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Morality and altitude

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Starting this thread following a story about this Everest season when it has been reported that up to 40 climbers walked past a still alive or dying (depending on how you want to view this) fellow climber on the way up to tick the summit. There was a suggestion in the newspaper article that above a certain height it is not really possible to offer the same level of help that you might lower on the mountain. I am not going to comment on that specific case as I know nothing apart from a newspaper report often misleading but it raises huge general issues which I'm afraid to say are not new.

I've summitted Everest (albeit with bottled oxygen) and for me there was no point at any height when I wouldn't have offered any help or been incapable of some assistance. I could see in storm conditions it might be very difficult or worse but in decent weather with bottled oxygen and a large ammount of climbers attempting to summit I can't see why help can't be given.
Iain Ridgway 22 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell: I've said this on the other thread, but will repeat here.

For me it's not on. I couldn't leave someone to bag a peak, I think I could leave someone to save myself, i.e. on the descent, but to continue up? No, sorry I think they were wrong.

A big judgement as I know very little facts, but the guy was still alive, they left him to die to bag a peak, that's enough of the facts for me.

I'm suprised at Mark, he was left for weeks on Cook, yet they still staged a rescue. I expected more from him, but I've met the guy and he came across as incredibly strong single minded.
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I don't like to judge without hearing the full story and I would like to think that the guy was beyond hope and the others couldn't do anything and perhaps were struggling just to stay alive at that altitude. But I agree with the bloke who said "at least give the guy a hug." It must be better to die in someone's arms than be passed by. It's a terrible thing. Very tragic.
prana 22 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell: oi, copycat;O)
deserves not to be in the chatroom though


http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=2069

'This was only the latest in a number of thefts reported by strong, independent climbers on the mountain. Only last week, Simone Moro reported having his cache stolen on Everest south side.

Last year, young Polish climber Marcin Miotk found several of his camps emptied in his lone climb of the mountain late in the season. Like the Brazilians, the unguided climber ascended without supplementary oxygen and his life was jeopardized by the thefts.'


 Norrie Muir 22 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
> Starting this thread following a story about this Everest season when it has been reported that up to 40 climbers walked past a still alive or dying (depending on how you want to view this) fellow climber on the way up to tick the summit.

Dear Ian

I am with Kenton Cool's comment in yesterdays Observer: "A lot of people should not really be here. I ask myself, are they really mountaineers? Do they love the mountains? They keep to themselves and are not interested in the Sherpas and sitting and drinking beer with them. They are more interested in keeping up their websites.".

I believe we (mountaineers/climbers) would have did something.
Norrie
Iain Ridgway 22 May 2006
In reply to Alison Stockwell: "the others couldn't do anything and perhaps were struggling just to stay alive at that altitude"

I disagree, they had the energy for a summit attempt from what I've read.

If they didn't leave him on the way up then fair enough. But that's how I've understood it. If they left him on the way down then I sort of understand, so apologies if I've been harsh on them.
 Tom Briggs 22 May 2006
> I could see in storm conditions it might be very difficult or worse but in decent weather with bottled oxygen and a large ammount of climbers attempting to summit I can't see why help can't be given.

No, neither can I.

I will make one point though Ian. Is it moral to offer a place on a 'commerical' expedition, where you pay for oxygen as an extra? Fine if you are an experienced 8000m bagger a la Simone Moro (who traversed the mountain this week). But a lot of the people who get into difficulty on Everest are inexperienced climbers paying for cheap base camp services from unscrupulous providers who are happy to take their money. They get very little in the way of support (sherpas/02) and (as was the case last season on 20/21 May on the North side - you must remember as you were there).. go for it on a tenuous weather forecast, because they are simply running out of time/food.

I don't know/haven't read about David Sharp, but I would be sceptical about the circumstances of what happened without having a lot of different accounts from different people who were there. I know of a previous rescue from 8500m on the North side, when what was reported in the UK media was not exactly a true reflection of what happened, according to other sources. Plus the broader media doesn't appreciate that climbers can be on different parts of the route and have no idea what is going on above or below them. For example, our (Jagged Globe) team were accused of not assisting someone in 2004, when Kenton and team had no idea at the time that someone was in difficulty.



gdr 22 May 2006
There have been rescues from high up on Everest. In 2003, Conan Harrod fell and broke his leg above the first step on the north ridge (so above 8,500 m). Climbers from several teams collaborated to stretcher him down the north ridge. (Google for "Conan Harrod".)
In reply to Iain Ridgway:
> (In reply to Alison Stockwell) "the others couldn't do anything and perhaps were struggling just to stay alive at that altitude"
>
> I disagree, they had the energy for a summit attempt from what I've read.

You've seriously misquoted me and it's unacceptable.

I said "I'd like to think that....."

I don't know the facts and I don't claim to.

I want to think generously because I know one of the people who summitted at about that time and I believe him to be a nice person who wouldn't leave someone to die.
Iain Ridgway 22 May 2006
In reply to Alison Stockwell: Sorry, you've misunderstood my post.

In reply to Iain Ridgway:

That's OK. It's an emotive issue.
Iain Ridgway 22 May 2006
In reply to Alison Stockwell: Sorry, I'm at work, so trying to be quick replying to posts, should be more thorough.

Hope your friend got back OK, just goes to show even with all the money, oxygen, and gear, everest is still a major challenge.
luke_brown 22 May 2006
Not going to comment on the specific case as we don't really know the full details, but as I said in the other thread, there's no way I could walk past a person I knew to by in trouble or dying. Even if you coudn't physically do anything to save them, then the least you could do would be to comfort them as long as you could without putting yourself in danger.
In reply to Iain Ridgway:

It's OK. It's quite right that people should want to question the circumstances. Doubtless the facts will come out and there will be things to learn.
 Mike C 22 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I read this thinking it must be a rumour or something. Obviously from the replies it is not. Sorry, but it sickens me.

I'll never do it, but I guess I would get a buzz from climbing Everest. If I didn't make it, then it would still be there to have another go at. I'd like to think (never having been in this situation either) that I'd get a much bigger buzz from being able to save someone's life, or at least make their end a more peaceful one. That would be one thing I would never get another chance at.

I would like to think, & I hope, that anybody who passed this poor soul was too far out of it to actually realise the truth of it all. If not then I hope they can find a way of living with it. I'm not sure I could.

Just my twopence worth.
Mike
Dru 22 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

How do these people live with themselves afterwards, at the time driven by blind selfish ambition to summit at all costs, all compassion for a fellow human being lost.

The Everest circus never fails to amaze me with its total disregard for common decency, cowboy guides, syndicates that control the supply of bottled gas, fat cat clients in search of fame and fortune with little experience of mountains, they are sold ego trips and nothing is going to stop them.
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> Fine if you are an experienced 8000m bagger a la Simone Moro (who traversed the mountain this week).

Just for the record, Simone is not "just" a 8000m bagger, but a very experience all rounder who was doing (I think) his third or fourth Everest climb, has significant winter mileage in Himalaya and Tien Shan, climbs 8a and M9 etc.

More on topic, a couple of years ago I heard Simone recounting several horror stories about what normally happens on the normal routes of places like Everest, Cho Oyu, GII etc. His point was that there's a lot (not all, of course) of those people going on commercial climbis who're there for all the wrong reasons (cheap thrills, demonstrating something to themselves, or even career moves!). They're actually HATING the experience, and this bring out their worst impulses - in a emergency, they couldn't absolutely be relied upon.

Just to bring the whole thing a bit closer to home - this kind of thing happens all the time on places like Mt. Blanc or Matterhorn. Years ago I saw a German middle aged hiker have an heart attack on the final section of the Bosses ridge. The chap was obviously in danger, but a lot of those there (nearly 50 people) seemed to ignore the emergency, busy as they were catching some breath and taking pictures. Thankfully a couple of guides (who were climbing client-less) helped my partner and me to bring this guy down to the Tournette junction for the heli to pick him up - no one else even offered to help.
I didn't want this to be about this specific death as none of us here have the facts to be able to comment properely rather about the general issues. Here are a few of my thoughts:

- From my one year of experience there were many people on the mountain who in my opinion were very unequiped physically and mentally to tackle everest. Even in a well equiped guided group. As a result these people (some of whom on the surface seemed relatively experienced) were incapable of making proper judgements about there own fatigue, so they continued higher when they should be turning around.

- As Norrie points out real Climbers are aware of the code that you must offer assistance. There are alot of non climbers on the mountains with very different ethics and outlook on life. There were alot of self centered people with a very distorted view of the importance of their climb.

- Summit fever is very real and affected many climbers. I like to think Im a very determined climber but if you can't make the decision to turn around you are a liability for everyone else on the mountain.

- As Tom has raised there is a big issue with so called lightweight i.e. cheap outfitters offering everest as a viable option to tackle without sherpa support or bottled oxygen for the average climber (or less). Frankly in some cases this is supported suicide

- There is I feel a problem with all commercial trips in that you are usually climbing with strangers you have only just met on this trip. As a result when the crunch comes you are nowhere near as strong a team as a group of friends who if one of them dies they have to go home and face their family.

I'd like to add that I did see several examples of very selfless effort, assistance and rescues by individuals and some of the commercial teams while I was on Everest, I was involved in two myself as were other memembers of our Jagged Globe team.
Dru 22 May 2006
In reply to Alison Stockwell:

There is nothing to learn, it has been happening on Everest for years, its the human condition, greed no matter what the cost to others.
1
Magenta 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

You can watch an interview with Mark Inglis in Kathmandu on NZTV's Close Up program.

