/ is climbing everest with oxygen cheating

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windjammer - on 06 May 2014
why do mountaineers use oxygen and fixed ropes to climb,surely this is a form of cheating,why dont they climb mountains alpine style surely this is the purest way of going up a mountain.if you use oxygen then surely you are not realy climbing at 8000m
cranc on 06 May 2014
In reply to windjammer:

Back under your bridge! Try to come up with a better topic to troll people.

victorclimber - on 06 May 2014
In reply to windjammer:

Everest has been done lots of times without oxygen tanks ,so should be tried without by everyone ,,
3 Names - on 06 May 2014
In reply to windjammer:

Everest has never been climbed without oxygen
AdCo82 on 06 May 2014
In reply to 3 Names:

Good answer.....

Supplementary Oxygen haha
Tedious Oldfart - on 06 May 2014
In reply to 3 Names:

Touche
windjammer - on 06 May 2014
In reply to cranc:

douche
Robert Durran - on 06 May 2014
In reply to windjammer:

Climbing Everest with bottled oxygen is no more cheating than climbing it with food or with clothing. What is unacceptable is that using bottled oxygen almost inevitably means, unlike eating or being dressed, climbing in a siege style expedition in order to get the oxygen bottles up there; there wouldn't be an issue with climbing alpine style and having a small bottle of oxygen in your sack along with your sandwiches and spare jumper.
andrewmcleod - on 06 May 2014
In reply to windjammer:

One day technology will have advanced to the point where every climber can carry a lightweight personal oxygen concentrator, powered by a compact battery and/or solar panels, and it will be very difficult to justify not taking one (given that at 8000m you are already dying without oxygen). This will be a much better solution than oxygen bottles and siege tactics (as Robert says).
Neil Williams - on 06 May 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

That, and littering the mountain with discarded bottles, bits of tent etc, which I can't help but find a bit unsavoury.

Neil
Damo on 07 May 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Climbing Everest with bottled oxygen is no more cheating than climbing it with food or with clothing.

Not quite. At least not yet. In the wider sense it's all irrelevant, but in the sense of the rules of the game/sport/lifestyle/activity, there are shifting standards.

Everest has been done around 200 times without bottled O2 so it can certainly be done, and not just by a genetic elite.

However nobody has climbed Everest without clothing, without eating/drinking, without crampons etc. So removing those things is currently an unrealistic standard to aim for.

Removing bottled O2 is not - it has proven to be unnecessary hundreds of times, and given the ingrained tenets of alpinism such as simplicity, minimalism, elegance, nature, rules of 'fairness' etc it has no place in any mountaineering ascent of note.

The greater risk to Sherpa life inherent in its current way of use only reinforces how unacceptable it is.

I think within the context of alpinism, bottled oxygen is cheating. Within the context of its current use on Everest, it is immoral.
Al Evans on 07 May 2014
In reply to Damo:

Oxygen bottles dumped on The West Ridge of Everest (not by our team I would insist, we didn't use oxygen at this low height, 27,000ft) Our sherpas brought as many of them down as they could manage but why a non commercial expedition would need to use and dump their bottles at 27,000ft is baffling.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=103425
Gordon Stainforth - on 07 May 2014
victorclimber - on 07 May 2014
In reply to 3 Names:

thought that might get response that's why I said TANKS
Trevers - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Climbing Everest with bottled oxygen is no more cheating than climbing it with food or with clothing. What is unacceptable is that using bottled oxygen almost inevitably means, unlike eating or being dressed, climbing in a siege style expedition in order to get the oxygen bottles up there; there wouldn't be an issue with climbing alpine style and having a small bottle of oxygen in your sack along with your sandwiches and spare jumper.

I did it in my wellies the other night after a few pints down the pub in the pouring rain.
Trevers - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Damo:

> However nobody has climbed Everest without clothing, without eating/drinking, without crampons etc. So removing those things is currently an unrealistic standard to aim for.

