/ Dead bodies on Everest

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Denni on 16 Nov 2013
Someone just sent me this link:

http://imgur.com/a/rkRAk
highclimber - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: grimly intriguing
GrendeI on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to highclimber: surprisingly!
keith-ratcliffe on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: Dark Shadows still falling.
Dave Kerr - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

Don't quite know what to make of that. From the comments above I guess I'm not alone in that.
Rampikino - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

I think it makes me want to climb Everest LESS. Not sure i could knowing that there are families who have still not buried their loved ones while paying mountaineers walk past their bodies.

Just my opinion though.
Denni on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
> (In reply to Denni)
>
> Don't quite know what to make of that. From the comments above I guess I'm not alone in that.


I agree. We all know they are there but wouldn't necessarily go internet hunting for pics to look at.
Grimly intriguing though.
Dave Kerr - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Rampikino:
> (In reply to Denni)
>
> I think it makes me want to climb Everest LESS.

Can't see how it would increase your desire to climb it!
Rampikino - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Perhaps you misunderstood, there is a chance it might not influence me one way or the other.
Adam Moroz - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: That is just f*****g grim.
Tim Chappell - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:


If no one removes (or can remove) the corpses, and if people keep trying to climb Everest--then what's it going to be like in 100 years' time?

It already begins to look like a place where I would not, for a number of reasons, feel at all comfortable, frankly.
ice.solo - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

the last one of the hand is actually on the baltoro, at the base of K2.

csw on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

I guess I'm getting old - it just looks like litter to me - Good point about how it will accumulate though.
needvert on 17 Nov 2013
Interesting.
In reply to ice.solo: I wondered if they were all Everest, or all still there. I googled one of the names and read a bit about her, but there are loads of other blogs and pages collecting up pictures of supposedly dead bodies on Everest and it's hard to see where the originals are.

The body under the ridgerest close to the tents is disturbing. I presume that close to a camp, the body was subsequently removed and buried.

There is something more than a little racist about Green Boots just being called Green Boots. There is now some confusion over who the body is but for many years the victim was believed to be Tsewang Paljor - it's not even that hard a name to pronounce.
Trangia - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to needvert:
> Interesting.


and disturbing
Dave 88 - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:
>
> There is something more than a little racist about Green Boots just being called Green Boots.

How is it even remotely racist? It's a nickname because he has green boots, and that's much more of a distinguishing feature than someone's name. I reckon if his name was John Smith, he'd still be referred to as green boots.

The fact dead bodies are being used like cairns is pretty grim.
In reply to Dave 88: Because the bodies of western (or 'first world' as I think there was a Japanese victim as well) climbers on Everest have been referred to by their names for decades. David Sharp's body isn't referred to according to his boots.
Dave 88 - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Ok I didn't know that. I think calling it racist is a bit of a leap though. As you say, even with your research you couldn't find out exactly who he was. When these bodies are being used as way markers, the fact he has bright green boots makes for a far more recognisable name. Is it creepy and a bit insensitive? Yeah. Is it racist? I don't think so.
PaulN - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA: You could be right Toby, but more likely, when you walk past 'green boots' his body is nearly always covered by snow with only his boot protruding, hence his boots are always prominent right beside the ropes. Sadly he is a landmark though, There are a lot more bodies on the North Side.
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T_Mac - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: Whilst I do agree that dead bodies as waymarkers is pretty grim, on the flipside, if I died up there I think I quite like the idea that I would be steering people to safety or away from danger. Quite a nice legacy under the circumstances.
blondel - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

Yes, it's gruesome collecting it all together, and as a sentimental female I find it hard to read the cool factual appraisal you chaps are giving it, as though those bodies really are just arrows on rocks.

But what about the awful tragedy of all these dreamers reaching for something more, people in their prime, heading out on a breathtaking adventure, knowing they might die but really not anticipating that they will and surely hoping not? People causing insurmountable grief among their loved ones? As a mother I would never get over it if one of those bodies littering the mountainside was one of my sons. Somehow I would have to get him back, whatever it cost me, if I had to do it myself and die making the attempt; but I would never lose the hideous picture of his awful death, possibly within earshot of people who might or might not be willing or able to help him. That is what would haunt me: those people aiming for the summit regardless of the number of bodies they had to clamber over, because there's a lot of money or kudos at stake. People who probably salute a dying man with a certain amount of sympathy but shudder and move on, leaving him to die alone.