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/423466/720300
 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

As many have pointed out, people climbing for the wrong reasons; self-centered people with a distorted view of the importance of their climb; inability to make the decision to turn around; climbing with strangers...and yet all of us think we would turn a blind eye to all of these less than favorable attributes and sacrifice our own Everest attempt to help them out of their inept attempts? I don't see this kind of self-less compassion for humanity at sea level, why do we all think it would be different in the Death Zone?
 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> [...]
>
> Is it moral to offer a place on a 'commerical' expedition, where you pay for oxygen as an extra?

It is not a question of morality to offer a cheap service.
In reply to Yyonnx:
> (In reply to Ian Parnell)
>
> And yet all of us think we would turn a blind eye to all of these less than favorable attributes and sacrifice our own Everest attempt to help them out of their inept attempts? I don't see this kind of self-less compassion for humanity at sea level, why do we all think it would be different in the Death Zone?

But still, many people have sacrificed their ambitions to rescue other climbers in danger (including the above mentioned Simone Moro, who aborted in 1999 an attempt to the Lhotse-Everest traverse to help down the mountain a young climber who had taken a fall on the Lhotse face), so we can't just think that this "summit or bust" attitude is so widespread that it's the absolute norm - it's not. And I think that the (very true) fact that lack of empaty and compassion for humanity is preciously rare doesn't condone indifference.

On the other hand, as I said before, lack of mutual help between even partners in the same team is not unheard even in Alps - as anyone with a modicum of knowledge in the history of recent climbing accidents in the Mt. Blanc area will surely known.

 Al Evans 23 May 2006
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
In reply to Jason Kirk:
Said this on the other thread already
When I was on the West Ridge I passed a very fit but badly striken with Altitude Climber, this would be approaching 27,000ft. He was sat in the snow and obviously in a bad way, we were on fixed ropes at this stage. If I had not had his absolute assurance that he was going to be ok to get down,and if I hadnt been certain that he would, and if the weather had not been perfect I would never have left to go down him alone.
I wasnt going to summit but I did have a film to make.

There is no height ceiling on moral ethics

 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
> (In reply to Yyonnx)
> [...]
>
> the (very true) fact that lack of empaty and compassion for humanity is preciously rare doesn't condone indifference.


Totally agree.

Are we, mountaineers, more compassionate than others? Do the mountains and our experiences on them bring this out?
 adnix 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

> - As Tom has raised there is a big issue with so called lightweight i.e. cheap outfitters offering everest as a viable option to tackle without sherpa support or bottled oxygen for the average climber (or less). Frankly in some cases this is supported suicide

It' a problem as long as they don't check the experience level of the party buying the smaller service.

> - There is I feel a problem with all commercial trips in that you are usually climbing with strangers you have only just met on this trip. As a result when the crunch comes you are nowhere near as strong a team.

Sure. And the current mentality seems to be that you choose from "pizza list" the indegedients you want involved with you ascent:

[x] unsupported ($1000)
[ ] ready fixed camps ($5000)
[ ] oxygen at every camp ($5000)
[ ] sherpas ferrying loads ($5000)
[ ] sherpas dog leashing you ($5000)
[ ] mint chocolate and clean sheets ($3000)

Now once you tick the unsupported the people on the mountain think: "ok, he doesn't want any help". I bet the number of Everest ascents would be quite a lot of smaller if commercial business would be banned. But that will never be possible.
 mark reeves Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell: Hi Ian, How's it going?

I agree with your sentiment, but do you really think it practical to carry someone off the the final ridge. I have read the post about one climber who was rescue by a team of climbers from different teams, but having never been that high and only heard stories of how hard it is just to walk. But what could a single summit team do?

Like you said, there might have been a storm brewing, and in this case it seems that only a disabled climber Mr Inglis and his team has been brave enough to admit they walked passed.
 Al Evans 23 May 2006
In reply to adnix:
> (In reply to Ian Parnell)
I bet the number of Everest ascents would be quite a lot of smaller if commercial business would be banned. But that will never be possible.

Damn right it would!!!!!!
 Rob Naylor 23 May 2006
In reply to Alison Stockwell:
> (In reply to Ian Parnell)
>
> I don't like to judge without hearing the full story and I would like to think that the guy was beyond hope and the others couldn't do anything and perhaps were struggling just to stay alive at that altitude. But I agree with the bloke who said "at least give the guy a hug." It must be better to die in someone's arms than be passed by. It's a terrible thing. Very tragic.

But what's "beyond hope"? Beck Weathers was "beyond hope" in 1996, then he walked back into camp the next day. Even when he reached camp, they put him in a tent *on his own* and basically left him to die (alone, too...that just seemed heartless to me. If they were so sure he was going to die, at least someone could have stayed with him so that he wasn't alone, surely?).

It was the IMAX team (Breashears, Veisturs, etc...true mountaineers, not paying clients) who made the effort to get him down.

Conan was rescued 3 years ago from the "Death Zone" with a broken leg (and I noticed in our local paper that he got married a few weeks ago...congratulations to him!)...guys gave up their summit attempts for the much more important goal (IMO) of trying to save his life.

Like you, I don't want to judge because I haven't been in a similar situation, and am not likely to be, but I find it really hard to imagine that there'd be any situation where I'd just walk past an injured or dying person. OK, if you've paid £40k for a summit bid, I can see that you'd be very reluctant to give that chance up for someone you didn't know who's *probably* beyond hope anyway, but to me it boils down to basic humanity.
 Rob Naylor 23 May 2006
In reply to Yyonnx:
> (In reply to Ian Parnell)
>
> As many have pointed out, people climbing for the wrong reasons; self-centered people with a distorted view of the importance of their climb; inability to make the decision to turn around; climbing with strangers...and yet all of us think we would turn a blind eye to all of these less than favorable attributes and sacrifice our own Everest attempt to help them out of their inept attempts? I don't see this kind of self-less compassion for humanity at sea level, why do we all think it would be different in the Death Zone?

I have seen this kind of "selfless compassion for humanity" at or near sea level, several times. I've seen people come very close to dying themselves in attempts to save others. I've been involved in a modest way in 3 such situations myself, and I was proud of the actions of those who helped.

To be fair, in all 3 situations in which I was involved, there were more people panicking, standing around gawping, taking photos or trying to avoid getting blood on themselves than were actually helping, but enough people on each occasion *were* helping that my faith in humanity was at least somewhat vindicated.
 tobyfk 23 May 2006
In reply to Norrie Muir:

> I am with Kenton Cool's comment in yesterdays Observer

This is the link to that piece if anyone's interested:
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/focus/story/0,,1779866,00.html
 tobyfk 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Perhaps it would help if climbing websites like this one didn't report guided ascents of big peaks as 'news'. [ http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=182237 ] Or more positively: highlighted occasions when guided climbers set aside their summit ambitions to help other people in trouble.
Himalaya 23 May 2006
Maybe there should be a new law, just like on the highway, stating that you can't abandon the scene of an accident.
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor and Ian Parnell:

As you guys have either guided expeditions on Everest or work for companies that do - do you think that the problem is just badly organised comercial expeditions on the mountain? Or is it comercial expeditions in general?

With the expeditions you guys have been involved in, has there been some clear signed legal agreement with clients saying something a long the lines of "We as company X will end your summit attempt to help rescue an injured climber, even from another expedition, and you must be prepared for and accept this possibility"? Kenton Cool's comment in the Observer about his recent ascent being very stressful due to their lateness suggests that even with what I imagine to be well organised and run trips, there are great pressure to provide what ultimately the clients have paid for. Could that sort of pressure lead to what most people down here at sea level see as an unethical decision being made?
 adnix 23 May 2006
In reply to mark reeves:

> I agree with your sentiment, but do you really think it practical to carry someone off the the final ridge. I have read the post about one climber who was rescue by a team of climbers from different teams, but having never been that high and only heard stories of how hard it is just to walk.

Heh. It's more of a question of motivation if you know basic rescue techniques. The route away from there is downhill not uphill. You don't need to carry anyone (in the literal sense of word). As long as you can walk, you can also rescue someone.
 Rubbishy 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

In my very humble and limited opinion people climb Everst for 2 reasons:

1) It gives them something to brag about at the golf / squash / pony club

2) They are experienced mountaineers who want to be in the mountains and attempting a route of merit or in a style that deserves respect

and i guess 3)

They are getting paid.
 adnix 23 May 2006
In reply to TobyA:

> do you think that the problem is just badly organised comercial expeditions on the mountain? Or is it comercial expeditions in general?

I would say it's commercial expeditions in general:

Everybody knows it's not good business to do something that you don't get paid for. As long as people do mountaineering for the fun of it you don't need to think about money. But if you do expeditions for business, you don't have time to play with all the inexperienced parties. You have hands full with your own people who pay you for taking care.
Iain Ridgway 23 May 2006
In reply to John Rushby: I think a lot of it is simply the raw challenge, it still apeals, today westerners have lots of dispensible income, everest is a challenge which can be attempted in a relatively short time, and quite easy to organise (with money).
teepee 23 May 2006
In reply to tobyfk:
> (In reply to Norrie Muir)
>
> [...]
>
> This is the link to that piece if anyone's interested:
> http://observer.guardian.co.uk/focus/story/0,,1779866,00.html

The rest of Cool's comment is also interesting:

"There are others - policemen, diplomats, ordinary people - whom I get a very different sense of. They like to get out on to the hills. Everest is their dream."

