spent a lot of money and even if we got it from our sponsors, they want something in return and now we have to deal with this. "
How f*cking ridiculous.
Sherpas dont traditionally fix ropes up mountains. They were contributing to the industry that brings hundreds more of the sort of westerners to nepal that make steck and friends actions insignificant by comparison.
Bong smoking backpackers do more damage to nepalese culture than climbers. If its about that then the circus came to the wrong town.
How come this is acceptable on the Lhotse face:
but not 3 independent climbers moving around a fixing team?
Yeah he must be ecstatic with how things turned out....oh wait you were being serious.
Garrett Madison's 'objective' report is a shameful piece of misinformation in the light of Chad Kellogg's eyewitness account (link below).
[QUOTE from Chad's report:]
The men promised that if Simone came out on his knees and begged for forgiveness he would not be hurt. Simone tried to get out of the tent on his knees when he was beaten and forced back inside. A while later Melissa asked Simone to get back on his knees outside the tent and ask for forgiveness again. She had been assured by the instigators that he would not be hurt. So Simone got on his knees to ask for forgiveness and was kicked under the chin, someone tried to stab him with a pen knife, but fortunately the knife hit him in the padded belt of his backpack.
Simone retreated inside the tent again. Marty Schmidt recalled when I talked with him at Camp 2 that he saw a man getting ready to bring a large rock down on Simone’s head to kill him. Marty grabbed the rock and the man’s arm and shouted “no, no violence.” For his intervention he received a rock to the head himself. Marty was still wearing the bandage on his head when I spoke with him.
Two groups of people had a scuffle and egos on both sides got bruised, Someone blogged about it. Millions across the world read about it.Thousands, without any real facts,speculated about what happened.
Hopefully those involved on both sides are embarrassed at the spiraling media attention that theyve brought on themselves for an incident like this that that happens in most high streets at weekends.
Obviously you haven't read Chad's eyewitness account. Or you just don't give a 'flying Fcuk' about Everest/mountaineering/...
> the info to the media - the front cover of the Sun featured a portrait
> which I was assume was supplied with the press release.
As it said in the second UKC news article on this topic (the thread about which seems to have gone strangely quiet) it's Jon's Facebook profile photo: https://www.facebook.com/jon.griffith.188 (also note the correct spelling of his surname - at least the Sun got that right).
Given the gutter press' propensity for copying & pasting content off the Internet I reckon there's a strong chance Jon didn't give them the photo, although he might have given them permission to use it. Although you'd think that if he was really trying to raise his profile/make cash out of the incident then surely he would have pushed them in the direction of the Alpine Experience web site, wouldn't you?
Like satire, cynicism can sometimes tip over into simple nastiness, particularly when it's being used as a tool to support a point of view.
You seem to be extremely trusting of one account, Care to tell more ? maybe put up a profile ?
Actually dont bother as youre right, I dont care about your opinions
I may have sounded cynical - put where in what I wrote did I make an implicit criticism?
Early in the thread I comment on the the group of three putting a press
Release out and and in brackets say that it is a perfectly understandable thing
to. I would have done the same.
"All publicity is good publicity "
Would there have been as much coverage if there had been a New route
- not in the mainstream media. In the longterm will those involved's profiles
Be damaged? Probably not - will it be raised - probably.
I cann't help wonder if this had happened to three unknowns would
There be the same support on here - or would there have been more slagging off
Good luck to 'em.
> The Individuals involved are all getting a huge amount of media coverage
> - which will no doubt be reflected in the traffic to their websites. Something
> Not lost on the media savvy professional. Curiously the least known of
> the three - Jon Griffiths seems to be the most pro active in pushing out
> the info to the media - the front cover of the Sun featured a portrait
> which I was assume was supplied with the press release. And then an interview
> on national radio. From a profile raising point of view things couldn't have
> gone better - better in fact than a new route.
> So although everyone has kissed, made up, and signed this peace document
> There is still some PR and marketing mileage to be had it seems.
> Commercialism indeed.
Don't be silly...
Jon doesn't need this kind of publicity. He's a successful photographer well connected within the climbing industry in which this clusterf*k wouldn't exactly help business. He was in fact in Everest working as photographer/cameraman for Ueli and Simone.
I assume he wrote the press release because he's the team member whose first language is English, and is thus the better prepared to write an eloquent and accurate statement.
