/ Is this the future of mountaineering.........
I'm not in any way trying to diminish Leanna's achievement, she is a lot more hardcore than I am, but I cant help but notice one particular section and feel a little sickened that this is what modern mountaineering has come to:
"there were quite a few bodies attached to the fixed lines and we had to walk round them...there were a couple who were still alive".
This is just like with David Sharp's death in 2006 on everest, where loads of people walked straight past him, and only a couple of people (Russell Brice and a couple of sherpas) attempted to help.
I have never been to high altitude and I will accept that at that height, rescue is very difficult. But the fact that Everest has now become so bastardised and those that pay to climb it are so disgustingly obsessed is weird!
I always thought mountaineering is done out of enjoyment of the mountains, but from this behaviour it does seem that the parties are too gung-ho and selfish. Is a summit picture to brag about when they get back to their office job SO important that they forget about their fellow human beings?! I'm not even sure what a client could do to help.....but maybe that is the problem? Should the leaders help?
If any of us were leading a group up the Clogwyn y Person arete, and we came across someone needing help, would we just climb past because the group had paid to get to the summit? No! I'm sure some smart arse will comment saying that the situations are not the same, but I think that the principle is the same.
In an article for the New Zealand Herald Sir Edmund Hillary described this attitude of leaving people dying on Everest as “horrifying”, in the same article Graham Dingle is says “...the tradition of always helping a fellow mountaineer in trouble is being overtaken by ambition and the large sums of money tied up in any climb of the mountain. People who should not be on the mountain were now climbing it…”
What do other people think?
Hear hear! Completely agree!
A human life is worth so much more than the picture and let's face it, who can have a sense of satisfaction when they know they did it by potentially leavin someone to die.
Agree with you completely.
"not in any way trying to diminish Leanna's achievement"
How can it not?
Totally agree. I normally just ignore all the Everest stuff but this sounds terrible. In the UK, if you left a scene of an accident without doing anything to help, isn't it actually a crime?
I don't want to say this is an exact parallel, but going round dying people to go climbing for the day - how do you end up in that mindset?
Totally DOES diminish her achievement IMO, it's disgusting behaviour and she should be ashamed and given suitable short shrift from all climbers and mountaineers, as should those that guided her.
> In France yes, but AFAIK the UK doesn't have such a law (though there was talk of introducing it).
and speekingleesh - i dont think there is a law which specifically states that, but i belive if you are found to have left the scene of an accident, in a position that you could have helped/stopped it, then you become assistant to the accident and therefore if the accident is a crime, you have assisted in the crime, and if the person involve died, then you become an assistant to whatever caused the death. Im not sure weather it would apply though to an accident that had no criminal nature, and you just happened to pass a bloke dying on the other side of the road. I would assume though that you have a duty to do something to prevent the persons 'right to life' being breached, and therefore would have commited an offence yourself by not doing anything.
I won't say much about the quote until I see it in its full context and in full but I at a glance I think think that is disgusting.
You might want to research a little deeper into the David Sharp incident. Brice's team which included the New Zealand amputee guy who lost his legs on Mount Cook actually acknowledged David Sharp and his condition on the way *UP*, decided that they couldn't do anything for him and then continuing ascending. The discovery channel program was edited to make it look like they only found him on the way down which was untrue.
Be quiet though - you are not allowed to have an opinion on the Everest Circus here unless you have done it yourself or as someone might know someone who's dog was walked by someone who knows someone who is going for the summit and they are brave, ambitious and doing it for a good cause.
I'm not in any way trying to diminish Leanna's achievement
I am, it's absolutely disgusting and offensive, every time i hear one of these Everest stories it makes me sick. Sorry but even just spending time with that person so they don't die alone would be enough to cancel my summit attempt, not that i would want to climb Everest anyways with the circus show that's going on. If you have summited Everest and walked past bodies that are still alive without helping you are scum in my book and i hope the same fait awaits you.
Ban oxygen apart from for emergencies and simple only real mounatineers will attempt the summit of Everest!!!!!
yeah pitch in and the person can walk.
> yeah pitch in and the person can walk.
I assume you are being sarcastic there. The excuse that they can't walk so nothing can be done is not exactly hard science. The people summitting are not medically qualified to determine that someone can not walk or that they will be unable to move down. Lincoln Hall was deemed unable to walk but walk he did and made a full recovery.
I suspect that Doug Scott, Dougal Haston, Chris Bonnington, Edmund Hilary will be dissapointed that they no longer qualify as mountaineers.
So the guide did make an effort. The clients they are taking up are little more than baggage, not much use in a rescue
Just come back from Nepal after a trip with Mera Peak and up to Gorek Shep - not quite Everest but a great view point. I saw a film in Namche Bazaar of the 2008 Everest season about the sherpas but also showed the number of folk, crowds and queues on Everest - there were I believe a 1000 people at Everest Base Camp - and it looked more like the path up Snowdon or Ben Nevis on the route up the Lhotse Face with the queues.
The sherpas basically rigged the mountain - climbers ready in base camp - and when conditions allowed they are off (not sure if some blows a whistle or fires a gun).
They have paid their $60000 or what ever and the summit is in folks' vision. It seems to be someone else's job to look after the dying.
The filmed showed that without the sherpas most ascents would not happen - they are great guys - we had a great team with our group - however sadly they are also in the firing line as well - especially in the Khumbu icefall. We have sadly heard recently of the death of some of the climbers - however was there mention, in the media (I was out there), of four sherpas being killed in the icefall at about the beginning of May. The weather turned bad at that time and some of the expeditions gave up.
Would I climb Everest - it would eb great to follow in the footsteps of Tenzing, Hillary etc - but with all those people - no thank you.
I have not climbed Mt Blanc or the Matterhorn - perhaps for the same reason (though money and time is another aspect for Everest) - fancy skiing Mt Blanc sometime though.
Everest does make a lot of money for many - and especially the local sherpas. It attracts a mix of people and it is stuck with being the "biggest" and all that brings with it.
I for one am not getting on my high horse about this one. I've never been in remotely this situation to know for sure how I'd react.
All I would say is that experience has shown just how frighteningly thin the veneer of humanity is. I suspect that the majority of wartime attrocities are committed by otherwise ordinary people.
If Leanne summited on the 24th... how could the bodies have been 'from the day before' and how could two have been alive.
Has there been more deaths we are unaware of?
"I've never been in remotely this situation to know for sure how I'd react."
There is that. When you get in a genuinely scary situation often adrenaline takes over which often makes you look after yourself first. That said, the description given sounds pretty calm.
Many mountaineering books seem to refer to finding people who are alive but at such a high altitude are beyond help, though.
So I would agree with you that I have no idea how I would react. But what I read about Everest etc makes me want to stick to lower-level stuff.
agree with everyone elses comments, on face value.
However I note she is also claiming the 7 summits (according to her spokesperson and bbc), which isnt true as she hasnt climbed Carstenz pyramid, just Kozciusckzo. The latter option is entirely disengenuous in terms of the highest mountain on each continent.
Why pay 40 grand to go and climb Everest, when you can go climb something far harder, mor inspiring and completely untouched at Danby Crag? People need their heads looking at.
What a joke.
Bonatti said (translated version in mountains of my life)
"Our lives relfect our intolerance, our insensitivity, our egoism, our lack of integrity. We lament that things are going badly, but in the final analysis we ourselves are resposible, all of us: we are like so many drops of water making up an ocean....
What should we hope for in that "new world" to which we often refer in our well-meaning discussions? To my mind we should hope we have learned our lessons, and will dust off once more those values we have wrongly thought outmoded. We must become ever more human and more moral, if we wish to survive in the "new world" we alone have created, for ourselves....
We could learn much from Bonatti
> I suspect that Doug Scott, Dougal Haston, Chris Bonnington, Edmund Hilary will be dissapointed that they no longer qualify as mountaineers.
Do you just search this forum to insult anything i put on here? please change your profile picture so i can recognise you, cause if i ever meet you on the hill i will be having serious words and i will be leaving you in a worse state than a night on Everest will.
> Do you just search this forum to insult anything i put on here? please change your profile picture so i can recognise you, cause if i ever meet you on the hill i will be having serious words and i will be leaving you in a worse state than a night on Everest will.
Im not sure the post deserved that kind of response.
> Im not sure the post deserved that kind of response.
No maybe not but i don't think i have put a comment on here over the last few year's without this prat insulting something i have said and he is becoming extremely annoying.
Extreme altitude can do strange things to your mind. Of course we all happily sit here behind our keyboards safe in the knowledge that we'd stop to help carry the bodies down - and on Snowdon we all would. Is everyone certain that they'd do the same on Everest when suffering from altitude and oxygen starvation? I'd like to think I would, but it's quite possible I wouldn't (even ignoring the financial aspects).
Don't flatter yourself.
I have a dig at anyone who is spouting bollocks.
I used to be uptight, bad tempered, very irritable and stressed but after finding mountains all this has changed,I and am now very calm relaxed and fun to be around. If i ain't walking or climbing in them, i am looking out at them from my window.
Ring a bell? Ooh the irony!