 DougG 23 May 2006
In reply to all:

Didn't Joe Simpson cover a lot of this in one of his books? Can't remember which one, but he gave a Dutch climber (Ronald Naar?) a very hard time for passing a dying climber on the way to summiting everest.
In reply to tobyfk:

I think the most surprising thing in that Guardian article is to find out Victor Saunders is 56, is that correct?
 Doug 23 May 2006
In reply to Tyler: & to learn that Bonnington climbed it in 1985 by a SW ridge
 Tom Briggs 23 May 2006
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor and Ian Parnell)
>
> As you guys have either guided expeditions on Everest or work for companies that do - do you think that the problem is just badly organised comercial expeditions on the mountain? Or is it comercial expeditions in general?

As Luca points out, you get inexperienced climbers getting into difficulty on popular (e.g. Mont Blanc) mountains all the time. I helped rescue a Frenchman on Island Peak who had HAPE and HACE. He and his mates had gone up too quickly. They left him and went on to the summit, not realising he was in serious trouble.

On Everest if someone decides to try for the summit with 2 bottles of oxygen, they are then putting others in a position where they are going to have to rescue them. It is the big commercial teams with lots of O2 and Sherpas who regularly bail them out. So I would say it's the badly organised commerical expeditions that are the problem. They supply BC services, which enable people who are inexperienced to try and climb Everest without adequate support and back up. What is the morality of these outfits and the climbers who do it 'on the cheap', and then ask to be rescued?
In reply to Ian Parnell:

On the other hand, to play devil's advocate for a while, if you stopped for every struggling climber you see on the way up would you ever summit? There have been 6 deaths this year (I don't know if that includes the 3 sherpas who died low down but for the sake of argument let's assume not) that could potentially be 6 summit days that could be ruined by everyone else having to turn back to help someone. Six days out of how many? That excludes any rescues that might actually have been carried out. If you stop for every over ambitious stockbroker whose bitten off more than they can chew then you are pretty much guarunteeing that you will never summit. Everyone who goes on one of these expeditions knows the dangers and most play on the noteriety of the "Death Zone".
In reply to Tyler: Presume you are just playing devils advocate. Summitting Everest does not make you a better person or add anything to humanity. Saving someones life (or even attempting) is the highest calling that a human being can do. For me its way more impressive than climbing all 14 8000ers.

Someone I think it was Mark asked how possible it is to rescue up high. Well it obviously depends on the situation but if there is a sizeable group of climbers I think theres alot you can do. Sharing bottled oxygen for a start. This would obviously assume that all say 30 climbers would give up their summit bid and work together...which I suspect is unlikely.

I'd also add that the nigger commercial expeditions get involved in rescues every year. When I was there Jagged Globe co-ordianted one and HimEx another. Perhaps the most telling rescue I saw was of an older sherpa who got into trouble up high and was rescued by other sherpas from several different teams.
 GrahamD 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Its easy to moralise on situations like this, but how many people who make the judgements will happily walk past someone homeless and freezing in London ?
 Simon Caldwell 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
> Saving someones life (or even attempting) is the highest calling that a human being can do.

Agreed. And I like to think that I'd abandon a summit bid to try to do this, not having been in that situation or at that altitude (or having paid a small fortune for a once-in-a-lifetime chance) I can't say for sure.

What if there was no chance of saving the person's life? And it was obvious they were going to die regardless of what you did? Would you still abandon hopes of reaching the summit in order tomake that gesture?
Dru 23 May 2006
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

I think the lack of morality lies with whom ever is in a position to help, but doesn't in these situations, treating a human being as road kill is amoral!.

No one really asks to be rescued do they, unforseen events occur, whether they have less money for services or not is irelevant really in a moral sense.

 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to GrahamD:

That is something like I was thinking when I wrote above that I don't see this self-less compassion for humanity at sea-level.
Craig_M 23 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> What if there was no chance of saving the person's life? And it was obvious they were going to die regardless of what you did?

Unless you are a doctor, you're in no position to make that decision. In which case the only scenario in which you can say with any certainty that a person has zero chance of survival is when they are dead. Even then, it's not cut and dried.
 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

The same low cost providers that you point to as the problem also enable people who do have the experience but not the money required of more expensive commercial expeditions to try and climb Everest.

They are not the problem. I would rather have low cost expeditions without the large, commercial outfits catering to the non-climbers to have a go at Big E.
In reply to Ian Parnell:
> Presume you are just playing devils advocate.

Like I said I am but the question of whether you'd make the summit if you stopped for every ailing climber was serious.

> Summitting Everest does not make you a better person or add anything to humanity. Saving someones life (or even attempting) is the highest calling that a human being can do. For me its way more impressive than climbing all 14 8000ers.

Yeah but you can save someone's life every day, a few quid to the right charity should see to that. Obviously it doesn't have the same cachet as carrying someone down from the death zone in the teeth of a killer storm. Why not pledge £100 to Oxfam for every sufferer passed.

> Someone I think it was Mark asked how possible it is to rescue up high. Well it obviously depends on the situation but if there is a sizeable group of climbers I think theres alot you can do. Sharing bottled oxygen for a start. This would obviously assume that all say 30 climbers would give up their summit bid and work together...which I suspect is unlikely.

Surely the best thing to do is to have well stocked camps that are shared between every person on the mountain and everyone is obligated to use (and pay for) on the popular routes.

> I'd also add that the nigger commercial expeditions

I thought I was being unPC!
Magenta 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

> Someone I think it was Mark asked how possible it is to rescue up high. Well it obviously depends on the situation but if there is a sizeable group of climbers I think theres alot you can do. Sharing bottled oxygen for a start. This would obviously assume that all say 30 climbers would give up their summit bid and work together...which I suspect is unlikely.
>
> I'd also add that the nigger commercial expeditions get involved in rescues every year. When I was there Jagged Globe co-ordianted one and HimEx another. Perhaps the most telling rescue I saw was of an older sherpa who got into trouble up high and was rescued by other sherpas from several different teams.

Mark Inglis was with HimEX. According to their website, 15 of their team – guides and climbers – went to the summit that day. In the TV interview Inglis said they stopped to see what they could do for David Sharp. He said he radioed Russ (Russell Brice?) who told him there was nothing they could do (it sounds as though they knew he had been there for quite a while).

In reply to Yyonnx:

> The same low cost providers that you point to as the problem also enable people who do have the experience but not the money required of more expensive commercial expeditions to try and climb Everest.

But cliimbing Everst is not a right or a democratic process. Even the cheapest way up is beyond the means of the majority so the difference between large commercial outfit and a smaller one is not as significant as the difference between a smaller one and not going. There are always going to be monetary barriers so the level they are set at is immaterial because you will always exclude 99% of people.
 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Tyler:

You lost me...???
 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Yyonnx:

I said they have the experience but not the money, well they might even have the money but want the experience of a smaller expedition. The point I was making is that the low cost providers are not the problem and have nothing to do with the question of morality at altitiude.
 Damo 23 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

A comparison. In late May 1989 Rob Hall and Gary Ball came down to KTM, exhausted, after a failed xpd to Ev via the S col route. They got a note that some Poles had been avalanched on Ev W ridge - 5 were killed but Angie Marciniak was alive, badly smashed up, stranded near the Lho La and about to die. Hall, Ball and Artur Hizjer immediately sorted a jeep and permission to enter Tibet, drove to Zhangmu, swapped into a truck and drove around to Ev BC. They did this trip pretty much in a day or so, though it is breathlessly recounted as some great and interesting intrepid adventure by most Ev 'climbers' on their websites nowadays.

They then immediately hiked up the central Rongbuk, into the basin and up to the Lho La from the north, where they found Marciniak, treated him, carried him down and out to EBC and back to KTM. Whole thing took 4 days.

So really, how much effort is too much ? Was the life of a stranger worth more in 1989 than 2006 ?

It's got more to do with the people than the situation. People have been rescued from very high on Ev before. Excuses (apart from jeopardising rescuer safety) are bullshit.

I would like to climb Everest, but I've always wanted to do other mountains more, leaving Ev in the back of my mind. When I was in Antarctica this year I 'decided' that I would do Everest, prob via the N ridge, with an operator that was also (coincidentally) "guiding" Vinson. Back at Patriot Hills we were all in the dining tent. I watched this group of "guides" and their clients for some time. A wonderful sense of calm and certainty came over me as I decided "there is no way on this earth that I would want to be on Everest with these people". I'd rather fail with friends than succeed with assholes.

D
In reply to Yyonnx:

> You lost me...???

You suggested that small expeditions were a good thing because they democratise climbing Everest and I was pointing out that they don't.

> The point I was making is that the low cost providers are not the problem and have nothing to do with the question of morality at altitiude.

Probably not but you seemed to be making the point that big commercial companies were. My point is that there is no difference.

 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Damo:

s'TRUTH
 Yyonnx 23 May 2006
In reply to Tyler:
> (In reply to Yyonnx)
>
> [...]
>
> You suggested that small expeditions were a good thing because they democratise climbing Everest
>
No, I did not.

>you seemed to be making the point that big commercial companies were

Again, no, I did not.
In reply to Yyonnx:

That may not be what you meant but you can't blame me for interpretng the following statments to mean that:

"low cost providers ... enable people who do have the experience but not the money"

"large, commercial outfits catering to the non-climbers"
 Howard J 23 May 2006
In reply to gdr:

Yes but...

Conan was strong enough to get himself a long way down the mountain by his own efforts. He was accompanied by two mates from his own expedition, but in spite of their best attempts they weren't able to offer much physical support and he crawled most of the way down to the North Col. There he received medical attention and was stretchered the rest of the way with help from a Royal Navy expedition.