The front page photo in The Sun is his Facebook profile photo which was nicked form there, hence the poor quality. Any interviews are not sought, but it is usually a response to one of the hundreds of journalist requests they must be having right now. Logically, in the UK media they concentrate in Jon, the same way that Moro featured more in the Italian one, and i assume Ueli in the Swiss.
You know, for a moment there it seems that you are suggesting they intentionally got beaten up and nearly lynched by an 100 strong mob in an attempt to be in the tabloids, thus forfeiting a project they have been planning and training for for months...
Being featured in The Sun might be your life's goal, but i can assure you he would rather be climbing.
Melissa Arnot , wants to move forward (: http://www.melissaarnot.com/going-forward/ )
But confirms the facts : http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=19074928&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.ie%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dmelissa%...
There's the report of the russians too, but you only seem to be interested in making sure that 'in the blame game the score ends up as a draw'
I wish you good luck. With the eyewitness accounts, the truth will come out, despite what the commercial pressure to cover things up.
Reading it from all sides it looks like a group of people who should all have known better.
They let themselves down, they let their friends down and they let their countries down - they should all sit on the naughty serak and think about what they did.
At last, an utterly convincing eyewitness account.
If I'm ever in a tent surrounded by a baying mob I'll be sure to climb out wearing my stab-proof rucsac.
Do you see a marketing opportunity here? The "Moro Pack"?
Just out of interest, what was the "project" that Steck, Moro and Griffith were attempting? It seems to me that such accomplished alpinists could have directed their efforts at much less crowded terrain, a la Steve House. But maybe they need the status of Everest as much as the Sherpas do?
At no point do I suggest this whole affair was planned as a stunt - that is ridiculous
Obviously they would rather have limbed a new route
Those involved now have a higher profile - mainly in the non climbing world - an undeniable fact and unfortunate by product of this affair which no one would have wanted to happen.
If that raised profile helps them in the future then fine.
When you put out a press release to however any media outlets then you by it's nature
Taking 'ownership' of the facts as you see them. Unfortunately a genie is then out of the bottle and all media can twist it how they want - hence the ridiculous headline in the Sun - which paints Sherpas in a bad light. I'm sure Jon is mortified by it and rather embarrassed by it in many ways
I think that they were being a bit cagey about the exact goal. I read that Griffith had a permit for the normal route, and Steck and Moro had a permit for the West ridge and Lhotse! Read into that what you will....
> Just out of interest, what was the "project" that Steck, Moro and Griffith were attempting? It seems to me that such accomplished alpinists could have directed their efforts at much less crowded terrain, a la Steve House. But maybe they need the status of Everest as much as the Sherpas do?
Maybe they want to climb a new route on Everest at least partly because it is the world's highest mountain (ie the same reason as all the joke punters whose circus, it seems, unfortunately makes this rather problematic.) The difference is that they don't want to cheat by getting Sherpas to climb the mountain for them first.
> I think that they were being a bit cagey about the exact goal. I read that Griffith had a permit for the normal route, and Steck and Moro had a permit for the West ridge and Lhotse! Read into that what you will....
Well, if they were planning a traverse of Everest (via the west ridge) and Lhotse, it sounds like a potentially ground breaking and historic bit of mountaineering more than worthy with their talents. All the more shame if it has been ruined as a result of the pointless Everest circus.
ie you wouldn't do anythging special; you would cheat and then kid yourself you had done something special.
Lets face it, who of us only hangs with uber alpinists? Or who of us work and hang out with normal people who have normal lives. I suspect my mum would think it was pretty special if I <was carried> climbed Everest. And I like impressing my mum ;-)
So yes it would be special to 99% of the population if VwJap told them he had summited Everest.
It depends what you mean by 'special' I suppose. Pretty much anyone I know would consider summitting Everest as something 'special'
Yes, climbing Everest by cheating will impress the 99% of the population who don't know any better. VwJap could kid himself, his friends or both depending on his motivation!
The Lhotse permit was to allow them to acclimatize on the normal route up to the South Col. AFAIK, they were not planning to climb the mountain.
Of course Everest is a real mountain. But climbing up a fixed rope and paying others to shlep your gear up and down the mountain and look after you is not real climbing.
If people want to kid themselves and fool the general public then fine. But their tactics seem to make it very difficult for anyone else to climb in a differing and arguable much better and accepted style.