And yet, as a person who takes great pleasure in pitting myself against the elements, out there alone (on a much smaller scale, you understand, but in stark and hostile wilderness areas just the same, where people die), I think I might take a certain amount of comfort from knowing that my mortal remains might point the way through the mountains for later generations, people living their dream, people who will make it out the other side the richer in spirit for it all.

But not for people who are doing it commercially or cynically, either as buyers or sellers, oh no. Everest should not be a marketplace or a motorway. Let's keep it a dream worth pursuing, a place of solitary wilderness, for those few people who are genuinely able to do it in the true spirit of mountaineering, not the jaded millionaires in pursuit of the ultimate 'selfie'.
In reply to Dave 88:

> Ok I didn't know that. I think calling it racist is a bit of a leap though.

Three climbers on that Indian team summited together then died in quick succession. One account from someone on that expedition has confused the situation it seems - so there is a possibility that the body is that of Dorje Morup. It just seems somehow disrespectful that there is still this uncertainty - I'm sure the people on that expedition know who was wearing what, and possibly the Japanese team they interacted with.

I suspect probably the info is out there somewhere - maybe in a Japanese or Indian account of the incident, but it hasn't crossed over into English/Western accounts - hence the body of a man is just referred to by his boots. I can't imagine a British climber getting 'nicknamed' in the same way.
Dave 88 - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Dave 88)
>
> I suspect probably the info is out there somewhere - maybe in a Japanese or Indian account of the incident, but it hasn't crossed over into English/Western accounts - hence the body of a man is just referred to by his boots.

That doesn't make it racist, it just means western climbers don't know who he is.

I wonder what Indian climbers call him.

It's all pretty dire stuff anyway. When you're routinely using dead bodies as cairns, something's a bit wrong.
keith-ratcliffe on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: To clarify my post from last night see this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Shadows-Falling-Joe-Simpson/dp/0099756110 for a discussion on the topic from someone who has been there. Its not easy reading.
MikeStuart26 on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: With that subject title curiosity kicks in, and you'd think dead bodies on Everest is something you'd except to see but not something you'd think of consciously, if that makes sense; pretty grim to say the least though.

Feel for the families not having a body to say goodbye to.
Choss on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

Morbidly fascinating. Would make for an Interesting photo/art exhibition for Someone.

For some reason the surreal quality of the Colour and texture of Mallorys skin actually creeps me out everyTime i see it.
Jamie B - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:

> Everest should not be a marketplace or a motorway. Let's keep it a dream worth pursuing, a place of solitary wilderness, for those few people who are genuinely able to do it in the true spirit of mountaineering, not the jaded millionaires in pursuit of the ultimate 'selfie'.

I think you are over-simplifying the motivations that send a wide diaspora of people to the highest mountains. To suggest that everyone on a commercial expedition is trying to buy their way to self-aggrandisement is simply not true - people have mortgaged eveything to get onto expeditions. Who are we to deny them that dream or say that ours is more worthy?

Anyway, it's a pointless discussion. Commercial ascents of Everest are not going to stop and neither, unfortunately, will the dead bodies.

victorclimber - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: just another reason not to go there..
IainRUK - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to blondel)
>
> [...]
>
> I think you are over-simplifying the motivations that send a wide diaspora of people to the highest mountains. To suggest that everyone on a commercial expedition is trying to buy their way to self-aggrandisement is simply not true - people have mortgaged eveything to get onto expeditions. Who are we to deny them that dream or say that ours is more worthy?
>
> Anyway, it's a pointless discussion. Commercial ascents of Everest are not going to stop and neither, unfortunately, will the dead bodies.

Aye totally agree..
blondel - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

> To suggest that everyone on a commercial expedition is trying to buy their way to self-aggrandisement is simply not true - people have mortgaged eveything to get onto expeditions. Who are we to deny them that dream or say that ours is more worthy?
>
> Anyway, it's a pointless discussion. Commercial ascents of Everest are not going to stop and neither, unfortunately, will the dead bodies.