Or without an iPad, so far as I know
Dave Garnett - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Everest has been done around 200 times without bottled O2 so it can certainly be done, and not just by a genetic elite.
>

Not sure about that. I'd have thought the ability to function at over 8000 metres was pretty closely related to a particular genotype. The people who manage it are ruthlessly self-selecting subset and lots of extremely fit climbers get altitude sickness at 6000m.
Stani49 - on 07 May 2014
In reply to windjammer:

In which case, climbing with my harness and scuba diving with air is cheating.

We are not all Reinhold Messner.
Damo on 07 May 2014
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Not sure about that. I'd have thought the ability to function at over 8000 metres was pretty closely related to a particular genotype. The people who manage it are ruthlessly self-selecting subset and lots of extremely fit climbers get altitude sickness at 6000m.

Evidence for this genotype? I know Alex Lowe and Ed Viesturs were both tested and found to have high VO2max but likewise Messner, Loretan, Kukuzka, Ruedi and others were tested and found to be near normal. There are so many other variables in climbing high.

I agree it is a very self-selecting group, which is important in this case, given the psychology and willpower needed.

Until recently O2 was only used on Everest and occasionally K2. In the last 10-15 years it has become used a lot more, mainly by commercial operators and their clients on Manaslu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse etc. Many hundreds of people have summited peaks above 8000m without bottled O2.

The fact that "lots of extremely fit climbers get altitude sickness at 6000m" doesn't really mean anything. To some degree nearly everyone gets a bit 'sick' above 6000m, if only mild AMS. Most improve and climb higher, a few don't. Some fit people aren't used to sitting still, run around too much and get sick. Some fit people push too hard and get sick. Some fit people do just fine.
john arran - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Stani49:

> We are not all Reinhold Messner.

We're not all Ron Fawcett either but since his free ascent of The Prow and a great many other free ascents by many people on Raven Tor it would now be generally seen as 'cheating' to use aid on any of the routes there.

I think the OP, in troll style admittedly, is asking whether using supplementary O2 on Everest is now comparable to using aid on Raven Tor.
Robert Durran - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Damo:

> I think within the context of alpinism, bottled oxygen is cheating.

So when I make my solo alpine style ascent of Everest, what else other than my small bottle of oxygen would I have to leave out of my sack for it not to be considered cheating? Energy gels, paracetamol, caffeine tablets, amphetamines? All these have assisted alpine style climbing in the past, but also been dispensed with successfully.

> Within the context of its current use on Everest, it is immoral.

I think I probably agree with that.

Dave Garnett - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Damo:

I agree that it's complicated and multifactorial but it's pretty obvious that there must be genes controlling key bits of physiology and biochemistry that determine altitude tolerance. the carbonic anhydrase family is strongly implicated but from what I've seen (and this isn't something I'm massively interested in) studies seem a bit thin on good linkage, let alone a plausible mechanism, for other markers (ACE or NOS, for example).

You're right about the behavioural variables too, but when you get experienced and fit mountaineers who just seem to hit a ceiling (not related to running about, like sitting on buses in the Andes!) and become seriously ill very quickly, that has to have a genetic component.

Robert Durran - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Not sure about that. I'd have thought the ability to function at over 8000 metres was pretty closely related to a particular genotype. The people who manage it are ruthlessly self-selecting subset and lots of extremely fit climbers get altitude sickness at 6000m.

Absolutely. I get it at 3000m and can just about struggle to 6000m after about six weeks of acclimatising (and therefore really fit). The idea that there is not a strong genetic component is ludicrous.

radson - on 07 May 2014
So I'm an immoral cheater.

I definitely dont think I'm a cheater. I have always been incredibly transparent with the 'style' of ascent. I was not in a race, nor competition. My conscience is clear on that front.

Am I immoral? Here my conscience is not as clear. I dont agree that Sherpas (or other Nepalis) are forced to climb. Most Sherpas have not climbed Everest. There are a mulitude of Sherpas working in various other vocations. The Sherpa to whom I am closest has the swagger of a rock star in Thamel.

At the coal face at EBC, I never pondered too long on the risks that Sherpas took going through the icefall a zilllion times. I saw Sherpas in runners, racing through the icefall in a couple of hours where i would take 4-6. I have been through that icefall 6 times I think... and actually thought the journey was fairly f*cking magnificent especially as the sun rose with Pumori in the background.