Eh? So why cheat to kid yourself you have done something which is actually outside your abilities.
I'm anything but - I'd struggle to make it much above base camp on Everest.
It really is boring when people wheel out the "dirty" E word as if it wins the argument just by using it.
> At last, an utterly convincing eyewitness account.
> If I'm ever in a tent surrounded by a baying mob I'll be sure to climb out wearing my stab-proof rucsac.
No,no, whatever you do don't emerge from the safety of your tent. Those things will keep angry Sherpa mobs at bay for hours. Rock and knife proof they are.
> Eh? So why cheat to kid yourself you have done something which is actually outside your abilities.
Oh and I'm betting all these proper climbers out there at the mo have used ropes or ladders that have been laid by the Sherpas! So everybody who goes to Everest is a cheat then? Even these 3 climbers must have gone thru the icefall! So technically they cheated too. Did Malory and Irvine also cheat because they used Sherpas? What about Hillary and tengsing? Just a thought
> I'm anything but - I'd struggle to make it much above base camp on Everest.
> It really is boring when people wheel out the "dirty" E word as if it wins the argument just by using it.
Would "arse" be better?
> Oh and I'm betting all these proper climbers out there at the mo have used ropes or ladders that have been laid by the Sherpas! So everybody who goes to Everest is a cheat then? Even these 3 climbers must have gone thru the icefall! So technically they cheated too. Did Malory and Irvine also cheat because they used Sherpas? What about Hillary and tengsing? Just a thought
If you don't recognise the difference between what Mallory and Irving did, and what Hillary and Tensing did, compared with what hundreds of paying clients do every April and May on Everest, you don't really have a very clear understanding of mountaineering.
> Oh and I'm betting all these proper climbers out there at the mo have used ropes or ladders that have been laid by the Sherpas! So everybody who goes to Everest is a cheat then?
Actually, I've no problem with you or others cheating as such - that's your problem and it's yourself you're kidding The problem, and the one highly relevant to the current events on Everest, is that it screws things up for people who want to do the the thing properly. If oxygen, like the diamox I cheat with, came in pill form rather than with an army of sherpas, I wouldn't have much of an issue with it.
Whichever you prefer. I can take it.
> [> Would "arse" be better?.]
> Whichever you prefer. I can take it.
I had to laugh at that bit, sorry, I'm childish, and read that as you could take it up the arse, again sorry, but I did spit my drink all over the keyboard
I personally don't like to belittle any ones achievements, no matter how they accomplish them
> I personally don't like to belittle any ones achievements, no matter how they accomplish them
Lance Armstrong ?
I hope your keyboard is ok.
I'm not belittling it. Just seeing it for what it is - maybe in mountaineering terms an achievement somewhere between The Gouter route on Mont Blanc and the West Buttress on Denali. I don't really mind people bringing stuff down to their own level/cheating as long as it does not deny others the opportunity to do it properly (as appears to happen on Everest). I feel the same about top-ropers hogging routes at Stanage or people who would bolt up perfectly good trad crags.
To be fair I'm not sure about what he was up to and when, as I haven't really read anything about it, so I really wouldn't want to judge the man on speculation alone
Read my last post. I have nothing against personal achievement. What I object to is when people who want to climb in a better style are prevented from doing so by people who reduce the challenge to their own level. Without an underlying ethos of elitism (no, it is not a dirty word) in climbing it would be a greatly diminished thing.
The people climbing fixed ropes on Everest could get as great a personal achievement from climbing Mont Blanc or Denali (or whatever) in better style, but they don't because they want to pay for the bragging rights associated with Everest which have little to do with personal achievement and much to do with other people's ignorance.
You could equally say that the elite sponsored 'athletes' and Everest. For sponsored climbers bragging rights is a very big deal.
Listen to Milesy, he knows his stuff
What I don't understand, is this unwritten "rule" that the sherpas are given space to carry out the rope fixing.
I watched with my own eyes (on the TV at least), Russell Brice allowed one of this paying clients to summit at the same time as the rope fixing sherpas, the first summit of the season. I also watched the client and his sherpa get tangled up with the rope fixers (which got quite heated) in the dead zone.
Seems it's one rule for the commercial entities and another for independent climbers.
> You could equally say that the elite sponsored 'athletes' and Everest. For sponsored climbers bragging rights is a very big deal.