Oh, I'm not being precious about dreams. Someone who mortgages his house in his bid to ascend Everest is certainly as entitled to his dream as I am to mine. Likewise the Nepalese guide who makes a living out of other people's dreams is as entitled to a livelihood as I am.

I said cynical, I said commercial (Oxford dictionary: making or intended to make a profit - NB making a profit, not making a living). Of course commercial ascents of Everest are not going to stop. Neither are lots of other things I find hard to swallow; but that doesn't make them any more palatable to me.
jon on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:

> NB making a profit, not making a living

Well that's a strange way to look at it. How can you make a living without making a profit?
blondel - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to jon:

Good point. I do it every day. I make enough to live on (just), but I certainly don't make a profit. Profit is over and above running costs, and running costs are allowed to include staying alive.
Spike - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:
> (In reply to jon)
>
> Good point. I do it every day. I make enough to live on (just), but I certainly don't make a profit. Profit is over and above running costs, and running costs are allowed to include staying alive.

I think this area of profit over "enough to live" is going to be a tough argument to make. Depends what standard you want to live at - and I suspect the standards of Nepali porters and their families are at one end of the scale and most of us are somewhere in the middle - we want more than just living wages, we want to go on holidays, buy kit, run a car, run a bike, treat our loved ones to nice presents etc, and further along the scale are those who we might regard as earning "excessive wages". However I don't think we can safely criticise people for making a *reasonable* profit
blondel - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Spike:

This is like the argument the other day over whether someone on benefits is entitled to a smartphone, and it belongs on another thread. My point is that if money or kudos - or even a dream - is being given a higher value than a human being who is suffering or even dying, then - as someone said above - we have surely got something wrong. Human bodies as litter on a commercial highway? - is that really acceptable?
Spike - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:

dear Blondel, it may well belong on another thread - you raised it on this one.

However to return to the main point, the photos disgusted me and saddened me yes, but I still don't think your point is convincing. Sadly we humans allow our dreams (as you put it) to overtake a wide range of norms and moral positions when we are "going for a goal" - in particular one where our brains are starved of oxygen and our normal thinking may not be as thorough as it might be when sat at home.

I questioned myself - what is it that I find disgusting about those photos? I've climbed a number of larger mountains on routes where I know people have died, sometimes in the Alps I even climb past plaques detailing those tragedies. I seem to be able to square that with myself - however in the OP's post we see the actual results of those tragedies almost face to face. I ask myself why do we feel it is ok to climb alpine routes littered with tragedies (but where people have moved the dead bodies away) as opposed to Everest (same tragedies but where they havent moved the dead away, but of course where it is more difficult to do so). Are we being squeamish or is there some fundamental belief that burying the dead is a must? For me, I conclude that my strong feeling of being uncomfortable with those photos and the events that led to them is nothing at all to do with commercial operations but rather a sadness that I might do the same as other climbers had clearly done - namely walk past people in trouble - that doesn't come down to any cost of expedition but a personal choice. I hope I would take the right decision when faced with that situation.
sbc_10 - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

This picture recently appeared on the UKC folder.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=229978

There are many issues contained here, best left for another thread,but if you take your eyes away from the peak itself you will see the human tragedy, almost overlooked.



Goucho on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Spike:
> (In reply to blondel)
>
> dear Blondel, it may well belong on another thread - you raised it on this one.
>
> However to return to the main point, the photos disgusted me and saddened me yes, but I still don't think your point is convincing. Sadly we humans allow our dreams (as you put it) to overtake a wide range of norms and moral positions when we are "going for a goal" - in particular one where our brains are starved of oxygen and our normal thinking may not be as thorough as it might be when sat at home.
>
> I questioned myself - what is it that I find disgusting about those photos? I've climbed a number of larger mountains on routes where I know people have died, sometimes in the Alps I even climb past plaques detailing those tragedies. I seem to be able to square that with myself - however in the OP's post we see the actual results of those tragedies almost face to face. I ask myself why do we feel it is ok to climb alpine routes littered with tragedies (but where people have moved the dead bodies away) as opposed to Everest (same tragedies but where they havent moved the dead away, but of course where it is more difficult to do so). Are we being squeamish or is there some fundamental belief that burying the dead is a must? For me, I conclude that my strong feeling of being uncomfortable with those photos and the events that led to them is nothing at all to do with commercial operations but rather a sadness that I might do the same as other climbers had clearly done - namely walk past people in trouble - that doesn't come down to any cost of expedition but a personal choice. I hope I would take the right decision when faced with that situation.