The guy who caused the accident didn't hang around for long, and high on the mountain no one else appears to have offered much help either. All credit to the Navy, but by the time they got involved he was relatively "safe".

If Conan hadn't been strong enough and determined enough he probably wouldn't have survived. Only his friends were prepared to sacrifice their own summit attempts.

My point is that, although Conan survived, when it really mattered he didn't get much help from other climbers on their way to and from the summit. Only his friends stopped to help. It's easier to ignore a stranger's predicament than a friend's (although I'm not suggesting they wouldn't have stopped to help a stranger).

Whether or not this is morally justifiable probably depends on the individual circumstances of each case. In good conditions where your personal survival is not at immediate risk I should have thought that common humanity would require you to at least stop and offer some assistance. But I'm not sure how much help could be given in practice - from my experience of first aid courses I doubt I could move a helpless person very far over rough terrain on my own, even at sea level. Conan's companions found it difficult to carry him even when he was able to assist, and in the end it was easier for him to crawl while they helped him along

Conan went back to Everest this year and summited last week.
 Simon Caldwell 23 May 2006
In reply to Howard J:
> Conan went back to Everest this year and summited last week.

Any idea if his friends have also been back?
 Jason Kirk 23 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

It would appear that Sir Edmund Hillary is not best impressed!

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10383276
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> What if there was no chance of saving the person's life? And it was obvious they were going to die regardless of what you did? Would you still abandon hopes of reaching the summit in order tomake that gesture?

It's not just a gesture for the person who's dying,it's probably profound if they're aware that you're there giving comfort,it must be pretty lonely i imagine if you feel like you're dying and are alone,you'd be looking at people as they go past and be wanting them to help.

Tim

 francoisecall 23 May 2006
In reply to Timmd: Reading all this, there is no way I would sign up with a commercial expedition. You have to go to places like this with close friends. Was this young Brit who died climbing on his own?
In reply to francoisecall:I don't know,i just came across the thread today so i don't know the background.
 TonyG 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
From the reports in the media it seems that the guy ran out of oxygen, and suffered a debilitating collapse as a result, which prevented him from being able to get himself down. Clearly a tragic situation, but not a new one. Anatoli Boukreev wrote about the 'Oxygen Illusion' quite a number of years ago (see http://www.boukreev.org/The%20Oxygen%20Illusion.htm for the article), and warned of the dangers of over-reliance on bottled oxygen at such altitudes. It's incredible that the situation just continues on Everest year after year, and you really can't imagine it ever stopping. The problem is not whether you can get to the top on oxygen on a commercial expedition (one assumes that quite a few of us might be able to do that), but whether you will be able to cope if something happens at altitude which is not on the script. If you suspect that the answer to that might be no, then the issue of whether or not to sign up and go is a VERY real one, as this unfortunate guy discovered.
In the old days people seemed to follow something of an apprenticeship, a learning curve, which is obviously going to differ in the details from person to person, but the general shape of which was probably quite uniform. Perhaps this was quite logical and for good reasons. If you remove this apprenticeship then you remove the base of experience and self-reliance, the range of situations already faced and survived, which unarguably can make the difference when things unravel. When you rightly wonder how so many people can be on the mountain who probably shouldn't be there, Ian, it seems incongruous to expect many of them to pull out the stops and rescue someone when they themselves might be operating within an almost suicidal margin for error.
But how are you going to ensure that the right people buy these trips, and the wrong people stay well away? Short of a more honest, graphic and hard-hitting appraisal of the risks at the marketing or the vetting stage, I can't see how it could be done... and I also find it hard to imagine many operators running half-empty expeditions when they had a potential full list of clients to go with. I can't help feeling that given the nature of the situation, the guides themselves should carry more responsibility (either train clients more or have a stricter policy on who you're willing to guide and be prepared to enforce it properly regardless of financial issues).
In the meantime, people go on trying, and the majority of them seem to get there (this season alone has seen a 70-year old Japanese man, a Polish playboy model, a pair of British teenagers etc... etc... get to the top probably in fine weather... none of which helps to push the message that if the shit hits the fan it will all unravel ASTOUNDINGLY quickly).
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to TonyG: I don't see your point about 70 year old men?

I suggest you give Ron Fawcett a race over the hills?

Just because someone's 70, he could still be extremely fit, and an experienced mountaineer.
 tobyfk 24 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway:

> (In reply to TonyG) I don't see your point about 70 year old men?

> I suggest you give Ron Fawcett a race over the hills?

Ron Fawcett is surely nowhere near 70! I'd guess 50'ish at most.
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to tobyfk: Oh, apologies to him, I thought he'd be in his 60's by now, I was using him as an example as age isn't always the best indication of ability.

I can think of a number of runners early to mid 60's anyway, who are still incredibly fit. So just because someone turns 70 doesn't mean they are suddenly unsuitable for these expeditions.
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to tobyfk: Anyway I thought, don't know where I got this from, that Ron was a few years older than Al Evans, who's 56 according to his profile.
 TonyG 24 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway: Yeah, I agree. Getting to the top of Everest at 70 is its own testament to that guy's fitness... but that wasn't really the issue in my post. Besides Ian, I'm sure that there's a difference in the way the man's age will be perceived by someone like you, who does a lot of hill running and probably knows lots of very fit older people, and the average person reading a news clip who sees the man's age juxtaposed with the fact that he got himself up Everest.
During the 5 years I lived in Poland I saw Martyna Wojciechowska in the Polish media as a prety active person with a tough character, who did the Paris-Dhaka rally on her own quite regularly... but I'm guessing that the average person reading about her achievement might stop at the fact that she looks great and is also a model who fronted Polish playboy, and so, wow, glamour models can get up Everest these days...
 TonyG 24 May 2006
In reply to TonyG: sorry, Paris-Dakar... no major deserts to drive across in Bangladesh
 sandywilson 24 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Where do you draw the line Simon? Coming to the morally correct decision should be governed by the needs of others, not by your personal inconvenience. What is the difference between stopping to help another plodder in trouble on Everest and stopping to help an old lady who has fallen over when you're on the way to the pub? No difference at all when you stop, though things could get difficult when you try and enlist others to help. Can I recommend Luke 10:25-37 as required reading before heading for Everest.
 Simon Caldwell 24 May 2006
In reply to sandywilson:
> Where do you draw the line Simon?

I don't know. As I say, I've not been anywhere near that situation so can only guess. I'd like to think I'd stop.

> Can I recommend Luke 10:25-37 as required reading before heading for Everest.

Can I recommend The Return of the King, chapter 21, paragraph 12 to 16?
 Trangia 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I think it stinks. If they had the energy to go onto the summit, they had the energy to try and help him. Mountaineers should never give up on somebody, even if as someone else said it is only to stay and comfort him. I hope those 40 people can live with the shame of having put finance and their personal ambition ahead of compassion for a fellow human being.
 Jimbo 24 May 2006
In reply to TonyG:

Yes, but according to your theory about people on Everest these days being predominated by people who shouldn't be there and who don't have the apprenticeship, its unlikely that they would really know that they "might be operating within an almost suicidal margin for error." So surely, the expectation of a better morality still stands? It seems to me, however, the exploit, predominantly in the commercial recruiting expeditions, selects for selfish characterstics.
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to Jimbo: 'selects for selfish characterstics.'

Don't you think that's true of high altitude mountaineering in general?

Afterall it all involves high costs, high risks, long time away from the family, all for personal gain?

Look at the arguments that happened when Alison Hargreaves was killed, mainly surrounding her being a mother of young children.
 Simon Caldwell 24 May 2006
In reply to francoisecall:
> Reading all this, there is no way I would sign up with a commercial expedition

Do we know then that everybody involved in this case (including every one of the 40 who apparently walked by) was part of a commercial expedition?
 Rob Naylor 24 May 2006
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Ian Parnell)
>
> Its easy to moralise on situations like this, but how many people who make the judgements will happily walk past someone homeless and freezing in London ?

You're not comparing the same thing here. Better to ask "how many people will happily walk past someone who has a heart attack in front of them on the streets of London".

Whether someone is being generally compassionate to a homeless person (or, from another viewpoint, enabling them to continue their cycle of self-destruction by supplying funds fro the next can os Special Brew) is a different scenario....maybe more comparable with ensuring that porters and Sherpas are properly kitted out/ fed/ looked after.

In the case of Everest evacuation, we're talking about traumatic incidents involving a sudden "change of status" to an individual...much more comparable to someone collapsing on the street in front of you.

In such cases, I know from personl experience that people generally stop and help. I think you and Yyonnx are barking up the wrong tree in using compassion towards the homeless etc as a yardstick.
 Jimbo 24 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> Do we know then that everybody involved in this case (including every one of the 40 who apparently walked by) was part of a commercial expedition?

Out of interest, how many non-comerical expeditions are there?
 sutty 24 May 2006
In reply to Rob Naylor:

Who's morality is it to help?

Let's move this nearer home.

You have a flight booked to Australia and are on the last minute for it when someone collapses in the street. What do you do, stay with them and miss your flight or ask someone else to see if they can help and go on your way?

Commercial trips should be bringing their own people back, not going on to the summit and leaving someone.