Of course there is some truth in this!
However, a proper alpine style ascent of Everest witout oxygen is probably worthy of bragging rights (unlike an ascent with sherpas and fixed ropes).
Of course, Everest offers a truly unique high altitude challenge to mountaineers (stating the obvious....) and this challenge is blatantly ducked by the use of oxygen. Perhaps (and excuse me for suspending cynicism) the likes of Steck and Moro are primarily motivated by this challenge. It is a shame that the opportunity for taking up this challenge is compromised (and destroyed on the "tourist" route) by the presence of the commercial circus.
Incidentally (and please again excuse my lack of cynicism), I very much doubt the likes of Steck and Moro are motivated much by money; they are real mountaineers motivated by mountaineering challenges. Yes, meeting these challenges costs money and this might have steered them towards Everest in order to attract sponsorship. I expect they are now regretting it though!
Clearly the style of ascent expected by an elite climber is way superior to that aspired to by paying punters. I don't think it detracts from the achievement of those punters who chose their own challenge within their own set of parameters, however. If their challenge is just to get to the top of Everest I can understand that.
Out of curiosity who made the first ascent if Everest in Alpine style without supplementary oxygen and without any support what so ever? By no support I mean without using any prior fixed rope, fixed ladders etc in the icefall , load carrying support and so on.
As I understand it Messner and Habler had Sherpas when they did the 1st ascent without supplementary oxygen.
Also are even minimalist alpine style trips obliged to have a liaison officer and cook? Or is it possible to attempt Everest in a small team without any support what so ever?
Are you talking about portering or high altitude guiding? Most of the early attempts were made from the North Col which doesnt go through the icefall. These used porters but the early climbers were the ones who were doing all the climbing and many got pretty close to the summit before Hillary, and without oxygen.
By the time they reached the second step, they can had managed to convince only 2 of their porters to continue to climb with them but it was certainly an almost equal relationship in the high camps. They were not being ferried up fixed ropes by them.
> Out of curiosity who made the first ascent if Everest in Alpine style without supplementary oxygen and without any support what so ever? By no support I mean without using any prior fixed rope, fixed ladders etc in the icefall , load carrying support and so on.
> As I understand it Messner and Habler had Sherpas when they did the 1st ascent without supplementary oxygen.
> Also are even minimalist alpine style trips obliged to have a liaison officer and cook? Or is it possible to attempt Everest in a small team without any support what so ever?
Probably Messner in his 1980 solo ascent.
Read the "Crystal Horizon" by Messner's solo ascent.
> Probably Messner in his 1980 solo ascent.
And even then he had to do it out of season to avoid the compromising effect of other siege style expeditions on the mountain. I doubt it has had many such uncompromised ascents since. Troillet/Loretan (I think) springs to mind. Venables' was pretty good style (impressed Messner anyway!).
I'm aware of the history Milesy - in fact just last week I finished Wade Davies's excellent book about the 21, 22 and 24 expeditions.
With all the talk on here about 'elitism' and climbing Everest in the 'best style' - without help etc - I was curious as to what people consider the 'purest' ascent. Stephen Venables springs to mind - but although I've read his book I cann't remember how much if any sherpa support was involved. A new route without supplimentary oxygen is good going.
The ascent with Habeler perhaps (though I think they were just trying to prove it could be climbed at all without oxygen), but not the 1980 solo.
No support, but they did fix some of the technical bits low down.
Are we letting Stephen off that ;)
> Are we letting Stephen off that ;)
Yes. He's a jolly good chap. The right sort, you know.
> Well, if they were planning a traverse of Everest (via the west ridge) and Lhotse, it sounds like a potentially ground breaking and historic bit of mountaineering more than worthy with their talents. All the more shame if it has been ruined as a result of the pointless Everest circus.
Yes, a great shame. Whatever their objective was, it could well have been groundbreaking.
When discussing 'best style' Göran Kropp comes to mind.