We all know that the reason bodies are not removed from Everest, is the obvious logistical problems.

However, we have to seriously question a situation where a dead body is built into the route description! Irrespective of the logistics, there is a certain callous cynicism in striding over corpses (let alone striding over somebody dying) in order to be another member of the 'cast of hundreds' to do the same.

And don't tell me that the vast majority of people who pay to be guided up Everest, are doing it for anything more than dinner party bragging rights! Because if they were doing it because they want the adventure and real meaning associated with climbing a mountain, and the real challenge, they would do it under their own steam, as opposed to paying to be wet nursed up it by guides on fixed ropes, with hot and cold running sherpas, and queuing up like punters at the January sales for the summit.

I also think the use of the term 'tragedy' to describe any loss of life on Everest is incorrect. Unfortunate and sad yes, but if we deliberately put ourselves in potentially dangerous situations for the pursuit of what is at the end of the day a 'leisure' activity, and it all goes tits up, then that's just the obvious consequences of the inherent risk associated with it.

I have lost several dear friends in the mountains (including 3 on Everest), but not one of those has been tragic - sad and deeply upsetting yes, but never tragic.

A 3 year old child dying of leukemia, or someone getting killed in a hit and run accident or a terrorist attack, that is tragic.

But someone dying whilst voluntarily partaking in a potentially high-risk leisure activity, is not.
Murko Fuzz - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

I think leaving a body/dying person on a mountain is gutless.
matthewtraver - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

This makes me f*cking sick. It looks like a war zone of frozen corpses.
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Neil Williams - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Murko Fuzz:

There comes a point on that kind of stuff where not to leave them could well mean to die yourself, though. If you can't actually save them as they are already a dead body...

Neil
Gav M - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

At least none of them are climbers shooting selfies with the corpses in the background, that would be really tasteless.
blondel - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Spike:

Okay, I'll answer your argument about making a profit vs making a living on this thread, but only in the context of this thread. It's not about degrees of profit or standards of living, it's about the value you place on a human life. To walk on past someone dying in the name of staying alive yourself is possibly (but not necessarily) acceptable; to walk on past someone dying for the sake of making enough money for some shiny kit, a holiday, or even a nice present for someone else is - I'm sorry - certainly not acceptable.

And while I acknowledge that moral positions go by the board in extreme circumstances, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have any moral positions. I don't know if you're a parent; but as a woman who put 100% of everything I did into raising my children during the years they needed it, I assure you that there is nothing in the universe more valuable than a human life. Certainly not shiny kit, holidays or nice presents.

A few years ago I was putting out my bin bags early one morning, a gorgeous April morning, cherry blossom everywhere, pastel sky, birds singing, great day to be alive. My neighbour came out with her own bin bags and I called across the road to her, exclaiming about what a wonderful day it was. she looked at me, she gulped, she choked, and she ran away crying. I found out later in the week that her son was missing, presumed dead, halfway through a personal, private and unsponsored attempt to climb the highest peak on every continent.

I never saw her smile again, or any other member of her family. They understood why he did it, and they were tremendously proud of him and even set up a charity designed specifically to encourage other youngsters to challenge themselves on wilderness adventures; but believe me, it was most certainly a tragedy, even though her son knew and accepted the risks he was taking.
Spike - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:
> (In reply to Spike)
>
> Okay, I'll answer your argument about making a profit vs making a living on this thread, but only in the context of this thread. It's not about degrees of profit or standards of living, it's about the value you place on a human life. To walk on past someone dying in the name of staying alive yourself is possibly (but not necessarily) acceptable; to walk on past someone dying for the sake of making enough money for some shiny kit, a holiday, or even a nice present for someone else is - I'm sorry - certainly not acceptable.
>
I didn't suggest it was acceptable, I was suggesting that it is difficult to define the difference between making a living and making a profit. My point was a general one, in response to your earlier post where you raised it.
> And while I acknowledge that moral positions go by the board in extreme circumstances, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have any moral positions. I don't know if you're a parent; but as a woman who put 100% of everything I did into raising my children during the years they needed it, I assure you that there is nothing in the universe more valuable than a human life. Certainly not shiny kit, holidays or nice presents.