High 5 for making me laugh :-)))
"My stock answer is to point out that I’m a climber and that Everest isn’t a climb, but a walk. This usually gets the person at the other end a bit confused and flustered as they check their notes. “Yes” I usually continue “If you have to step over a dead body half way up then it’s classed as walk. On real climbs the bodies fall to the bottom”.
Contrast and compare?
An Israeli mountaineer abandoned his climb to the summit of Mount Everest, 300 meters away from the peak, in order to help an injured Turkish climber.
Had he chosen to complete his ascent, 24-year-old Nadav Ben-Yahuda would have become the youngest Israeli to reach Everest’s summit, the Jerusalem Post reported on its website.
Ben-Yahuda said he and his Sherpa guide saw a friend he had made at the base camp, 46-year-old Turkish-New Yorker Aydin Irmak, lying unconcsious on an icy ridge during the climb. “When we saw my friend Aydin there was no question,” Ben-Yahuda said as reported by Sharon Udasin of Jerusalem Post.
Ben-Yahuda lifted Irmak over his shoulder and began an eight-hour descend to Camp IV, without gloves and an oxygen mask as his had broken earlier.
The minus 40 degree Celcius cold left severe burns on both men's faces and Ben-Yahuda's ungloved fingers suffered frostbite and may need to be amputated, he said. The men eventually reached Camp IV and were evacuated by a helicopter.
Although this report isn't clear, he sounds like he was ascending, without gloves (or he left the gloves behind) and oxygen, 300m from the summit then simply shouldered the guy and walked down. mmm...
It's made the news cos dem joos and dem turks hate each other.
That's a good bit of writing, but the funniest thing is that despite all the naughty words in Andy's article my work computer still let me view it, but when I tried clicking on the other blog (that lass who got to the top of Everest) my computer gave me the following message:
Access has been blocked because:
Tru-View has categorised this page as Offensive & Tasteless
> and speekingleesh - i dont think there is a law which specifically states that, but i belive if you are found to have left the scene of an accident, in a position that you could have helped/stopped it, then you become assistant to the accident and therefore i...
Again I'm pretty sure this isn't the case. You need to show that the bystander had a duty of care towards the injured party and, short of a few specific cases, there is no assumed duty of care between you and the man on the street.
I guess the main difference is that the Israeli stopped to help a friend, the dying people that Ms Shuttleworth passed by were strangers.
> So the guide did make an effort. The clients they are taking up are little more than baggage, not much use in a rescue
But they were still alive. It's pretty obvious what these people they decided was more important. And it's not human life.
When I erad The Villain years ago, the story that stuck most in my head was the one where he turned around about 200m from the summit of some Russian mountain because his partner was seriously flaking out from the altitude. He said he could have bagged the summit easily and been back within 30 minutes, but he didn't. So it's also pretty clear which he thought more important - and to me, Whillans got it right.
There's been a few threads about this and some calling for 'true' mountaineers to boycott this mountain. I reckon we should just change our perspectives and objectives of the sport. I propose a new sport called Rescueering. The object is to wait at the foot of any 8000m peak and wait specifically for when some dipshit gets themselves in trouble. Then you Rescueer to the top as quick as possible and perform the fastest rescue. The race will be on for the first solo summit rescue from Everest with no oxygen. Obviously every one in the Rescueering community will know that a solo summit rescue from K2 (without oxygen)is harder.
Let's face it, there are 14 year olds climbing Everest now and they're only going to get younger. There'll be pregnant women giving birth on the summit one day.(Oh dear have i just given someone an idea?)Now that would make Rescueering history?!
You heard it here first. Rescueering. Any body wish to join my new Rescueering Mountain Club?
Any body wish to join my new Rescueering Mountain Club?
Would you only rescue a live one, or would any body do?
Hahaha quality love it!!!!
she hasnt done all 7 summits. She hasnt done carstenz pyramid
That's one of the questions the RMC will ask in it's interview of prospective members. In the RMC a rescue is a rescue - live or dead.
...not if you're being guided (or as appears the case for many of these 'youngest to climb Everest' types, being for all intents and purposes winched up) and have everything paid for by daddy. Real mountaineering it ain't!
I find the attitudes on here a bit strange in that the survivors are portrayed as callous, egotistists with more money than sense whilst those that die are hapless victims, trampled underfoot by grasping capatalists when in fact they are all the same really. Fate doesn't filter out the good and the bad and those that die would probably do the same as those that don't in similar circumstances.
If you go to Everest and attempt to summit during one of the 'windows' you are 99% certain to pass someone in difficulty, if you decide before you go, that you will help such a person you go out to Everest pretty certan you will fail so surely if you want a realisitc chance of summiting you've got to go thinking you will not help anyone. Similarly, people must go out accepting that can't expect rescue by the rest of the peak baggers and sponsored walkers there. Like 'real' mountaineers they are on their own, surely that self reliance is to be applauded?
When you aren't a mountaineer but have paid tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity to reach the summit of the world's highest point, enjoyment doesn't come into it.
There were no climbing walls or adventure holidays when I was a kid, but I always wanted to climb Everest. Probably Blue Peter's fault.
As soon as I started mountaineering and found out what was involved in terms of financial outlay and objective danger, it lost its appeal.
> I find the attitudes on here a bit strange in that the survivors are portrayed as callous, egotistists with more money than sense whilst those that die are hapless victims, trampled underfoot by grasping capatalists when in fact they are all the same really. Fate doesn't filter out the good and the bad and those that die would probably do the same as those that don't in similar circumstances.
> If you go to Everest and attempt to summit during one of the 'windows' you are 99% certain to pass someone in difficulty, if you decide before you go, that you will help such a person you go out to Everest pretty certan you will fail so surely if you want a realisitc chance of summiting you've got to go thinking you will not help anyone. Similarly, people must go out accepting that can't expect rescue by the rest of the peak baggers and sponsored walkers there. Like 'real' mountaineers they are on their own, surely that self reliance is to be applauded?
Telling yourself that you dont "expect" rescue prior to the event is not that relevant.
For starters, if you were thinking you might need rescuing before you even go then you probably shouldnt be going at all.
Second, if you are in difficulty people should still stop and help, because its the right thing to do, whether you expect it or not. I bet when youre dying up there your attitude probably shifts a little.
The stuff about not expecting rescue, theres nothing that can be done at that attitude etc is the stuff people tell themselves in order to justify their actions that will achieve whatever their goals are (in this case summitting). Much of these justifications have been disproved a number of times over the last 20 years of commercial activity on everest.
Even if you cant save them, theres a huge gap between stepping over them and rescuing them where a little compassion could go a long way.
No it's not. It's look-at-me wankery, involving mainly the expenditure of money and fossil fuels.
> Telling yourself that you dont "expect" rescue prior to the event is not that relevant.
> For starters, if you were thinking you might need rescuing before you even go then you probably shouldnt be going at all.
> Second, if you are in difficulty people should still stop and help, because its the right thing to do, whether you expect it or not. I bet when youre dying up there your attitude probably shifts a little.
> The stuff about not expecting rescue, theres nothing that can be done at that attitude etc is the stuff people tell themselves in order to justify their actions that will achieve whatever their goals are (in this case summitting). Much of these justifications have been disproved a number of times over the last 20 years of commercial activity on everest.
> Even if you cant save them, theres a huge gap between stepping over them and rescuing them where a little compassion could go a long way.
^^ A much better written version of what I wanted to say.
Saw this posted on Outdoors Magic.
> Saw this posted on Outdoors Magic.
A very interesting bit of the interview with Simone Moro - very pertinent to the current discussion:
"Perhaps I was mistaken in not calling them alpinists. Probably they are or they think they are, but I'm astonished every time I see people who don't know how use a jumar, how to open and move it. I'm amazed when I see people who need help in putting on crampons, who are given a hand by Sherpa to walk along a ledge to have a crap. In short, none of these things are new here on Everest, these are the people who pay, who provide a living for the Sherpa, agencies, lodges and helicopters."
> when i say i dont want to diminish her achievement, i mean being the youngest woman to do all 7 summits. Thats pretty hardcor
> No it's not. It's look-at-me wankery, involving mainly the expenditure of money and fossil fuels.
and I repeat, she has not done the 7 summits as she has not climbed carstenz, which in many respects is the hardest of the 7.
But if compassion isn't going to help why bother blowing £50k and the chance of a life time for a few platitudes. What's really required is a professional rescue service on the mountain payed for out of the peak fee, that way the tourists could do what they do best (put some money into the local economy) and rescue could be left to the experts. The issue then would become that clueless people's attitudes would become even more ambivalent to the risks and push themselves deeper into trouble assuming they'll be rescued. D
1. Two people are making their way down in difficulties and one gets into trouble, and one has no choice but to leave the second behind to save theirself. That is self preservation and the force of that is millions of years of evolution.
2. Someone is making their way UP the way, and passes someone in difficulty. If you have several hours to spend continuing ascending to the summit and back then you have more than enough energy to attempt to help the troubled person in some way. Even helping them get down a couple of hundred metres might be enough to give them life. It many documented expeditions mountaineers have recovered from the brink of death by descending just a short distance below.
"I bet when youre dying up there your attitude probably shifts a little."
Agree...it's all a bit "no athiests in the fox hole" for me.
In reality I think people would get more from that when they look back on the trip than summitting, even if they didnt think it at the time.
to paraphrase, bad stuff happens when good people do nothing.