For his famous 1996 ascent, Kropp left Stockholm on October 16, 1995, on a specially-designed bicycle with 108 kg (240 lb) of gear and food. He traveled 8,000 miles on the bicycle and arrived at Everest Base Camp in April 1996. Following a meeting of all of the Everest expeditions currently on the mountain, it was agreed that Kropp would attempt to summit first. On May 3, Kropp blazed a trail through thigh-deep snow and reached a point 300 feet from the summit. However, Kropp decided to turn around because it was too late in the day and if he continued, he would be descending at dark. While Kropp recovered from the ordeal at base camp, the 1996 Everest Disaster unfolded. Kropp helped bring medicine up the mountain. Three weeks later, on May 23, Kropp again tackled the mountain, this time successfully summitting (without extra oxygen support). He then cycled part of the way back home. He returned to Everest in 1999 with girlfriend Renata Chlumska to undertake a cleanup, during which they removed 25 discarded canisters from the mountain. They also made a successful summit attempt together.
So he blew it by only cycling part way back home. Poor effort.
I believe they failed to get visas for Iran so ended up taking the train through Russia (or something similar, it was ten years since I read his book)
> I believe they failed to get visas for Iran so ended up taking the train through Russia (or something similar, it was ten years since I read his book)
Didn't he get attacked or beaten up en route somewhere?
> Didn't he get attacked or beaten up en route somewhere?
Sherpas around every corner...
....and then got killed climbing some perfectly protected roadside E1. Sometimes the cosmos has a strange sense of humour.
> Sherpas around every corner...
Not on the mountain *rolls eyes*
> Bong smoking backpackers do more damage to nepalese culture than climbers.
oh really? care to explain your logic?
Ah yes I - knew he cycled there but wasn't sure of how he went about his ascent. His lecture at Kendal was brilliant - a very funny man. Sadly missed.
As a friend often used to joke to me after witnessing a bizarre choking incident in the States; "A man could die just eating a loaf of bread".
or as yvon chouinard said 'more people die from eating bad mayonaise'.
but then theres hunter s thompson sayin 'the problem today is most people live out their lives never finding out if they are a coward or not.'
> oh really? care to explain your logic?
id gamble there are more nepalese who have given up their traditional values by selling dope and tourist crap to miserly backpackers than sherpas who work in the mountains.
ive yet to see a sherpa pan handle for change, yet places like thamel are brimming with glue smashed beggars harassing tourists.
> id gamble there are more nepalese who have given up their traditional values by selling dope and tourist crap to miserly backpackers than sherpas who work in the mountains.
> ive yet to see a sherpa pan handle for change, yet places like thamel are brimming with glue smashed beggars harassing tourists.
Hmm. While I agree with your basic premise, Ed, that Everest/mountaineering is small beans in the harm stakes, even compared to trekking/tourism:
- there have been more than a few climbing Sherpas succumb to alcoholism that was reportedly related to their place in the big circus (Sungdare being one of the best known, the first to 5x summits and drowned in a river while drunk)
- destitute locals in KTM is a bit of an apples v. oranges debate here. KTM has a real problem with unemployment as no one wants to be a farmer any more so they all move to the city, where there aren't enough jobs, and get exploited in various ways. The tourist drug scene is just one of those. And you're talking about various ethnic groups in Nepal with different backgrounds to the Sherpa.
A fairly chilling read.. certainly makes you think about who you would take with you to the remotest places on Earth.
Some thoughts -
- The notion that sherpas are somehow a wonderfully pacifist people is a western myth (in our nonsense tradition of new age veneration for anything Tibetan-bhotia). it's a cultural misconception, spun by tourists, sherpas and commercial interests alike. I've annnoyed sherpas (as in sherpa people, not trekking/climbing operatives) myself, and was quite rightly (i was drunk and out of order), threatened with a good kicking/killing, same as i'd expect in a similar situation anywhere else. Our 'amateur' sherpa porter rescued me.
- there is a huge income and power disparity between most Nepalese and tourists. This is accentuated in the Everest region which sees many very rich, arrogant and ignorant visitors (and all tourists can be that way at times).
- tourists being 'respectful' in a situation where they have an almost colonial power in someone elses country is often close to 'patronising'
- right across Nepal there is a (justified in my view) resentment of Western power and money, reflected in support for marxist politics.
- if the tools at your disposal for addressing grievances are rocks and mob intimidation (as discussed these are common ways for dealing with issues in Nepal) then that's what will be used, these 'oh what a terrible way to behave' western more-civilised-than-thou comments have little appreciation of the political/cultural reality.