I won't bring my own personal circumstances into this, thanks for your assurance that there is nothing more valuable than a human life, I agree and was of the same opinion.
>
> A few years ago I was putting out my bin bags early one morning, a gorgeous April morning, cherry blossom everywhere, pastel sky, birds singing, great day to be alive. My neighbour came out with her own bin bags and I called across the road to her, exclaiming about what a wonderful day it was. she looked at me, she gulped, she choked, and she ran away crying. I found out later in the week that her son was missing, presumed dead, halfway through a personal, private and unsponsored attempt to climb the highest peak on every continent.
>
> I never saw her smile again, or any other member of her family. They understood why he did it, and they were tremendously proud of him and even set up a charity designed specifically to encourage other youngsters to challenge themselves on wilderness adventures; but believe me, it was most certainly a tragedy, even though her son knew and accepted the risks he was taking.

Sad story, you'll note that I also referred to these deaths as tragic, others disagreed and I see their point of view also.

blondel - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Spike:

Yes, sorry, my subsequent paragraphs weren't aimed at you specifically: I should have made that clear.

In reply to Denni:

I'm arguing slightly off-topic. I'm talking about climbing over people dying. Climbing over people already dead is a different subject. It's too late to do anything to help them, and should we let the bodies stop other people from pursuing their own dream/goal of reaching the summit?

I still go back to the commercialisation of the whole thing, and the cynicism of making it seem as easy as possible so that anyone can give it a go if they've got enough money. Yes, I know it's never 'easy' in any form, but we have opened Everest up to the 'I want it and I want it NOW' mentality that our world is geared to. The point about Everest is that it is mysterious and unattainable to all but the very few. By reducing it to something you can buy if you can afford it and train hard enough (seemingly) we've corrupted its essential nature and we've made it into something that probably isn't worth dying for anyhow. It's hardly the ultimate quest into the unknown when you're queueing for it, is it?

That is absolutely not intended to belittle those people who have died making the attempt. RIP. And to those who intend to give it their all now, and are willing to die in the attempt if that's the way it is - well, there are worse ways to go, ways that are harder for the people left behind too. All power to you.
imkevinmc - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:
> (In reply to Spike)
>
> The point about Everest is that it is mysterious and unattainable to all but the very few.

No it's not. It's achievable by many - hence the interest.

Why bestow spiritual attributes on a mountain
Tom Knowles - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:
>
I'm talking about climbing over people dying. Climbing over people already dead is a different subject. It's too late to do anything to help them, and should we let the bodies stop other people from pursuing their own dream/goal of reaching the summit?
>
> I still go back to the commercialisation of the whole thing, and the cynicism of making it seem as easy as possible so that anyone can give it a go if they've got enough money. Yes, I know it's never 'easy' in any form, but we have opened Everest up to the 'I want it and I want it NOW' mentality that our world is geared to. The point about Everest is that it is mysterious and unattainable to all but the very few. By reducing it to something you can buy if you can afford it and train hard enough (seemingly) we've corrupted its essential nature and we've made it into something that probably isn't worth dying for anyhow. It's hardly the ultimate quest into the unknown when you're queueing for it, is it?


Is it right that someone's incompetence or someone's summit fever puts other climbers in jeopardy or stops them from achieving their own ambition? You said above that climbing over people already dead (rather than dying) is acceptable because nothing can be done for them. But it's known that for many who are not yet dead it is also too late. Joe Simpson opens his book, Dark Shadows Falling, with the argument that the dying should at least have someone to sit with them in their final moments, even though nothing can be done to bring them back to life. But that act of sitting with someone (even for a short amount of time) could, and probably would, erase any chance of subsequently attaining the summit. Time is as precious as oxygen on summit day and there are very few people who can make two attempts at Everest in the same season.