> If Leanne summited on the 24th... how could the bodies have been 'from the day before' and how could two have been alive.
> Has there been more deaths we are unaware of?
Perhaps the people she saw that were still alive were rescued by another party?
> But if compassion isn't going to help why bother blowing £50k and the chance of a life time for a few platitudes....
Empathy and compassion are two of the main things that separates 'normal' people from psychopaths and sociopaths. The money shouldn't even come into it, or, if I see you in trouble on the mountainside are you going to say, "No, don't help me mate. After all, you've spent thousands getting here!"
What would you do Tyler - think about the money and the adulation of fawning females in a bar years after when you say, "Yeah, I'm a real man; I've climbed Everest."?
> In reality I think people would get more from that when they look back on the trip than summitting, even if they didnt think it at the time.
> to paraphrase, bad stuff happens when good people do nothing.
.... and to save someone's life is the greatest gift you can give.
I doubt it otherwise they'd just join the local mountain rescue team (I'm sure the Kensington MRT is looking for members)
> .... and to save someone's life is the greatest gift you can give.
Well that's lovely but it's not why you spend all that money to go. If that's how people thought no one would go but instead give £50k to the Red Cross
I wouldn't go near the place. It seems there's a high probability that if you went you'd end up having to make the choice between rescuing/consoling someone and therefore blowing your chance of a summit or abandoning someone on the hill to go for glory. Either outcome would leave you feeling pretty shit so it's not worth it.
To be fair, if someone is literally dying in front of me I'd happily pay 50k to be able to save their life. Not so sure I could give that sort of cash to a charity though.
Just read back through my replies to see if I said anything that wasn't sensible but couldn't find anything, so I'm guessing I wasn't meant to interpret the above as implying I had.
I'd hope this were the future: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/climber-rescue-summit-everest
Agree with that. I do think though going past someone in distress to go climbing is pretty f***ed up. If you saw someone having a heart attack next to the Alt a Mhullin but you knew you were going to be first on Point Five in fantastic conditions, so just walked around him and carried on up, well I reckon most of us would have a pretty low opinion of such a person.
My dad was first on the scene of nasty car accident a few years ago. The guy's legs were trapped and the car had a small fire burning. My dad managed to get to a house and get a fire extinguisher (he now carries one in his car!) and put the fire out as the fire and ambulance crew arrived. It turned out the driver was quite drunk so crashing was his own fault - but I think any one would have to be pretty hard hearted to say well he deserved to burn! Your point that everyone on Everest knows what they're getting into sort of feels the same. Sure they do, but I still hope I wouldn't use that as a reason to walk past them.
It's all pretty depressing isn't it? :(
> 1. Two people are making their way down in difficulties and one gets into trouble, and one has no choice but to leave the second behind to save theirself. That is self preservation and the force of that is millions of years of evolution.
> 2. Someone is making their way UP the way, and passes someone in difficulty. If you have several hours to spend continuing ascending to the summit and back then you have more than enough energy to attempt to help the troubled person in some way. Even helping them get down a couple of hundred metres might be enough to give them life. It many documented expeditions mountaineers have recovered from the brink of death by descending just a short distance below.
Well put it's what i was thinking!!!!
"get a fire extinguisher (he now carries one in his car!)"
I carry one as well, always have, just because my Dad does in his. I reckon it (and a first aid kit) should be a legal requirement, TBH. You never know when they might come in useful.
First time I've read a full thread on the topic. Not unexpectedly it's pretty dull stuff.
Being a silly foreigner I need a few definitions made in clear and concise English.
Can anyone define for me: Mountaineering. My own understanding was that it was activities done in the mountains... is hiking mountaineering??
hardcore. Harcore is eating marmite and remaining cool as a cucumber when a boundary is being hit for the first time after 4 hours of test match.
I am not trying to diminish the use of stereotypes here at all.
I, and that is just me (anyone is clearly allowed to disagree...they'd just be wrong obviously), could not give a toss what happen up there. It is not a normal place, being as though there is only one of it.
If that lassie manage to sweet talk her daddy into paying her the 7 summits... good on her. Plenty rich folks do sweet F*** all with their money anyway. She is showing some fortitude in being driven. She still might be morally wrong. aren't we all? I've only gone onto an everest thread because I got a bit bored of today's crop of porn. Am i morally wrong.
Thus, I think after me reading an answering, I have not achieved anymore wisdom. I don't think I view the OP, Everest summiters, or indeed anyone in this long post in any better/worse light.
My only satisfaction is that someone has either been cursing my name or cracked a smile at my very stupid and decidedly subversive answer.
Let's the pedant attack my English, the morally virtuous attack my viewpoints and the vast majority of the world not even acknowledge this post. Indeed, who gives a rat's arse!
Clearly none of you have read the section on "death" in Mark Twights seminal tome "extreme Alpinism"
'This is about obsession, the addiction of going harder, higher, for longer. About the times you got away with it and survived when others did not. Death in the mountains can be as ugly as a falling stone surprising an innocent hiker on the trail. Or it can be as beautiful as seven men struggling through a storm day after day, giving everything they have to life and living it. But one by one they die. Slowly. From cold, from exhaustion, from having fought so hard. Until only two remain. I say this is beautiful because the greatest human act is the act of survival.'
> Clearly none of you have read the section on "death" in Mark Twights seminal tome "extreme Alpinism"
> 'This is about obsession, the addiction of going harder, higher, for longer. About the times you got away with it and survived when others did not. Death in the mountains can be as ugly as a falling stone surprising an innocent hiker on the trail. Or it can be as beautiful as seven men struggling through a storm day after day, giving everything they have to life and living it. But one by one they die. Slowly. From cold, from exhaustion, from having fought so hard. Until only two remain. I say this is beautiful because the greatest human act is the act of survival.'
And this thread is about the ugly side of death in the mountains.
Survival is nothing compared to a game of conkers.
> In France yes, but AFAIK the UK doesn't have such a law (though there was talk of introducing it).
You are right it is not Law in England and Wales, don't know about Scottish Law. There was a case in Sussex a few years ago where a child minder allowed her charge to fall into a shallow pond (just a few inches). He drowned because she did absolutely nothing to help, just went into a flap and started screaming. The coronor was very scathing of her for not attempting to do anything, but also confirmed that she hadn't actually broken the law
About 10 years ago or threabouts there was a terrible exceptionally low temperature snow storm which hit the Himalaya resulting in numerous deaths throughout the region and to people on expeditions. At the time fee paying expedition members, who had adequate tents and cold weather gear, were heavily critised for not making helicopters they had chartered available to help in the immediate relief operation. There were even cases of expedition members not allowing porters into their tents (because they'd paid for them) leaving them to die of exposure outside.
> About 10 years ago or threabouts there was a terrible exceptionally low temperature snow storm which hit the Himalaya resulting in numerous deaths throughout the region and to people on expeditions. At the time fee paying expedition members, who had adequate tents and cold weather gear, were heavily critised for not making helicopters they had chartered available to help in the immediate relief operation. There were even cases of expedition members not allowing porters into their tents (because they'd paid for them) leaving them to die of exposure outside.
similar to the stuff said about the south african team on everest in the 96 disaster
From your profile: "I and am now very calm relaxed and fun to be around."
Re-order your medication?
So, in the end, are you really all just saying that it's fine to kill people or leave them to die when they are not close-by enough to see?
Well, no, not really. In absolute terms there is no difference between someone walking past a dying person to get to the top of Everest and you deciding to watch TV of an evening, rather than work a second job to give more money to charity. In both instances a life could be saved but is not because the person decides some of their own ends or wellbeing is more important.
I'm not trying to demonise you or anything. I'm just saying that people often jump on this bandwagon without really thinking it through. And if they did, they would probably have to say "fair enough, nothing wrong with walking past a dying person" or be forced to admit that helping someone rather than persuing ones own ends has sod all to do with morales and everything to do with the innate difficulty of looking into the face of dying man/woman/child next to you and doing nothing to help.
Someone else has invented "rescueering", this sounds like "Guinessbookofrecordseering" :-)
It seems to impress some though... the next step is youngest woman to do all 7 summits with one hand behind her back... no end to the "challenges" to be bagged with a bit of imagination.
It strikes me that if there are hundreds of people on Everest every season now, it should be possible to ensure that no ones dies of altitude sickness and/or exhaustion. Not quite sure how it would work exactly a funded rescue at the South col perhaps or just an agreement that guides are contractually bound to help anyone in distress and can call on their clients for help, that sort of thing.
> It seems to impress some though... the next step is youngest woman to do all 7 summits with one hand behind her back... no end to the "challenges" to be bagged with a bit of imagination.
I would be more impressed with "youngest woman to do it without been carried by three sherpas" or "youngest woman to do it without ignoring a dying person"
All aboard the brainless bandwagon. Lets villify others for what we do every day!
Well, no, not really. In absolute terms there is no difference between someone walking past a dying person to get to the top of Everest and you deciding to watch TV of an evening, rather than work a second job to give more money to charity. In both instances a life could be saved but is not because the person decides some of their own ends or wellbeing is more important.
This.has to be the biggest load of tosh I have read in my life. I'm sorry but if you genuinely believe that, then I genuinely feel sorry for you.