People who have no experience on high mountains should not be accepted on trips, and organisers who allow it should have their permits revoked.

gotta go, later.
 TonyG 24 May 2006
In reply to Jimbo: Not my theory actually; the notion is there in comments or quotations earlier in this thread by Ian Parnell and Kenton Cool, both of whom have summitted recently as guides (although I think it's important in the interests of being faithful to what's actually been said to point out that the word 'predominantly' is yours, not Ian Parnell's).
I agree that the whole enterprise is inherently selfish somewhere on some level for everyone who does it (unless they're truly alone in the world). I guess the fact that I climb myself though (although not at that level) impies that I either accept the fact that I'm selfish, or that I'm doing some kind of Orwellian 'doublethink' on it.
I also completely agree that a return to the kind of morality that most people on here think did and ought to still exist amongst climbers is absolutely necessary for the future of the sport. Most people know that the right thing to do is to stop and help. I guess we all just hope that if or when we have to face that situation, that is exactly what we would do...
 Jimbo 24 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway:
> (In reply to Jimbo) 'selects for selfish characterstics.'
>
> Don't you think that's true of high altitude mountaineering in general?
>
> Afterall it all involves high costs, high risks, long time away from the family, all for personal gain?

Making a sweeping generalisation, climbers tend to be fairly selfish full stop, myself included, though I hope I would never be so selfish as to leave a man to die for the sake of my own ambition if I had the means to help.

Also, I certainly accept that there are probably some selfish characteristics in high altitude climbers, but I think there is a difference between people motivated by ambition, who raise sponsorship, form teams themselves, liase with porters etc, and those people who, who are presumably also motivated by ambition, but also have a sense of self promotion and ego. For example, from what I have read about Alison Hargreaves, she wasn't particularly egotistical, even if some people might level the accusation at her being selfish.
 Rob Naylor 24 May 2006
In reply to sutty:
> (In reply to Rob Naylor)
>
> Who's morality is it to help?
>
> Let's move this nearer home.
>
> You have a flight booked to Australia and are on the last minute for it when someone collapses in the street. What do you do, stay with them and miss your flight or ask someone else to see if they can help and go on your way?

I don't do nothing. If there *is* someone else about and they seem capable of handling the situation then yes, I'd leave it with them. If not, I'd stay, I hope. In fact, I think I would, as I've done something similar in the past.
 Laubie 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

The whole Everest thing is getting a bit out of hand, frankly I dont give a S... anymore.

The sad thing really for me is that Everest is a place I would love to go and see as an incredible place, but with all the commercial exploits of fastest/oldest/ski/most summited/with guitar/fist Albanian/First person with a Z in their surname etc it's lost that uniqueness.

A mountain for me is a place where I challenge myself and enjoy the environment. Following 30 other people up fixed line after a price tag of £20K is out of mu budget sadly and sounds like a shame to experience such a glorious place.

In reply to sutty:

I don't think we know enough about this case to be sure of anything. But I expect that most of the people who walked past convinced themselves that there was nothing they could do, whether it was true or not. I wonder if there were any at all who cold-heartedly thought getting themself to the top was more important than saving a life.

However, there was an interesting program recently about the survivors of a sinking ship, which concluded that many of the ones who survived did so through ruthless selfishness, and that when your own life is on the line, survival can depend on suspending your conscience.

I have some sympathy with the view that people who go on expeditions like this should serve some sort of apprenticeship; but it begs a few assumptions.
I'm not sure that we have enough evidence to say that less hardened people are necessarily the greatest liability, or that independent expeditions are necessarily better than commercial ones. Indeed it seems to me that there is some evidence to suggest that commercial expeditions are better managed; at least as far as coping with their own clients is concerned.

I belong to a search team and we are always being told that in trying to help someone else you should not put yourself at risk. I don't entirely agree with this view. I think the old ethics of heroism were noble ones and worth maintaining.

Ultimately I think this issue is complex and emotive and there are no easy answers.
Dru 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Commercial trips are full of lame losers,

real climbers have Espirit de Corps and would never leave one of there own to die alone in the eternal snows.
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to Dru: I think you can class Inglis as a real climber! look at his past?

And he walked on?

Big news here in NZ is this.
Dru 24 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway:

Considering his own predicament on Cook his teams actions, are abhorrent.
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to Dru: Agree, 100%, but I think just blaming commercial operations is just hiding from the issue.

Many experienced climbers must have walked past this guy dieing.
 Chris the Tall 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
Interesting thread

The analogy with homeless people on city streets is apt. One of the reasons we might ignore them is that we regard their predicament as being self-inflicted. And another reason is being surrounded by other people doing the same thing.

So you've spent a years salary and 2 years traing for your chance to climb Everest. You're in a line of 50 people heading for the summit, and you stumble across one of those chancers who's tried to do it on the cheap and is clearly out of his depth.

Would he make it down without any help? Would your help be of any use? Why has no one else helped him ? If you save him now, will he just come back again next year ? If you wanted to save lives, would your time and effort not have been better spent on the streets of London ?

I'm not saying this is how I'd react - but then I climb in a differant world and my objectives are realised in a day at most, foregoing a days climbing to rescue someone is a no-brainer. Given the popularity and commercialisation of high altitude mountaineering it's inevitable that attitudes will be affected
 francoisecall 24 May 2006
In reply to Chris the Tall: I am still puzzled : was this young Brit with anybody? Was he climbing on his own?
 Doug 24 May 2006
In reply to francoisecall: Fairly sure he was on his own
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to Doug: NZ news have been saying he was solo, early on it seemed to suggest he was part of an expedition.

Inglis is getting a bit of a battering here, Hiliary's had a dig too.

In reply to Iain Ridgway:

>
> Inglis is getting a bit of a battering here, Hiliary's had a dig too.

Yes it's all being reported on mounteverest.net
 francoisecall 24 May 2006
In reply to Alison Stockwell:

I think it is appalling. I understand that the parents are not reproaching the passers by for not helping!!! In France there is a law for "non assistance a personne en danger". You could be sued for not helping.

The analogy with the homeless begging in a London street is interesting. I am giving a tenner to the next one I come across. Although I know that there are organisations who can help in London and who keep going out to met those in need.
 Rob Naylor 24 May 2006
In reply to francoisecall:
> (In reply to Chris the Tall) I am still puzzled : was this young Brit with anybody? Was he climbing on his own?

He was on one of those "cheapo" expeditions where they supply sherpas but no guides, up to a certain camp level. There'll be several people attached to that expedition but I don't think they're a "team" in the sense of the bigger guided expeditions.

£ 3,500 vs £ 25,000, from what I've read.
 Chris the Tall 24 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway:

> Inglis is getting a bit of a battering here, Hiliary's had a dig too.

On the one hand, he could be a huge inspiration to disabled people worldwide. On the other hand, his acheivement will always be tanished, and the fact that 40 other people who were more able to help did nothing will be ignored
 Rob Naylor 24 May 2006
In reply to francoisecall:
> (In reply to Alison Stockwell)
>
> > The analogy with the homeless begging in a London street is interesting. I am giving a tenner to the next one I come across. Although I know that there are organisations who can help in London and who keep going out to met those in need.

I think the anaology with homeless people is completely off the mark, as I said above.

Are you sure your tenner won't just help the person perpetuate a dependence on special Brew? When I lived in London I passed one beggar regularly. He was forever asking me for "a few coppers for a cup of tea and a roll". On several occasions I offered to buy him tea and a roll, but he wasn't interested. Once I actually took him a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie, and got a load of abuse for my trouble.

OK, you can say that I was projecting my owm moraility on him: I was willing to help, but not willing to give him money that he could use to buy drink or drugs.
 McGus 24 May 2006
In reply to Chris the Tall: yeah, that is one take on this whole thing that seems to have been ignored. Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of it, what about the other 39 people? I'll bet there are guides/sherpas/experienced climbers amongst them. Yet Inglis seems to be coping all the flak?
 Chris the Tall 24 May 2006
In reply to Rob Naylor:
Just to make it clear I'm not trying to say this guy was behaving like a beggar, but that people's reactions to him were analogous to those that most people have to beggars - easier to ignore because everyone else is the same, easy to come up with reasons for your actions
 Martin W 24 May 2006
In reply to Alison Stockwell:

> However, there was an interesting program recently about the survivors of a sinking ship, which concluded that many of the ones who survived did so through ruthless selfishness, and that when your own life is on the line, survival can depend on suspending your conscience.

ISTR some tests that were carried out on aircraft evacuation procedures following the Manchester 737 fire. The initial tests used volunteers who were asked to evacuate the aircraft as quickly as possible. People were observed to help other passengers leave the aircraft, and to help keep order when the situation started to become confused and chaotic. This was felt not to be an accurate reflection of what would happen in the case of a real emergency, so a further series of tests were run. In these tests, the volunteers were told that there were money prizes on offer for the first x people to get out of the plane. In these tests, people were much more prepared to climb over seats, push other passengers out of way, and generally behave in a selfish way to ensure that they were among the first out of the doors. The result was that, although more people got out early in the process, the evacuation actually took longer overall. In the event of an actual aircraft fire, those first people out of the door would, in a sense, have been "leaving the others to die".

I think the conclusion is that, as Alison suggests, the conditions which determine whether we behave altruistically or selfishly are probably less extreme than some of us might like to believe. Especially when someone else has given you permission or encouragement to behave more selfishly, as might be (or appear to be) the case with a guided expedition.

I can imagine that the motivations in such circumstances can easily become confused. Perhaps the guides do want to stop and help the injured climber, but fear repercussions from their clients? What if the client decided to carry on up anyway? If the guide stayed behind to help the injured climber, could they be accused of abandoning their client? Equally, the clients might wonder whether help could have been offered, but accept the guide's authority when they are told that nothing can be done, unaware of the conflicting motivations that the guide is experiencing. On the other hand, who would hand over money to join an expedition if the Ts&Cs were to state that your chance of the summit could be compromised by the expedition members being obliged to assist someone who has suffered an accident or even just made a silly mistake?