So what? They're all billionaires aren't they? Or maybe they're postal workers, like Doug Hansen, remortgaging their homes after 25 years of hard work and paying their bills every month. In 1995, Doug had paid Adventure Consultants around $65,000 for the chance to summit Everest. He was turned back by Rob Hall, the leader of AC, just a few hundred yards from the summit because the preset "turn-around time" had been reached. The following year, the disastrous 1996 season, Rob Hall offered a substantial discount to Doug to try again. It has been speculated that it was perhaps a combination of added determination (on Doug's part) and guilt (on Rob's part) that contributed to the two men dying that year as they kept pushing on for the summit when they should have once again turned back.

We know that many people attempt Everest who don't have the background for it, people who have little experience of altitude, of climbing, or of even fastening crampons correctly. Should a climber who has put his house on the line, who has scrimped and saved for years, who has trained and served an apprenticeship on many other mountains, be condemned for walking past someone who has done none of that, someone who is suffering from summit fever long before stepping foot on the mountain, someone who is fated to put others at risk through their own megalomania?

BTW, I've never climbed on Everest and the above are just thoughts, personally I'm not sure anyone can know the answers to some of these dilemmas until they're actually there in the moment.
Simon4 - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:

> ... there is nothing in the universe more valuable than a human life.

Sorry, that cannot possibly be true for any climber in the Himalaya or any Alpinist.

If all you wanted to do was to maximise the length of your life or other peoples, you would never go near either, certainly you would not undertake serious or committing climbs there or anywhere. Obviously Alpine or Himalayan climbing increases the chance of your death or of your partners (chance of premature death that is, death comes to us all anyway, whether we climb steep marginal ice in a thaw or spend our days sitting on a sofa watching football).

Which is not to say that I would want anything to do with the circus on Everest, if I ever went back to Himalayan climbing, which is very unlikely. But it is possible to have very remote, very serious, fully committing climbing in the Alps, where you still end up in a position of total self-reliance, committed to finishing the route or probably dying. This Summer descending off this :

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=223270

in a semi-blizzard, with visibility of never more than 100m, we were certainly risking death at most moments (my death would probably have delighted various vicious gloating Guardian readers on this site, but that is irrelevant to this point), in the storm no helicopter would have come for us, in the very unlikely event that one had, it would never have found us. But mountaineering is all about commitment and personal responsibility, so the situation was wildly exhilerating and satisfying.

It seems that the situation on Everest is now so urbanised that it resembles a modern city environment. Then, people cease to be mutually supportive mountaineers and become either uninvolved onlookers or looters, hence the way that the complete lack of social cohesion was exposed in the riots in Britain, as compared to the quiet co-operation in Japan following the Tsunami. Most people don't really care about other people not in there immediate circle, they just feel obliged to mouth the required platitudes. In an urban situation, or now on Everest, this just becomes obvious.
Tall Clare - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon4:

Good post.
In reply to Simon4:
> (my death would probably have delighted various vicious gloating Guardian readers on this site, but that is irrelevant to this point)

This is a rather sad claim in at least two ways Simon.
drolex - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Tom Knowles:
> But that act of sitting with someone (even for a short amount of time) could, and probably would, erase any chance of subsequently attaining the summit. Time is as precious as oxygen on summit day and there are very few people who can make two attempts at Everest in the same season.

> Should a climber who has put his house on the line, who has scrimped and saved for years, who has trained and served [...], be condemned for walking past someone who has done none of that [...], someone who is fated to put others at risk through their own megalomania?

Bloody hell, yes they should! Are their ethics so flexible that they would choose to fulfill your dreams over the chance (even very remote) to help someone? I hope I will never share a rope with someone who thinks in this way.
Jimbo W on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon4:

> > ... there is nothing in the universe more valuable than a human life.

> Sorry, that cannot possibly be true for any climber in the Himalaya or any Alpinist.
> If all you wanted to do was to maximise the length of your life or other peoples, you would never go near either, certainly you would not undertake serious or committing climbs there or anywhere.