This thread is so depressing its unreal. Sad face.
People have been climbing over bodies on Everest for decades, but the reason it happens more often now, is down to the guiding companies - there are by default so many more people climbing (loose use of the term) the mountain now.
Maybe, when the family of someone killed on one of these guided trips, files a successful and bankrupting law suit, forcing the other guide companies to run for cover, this mountain might regain some of it's dignity again.
At the end of the day there's a world of difference between 'climbing' Everest, and 'getting up' Everest. The highest mountain in the world deserves the latter.
And of course, it is the guiding companies who are the biggest facilitators of the 'vulgar circus' which Everest has become.
You are not being logical here, you are being emotional. If we are all going to villify someone then there should be a sound basis for it and there isn't.
As far as I can tell all you have said is "your argument is not valid because it is not valid", are you trying to prove your point using tautology?
If you are going to disagree with me, at least give me a proper reason for your disagreement.
At the end of the day there's a world of difference between 'climbing' Everest, and 'getting up' Everest. The highest mountain in the world deserves the latter.
Not sure I understand this sorry. Surely it deserves the former, and is.bastardised by that latter no?
How are you directly involved with the climber on the mountain that you do not know and had no contribution to the efforts to get him/her there?
Good job mountain rescue don't adopt that attitude isn't it?
There is really and in many countries one would be breaking the law. As said earlier on under French law this could be called "Non assistance to a person in danger". So if this person climbed past a dying French climber then their families could possibly launch a court action... maybe it's time someone did, it might put an end to this sordid farce.
Wouldn't that just make things worse?
This is the way Num Num sees it: Everest is a very accessable high altitude via ferrata, big business and keeps a lot of local folk employed. Anyone who believes this will change, think again. You pay your money, you take your choice. Num Num would rather have a quiet day in the Clwydians.
> People have been climbing over bodies on Everest for decades, but the reason it happens more often now, is down to the guiding companies - there are by default so many more people climbing (loose use of the term) the mountain now.
Ok, but you do see a difference between climbing over body of a dead person and a body of person that still can be saved or at least helped, don't you?
But I have friends who have experience of Everest (not guided) and other 8000 metre peaks, and they do say that the unfortunate aspect, is that you probably aren't really in a position to 'physically' help someone down off the mountain in many cases, and that staying with someone in order to provide comfort in possibly their final hour(s) could well put you in danger.
8000 metres + is a pretty extreme environment, and I suppose until you have been there yourself, you can't really comment on exactly how you would react and behave yourself.
However, I do believe that those paying for a guided ascent, are often lambs to the slaughter in the making.
It seems to me that this has almost became a universal 8000m excuse for the behaviour. No one can really challenge anything other than your word on it can they. The Lincoln Hall incident shows that people who have been written off are not nessarily so. There is no excuse on personal safety if you are ascending and choose to keep doing so. Anyone with basic rope skills and equipment should be able to set up a system to lower someone down a slope. Get them down just a few hundred metres and see if they recover. Get them back to the last camp, supply oxygen and altitude medicines. Get them down further. Doing this in the teeth of a storm on descent might be a different kettle of fish but not while ascending on what is likely a good weather window. :s
> But I have friends who have experience of Everest (not guided) and other 8000 metre peaks, and they do say that the unfortunate aspect, is that you probably aren't really in a position to 'physically' help someone down off the mountain in many cases, and that staying with someone in order to provide comfort in possibly their final hour(s) could well put you in danger.
This is not the future of mountaineering, but sadly it looks like it is the future of Everest for the forseeable.
There really is no excuse
> There were no climbing walls or adventure holidays when I was a kid, but I always wanted to climb Everest. Probably Blue Peter's fault.
> As soon as I started mountaineering and found out what was involved in terms of financial outlay and objective danger, it lost its appeal.
Ditto. If I was going to spend 40k and several months on mountaineering, I'd do totally different stuff, for sure. Thankfully my family largely have a brain and I've rarely had the 'would you climb Everest' question directed at me.
Also, bearing in mind that it would seem there are a large number of 'paying' climbers on Everest who couldn't take care of themselves if circumstances became difficult, I doubt they would have the skills to rescue someone else.
The guides on the other-hand, should be setting a far better example and ethos regarding going to the aid of a fellow climber.
Hey Australia is a continent thank you very much!
> There really is no excuse
Ben-Yehuda, who spoke to AP just before leaving Nepal for urgent medical treatment in Israel, said he could not say with certainty how he would have reacted if he had come across a stricken climber he did not know. Oxygen is in such short supply and the conditions are so harsh, he said, that people on the mountain develop a kind of tunnel vision.
"You just think about breathing, about walking, about climbing," he said. According to Ben-Yehuda, the fundamental questions going through the mind of a climber heading for the peak are: "Are you going to make it?" and "When is the right time to turn back?"
And once a climber begins the descent, the all-embracing question becomes: "How fast can I go down?"
I like to think i'd help, but I found this bit at the end interesting.
its a battle between morality and ambition
> However, I do believe that those paying for a guided ascent, are often lambs to the slaughter in the making.
A *guided* ascent? No, that's not really true. Most of the deaths in recent years are from inexperienced climbers using just budget bare-bones BC only services + Sherpas, who are in over their heads and push too hard. Some who go that path make it, some don't.
I won't paste it here, but have a look at: http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/bad-news-from-everest-t62155.html My long post is about half-way down the page.
Lincoln Hall? I knew Lincoln for years, and had a good chat to him a couple of times about what happened on Everest. He was at great pains to make the point that HE could walk, eventually, and David Sharp could not, despite people (Brice Sherpas) trying to get him to walk. Lincoln fully understood the Sherpas leaving him behind at first because he was completely unconscious, totally unresponsive (they poked him in the eye = nothing), let alone not mobile. It was only after he recovered alone overnight and was found the next morning that he was rescuable, so he was rescued.
Lincoln did not like being used as an excuse why other people in other situations could not be rescued.
Sorry, that last line was worded badly, pre-coffee. It should read:
"Lincoln did not like his experience being used as some kind of counterpoint as to why other people in other situations were not rescued."
> Good job mountain rescue don't adopt that attitude isn't it?
This isn't really a valid point. You have taken one statement out of the middle of a paragraph of reasoning and treated it in isolation, that is not tackling the argument.
Also, there is a difference between someone who goes out walking/climbing and someone who has accepted the responsibility to rescue people (be it in a paid or unpaid capacity). Mountain rescue have accepted responsibility for going out and rescuing people where as this girl clearly accepted no such responsibility.
Obviously I don't want this to come across wrong, I have the utmost respect for the coastguard and mountain rescue services in the UK and have been extremely thankful for their assistance in the past.
I _know_ I am clever :D
haha, just joshing.
I am drawn to play devils advocate but I only make the effort to type it onto UKC when I think there is actually a point to be made.
I detest the circus of everest as much as anyone here but my approach is more "if people want to do something stupid and they are responsible adults then give them the requisite warnings by all means but it's their choice in the end", thus if someone wants to join that menagerie, I think they accept a few things, including:
The chances of frostbite/death etc.
The chances that someone else on the mountain who has paid loads of money will be a dick to you.
The chances that your paid up guide might be a dick to you.
You cannot go to Everest without being aware of these things. If you don't want to accept them, don't go (or climb with genuine partners on a route other than the normal one). The attitude is created by the people who go there and those same people reap the consequences, sounds like karma playing out if you ask me.
Alan Hinckes - "There was nothing realistically that she could have done," he said.
What about provide comfort, including simple companionship, to the dying? She could have done that.
We all like to think we wouldn't walk past a dying person and I'm sure 95%+ of us would say that we would stop to help but that is not born out by reality.
Logic doesn't have much of a place in moral philosophy, and that's what you are arguing here.
I don't think they are the same and can give reasons Egypt not, although not whilst typing on my phone. Google the trolley dilemma though.
> Logic doesn't have much of a place in moral philosophy.
Eh? Surely you need logical basis to move on to and argue any ethical/philosophical debate. What a ridiculous statement. Morality is but one branch of an all encompassing subject.
In reply to the OP:-
"there were quite a few bodies attached to the fixed lines and we had to walk round them...there were a couple who were still alive".
I think that comment just about sums up the selfish, thoughtless, me, me me state of Britain today, and the ethos of a lot (not all) of the people who go to climb Everest.
If this is an accurate report, then the people involved should be ashamed, and their ascent derided by all right-thinking people. Who in their right mind can walk round people who are still alive.
Even if they are beyond saving, perhaps they could be afforded more respect than someone stepping round them in order to achieve their own so-called "glory".
> If this is an accurate report, then the people involved should be ashamed, and their ascent derided by all right-thinking people. Who in their right mind can walk round people who are still alive.
> Even if they are beyond saving, perhaps they could be afforded more respect than someone stepping round them in order to achieve their own so-called "glory".
I totally agree. See http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=507175
But really, my point was against the chap who said not taking a second job and giving all that money to charity was "logically" the same as walking past a dying person. I think 'logically', they are not the same at all, and indeed his argument is a reductio ad absurdum position where basically doing anything becomes not doing something different to help someone else. It would be impossible to act morally if you aren't willing to draw some sort of boundaries around responsibility.