I guess my disquiet began when I heard of other teams using the 'turbo' option to get clients to the top. Instead of the 2-3 bottles to get to the top, they were using 6-8. Initially I got on my high horse and thought, well I am better than those people as I am using less oxygen. Then I realised thats not true at all. 2 bottles or 8 bottles, someone else has taken those bottles to Camp 1,2,3,4.

So whats my opinion now? I still think Sherpas should be masters of their own destiny. They have known that mountain for generations now. I hope sherpas get organised and demand much higher insurance payouts for death or injury. I also think they should limit the amount of times they go through the icefall and thus lesson the amount of gear and oxygen available to climb the mountain.

Am i immoral? I certainly could be persuaded I am. I, unlike other frequent visitors to Nepal, would never say that I have a deep bond with Sherpas or Nepalis, a spiritual connection as some would say. Those who I have met and established friendships with, I see guys who have families and have chosen to climb everest and want to climb Everest. I could never say to Ngima or Pemba. You shouldn't climb Everest any more or Cho Oyu or Ama Dablam. I really think thats there own personal decision.
Turdus torquatus on 07 May 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> One day technology will have advanced to the point where every climber can carry a lightweight personal oxygen concentrator

Marine Boy used to use "Oxygum", surely that would be a more compact solution. Can't understand why it hasn't caught on at altitude.
Damo on 07 May 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So when I make my solo alpine style ascent of Everest, what else other than my small bottle of oxygen would I have to leave out of my sack for it not to be considered cheating? Energy gels, paracetamol, caffeine tablets, amphetamines?

Yes. If you have amphetamines, you should give them to me.
Damo on 07 May 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> ...after about six weeks of acclimatising (and therefore really fit).

If you think the former somehow automatically leads to the latter, then your anecdotal data is unreliable. I'd blame methods before genetics, regardless of timespans.

You get fittest, strongest and healthiest at home. Six weeks in Nepal, Pakistan or Peru is a constant battle between oxygenating your blood and not getting sick or worn down from everything else.
Damo on 07 May 2014
In reply to radson:
I hope sherpas get organised and demand much higher insurance payouts for death or injury. I also think they should limit the amount of times they go through the icefall and thus lesson the amount of gear and oxygen available to climb the mountain.


I think that's the best short-term goal for the whole thing.

I'd like to see other changes on the Western side of the equation, but that will take time. I'm sure people will always want to climb Everest and there will always be Sherpas to help cos they want the money. So be it. I just wish the whole thing was more honest and accountable.

Of course there are rock-star Sherpas and rich Sherpas, and the choice really is theirs - now. It's the younger guys coming up who have none of that but still do multiple trips under the ice.
Robert Durran - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Damo:

> If you think the former somehow automatically leads to the latter, then your anecdotal data is unreliable.

All I meant was that spending six weeks going up and down mountains inevitably gets me fit (nothing to do with the altitude). I agree that there is not necessarily any correlation between fitness and acclimatisation

> I'd blame methods before genetics.

I disagree. Whenever I go to the mountains, everyone else acclimatises more easily than me whatever methods are used.

Robert Durran - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Damo:

> Yes. If you have amphetamines, you should give them to me.

I would if you looked like you needed them to keep going ;-)
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In reply to windjammer:
What a strange question you ask in the OP.

But it illustrates that antiEverestmania is getting out of control.

Yes, some awful things happen there. But not everything that happens on or is connected to Everest is bad.

We always hear of rich merchant bankers who have only climbed Snowdon throwing money to buy an ascent of Everest and not helping others in difficulty. We never hear of people helping eachother in difficulty or of good honest sensible capable climbers summiting. Why is that? Because good things don't happen there? No. Because good news stories don't fit with the current view of Everest as the circus of all mountaineering evil. Far more likely.


Post edited at 12:11
motoespresso - on 07 May 2014
In reply to windjammer:

I climbed Everest in my sleep once!
Dave Searle - on 07 May 2014
In reply to windjammer: yes

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