Something from IMG now
~Simone Moro and Ueli Steck
Since Hammill wasn't present, I don't think he should be presenting comments that he can only have received from a biased source(the Sherpas) as direct factual quotes. It is possible that such comments were made but the quotation should not be used when they are actually only alleged to have been made.
I think its pretty much the same story as all the others.
But this time with Moro as the one who started it all, instead of the Sherpas going nuts without reason.
Any reports from IMG, Himex, etc. are basically going to be public relations press releases with the objective of protecting their business interests.
In contrast, Denis Urubko's report above to ExWeb is luringly detailed and pulls absolutely no punches.
> Any reports from IMG, Himex, Moro, Sleck etc.
Fixed it for you :0)
> Fixed it for you :0)
Not really, because those guys were actually there. These "reports" are being written by the non-climber bosses of commercial teams, cobbled together from 2nd and 3rd hand information. These types also have a pour track record when it comes to allowing the truth about controversial events getting out. When the Chinese gunned down the Tibetan refugees near Cho-Oyo, Russell Brice and others were furious when some western climbers contacted ExWeb and other media sites with the truth. They were, of course, worried that the Chinese might get angry and this would endanger their commercial interests.
and you think Moro is telling the truth?
Their climb is as commercial as anything else there with their sponsors etc
isn't Moro sponsored by TNF which is one of the big evils on here? ;0)
So by the widely different account, it's all a big misunderstanding and there has been 2 separate incidents! Either Sherpas were arrogant monsters after money (that sounds like trolls from JRR Tolkiens) or the elite Western climbers were reckless selfish individuals quite happy to kill a few Nepalis to get their route.
Could there be a third reality where noone is black or white and a fair bit of arrogance and self-importance was displayed?
We will never know, will we? It just adds to the Everest circus. I never had an interest in it... but that makes sure my pennies will not fuel this weird situation.
The shame in this is that everyone's reputation has been tarnished.
> These "reports" are being written by the non-climber bosses of commercial teams,
So the other ' three climbers' werent there for commercial reasons?
Aye good post. Sounds to me like both sides were playing get off my mountain.
> Aye good post. Sounds to me like both sides were playing get off my mountain.
Isn't it technically true that for one side of the dispute it really is their mountain? Just a thought.
Didnt really seem like Griffith and Co were telling anyone to get off the mountain eh.
Whatever view one takes of the fixed rope incident, there is only one 'party' to blame for what happened at Camp 2 and that is the Sherpas! Anyone who suggests otherwise is deluding themselves.
> So the other ' three climbers' werent there for commercial reasons?
If you can't see the difference between genuine mountaineers going mountaineering and, because it is expensive, funding it through sponsorship, and an expedition where companies and guides make a profit or living by charging punters to be taken up a mountain, then where do we start? Perhaps by pointing out that the genuine mountaineers are no different to me and you except they happen to be good/committed enough to attract sponsorship whereas tyhe guided expeditions bear no relation to what people like me and you do.
And even if he did say this, so what? If, say, a Chamonix guide asked me to stay off a route for the day so that he could have it to himself for comercial reasons, I would quite rightly be outraged and tell him where to go. I don't see why this is any different.
Denis Urubko had some interesting thoughts...
Just realised that? It's been going on for a long time, it started with trekking I think, back in the sixties or before and now it's got to "rentaexpedition" level... You (not you personally!) pay the bill and you even have your gear carried on the approach and the tent is up at each camp with your bed made and tea ready :-)
I agree, it's nout to do with climbing as I see it.
> And even if he did say this, so what? If, say, a Chamonix guide asked me to stay off a route for the day so that he could have it to himself for comercial reasons, I would quite rightly be outraged and tell him where to go. I don't see why this is any different.
What about if they were replacing cabled and steps on the path to a refuge and didn't want you to be hurt by rock fall? Would you just hoist the Union Jack and barge past?
> Denis Urubko had some interesting thoughts...
It was already posted higher up the thread - but what can you expect from something called "explorersweb.com"? There aren't many explorers up there nowadays just guides and rich punters with a few exceptions possibly. His articles makes the Daily Mail look like a tribune for multi-cultural expression!
> What about if they were replacing cabled and steps on the path to a refuge and didn't want you to be hurt by rock fall?
The analogy is silly; the Lhotse Face is part of the climb, not the path to Lobuche. And I don't think anyone has suggested the Sherpas'concern was that the climbers might get hurt.