> I totally agree. See http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=507175
last point on this link sums it up for me, we all would like to be treated this way.
Linking to an article that links to your own blog, eh Simon? Good work.
Somewhat ironically given all this, when that Guardian page comes up, over on the right is an ad/review of a new book 'What Money Can't Buy' by Michael Sandel, about the moral limits of markets.
From the review:
- 'how the encroachment of market values can change the character of an industry'
- 'the expansion of markets, and of market values, into spheres of life where they don't belong'
- 'the introduction of market values had killed the old ideas of collective responsibility'
- 'are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honour and money cannot buy?'
you just need to chill out, i was only posting the link that directly applies to the subject matter.
why does there always have to be someone like you trying to put people down....i think you should just grow up a little?
But even if i was "trolling" as you say, whats the harm in that, i'm not getting money, im not getting anything from it.....nor would i be affecting anyone.....so what is your problem?
Lets just leave it now and you can go back to being the mean minded individual that you are, by yourself without taking the micky out of me....go and find some small animals to hurt or something
>... i'm not getting money, im not getting anything from it.....
Simon, no one has accused you of war crimes, or bolting grit.
Look at it this way. The Guardian is a major newspaper, one of the most read and respected english-language online news 'papers'. Over the years they've had all sorts of high profile people write for them, and on mountain matters they often have Ed Douglas do very good pieces.
Now this article, dealing with one of the, if not *the* mountain issue of the moment, involving in this case a Briton, references only one climbing-industry source. You. No quotes from Bonington, Hinkes or the AC. No reference to any other climbing community source or forum - just a hyperlink to your blog. I find this unusual. Was this pure chance? Good luck to you, if so. But surely you can see it might look a little odd, more so now that you've linked back to it.
Your blog may not be a commercially trading business in the normal sense, but it is promoting you professionally. Nothing at all wrong with a bit of indirect promotion and networking, especially if it doesn't violate the spirit of the entities involved, and adds something for everybody.
But in these matters full disclosure is often useful. Even if you just say "this bloke contacted me out of the blue and we told him what we thought". On the other hand, in these situations, when people get overly defensive it makes them look like they've got something to hide, even if they don't.
Hope that clears things up :)
> Hope that clears things up :)
Yes it does, thanks.
Gotta disagree with you there, Owain. This thread has given rise to over 150 replies, many with healthy debate regarding assistance to those in need and its primacy over achieving the summit. Overall, for UKC, the thread has proved quite thought-provoking for quite a few UKC'ers, which, in my book, ain't 'nothing'.
Shall we just leave it, no sense in prolonging this argument is there?
As for doing something about it, point me in the right direction of what I can do and I'll happily get involved.
Are you *that* sure of what you'd do in her shoes? I'm not.
I suspect most people are rather horrified at the nature of the whole circus rather than any one person. But yes, I am pretty sure I know what I would do in her shoes, which is not attempt to climb Everest in the first place - I don't see how the prospect of stepping over the dead and dying can be in any way appealing.
I could say that I would stop. I don't seem to suffer from bystander apathy. It happens all the time though.
A few years ago I got off a train and was running to catch my mates and I tripped on my laces, went flying onto a road and smacked my face of the ground and half knocked myself out. My trainers actually went flying off my feet in a cartoon fashion and I lay there bloody and dazed and not a single person stopped to help me that got off the train or who was sat in their car at the time. After what felt like an eternity I dusted myself off and crawled to the pavement and collected myself.
Strangely enough I met one of these Everest payers this weekend in the usual circumstances - ie them needing to be rescued from some fairly easy route.
It happens all the time, people come up from London and before you know it they are limping along the Snowdon path in completely inadequate footware......
I'm not either, I think it's a real dilemma. It's not really new though. People may have read about Don Whillans (in 1972?) admitting they couldn't help Harsh Bahaguna and telling him to his face ("You've had it, mate") and Joe Simpson recounting how in the early 90s Ronald Naar had instructed his clients at the South Col not to go help a dying man who was waving for help.
The difference now is that it is communicated to the outside world so quickly, it makes it more real, seemingly more avoidable, and because it has now happened again, publicly, when the memory of the David Sharp incident is still in memory.
Of course we could all do something to help stricken people dying in Africa or closer to home, but in these situations the dying person is right in front of the person passing by - not on another continent. And the person passing by is not fleeing for their life, or forced to pass on, they're just on a mountain climb, a holiday, and they could stop if they want.
Of course, that may not do any good - we know that. I've climbed to 7000m a few times, and I've tried to lift the dead weight of an unconscious person at sea level. No way I could do both at once, and I'm bigger and stronger than most. It's simply not possible for one or two climbers to carry an incapacitated climber any distance at that height. If they can walk, it's another story altogether, especially with a few Sherpas to help. I don't think we'll ever know if these recent deaths fit the second category rather than the first.
I've spent quite a bit of time on mountains wearing five layers of clothes, goggles and mask, knackered, nervous and dodging the wind. Recognising other people and what's going on with them can be almost impossible, on top of just keeping yourself warm and safe, let alone any clients you may have. You're in a very closed little world, much more than could ever be realised from an armchair at home. You simply have severely limited physical and mental resources to deal with anything non-central to safely moving up, or down. It's just human frailty, we're all afflicted by it, the problem is that if we know that, should we put ourselves in these positions?
I should add in here, for the record, that this issue is not helped by some people attempting Everest woefully unprepared and inexperienced, practically inviting disaster. They are a danger to others as well as themselves and can challenge the sympathy of others more responsible. Likewise pride, ego and ambition have caused some climbers to deny, after the fact, that their rescue was necessary, and this doesn't help the issue. The famous Juan Oirzabal(sp?) is a prime example of this, having been helped/saved at least three times by strangers and denying it each time.
Years ago I would have jumped at the chance to go to Everest, but nowadays I'm not so sure. I know in these situations I would feel a real urge to push on, if I thought the stricken person was a goner. After all, what can I do? And I may not get another chance, right? On the other hand, if it was my partner or family member stricken, I'd hate to think of them dying alone, dismissed by passersby as not worthy of time or effort in the last moments of their life, hoping and waving for help, but seen as an obstacle to someone's gap year project. That would be twisting a knife into what is already almost unbearable grief.
I know it's been the practice, but I think it's wrong. The norm needs to be changed. A new norm of doing everything possible until the person is dead might be needed, and anything else is considered unacceptable. We've tolerated bad things in climbing as acceptable, then eventually changed them when we realised we should. This might be one of those things.
> The norm needs to be changed. A new norm of doing everything possible until the person is dead might be needed, and anything else is considered unacceptable. We've tolerated bad things in climbing as acceptable, then eventually changed them when we realised we should. This might be one of those things.
I agree completely, and the more of us - individual climbers, mountaineering associations, commercial climbing companies - who openly endorse this the better.
However Eric, as a counterpoint, I know that some of the guides will say - speaking from their experience, and correctly, sadly - that there will be people who will take advantage of such new norms.
These people would believe, although probably never say it, that there is now safety in numbers and if they get into trouble now then they will be rescued, whereas before they would be left for dead, victims of their own folly.
They won't bother to get the skill or experience, will cut corners, pay the minimum $15-20K to be allowed on the hill, then get in way over their head, knowing that they will be rescued by the trained guides and Sherpas of the expeditions funded by people who prepared better and paid $60K.
How do you deal with these selfish idiots?
> How do you deal with these selfish idiots?
Which might lead to the situation proposed in this thread: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=507172 by Radson, who I should add, has actually stopped to help someone on the summit ridge of Everest, but had his thread hijacked by me, who has not.
I agree as well.
I am still finding it hard to understand how a 19 year old girl can walk past someone so obviously in need of help and comment on it so off handedly - "There were also a couple who were still alive."
And then they came across another man - "As we passed he raised his arm and looked at us. He was dead when we came back down."
At that age I knew that doing something like that was absolutely wrong.
It is just unbelievable.
Very true. You don't have to go beyond, say, Kings Cross, to be able to walk straight past people in need of potentially life saving help. I'm sure plenty of 'holier than thou' posters on this thread have done just that.
> Very true. You don't have to go beyond, say, Kings Cross, to be able to walk straight past people in need of potentially life saving help.
Really? I don't think I have knowingly walked passed someone who has subsequently died as a result of not getting my assistance.
However, I have certainly abandoned a long-desired to climb help people out - carrying on regardless didn't cross my mind, or, I am sure, the other three or four people who stopped.
Good question, and a few thoughts in response. The fact that a principle may have unintended but foreseeable consequences does not invalidate the principle (I am not suggesting that it is your view that it does). What is needed is separate action to minimise the likelihood of those coming about, and that means thinking about who gets the permits issued to them, for what price and based on what code of conduct. Not a neat answer, but perhaps something along those lines.
I agree about not invalidating the principle. Perhaps if these things are going to happen - and they can happen to anyone, not just the selfish idiots - then maybe the most practical solutions is to charge everyone a rescue levy, like they charge the icefall levy, and fund a team of twelve Sherpas to rotate six at a time between C2 and the South Col on summit days. It would be the job of these guys to come and assist people in trouble.
Not an ideal solution, but ideals rarely stand up to life.