I don't any answeres, but I do think that some of the things that are reported to happen up there must be very difficult for the people involved to deal with both at the time and afterwards.
In reply to francoisecall:
> (In reply to Alison Stockwell)
>
> In France there is a law for "non assistance a personne en danger". You could be sued for not helping.
>
Yes, I think there is something to be said for that law. Better than people being afraid of being sued if they try to help and make a mistake.

Although overall, I think that threats of litigation with respect to things like this makes matters worse. On the face of it the reports sound quite damning. But I'd like to hear more about what the people who were there have to say.
So I'm reserving judgement.
davie 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell: I think that if we take some commonalities as a given (this guy was incapacitated, 40 people walked past it was at 8000m+) judgements need to be tempered. There is no analogy to walking past the homeless. You can help at any time you so choose, just make the decision that you can live with. Perhaps a better analogy comes with disaster survivors, combat etc. where there is potentially a cost attached to helping - that is where people do fall into leader/ follower camps no matter the potential cost. Moral behaviour in such circumstances (for some people) defines them. Therefore, some people are more responsible for walking away than others. I don't think it's any good radioing a base camp to have your responsibility abgorated by someone that's not there. IMHO, for that amount of people not to even try to help or offer some human comfort is unforgivable.I've sat with (and hopefully eased the passage) of several dying people and having someone there seems to be important to them. That (in the everest situation) would be a better way of exhausting your available 02 than going for a summit regardless.
 1202alarm 24 May 2006
In reply to francoisecall:
> (In reply to Alison Stockwell)
>
> The analogy with the homeless begging in a London street is interesting. I am giving a tenner to the next one I come across. Although I know that there are organisations who can help in London and who keep going out to met those in need.

Don't give beggars money. They will spend it on crack or special brew. Give your cash to a homeless charity where it will be put to good use.

BTW I think it is apalling that mountaineers could walk past a dying man without even sitting with him for a while but human behaviour never ceases to amaze me.
 Al Evans 24 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway: Ron is a few years younger than me, he has probably just hit 50
 Al Evans 24 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans: He became the senior member of our partnership by virtue of his immensley superior skill, I saw him for the first time in years last month, incredibly fit still, he had just run up to Millstone because he heard we were there, I think he had run from Eyam or somewhere equally far away.
 Al Evans 24 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans: Sorry to hijack the thread, just clearing the point up for Iain!
 GrahamD 24 May 2006
In reply to davie:
> There is no analogy to walking past the homeless. You can help at any time you so choose,

I think there is a very real analogy with walking past the homeless - your action can be rationalised as "its not my problem" or "there is nothing I can do". Of course, in most cases with homeless people, help might not be needed immediately to secure their survival and you can help rationalise your non action by saying you can do something later - but how many people do ?

Its all about rationalising why I don't need to help this person despite the fact that they manifestly do need help.
Dru 24 May 2006

Come on guys the analogy about the homeless is just plane wrong, this guy was in dire straights, near death, i think it is probably more a reflection of societies view of winners and losers, to some the guy took his chances and failed, so continued on regardless.

But to all those that left this fellow mountaineer to die, your victory( summit) is a hollow one, you will have to live with your selfish actions, i know in similiar circumstance where my priorities would lie, i have been to Everest and guided at altitude, the mountains will always be there. I feel for this fellow climber.
KDS 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Anyone read the Venables article in the Telegraph? He doesn't really say much, but suggests that although the chap was probably unsavable, at least someone should have waited with him.
 GrahamD 24 May 2006
In reply to Ken Ross:

You also fail to address the question on a commercial expedition just who are the mountaineers - the clients, guides or Sherpas ? arguably the guides and Sherpas responsibility is to their clients continued survival.
 Damo 24 May 2006
In reply to Dru:

I stand by my thoughts posted above, but I heard on the radio tonight here in Australia one of the 40 speaking about it live. It was Bob Killip, not Mark Inglis, and he said that people from his team (not sure which, maybe Himex) stayed with Sharp for around one hour, gave him some O2, but eventually felt they had to leave him.

D
 sandywilson 24 May 2006
In reply to GrahamD:
>
> You also fail to address the question on a commercial expedition just who are the mountaineers - the clients, guides or Sherpas ? arguably the guides and Sherpas responsibility is to their clients continued survival.

And your point is? Are you suggesting that by being "clients" on a commercial expedition the plodders have no free will? How much of an achievement is it to plod up Everest like an automaton at the beck and call of guides & sherpas, unable to offer the mearest glimmer of human compassion and kindness to a dying man?
 Just a bhoy 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
I remember being in a tea house with Neal Short discussing Everest. Point I made was that I could get a hold of the money, but there was no way I had the "right" to be on that mountain I wasn't qualified. I couldn't get myself out of the shit and I couldn't get anybody else out of it either. He knew I was right.......

The people on here genuinely love the mountains and have a level of respect for our fellow mountain go-ers I gues that is why we have a difficulty understanding this apparent lack of concern.
 Damo 24 May 2006
In reply to Damo:

To add: Killip (sp?) was part of the Himex team. 15 of them went up that day - 5 clients, 2 guides, 8 Sherpa.

D
 adnix 24 May 2006
In reply to Ken Ross:

> Give your cash to a homeless charity where it will be put to good use.

It depends so much on the charity. I've lost my faith in Red Cross, for example. I don't want to say why but I know few people who work there.
 Rob Naylor 24 May 2006
In reply to davie:
> I've sat with (and hopefully eased the passage) of several dying people and having someone there seems to be important to them. That (in the everest situation) would be a better way of exhausting your available 02 than going for a summit regardless.

Crossing the Senegal river once, I saw a little girl nearly cut in half by the ferry ramp. It was obvious she was going to die, so I cradled her in my arms until she went. No-one else would come near...they were all afraid she might have AIDS and were terrified of getting her blood on themselves. I just didn't think of that at all...there was an 8-9 year old girl, dying alone, and I just felt that she needed someone there.

In retrospect, maybe I was stupid, but there was no way I could just stand there, and I'd do it again tomorrow. It still upsets me a lot to think about it.
 Rob Naylor 24 May 2006
In reply to adnix:
> (In reply to Ken Ross)
>
> [...]
>
> It depends so much on the charity. I've lost my faith in Red Cross, for example. I don't want to say why but I know few people who work there.

I've worked in about a dozen countries where the UN and various charities such as Red Cross were operating at the times I was working, and I have to say I've been apalled at the waste, the profligacy with resources, the "agrandissment" and in some cases the abuse of the people they're supposed to be there to help.

Most recently, in Sudan, it was easy to spot the best restaurant in town...every evening it had a line of UN and Red Cross 4 x 4s parked outside it. We ate there once. It was very expensive and other places had equally good food at half the price, yet these UN and charity people ate there *every* night *because* it was the most expensive place in town. I heard on very good authority that some charity workers there have been making supply of foodstuffs in some camps contingent on getting sex from some of the girls there.
davie 24 May 2006
In reply to Rob Naylor: Not stupid Rob, just human.
tb 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Everst news quotes:

"Climbers saw David in various states, from standing and walking, to trying to work on his oxygen system, to at one point down on the ground.

David was clearly descending the mountain apparently from the Summit... "

I'm sorry but those who saw him standing, walking or trying to work on his O2 and didn't help have absolutely no excuse.

I hope they can live with themselves... tossers!

xyzpaul 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Given the chance I'd like to think I'd help, but then again I have the chance everyday to save peoples lives by donating money to charity, but choose not to.
DaveH 24 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:

Actually, many studies of real-life emergencies have documented that people mostly do not behave in a selfish manner, sometimes even to their own detriment. Analysis of film footage from events such as the Bradford stadium fire in 1985 show that people do not fight and shove each other in a mad panic to escape; rather, they behave in an urgent but orderly fashion. 22 people at the Bradford fire received bravery awards for their assistance to others.

On a more negative note, however, when just a single individual is in need of assistance it turns out that the presence of others actually inhibits people from helping. This is a staple of social psychology and is known as "bystander apathy". People, on their own, are more likely to help a person in distress than when others are present. Of course, when you ask people what they *would* do in a hypothetical scenario, then everybody says they would go and help, which indicates that we don't have very good insight into our own behaviour. Whether bystander apathy is better or worse at altitude I don't know. However, fatigue, lack of oxygen, and perhaps commercial expeditions having a greater proportion of self-centred individuals, could all contribute to less ethical decision making.
 GrahamD 24 May 2006
In reply to sandywilson:


>
> And your point is? Are you suggesting that by being "clients" on a commercial expedition the plodders have no free will? How much of an achievement is it to plod up Everest like an automaton at the beck and call of guides & sherpas, unable to offer the mearest glimmer of human compassion and kindness to a dying man?


I'm saying that a number of clients might not be in any position whatsoever to help and yes - to a certain degree - being a client does mean that there is less free will. I'm not making any moral judgement here - I don't know the facts and I certainly don't know the condition of everyone on the mountain - what I am saying is that in a situation which is effectively a guide/sherpa/client command structure, this behaviour is more likely. Those in command cannot risk their clients and the clients look to the guide for guidance.
 Trangia 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

It would be unthinkable for a cruise liner to ignore a "mayday" from a ship in distress on the basis that the passengers having paid thousands of pounds for the cruise shouldn't be inconvenienced by a diversion.
Paul T Harper 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I am not a climber of any sort. I love walking and being outdoors, and have loved scrambling around the Brecon Beacons in my time, but that's as far as it goes. However, I was shocked by the reports I heard about climbers leaving a man to die under a rock and so started looking for more details about it, which led me to this site.