Your suggestion of nationalism is misplaced if not a touch offensive; I would feel the same about a guide on Ben Nevis. It is a sad day whenever commercial interests trump genuine mountaineering.
That account strikes me as bull. This is the first time anyone has suggested Ueli abbed down and grabbed a Sherpa (and there have been other accounts from the Sherpas that were there). Likewise, considering how many witnesses there seem to have been no one seems to have identified the mystery westerner who started the fight at camp 2. Similarly, the injured Sherpa seems very shy (the article disingenuously tries to imply several injured Sherpas).
However, the clincher for me was the way that the author acknowledges that the Sherpas might resent the ostentatious Westerners but lays the blame for this at Moro's door whilst absolving clients of commercial expeditions who, let's face it, haven't exactly proven themselves to be the most compassionate bunch.
I've been following this thread for days and, until this evening, have declined to get involved on the basis that I wanted to weigh all the pros and cons.
My mind is now made up. I let the tyres down on a Sherpa van, tonight, by way of protest.
... There's more where that came from, too.
This is exactly what they said, and it was confirmed by an article linked above, amongst others.
Fair enough, I may have got this wrong. I thought the upper Sherpas were concerned about the climbers knocking stuff down on the lower Sherpas. I havn't read all the accounts and they all seem to contradict each other anyway.
My understanding was more that one of the Sherpas' concerns was that they might get hurt by the climbers touching their ropes or knocking ice down.
I don't think they had any concerns for the climbers' safety. Or if they did they quickly changed their minds!
That was said too... all in all it's difficult to see through the various reports. It looks like they'll have to install traffic lights soon.
Determining trustworthiness of complete strangers is always tricky. Trickier still as nobody involved is a free man, all have commercial interests to protect. This does not automatically imply that somebody is a liar. It simply introduces another dimension to consider.
Of course trying to kill somebody (or even making such threats) is unacceptable, period. Not much to add here.
> Could there be a third reality where noone is black or white and a fair bit of arrogance and self-importance was displayed?
> We will never know, will we? It just adds to the Everest circus.
> The shame in this is that everyone's reputation has been tarnished.
I think your attempt at levity just went 'swoosh' (over heads).
Nice diversion mind and keep up the good work!
In some ways the details don't matter and nor does it matter who to believe; the whole sorry state of affairs would never have happened without the sad commercialistion of the Everest guiding circus.
see i dont know.
i think its a result of the compression of people in busy areas with a bit of attention. same thing happens in train stations and traffic jams all the time - just this time on the slopes of everest. there may be a degree of romanticizing sherpas involved - but top climbers are romanticized too. maybe more - we may be able to cope with exotic sherpas blowing a fuse, but dear ueli steck? isnt he next to gandhi?
basecamps are hotspots for egos, tantrums, rumours and bitchiness. interpersonal scuffles evolve season to season, between nepal, pakistan and the andes. face-offs happen all the time, just this time with famous climbers in a location weve all heard of.
show downs occur in any climbing area, some like chamonix even more commercial than everest, others more remote like K2 and the pamir.
its just people.
I'd like to think folk almost being stoned to death doesn't happen very often, at least within the context of mountaineering!
> Isn't it technically true that for one side of the dispute it really is their mountain? Just a thought.
Why not, they are Tibetans, "we" are visitors, guests should at least be polite - the days of the Raj and "coolies" are over, or at least they should be.
> Why not, they are Tibetans, "we" are visitors, guests should at least be polite.
It's a tricky one, but the trouble is that by a similar argument we would happily sit back and not moan when the Swiss bolt up routes done 150 years ago on "their" mountains for (arguably) commercial reasons. I'm not sure we should; I'm not happy with this idea of ownership.
Not quite the same though, is it? From what we can gather the argument started when three foreign climbers refused to respect the requests of some Sherpas who were fixing ropes for general use. Fixed ropes are standard on this sort of place but that's not the real issue, it is one of respect for people working, just doing their job for the benefit of all.
At least that's what it appears to be, there are different versions but some of those in English linked on ukc show a somewhat unpleasant attitude with regard to locals on the personal level... but this criticism concerns those who wrote the articles, not directly the protagonists themselves.
Doesn't that make them Chinese in your book ? they certainly aren't Nepalese though.
to respect the requests of some private companies who wanted the route fixed to enable them to take their fee paying clients up the mountain and make a profit.
for the beneift of some private companies to enable them to take their fee paying clients up the mountain and make a profit.