> And then they came across another man - "As we passed he raised his arm and looked at us. He was dead when we came back down."
> At that age I knew that doing something like that was absolutely wrong.
> It is just unbelievable.
I know, that's why I posted this on another thread;
Thing is, has anyone bothered to check whether the quote from her is accurate (or in context), or even true at all?...
The example mypyrex gave where he did a trek to EBC, and the media decided it wasn't interesting enough so they sexed it up a tad, is pretty common. I've seen it several times, whether it be in a corporate magazine or a local paper.
Oh, on a bigger level I've also seen the BBC knowingly publish an outright lie just to make a story; anyone remember the 2008 OMM 'rescue' story, and their 'we published a fair picture of the events' comment when hundreds of people wrote to complain?...
Maybe it is true, but then given the above examples, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turned out to be the work of some bored journalist exercising some artistic license to the max....
Good for you for giving assistance, then.
That's a fair point and I am willing to wait and hear what the actual facts are. Though I doubt the whole truth will ever be known.
But, as you say, the media are not beyond making up these sort of tales.
Which isn't what is going on Everest by all accounts. Instead it seems a concious decision is being taken not to help, rather than assuming someone else will.
Or alternatively because people sleeping round Kings Cross might be very ill we don't drop everything to help? Which is again hardly the same situation as on Everest.
It is exactly the same moral decision to either walk on by assuming that either a) you don't want to help b) think you can't help or c) think its someone elses job to help. Arguably in the comfort of not being in a dehabilitated state yourself, the 'right' moral decision should be easier to make at Kings Cross.
What on earth are you on about when you talk about these mythical people dying at Kings Cross? I pass there lots and have never seen any of them. Unless you are making a ridiculous comparison between some homeless people having a hard life and someone in the throws of death on Everest?
Put like a gentleman sir.
> It is exactly the same moral decision to either walk on by assuming that either a) you don't want to help b) think you can't help or c) think its someone elses job to help.
Rubbish. a) shows total indifference to someone else's condition whereas b) and c) don't.
So you are qualified to know when a 'hard time' becomes 'life and death' are you ? because fatalities on our streets are more common than you might want to hear.
Apparently they all have to have sign something saying that summitteers will not attempt to rescue anyone in the Dead Zone - can anyone confirm this one?
Reading the original BBC article, whether true, sexed up or a blatent lie actually made me feel physically sick.
So what could a person do? Make the stranded person some soup? Hold their hand? Yes, you can encourage them, cajole them to get moving again, but if they can't what can you do? would you have the skills and equipment to hand to get a person down Everest? I think not.
> So what could a person do? Make the stranded person some soup? Hold their hand? Yes, you can encourage them, cajole them to get moving again, but if they can't what can you do? would you have the skills and equipment to hand to get a person down Everest? I think not.
At least you would have tried, which is a lot more than 40 odd people did for David Sharp.
Well said totally agree!!!
Proud? damn right - their son has the strength and fitness of Superman.
Singlehandedly 'carried' a fully grown adult on rocky and icy terrain for 'hours' at 8000m?...
could it be the reality of the story is nothing like the facts reported in the press?
I bet this was more like someone escorting a very slow 'walking wounded' friend down the mountain. Still very commendable, but I'm amazed no-one else is questioning how ridiculous the press story sounds(?).
Hope her professors know the caliber of the student they are accepting.
I have been reading the mostly venomously critical comments about Leanna with some dismay. Even assuming she did walk past people near the summit of Everest who were in distress, but still alive, there are some questions that should (but mostly haven't) been asked:
1). Was there ANY chance that she could have helped them? Even on small mountains close to sea-level, rescuing someone who is incapacitated is very difficult - ask anyone who has any experience of mountain rescue. One person probably couldn't do it by themself even from the top of Snowdon. Personally, I have never been much above 20,000ft but even at that height,the effect of altitude was quite debilitating.
2). If she couldn't help the person, what should she do then?
Give up and go home in sympathy?
Mill around and stand a very good chance of dying herself?
Or continue ....?
How many of the people who have expressed their "disgust" have any experience of high altitude mountaineering and have any first-hand knowledge of what is possible and what is just not possible?
She is an 18 year old amateur, not a team of experienced professional high-altitude mountain guides. Even with the best will, people die on Everest. It's dangerous. Everyone who goes there knows that very well and in truth, rescuing an incapacitated person from the upper reaches of Everest is usually just not possible.
Hillary, Bonnington, Scott etc. have all climbed Everest themselves for their own reasons (and lost friends along the way) and I don't see that they had any special right to be there that climbers now no longer have. They just had the luck that in their time the mountain was not over-run with thousands of climbers.
It does seem strange to vilify the punter and not the leader of the team that had abandoned the climber to die or, in fact, the leader of any other party. Easy target, I guess, because its easy to categorise her as 'not one of us real climbers'.
> Give up and go home in sympathy?
> Mill around and stand a very good chance of dying herself?
> Or continue ....?
This unfortunate for the young woman because it's not just her who took the last option, so did dozens of others seemingly - but she just described it clearly on the BBC so she can't really avoid being dragged into the discussion as a result I suppose.
It's the immediacy of the moral quandary that is troubling. A friend of mine climbed Lhotse a few days back - she would have been up on the South Col about the time all this was happening. If she had known (and I have no idea if she did) that there were people stuck above them on Everest, her team COULD have abandoned their Lhotse attempt and tried to rescue someone - but I don't think many people would blame them for not having done that. Different mountain, different route, different teams, very unrealistic chance etc. But for the teams on Everest going up and having to climb past (over?) people to continue on upwards - I think that's what many find troubling and you don't have to be an experienced high altitude climber to feel that way.
Address the point made repeatedly. She could have provided comfort to the dying, but once she felt that doing so would jeopardise her safety beyond what she could handle, then head down. And while there she could encourage others to help in whatever way possible and take over. She had the energy to climb on to the summit and back.
> Or continue ....?
The crux of the matter is that she was on the way UP and not the way down
I think the crux of the matter is COULD she have helped? All these discussions also assume that she went past people she knew were in distress but still alive. Do we know this was the case? Reports I have seen say the people died before she arrived there.
These situations bring up very difficult, uncomfortable decisions that very few people ever have to face but to my mind, it is not wrong to leave someone you can't possibly help especially when staying would put your own life in serious jeopardy.
If it was my son or wife or brother etc. I don't suppose I could leave them but this might very well amount to a decision to died with them.
Why are you picking on the punter ? presumably she had been told to keep up with her guide or die. What was her guide doing ?
I wonder if the father or daughter would have continued if one of the other had collapsed dying or continued to push for the top?
So could anyone by visiting people in care homes or cancer wards. People don't do that for strangers even in those benign situations so why would you expect them to do it where their own life is in peril ?
People who call themselves mountaineers have a duty to hepl colleagues what ever the situation. Sailers don't just sail by a sinking ship.
It is difficult trying to tie Leanne's article to the actual events in terms of people who died on or around the 20th, it is hard to work out who all these dead bodies and dying people were? Although a few conflicting reports are knocking about, according to the reports from the scene -those that sadly died, did so in the presence of their own teams.
But I guess the truth will out in the post mortem of the events of the days in May.
1. She had the energy to get to the top and back after passing people who were still alive.
2. She hasn't refuted the newspaper article as being inaccurate in what it's said and she is trying to 'big up' her 6 summit achievements by refering to the dying people who she stepped round like it's something to make us admire her bravery all the more.....
No, they have a responsibility to themselves and their partners. There is no duty attached to the badge of mountaineer. Code of honour maybe for some but not a duty.
They are legally obliged to help. Its not necessarily a moral decision.
Are they? But anyway, isn't it a desirable thing that the legal/moral/expected thing to do is to help rather than sail on by? The antics on Everest do seem utterly amoral to me. The "we couldn't do anything" excuse is about as weak as you can get if you don't even make an attempt.
Who can get any sense of achievement from stepping over dead and dying bodies to get to a summit anyway? It sounds more like WW1 trenches environment!
And thus you have hit the nail on the head about the problem of the full circus.
I warmed to GrahamD's comments a few days ago about Scott, Haston etc.
Walter Bonatti once said "The old traditions of alpinism are dead". Bonatti was described by Doug Scott as “perhaps the finest Alpinist there has ever been”.
Have a go at the guides rather than the punters. If anyone could have helped it was them. Why is she getting so much flack that is better directed at the likes of Kenton Cool (if you believe there is flack to give). Surely not because he posts here and she doesn't ?
Those are indeed different situations for a range of reasons. Bottom line is that you appear to think it is is fine to do what she, as far as we know, did. I do not. We have substantially different values.
If Kenton posted and said he passed someone on the way up just as much scrutiny would be put on them. As I said she put her self in the spot light.
There might have not been anything she could have done but if that was me the unknown would always be present regardless of what other guides, ascentionists or people say. I would be haunted for the rest of my life over whether there *WAS* something that could have been done.
The point is that there are things we can all do, we choose not to.
I'm not pushing this charity/campaign over any other, just making the point that we're generally not as noble as we might like to think when it comes down to it... Someone else will do it, I can't help, it'll do no good, I'll make things worse, maybe later... pick your excuse.
This weekend I watched a street full of people studiously ignore an unconscious old man in dire need of help. I know I was sorely tempted to look the other way.