Obviously I don't have a clue what it's like to be that high up and the decisions that have to be made, but I would just like to say that reading the messages on here and hearing your disgust has been heartening, because my view of human nature was taking a big downward turn over this issue.

Sir Edmund Hillary sums it up and you can read what he said at this link:

http://newsbox.msn.co.uk/article.aspx?as=adimarticle&f=uk_-_olgbtopnews&t=4023&id=287337...

Once again it is good to know that most of you on here would abandon your own ambition to at least try to save someone's life.
tb 24 May 2006
In reply to Paul T Harper:

To put it into context:

A friend of mine was trying to ascent a few years ago. He was about to become the youngest seven summiteer in history. near the top they came across a group in trouble. Not only did they abandon their attempt but the friend in question gave up his O2 to one of the troubled climbers (said friend is amazing at altitude and is climing Everest next year without oxygen). Most (but sadly not all of) the group they were helping made it down.

I'm pleased to report that he returned to the mountain a few years later and still achieved the seven summit youth record (subsequently broken) but I think his actions on that day a few years earlier (in particular giving up his summit bid when he was after a very challenging record) speak more for his personal qualities than the seven summit record which he held.

Even more interestingly I only found out about this from a third party. He's never mentioned it!
Paul T Harper 24 May 2006
In reply to tb:

That's a really interesting thing for me to read as a non-climber, because it confirms what I thought...that saving people from the top of mountains, especially if there is a group of you, can be done.

I think the poor chap who died just had the wrong kind of people going up the mountain that day.

Some people will only help other people if they are forced to, some just if they can. I hope if I'm ever in trouble anywhere I get the right kind of people around me that day.
 GrahamD 24 May 2006
In reply to Paul T Harper:
> (In reply to tb)
>
> That's a really interesting thing for me to read as a non-climber, because it confirms what I thought...that saving people from the top of mountains, especially if there is a group of you, can be done.
>
> I think the poor chap who died just had the wrong kind of people going up the mountain that day.


You managed to read a lot more into than I did. In general, rescuing incapacitated people from above 8000m is very rarely possible - even with the best will in the world.
 kevin stephens 24 May 2006
In reply to Paul T Harper:

Most people on Everest these days are not what we would know as climbers
 Yyonnx 24 May 2006
In reply to tb:

That is brilliant!

You didn't hear about it first hand; he wrote no book about it; his reward was in the doing.

Bonatti wrote about it, Rebuffat and Mark Twight also...the thrill of discovering oneself thru mountaineering.

Kevin Stephens last remark about the type of people climbing Everest makes me think again about the question I asked near the beginning of this marathon thread,

"Are we, mountaineers, more compassionate than others? Do the mountains and our experiences on them bring this out?"
 Yyonnx 24 May 2006
In reply to Yyonnx:

addendum:

I'm trying to think of tragedies on other 8km peaks where such behaviour has occured? Anyone know of any similar events of climbers being in peril where little effort was made to do anything for them by others that could?
 ericoides 24 May 2006
In reply to Yyonnx:

aleister crowley on k2 - or was it kangchenjunga? memory fails me. still he point blank refused to rescue someone saying it was no business of his if someone else had an accident. set the selfishness bar rather high early doors.
 Yyonnx 24 May 2006
In reply to ericoides:

That's reaching back into the past, I like it. I think it was K2.
 Simon Caldwell 24 May 2006
In reply to tb:
> I'm sorry but those who saw him standing, walking or trying to work on his O2 and didn't help have absolutely no excuse.

People who saw him standing, and walking down the mountain, have every excuse surely - why stop to help someone who is apparently making progress by themselves? It's those who sqw him collapsed on the ground and walked by, who will have to justify their inaction to themselves.
 Simon Caldwell 24 May 2006
In reply to McGus:
> Yet Inglis seems to be copping all the flak

because he made the mistake of being open and honest and talking about what happened
Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans: Cheers, Sorry about that Ron!

Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to Chris the Tall: I think this would have been news here, whether it was inglis or any other kiwi. It's not gone down well.
 Howard J 24 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I think to a large extent it depends on the state the person is in and the chances of his survival.

If he is conscious and without major injuries, but struggling to make progress or having problems with his oxygen (as it's been suggested this person was, at least when first seen) then it's hard to justify ignoring him. But then he may have declined assistance at that stage.

If he's conscious but injured, it is clear to me that you should try to get him down or at least stay with him for as long as possible.

If he's unconscious and in a bad way, and there's little chance of getting him down to medical attention, he's basically a goner - then it's more difficult. You're not able to save him or comfort him. If you were to stay with him, what would that achieve? In those circumstances it is understandable that some would leave him and carry on, while others would feel uncomfortable doing so. It's a matter for individual conscience, but when the victim's chances of survival are slim to zero anyway, tough decisions have to be made.



Iain Ridgway 24 May 2006
In reply to Howard J: If the chances of survival are 'slim' then he should have been taken down.

Sorry, but in this case I think we can question from sea level. Had they left them to carry on down, then understandable, left them to bag a summit, not on IMO.
prana 25 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway:

>Had they left them to carry on down, then understandable, left them to bag a summit, not on IMO.

Exactly. There's nothing to debate.

jcm
Mr Rain 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

This whole debate is interesting , I have to side with Sir Edmund Hillary on this one. Most of these people are tourists, not mountaineers. Something should be done to stop up to 30 expeditions attempting to climb the peak at any one time.

Climbing this mountain has become a mere joke in recent times I am afraid to say.

Too many tourists, not enough purists, it cant be viewed as purists pursuit anymore.

However there are many professional mountaineers who by their own actions continue to market the ascent of the mountain and take paying parties up it.

As far as stealing gear, and leaving people to die. That is disgusting and inexcusable.

However, if you had paid 15,000 pounds or whatever it cost, would you give your chance to peak out, knowing that your money' might have been wasted' ( I know its a a terrible point of view, but a realistic one, that is not a small amount of money, and yet a life is worth a lot more)

This is the net result of the commercialisation of this mountain that I abore. ( And I am one person who would like to climb it, but am reluctant to do so, with all this bad press)

How it can be ever be viewed as a Holy and Sacred mountain by Nepalise or Tibetians I know not any more.

However how can a limit be imposed and regulations on climbing it be enforced, with so much money to be made? ( another evil of a free market?)
Anonymous 25 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway: Did you see John Campbell last night? Rob Hall's wife (Jan Arnold) was on to discuss the events recently - and she has some degree of insight into death on Everest. She was supportive of Mark Inglis, as (apparently) were the family of the deceased. Given that ultimately Rob Hall's altruism contributed to his own death she may have more weight behind her opinions than many people contributing here.

This issue is not as clear as some would make out, although my own feeling is pretty much that of jcm et al. above. And whilst Ed Hilary is in my mind an outstanding human being I wonder if he is railing against what Everest stands for these days - a descrated dream - rather than the actions of a remakable guy in difficult circumstances.

Ben B not logged in

Iain Ridgway 25 May 2006
In reply to Anonymous: No missed that, was out running, didn't know she was due on.

I do think the two cases were slightly different though.

Wasn't rib and his colleague on the way down, and rob wouldn't leave him? Where as Mark et al. left to go for the summit. For me that's two different circumstances.

Only read that book on the two recently, and only flashed through it, so can't remember all the facts.
Me again 25 May 2006
In reply to Damo:
> (In reply to Damo)
>
> To add: Killip (sp?) was part of the Himex team. 15 of them went up that day - 5 clients, 2 guides, 8 Sherpa.
>
> D

That's interesting. All those Sherpas. It may be politicaly incorrect, but I think Sherpas are too incented to summit (bonuses, prestige). I was on a commercial expedition where I was expected to give them a bonus for summitting (not Ev) although I never saw them except at BC because 'left behind' for not acclimatising at the right time.

 Simon Caldwell 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
There's been much said about the t65raditional mountaineering tradition that you wouldn't leave a fellow climber behind. John Cleare wrote to the Torygraph for instance, and others have said the same on this thread.
I know it's not quite mountaineering, but the ethos was the same - what about Oates/Scott at the South Pole? Oates was left to die in an attempt to save the others.
And I'd be surprised if there weren't similar examples from the early days of mountaineering.
I'm not really tryi8ng to defend what happens, just suggesting that maybe it's nothing new - though occurs more often as there are more people out there.
tb 25 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:
> (In reply to tb)
> [...]
>
> People who saw him standing, and walking down the mountain, have every excuse surely - why stop to help someone who is apparently making progress by themselves? It's those who sqw him collapsed on the ground and walked by, who will have to justify their inaction to themselves.

Not too sure about that. When he was evidently struggling down (but still struggling) he had a chance of being saved surely. Once collapsed the argument that he wasn't saveable is a more legitimate one. helping someone down from that high up would be pretty difficult if they were not conscious and able to assist with the descent... hence my comment.

Have to add i've never been anything like that high and don't know how I'd react. I sincerely hope (and believe) that I'd abandon a summit bid and help but I guess unless you've been there?????
 Howard J 25 May 2006
In reply to Iain Ridgway:

Let's be realistic. It would be very difficult to get someone down from that situation. You certainly couldn't do it on your own, and probably not even with two or three of you (as Conan Harrod found when he broke his leg, see my earlier post). You would have to call on others to muster a rescue team, who would probably take hours to arrive, putting their and your lives in jeopardy, in order to recover someone who would anyway be unlikely to survive.