According to Denis Urubko (who was apparently up on the face, at his own camp) on ExWeb, at the time of the rope-crossing, the sherpas were ascending a rope that he and Sergei Bolotov had previously fixed, not fixing one themselves. Of course he could be mistaken, but that seems like a remarkably specific detail that one would only include if fairly certain about it.
Tibet is part of China at present but the people who live there are mostly Tibetans, but I meant to type Nepalese, it was a mistake. So why aren't they Nepalese?
What I should have said was they're locals... as a tourist you should try to respect the locals, if you don't you're heading for trouble. I've been twice in the mountains of the Himalayan chain, in the Hindu Kush and the Hindu Raj and although we were young , early 20s and they took us for being much younger, and we had no weapons we never had the slightest trouble, not even theft, and this despite haggling hard on the cost of donkeys and porters for the walk in. Same thing Bolivia, the local Aymaras carried all our hundreds of tins of food as such like from the road head on llamas then, as it hadn't been packed in the right loads so was repacked in small sacks and then just tipped out at the base camp site in a huge heap without any of us present - we were still puffing along behind - there wasn't a single tin missing, and these are people so poor they only eat potatoes and a tin of fish from time to time.
To come to the point, sorry for the length of the "explanation", there had been a German expedition in the same area the year before who had been bossy with the locals (or so we were told) and when they were away from camp, up climbing, their gear was pillaged and valuables stolen. Same place, same comparatively wealthy foreigners, two quite different results.
I don't know exactly the whys and the wherefores of this incident but clearly there is something behind it, and this something needs to be addressed. These three climbers may have paid for the acts of others but for those who appear to suggest that this is due to a totally Sherpa problem I'd beg to differ.
> I don't know exactly the whys and the wherefores of this incident but clearly there is something behind it, and this something needs to be addressed. These three climbers may have paid for the acts of others but for those who appear to suggest that this is due to a totally Sherpa problem I'd beg to differ.
While this is true it seems to me that the sherpas went beyond this when they gathered a mob and tried to kill the offending party.
Mutual understanding is something that needs to be worked on by everyone. Mob justice is, as far as i can tell, purely a sherpa problem here.
In that case the answer is simple - don't go there anymore... You don't like the people, go somewhere else. Problem solved.
Who do you think does tell foreign tourists what to do in delicate climbing areas, like in US National Parks or around Mont Blanc? Haven't you noticed recent threads about access to the Gouter route on Mont Blanc, or camping on the Col du Midi? Compare comparable things.
> In that case the answer is simple - don't go there anymore... You don't like the people, go somewhere else. Problem solved.
No,that does not solve the problem. Pretty obviously I would have thought. If the highest mountain in the world became a no-go area for proper climbers it would be a massive shame. I expect plenty of climbers already avoid, not because it is not a fantastic mountaineering challenge but because of the "guiding" circus.
Likewise... Once you start issuing expensive permits, the concept of host and guest (and local rights) becomes a lot less relevant. If you had paid several thousand euros for a permit to climb the Gouter route, and some local guides tried to tell you that you weren't allowed on (or near) the route at the same time as them then I doubt you would be happy about it, unless this was mentioned before you paid for the permit.
There is absolutely no reasonable justification for not allowing a strong team to carefully cross your line. This would be like the fort William guides telling people that they weren't allowed on no3 gully buttress if they were guiding Thompson's! Absolutely absurd.
So now the Everest "circus" is blamed on the Sherpas?
The Fort William guides?
Paying money doesn't buy you the right to treat people whose guest you are badly. The white man's privilege is past it's sell by date.
> So now the Everest "circus" is blamed on the Sherpas?
No, but they are part of it.
No, but it does give you a right to be on the route!
> No, but it does give you a right to be on the route!
Not without taking into consideration the other parties who have also paid their "dues". The more I read about the situation the less I understand why any climber would want to go near the place... It seems totally screwed to me.
Indeed. Such as climbing on a separate line and only crossing when necessary. Consideration works both ways.
Indeed. But is it a lost cause? Sadly, I suspect so; it's hard to see the commercial/bragging rights for sale nonsense coming to an end any time soon.
For the sake of balance re this article I would like to post this response from Russell Brice.
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