Assuming the quote is accurate and hers the 'mistake' this girl has made is not in admitting her inhumanity, it's in naively presenting her normal flawed humanity to the worlds press.
I do not think its 'fine' at all - I think it demonstrates very well how thin our moral veneer really is when put under the spotlight. I don't see it as an endightment of one or two people, I see it as an endightment on the majority of us.
You are right, it doesn't compare because here and now in the comfort of the UK doing something for others dying is actually a lot easier than it is when you are at your limit in a life threatening environment.
I don't for a minute expect that they (I) would but it is not the same if it's a stranger as there is no emotional attachment. It still doesn't mean that there would be the slightest realistic hope of helping them. The top of Everest is not remotely the same as the top of Snowdon say...
The civilized imperative to help others in trouble might be the same but the physical ability to do so certainly isn't.
I thinks she shouldn't personally be the target of all this criticism. She didn't put those people in that situation and it would take a star lawyer to make the case that their deaths were her fault. The whole commercial climbing scene on Everest brings these risks and it is a dangerous place. Everest has claimed the lives of many elite high-altitude mountaineers as well as the inexperienced amateurs.
Who know how all the harsh critics here would behave themselves if they were fatigued and hypoxic on top of Everest with their own lives at risk? And do they really think that they would have the the strength to do anything useful?
So, what is your view on what someone in that situation should do? Rather than not addressing it directly, address the situation itself. I think it is wrong to ignore a stricken climber and go for the summit. Even if I couldn't effect a rescue, I should give comfort to them and try to enlist the help of others. Once I felt at more risk than I could cope with, I would go down. Would I instead ignore them and go for the summit? I can't be sure but I really don't think I would. So, what about you? What do you think you should do in that situation and what do you think you would do?
If you have the strength to go for the summit, you have the strength to comfort the dying.
the two do not compare -
i am not saving someone from iminent death right in front of my face when i give to charity, it is not instant, my money could go anywhere, but by stepping round someone on a mountain I am knowingly condemning them to death!
what would you do? push for the summit?
Has anyone said that they were? That's just silly.
And I said that its very unfortunate that this discussion has revolved around this particular young woman, she was part of group including much more experienced climbers presumably, but it was her own words - "some were still alive" - I heard her on the Today Programme, that started all this discussion.
And again, its that people were going up when they passed these dying people, not down, that again seems the central point.
I'm under no illusions about being better than average morality wise.
I have already stated that I honestly do not know what I would do because I cannot know what physiological and mental state I would be in in that environment.
Furthermore, given the observed fact that the majority of people in life/death situations do walk on by even in benign environments (and the bigger the crowd, the more likely it gets)I have a nasty suspicion that I might do the same. Its not a nice thought.
Luckily for me and the vast majority of posters sitting on their moral high horse they are unlikely to be so tested in such a public arena.
Fine you don't know what you would do.
What do you think someone *should* do in that situation? Do you think they should ignore the dying and go for the summit? Or, where rescue seems impossible, comfort the dying, try to enlist others in either trying rescue and providing comfort and heading down when they feel too much in danger?
She was clearly in the mental and physiological shape to go to the summit and back.
I pity the person who asks you for help - you have already decided what you will do, try a bit of empathy
> You are right, it doesn't compare because here and now in the comfort of the UK doing something for others dying is actually a lot easier than it is when you are at your limit in a life threatening environment.
These comparisons you keep making are silly for a number of reasons.
1) We all make large contributions to others' well-being through taxes.
2) The majority of us also make charitable contributions.
3) Almost everyone would help someone dying in the street if we could*.
So the humane and natural thing for almost everyone to do is to help others in need and practically everyone does this very substantially, particularly where the need is obvious and acute. It appears from this and other stories on Everest that many climbers don't and indeed are quite happy to make a pre-meditated decision to not help others in obvious distress. Most people on here seem to find this pretty unpleasant.
*There is the by-stander apathy aspect of course, which is clearly "real". However, the likelihood of problems on Everest, you would hope people would take account of this in advance.
I'm sorry if it puts you in an uncomfortable position but now that I've raised the issue there is no real difference, act and you save a life, don't and you won't, a real person you could have saved dies.
It's understandable that we generally avoid thinking too hard about this!
Good question. I think that there is plenty of evidence of people not wanting to die alone. The comfort in the end more than anything is of not dying alone.
Regarding feeling less guilt afterwards, I'm not so sure. If anything, guilt tends to be felt more strongly by those who have become more involved in a situation. But it's probably a mixed picture.
Absolutely. David Sharpe almost certainly could have been helped down from his position just 2 - 3 hours ascent time from high camp. The terain from where he died was a level section of ridge to the top of the exit gulleys. Then a slow slide down the snow gulleys to high camp.
Climbers would have used only 2 -3 hours of oxygen so spare oxygen would have been in plentiful supply.
There is not enough detail on the exact location of where Leanna saw these people alive and what state they were in so none of us know if it would have been possible to attempt a rescue.
Of course. But in the situation here there are never going to be paramedics on the scene.
That could be the case. But it also could not be: there are cases where people, including spontaneously, revive to consciousness in high altitude exposure. It can go either way. Simply assuming there is nothing that can be done is perfectly possibly not true and easily slides into rationalisation of desire for the summit.
one is an impersonal direct debit, the other is stopping what you are doing to save the life of the person whose eyes are looking into yours and are beseeching you to help!
it does not put me in an uncomfortable postition, and the issue you have raised is nonsense.
of course we should all give more to help our fellow man, but by stepping over his dying form this is condemning him to death.
a charitable donation does not equate to a life saved, what if i donate 1p less than is needed and a child dies - i still donated - there is no way of quanitfying the aid, but saving the dying person infront of you should come as second nature
The teams going up that day were actually setting off from High Camp at 10:30pm so the 1st climbers would have got to him about 1am. The reports we heard was that he had severe frostbite but he was still conscious.
He had basically run out of oxygen on his way down and could not get down any further than Green Boots cave so may have been there for as little as 7 hours before the next wave arrived.
History only shows how people can survive. Remember 96
Beck Weathers was also left for dead, survived and wrote a book about it.
Fact is Leanna has just become a public face for the faceless hordes who climb Everest and walk around/over dead/dying people, and is therefore experiencing the brunt of the anger directed towards the mob. She was one of many who walked past the climbers who died during her ascent, and whilst that doesn't change my stance that what she did was wrong, it does need to be understood that this is not solely her fault, it just so happens not many other climbers and being quoted in newspapers and blogs as saying "I had to step over people to get to the summit" (paraphrasing).
They can only make the decision when in that situation. It might help, I guess, if they had done the soul searching before getting there.
I certainly don't think they *should* endanger their own life and potentially the life of others in their party just to sit there for an hour or two.
The 'moral high horse' refers to those that sit in judgement of some people but who have absolutely no idea of what that person is capable of in the extreme position they were in.
> These comparisons you keep making are silly for a number of reasons.
> 1) We all make large contributions to others' well-being through taxes.
Non voluntary taxes ? are you serious ? in that case, punters have paid their peak fees and their tour operators - surely its now not down to them ?
Usually from the comfort of our homes and not to the point of endangering our own lives we don't
Not usually if they are stinking of piss and vomit would be my observation
Especially those who's livlihood depends on perpetuating the circus.
Surely, that only increases the moral imperative to give whatever aid is possible?
> Non voluntary taxes ? are you serious ? in that case, punters have paid their peak fees and their tour operators - surely its now not down to them
You are getting a bit ridiculous with this.
> Usually from the comfort of our homes and not to the point of endangering our own lives we don't
No one is suggesting climbers should endanger their lives to help.
Also very manipulating in that the program was edited to make it out that they only discovered him on the way down when they had actually found, dismissed and passed on the way up.
The New Zealand chap took some heavy abuse from Hillary over it all. They would not have edited the program in such a way if they did not belive in their heart of hearts that passing someone in trouble on the way upwards was acceptable.
Stopping and leaving your guide is endangering your own life.
> Stopping and leaving your guide is endangering your own life.
Rubbish. Anyway you are clearly happy with this sort of thing so not much more to say other than it is rather depressing that you appear to be part of a significant minority.
My favourite is :
He has an oxygen mask on though so not a real mountaineer ;)
two of the most amazing photos in mountaineering history,
a reminder of what its all about and why people want to be there
thanks for the links,
I do love that pic
> two of the most amazing photos in mountaineering history,
> a reminder of what its all about and why people want to be there
My favourite from that series is another one, the sunset shining on Dougal Haston as he smiles with his mask off. One of the few photos you'll see of him looking happy.
It might be what people want, and why they go there, but I see it as another instance of poisoning the essence to acquire the image. People use the language and imagery of one era but seek to replicate it for themselves by vastly compromised methods, thus corrupting what they came for.
Like buying a colouring book of Picasso outlines, the sections numbered and paired with the right coloured paint pots (sold separately).
Are you painting? Yes.
Does it look the same? Yes, kind of.
Did you undergo the internal processes inherent in the activity that have instilled it with so much value and prestige over time? No.
It's funny that these images are so iconic, because Doug was not so fussed about Everest. He really wanted to climb K2 and Makalu, and never got up either. Desire is a funny thing.