Putting such a high value on human life isn't synonymous with "maximising the length of your life". However, it is about priorities, ethics, and I agree with blondel, that putting an ascent ahead of helping someone dying on the mountain is pretty impoverished statement about humanity. Of course, being the individualistic guy you are, an island unto yourself, you probably see more value in ambition, and self achievements than in reaching out to help another, even if its to fail in that attempt!
Oliiver - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: couldn't it be argued though, without the risk of death, Everest wouldn't be what it is?
drunken monkey - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni: I find it pretty horrifying. Not because its pictures of bodies (I've unfortunately seen enough). But because, behind every picture is desperate story for survival, and most likely in at least some of those pictures, some of those guys will have been left - While the rest of their team press on for the summit.
franksnb - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Oliiver: no it couldn't. think type.
Duncan Bourne - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Oliiver:
It could. you are right.
That possibility of death on Everest must play a significant part in how it is viewed and approached
Murko Fuzz - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

It perhaps could.
VwJap - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:
Most die on the way down, when they have spent all there oxygen, energy and adrenalin, so have all the others in their party, so it's move on or die for the others in the party, some have abandoned their summit to save others, Lincoln hall springs to mind, but he was able to walk under his own steam, although he needed 12 Sherpas and 4 climbers to bring him down, and some have abandoned their summit to sit with dying people in their final hours, Ian woodhall and his wife springs to mind (although there are some bad stories about Ian from earlier), and some have died because of weather, health issues, slips and altitude sickness, and their own stupidity (climbing on their own with no support(i.e radio comms)),

IMO of course
VwJap - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to VwJap:

Oh and it's called the death zone for a reason ;)
drunken monkey - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to VwJap:

I totally understand that. But there has been instances of expeditions leaving climbers in a bad way to push on for the summit. Only to find them sat in the same place dead on the way back down.

I suppose if you can go out there with it clear in your mind that its "every man and woman for themselves" then fair enough.

I couldn't walk past a dying person just to get to the top of a mountain. No matter how much its cost financially.

I realise how difficult or damn near impossible rescue is at extreme altitude. But to do nothing just doesnt even register with me.

ads.ukclimbing.com
r0x0r.wolfo - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

It would be nice to have the attitude that 'if you can't afford to give up your summit attempt to aid another human being then you can't afford to climb the mountain.'
Tim Chappell - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:


I've never been that high, and probably I never will. (I don't much want to summit Everest, and I doubt many people do unless they really, really want to.)

But how to explain the leaving people to die business?

Maybe it's a bit like being out of your depth and tired in rough, cold water with a strong and unhelpful current. (A bit. Of course I can see there must be plenty of differences.) I've been in that situation, though not in any very extreme way. But even when it's not too extreme, it's just incredible how weak you are, how helpless you are, and how hard it is to do anything at all.

Help other people? In that situation you can barely keep afloat, never mind do anything else. Someone else can be ten feet from you and still be totally out of reach. You don't make any *conscious* decision not to help them, or to put your needs before theirs. It's just that you can barely do anything at all, and what you do, you do on auto-pilot.

It was absolutely horrible being in that situation--especially as the other people in it, the ones I wasn't helping, were my own children. I was appalled at myself afterwards for not doing more. But the thing is--I did everything I could, and it was almost nothing at all.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

I understand what you are saying. I don't think anyone who has the strength to push past the injured person for the summit and descend the mountain successfully afterwards is in that helpless/unable to help others state that you describe.
Bruce Hooker - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

I wonder if there are any other mountains or mountaineering circumstances in which a party of climbers, coming across a person in difficulty, dying, would continue past to try and reach the summit rather than stop their ascent immediately and set about getting the victim down?

I doubt it myself, and in many countries such action would result in criminal procedures being set in motion, which really just proves that the whole Everest business has gone way beyond decency. It's time to stop it, for the governments concerned to take measures to take care of the bodies left on the climb and impose rules on the commercial operators to avoid future bodies, or living people, being abandoned. If this made the cost too high then so be it, refuse future permits on the mountain. This might be the best solution anyway come to think of it.

In reply to SimonB:

> my death would probably have delighted various vicious gloating Guardian readers on this site, but that is irrelevant to this point...