Also funny to go back through old issues of Mountain and see the underwhelmed reporting of the '75 trip in that mag. It was seen as vaguely distasteful, a bit of an old-style Bonington circus of porters and sahibs and logistics and money and media, reported almost as a cursory side note to whatever other new routes had been done by 'real' climbers. Sound familiar? Of course, they were just jealous ...
"Everest has been pushed to its limits, and a complete change of mind needs to take place otherwise we'll see many more tragedies taking place."
He added: "We need to debunk the myth of Everest." Despite a long-held wish to ascend it once more without oxygen, he would not climb Everest again. "It's spoiled for me now," he said. "And it's too dangerous. There are simply too many people on there who should not be there."
Some good info there from Ralf. He of course is the owner of Amical Alpine, one of the major expedition companies guiding big mountains. He's regularly got clients up Nanga Parbat, but has not wanted to guide Everest for years now. His thoughts on crowding are not new. There are plenty of good commercial guiding outfits, like Paulo Grobel's, doing interesting big things with competent clients. Everest has become an outlier.
> Like buying a colouring book of Picasso outlines, the sections numbered and paired with the right coloured paint pots (sold separately).
> Are you painting? Yes.
> Does it look the same? Yes, kind of.
> Did you undergo the internal processes inherent in the activity that have instilled it with so much value and prestige over time? No.
I'm sort-of half tempted setting up a business of producing fake "Everest Summit" videos. It would start with collecting specially taken video footage and photographs of the South Col route. Then, I'd put clients into a green screen room wearing the appropriate kit and talking about the various stages of their "summit". Then I'd digitally insert them into the carefully composed Everest footage and hey presto, they've got the materials for some heavy duty bragging.
And I've a sinking feeling that if such a business existed, there would be willing clients :(
Looking at the Guardian article, I think there might be a solution that might help maintain the income stream for Nepal.
How about if Nepal insists that no-one is allowed to climb Everest unless they have climbed a certain number of Nepalese peaks of lower altitudes? (There could be a list, and a carefully designed definition of what qualifies as sufficient experience). This would help maintain the supply of tourists for Nepal, while spreading the tourists around a bit, particularly to less extreme peaks.
Following a link in that article, I arrived here:
In that article, they mention one possible solution to the problem:
"They could range from proofs of previous summits selected by industry leaders as a prerequisite, as well as proof of training expeditions conducted in Nepal."
They don't say where the mountains that would be selected by industry leaders would be, but if they populated the list with peaks in Nepal, then that would help keep the income stream coming to Nepal, while spreading people around, as in my previous post. So overall, with the training expeditions, quite similar to what I suggested above.
> I have not climbed Mt Blanc or the Matterhorn - perhaps for the same reason (though money and time is another aspect for Everest) - fancy skiing Mt Blanc sometime though.
But Ron, there are plenty of routes up Mt Blanc or the Matterhorn other than the Gouter and Hornli Ridges respectively. And, likewise, I presume that if you avoid the 'normal' routes on the south and north sides of Everest, you ought to be reasonably free of the swarming hordes.
For myself, I would say the culprit here is commercially-guided trips - in *any* mountain areas. But the cat's out of the bag on that one: money talks.
Strange that there has been no comment about the commercial backers of the young lady in question.
I agree 100% with all your comments Simon. There is something very wrong about mountaineering on Everest. I hope it's not a changing attitude amongst mountaineers to helping others who are in trouble. Should Everest be 'de-commercialised' so that guides and sherpas won't be put under pressure by clients to get to the top at all costs? The primary concern of those on the mountain who do have the experience to help others is for their clients who have paid lots of money and are relying on them to get to the top and keep them alive.
I too have never been higher than the Alps but surely common decency tells us that it is just not right to think its ok to ignore people who are dying in front of us. If it's now become ok to think differently on Everest then its surely time for all involved to rethink what they are doing.
Very sad indeed. I think essentially it boils down to either CANT help or WONT help.
The fact is, she and every other person who lift their crampons over the dying bodies, freezing into the mountain will have to live with those images and memories for the rest of their lives, is it really worth paying 40k+?? I think not! Id rather climb the ben hung over, breathing through one nostril thanks!!!!
It would be interesting to see the points of view from the sherpas, being rather spiritual and ofcourse everest being spiritually special to them, how they view ignoring the dying people??? Or is it just meant to be in their eyes???
I agree that there seems to be a lot of keyboard-moralising going on, with rather simplistic comparisons as though the situation was clear cut.
I can think (offhand) of 3 occasions when I have been involved with getting people out of trouble on mountains, never higher than 5500m. On one occasion it was no higher than Coire an t-Sneachda, where a guide slipped on some path ice, landed badly, and immediately could no longer walk. It needed 8 people all the time to carry him when a stretcher finally arrived, with 2 in front to spot the way, and replacements at intervals no longer than 10 minutes. Near enough 20 people to carry him all told, and that was only for an hour and a half walk-out, on flat(ish) ground. A small Alpine or Himalayan party has no possibility of carrying someone, especially on serious ground.
On another occasion I and my partner were about 150 vertical m below the summit of Mont Blanc, in seriously deteriorating conditions, blown snow, , unclear traces, semi-blizzard and a biting wind. A weird figure appeared out of the mist, no ice-axe, crampons droppimg off bendy boots and an old-style rigid-frame scout pack on his back. "Where is the way" he demanded, this subsequently turned out to be the only words he could say in English, with very little more in French or German, that and "Czeckoslovakia". He was quite clearly a disaster in the process of happening, and stared at us like a lost sheep, crag-fast over a big drop.
I had a brief shouted conversation with my partner, including the words "do you want to do something, remember he can kill us very easily", response "well if we don't he's dead". So we tied him on with a Parisian baudrier, my large partner went behind to stop slides and I went in front to find the way. The last thing I said to my partner before we started was "he is GOING to fall - you must stop him!". He did, twice in the time it took us to get down to the Vallot hut (so no-one should imagine that ice-axe breaking is useless in the Alps!), by which time we had had enough - we told him to go into the hut and get warm. As he approached the hut, he slipped and disapeared from sight, evidently having fallen to unguessed depths. Nervously we looked over the edge and found he had stopped not far below, then we acosted a party of 5 descending Germans and asked (well ordered really - they were Germans after all!) them to take him with them.
If the Germans hadn't been there, or had refused, what would we have done - to be honest I don't know. It had been quite frightening enough getting him down that far with just he 2 of us. My partner later remarked that descending there was comparatively safe (though quite dangerous enough for me), if we had found someone in such serious trouble and so incompetent half-way up, say, the Coutourier coloir, what if anything would we have done? Were he could really endanger us.
The idea that there is a distinct line between helping someone else and endangering yourself is nonsense. Even as an experienced Alpinist, it can be incredibly easy and quick to go from proceeding steadily in control to a cascade of catastrophic events.
Which does of course raise the question of what an 18 year old with no experience is doing there.
The third occasion that springs to mind was in the Tien Shan, where we were in 2 pairs. One pair, that I was in, had reached the bottom of a dangerous ice-slope and were wondering what on earth had happened to the other. To cut a long story short, one of them had been hit by a stone and his knee cut open to the bone, which is not really what you want to see on a 50 degree ice-slope at 5500m in the middle of Central Asia, with evening drawing in and bad weather heading your way fast from China.
We took all the weight off him, bound his leg rigid, dosed him up with the strongest painkillers we had, gave him 2 ski poles and told him at all costs to keep moving, no matter how slowly.
There was no way on this earth that the 3 of us could have carried him if he was unable move on his own, and he was quite aware that he had to keep going, or he would die.
So I don't see that there are easy answers or straightfoward conclusions, especially in the crowded and anoxic conditions on the voie normalle of Everest.
Human beings are selfish, some of them claim a higher, more enlighted morality than everyone else, it is almost invariably pretence or done out of a veiled self-interest - or they are just moral snobs, wishing to show how superior they are to the general herd. It seldom counts for much when the chips are down, frequently those with the highest theoretical moral principles are the first to turn tail and run if they feel threatened themselves.
Most people (other than psychopaths) won't do much to deliberately hurt another human being. They will also do very little to help them if there is significant risk or cost to themselves in doing so. We like to pretend that climbers are different, but there isn't much evidence to support this belief.
Maybe we should ask the question of the people that took her money to take her there ?
Did you for a moment consider simply stepping over the fallen guide in the Cairngorms and carrying on to complete your climb?
On those occasions, yes. But a week ago in central London a drunk/drugee was stagering about, then walked straight across a busy road with no warning (all the drivers seem to have been surprisingly alert). A crowd of pedestrians, including me, stood and stared, then looked the other way. I THOUGHT about borrowing a mobile phone and phoning the police to get him stopped. There was no evidence that anyone else had that much intention of doing anything.
The lonely/indifferent crowd effect.
I suspect that this is what is now happening on Everest. You are far more likely to help someone when less people are around than when responsibility is diluted by numbers, so we normally associate mountaineers with helping each other, but that may be mostly where there are few people on a route. When it gets crowded, I have often witnessed people getting more and more indifferent to others.
No, but there was precious little risk in that situation, just a lot of grunt. I'm not sure that I would now take the risks we did for the Czech.
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