Wow, you are on a roll at present! A little excessive, don't you think :-)
abseil on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> I wonder if there are any other mountains or mountaineering circumstances in which a party of climbers, coming across a person in difficulty, dying, would continue past to try and reach the summit rather than stop their ascent immediately and set about getting the victim down?

Good post and good point. I imagined finding someone alone with two broken legs just below Cloggy (or on Elbrus for that matter). Who would just walk past? Not me.
John Stainforth - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Bruce, I am with you here. The whole thing is very sad: if the climbing fraternity really can't help each other in such situations (because climbers at that altitude are apparently too weak and feeble... or are too selfish?), and are not even prepared to bring out their dead, then the fraternity must ask itself whether this behavior is consistent with the traditions of the sport and the law.


Milesy - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to John Stainforth:

You assuming that Everest climbers are in the climbing fraternity? While some are, the majority aren't. There's even been occasions here where people have joined up to this forum to punt all their post Everest / 8000m gear after their ascent with no inclinations to ever don crampons ever again
Walter Mitty - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to blondel:

Beautifully written.
Walter Mitty - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Spike:

You say you've "climbed a number of larger mountains". You've found some larger than Everest?
Walter Mitty - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon4:

Well said!
radson - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Im curious as to your source of your assertion that the majority of everest climbers are not in the climbing fraternity?
estivoautumnal - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Walter Mitty:

> You say you've "climbed a number of larger mountains". You've found some larger than Everest?

Eh?
Blizzard - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

I knew all about the bodies on Everest. It certainly put me off wanting to visit that peak. Seeing pictures like that on the internet is one thing, actually passing them by on your way up, is an entirely different thing altogether.

I've read a lot about that mountain, sadly not much of it is good.
mgdaviso - on 29 Nov 2013
Grim.

very grim.

But the body is just a shell for the soul, once the soul has departed there is no use for the body, so not burying these bodies does not bother me, but I'm not going to be queueing up to go see them any time soon.
TOS on 29 Nov 2013 - 10.44.23.219 [dab-ell1-h-80-7.dab.02.net]
In reply to radson:

> Im curious as to your source of your assertion that the majority of everest climbers are not in the climbing fraternity?

Answer - His imagination.
He says that because that's what he wants to believe...
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to TOS:

None of the people I know who've been up Everest are actual climbers. Admittedly that only makes three, but still.

That's not counting people who've guided others or made independent ascents, of course. I'm talking about the clients, as I assume was the previous poster.

jcm
TOS on 29 Nov 2013 - 10.44.23.219 [dab-ell1-h-80-7.dab.02.net]
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I too only know a few people who've been up (or attempted) Everest, but of them I know one climbs Scottish VI and the other E1. I'd regard these people as 'climbers', no?

I haven't been up Everest myself, but have been to altitude a fair few times, and of those people I've known from that, the majority of them now concentrate on technical climbing, whether that be sport, trad or winter.

As for the comment about 'selling all their gear', well for a kick off, HA expeditions can be hard work, uncomfortable, expensive and involve a lot of time away from family / friends / partner / work. I can fully understand why someone might call it a day if they've tens of thousands of pounds and a couple of months on Everest.
If you continue with winter or alpine climbing, your Oly Mons boots and RAB Expedition down suit isn't really suitable for your winter weekend on the Ben, so what's the most sensible thing to do with it if you're not planning on plodding up another HA peak, that's right - sell it...
radson - on 30 Nov 2013
Would be kind of interesting to know what percentage of people after trying or climbing to the top of the big 'E' don't don crampons again.

Excluding sherpas who make up the vast majority and then guides, we are left with independents and clients. Im thinking of the roughly 30 people i know in this category, maybe 5-10 don't really climb anymore. Although as alluded to above, some just cant afford to climb anything big and have been working their asses of since their return to pay for it all.
Howard J - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Denni:

I get rather bored with the reverse snobbery around Everest. The UKC view seems to be that it is not worthy of the attention of Real Mountaineers. At the same time, anyone attempting it is denigrated for NOT being a Real Mountaineer.

I know two people who've been there. They are both climbers with years of experience. One suffered a broken leg very high on the mountain, and his companions abandoned their own summit bids to help him down. He also received significant assistance from other expeditions. Without that help he would certainly have died and would now be another grim landmark on the way to the summit.

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