Comparisons with heart-attack victims on the street, where professional medical assistance can be there within minutes, just don't apply. In those circumstances you can provide real practical help until the ambulance arrives.

I can see that someone on Everest coming across a total stranger who appears to be on the verge of death, and who is deeply unconscious so they can't even offer comfort, would decide to carry on. Whether they remain comfortable with that decision in retrospect is up to them.

I honestly don't know how I would react in those circumstances. I like to think I'd stay around, but if there was really nothing I could to to help the guy, what's the point?
 Toby_W 25 May 2006
My 2cents.

Everest was considered impossible as were many things but it didn't stop us trying.

A few round the world race sailors have turned back to save others in trouble in terrible conditions and given up the race. They risked all to save another.

I would love to be on Everest and have the chance to try and save someone in trouble. It might be hard or impossible but if I suceeded (even failed) I would feel the most tremendous reward and pride and this would warm my spirit far more than simply getting myself to the top of another mountain.

We are all individuals though and we all make our choices. I don't judge those who walk by but wish they would be more honest about why.

Cheers

Toby
 GrahamD 25 May 2006
In reply to Mr Rain:

It always was a tourist pursuit: why employ porters and Sherpas if it were otherwise ? It was never a pure activity - just less accessible.
Me Again Again 25 May 2006
In reply to Howard J:
> (In reply to Iain Ridgway)
>
> Let's be realistic. It would be very difficult to get someone down from that situation. You certainly couldn't do it on your own, and probably not even with two or three of you (as Conan Harrod found when he broke his leg, see my earlier post). You would have to call on others to muster a rescue team, who would probably take hours to arrive, putting their and your lives in jeopardy, in order to recover someone who would anyway be unlikely to survive.


It would seem to me that there must have been 20 or so Sherpas and guides up there that day. It also seems it was a good day. (A friend of mine was on the N side on this day)
Now, I'd expect most clients to be at their physical, logistical, and pychological limit, and so find it hard to help. But the professionals should have reserves - otherwise they shouldn't be up there. Their job is to support clients, not get in the way.
So there were more professionals around than at a popular grit crag on a sunny Saturday. And no-one helped!?
 GrahamD 25 May 2006
In reply to Me Again Again:

The number of 'professionals' around would have been the absolute minimum required, as deemed by their companies, to ensure their client's relative safety.
 Martin W 25 May 2006
In reply to Me Again Again:

> ...the professionals should have reserves - otherwise they shouldn't be up there. Their job is to support clients, not get in the way.
> So there were more professionals around than at a popular grit crag on a sunny Saturday. And no-one helped!?

Guide: "I'm not going any higher, I'm stopping here to help this injured/dying climber and try to get them down alive."
Client: "I've paid £X to get to the top of this thing. I'm going on. You're paid to look after me and get me down alive. If I die up there, my family will sue you."

What would you do in that situation?
 MikeTS 25 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:
> (In reply to Me Again Again)
>
> [...]
>
> Guide: "I'm not going any higher, I'm stopping here to help this injured/dying climber and try to get them down alive."
> Client: "I've paid £X to get to the top of this thing. I'm going on. You're paid to look after me and get me down alive. If I die up there, my family will sue you."
>
> What would you do in that situation?


Am I a guide? I'd tell my client to get f*cked. Am I client? I'd ask to help.
 MikeTS 25 May 2006
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Me Again Again)
>
> The number of 'professionals' around would have been the absolute minimum required, as deemed by their companies, to ensure their client's relative safety.

Don't think so. Sherpas get paid and get kudos for sumitting.


 GrahamD 25 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

Paid means that its the client paying. Clients aren't simply funding Kudos for Sherpas - they are funding the team they think they require for them to summit and no more.
 'Hilda' 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

You should read this account of the experience of a British team's (Everestmax) invlovement in helping a Canadain climber in trouble on the North Col earlier this week and the mindset of 'some' climbers on the moutain.

http://www.everestmax.com/news.htm

Its sobering stuff
 Ian W 25 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:

Before going, make sure that written into the contract is a clause that says life is more important than blind ambition, and if we come across someone in a bad way but still alive we are going to put them before the summit. Maybe having that to consider would get more people to think about exactly why they are going on guided ascents.
 Ian W 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian W:

And as i put on the Ed Hillary thread,

To my mind, there is one question that needs to be answered by all those who walked past David Sharp.

If David Sharp was one of a group of climbers walking past any of them in a stricken condition and alone but still alive, what would they want David and the others to do? If the answer is that they would have wanted David to continue on to the summit and leave them to die, then fine, but if they would have wanted David and the others to stop and offer help.............
 sandywilson 25 May 2006
In reply to 'Hilda':
>
> http://www.everestmax.com/news.htm
>
> Its sobering stuff

Andrew Sutherland seems a top bloke.
 Martin W 25 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

> Am I a guide? I'd tell my client to get f*cked.

You're the guide. You stop to help. Despite your best efforts, the person you tried to help dies. Your client attempts to continue, does something stupid and dies. You get down safely, your client's family sues and wins. It could be argued that the only positive thing that comes out of this sequence of events is your own satisfaction at having done the right thing.

I'm not saying that you're wrong, by the way, just presenting a scenario.

I tend to think the guide-client relationship doesn't work in such situations. Ian W's suggestion sounds like a step on the way to fixing it, but how could such a contractual arrangement be imposed on all commercial expeditions? If the governments that issue the summit permits were to insist on it then you potentially end up with the prospect of high altitude policemen making sure that the rules are followed.

All it says to me is that the a lot of what goes on on Everest these days has little in common with I, and I suspect a lot of other readers of this forum, believe that climbing and mountaineering represent.

I tend to agree with Juan Oiarzabal, quoted on http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=2105 as saying:

"That mountain turned into a circus years ago, and it's getting worse – I don’t have the slightest interest in going back there, ever. Moreover, I actually try to avoid reading on what’s going on there – I simply don’t care anymore."

"...most of the climbers attempting that mountain are not experienced Himalaya mountaineers, I wouldn’t even consider many of them climbers."

"...They pay huge amounts of money – and they don’t pay for a climb, but for a summit. Thus, reaching the summit becomes their first and only priority."
 Ian W 25 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> [...]
>
>>
> I tend to think the guide-client relationship doesn't work in such situations. Ian W's suggestion sounds like a step on the way to fixing it, but how could such a contractual arrangement be imposed on all commercial expeditions? If the governments that issue the summit permits were to insist on it then you potentially end up with the prospect of high altitude policemen making sure that the rules are followed.
>
>
Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting that this was to be imposed by some authority, but the guiding types, who I would hope are experienced "true" climbers would see that life is more important than the summit, and can thereby force this point of view on those who appear to think that by paying a large sum to someone, this absolves them of all responsibility for others. It's a self regulatory "moralistic" issue for each guide, not a rule to be abided by.
 Ian W 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian W:

As a guide, you should want to put your fellow climbers before the summit. If you don't, then why are you guiding?
 Skyfall 25 May 2006
I have been part of a commercial mountaineering trip in Nepal (though not to one of the 8000m peaks) and I could gripe about various aspects but the thing that struck me most at the time was that many of the people on that trip were a) not lovers of mountains, or b) interested in the general experience of being in Nepal and socialising with the Nepalese. For many of them (not all I might add), it was to be able to say they had done "proper mountaineering" and made some summits. Interestingly, this was particularly true of the younger members and I vividly recall the words of one of them "I'm only here to climb some mountains". Funnily enough he failed to summit on any peak and he did indeed appear to think the whole trip had been a waste of time.

I saw instances of them jeering at mere trekkers. By the end of it I realised it was the trekkers who were in Nepal for better reasons - to see the mountains and maybe understand a little of the local culture. They had no pretensions about being proper mountaineers (which none of our group, myself included, really were IMO).

It was after that trip that I decided I wanted to learn how to really climb and serve my apprenticeship. The funny thing is that I wouldn't go back there to climb now, at least on a guided trip, but I have been back to trek and loved it.
 MikeTS 25 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> [...]
>
> You're the guide. You stop to help. Despite your best efforts, the person you tried to help dies. Your client attempts to continue, does something stupid and dies. You get down safely, your client's family sues and wins.

They'd lose. My reputatation as a guide would be intact.

If I don't help: my self worth would be gone, as would my reputation and profession.

From a practical point of view, I think guiding companies should have clauses that allow them to deploy resources to help people in distress, and which clients sign onto.
Maybe they do? Maybe a guiding company or guide could tell us if it's been considered? is it in their contract with clients?
Eddie A 25 May 2006
Simon Caldwell wrote:
> (In reply to Ian Parnell)
>
> I know it's not quite mountaineering, but the ethos was the same - what about Oates/Scott at the South Pole? Oates was left to die in an attempt to save the others.

Oates was not 'left to die', he walked out of the tent to his own death, thinking this might give the others a better chance of surviving. Scott and the others didn't live and Captain Oates' gesture passed into British mythology as an example of noble (if ultimately futile) self-sacrifice. A rather different ethos to this very sad Everest incident.

Eddie

> Oates was not 'left to die', he walked out of the tent to his own death,
>
> Eddie

After slowing the party down for several days and much agonising according to some of the diary entries. Which made it all the more remarkable in my book. A braver act than many a medal winner that acts in the heat of the moment.

Steve D
 Martin W 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian W:

> Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting that this was to be imposed by some authority, but the guiding types, who I would hope are experienced "true" climbers would see that life is more important than the summit, and can thereby force this point of view on those who appear to think that by paying a large sum to someone, this absolves them of all responsibility for others. It's a self regulatory "moralistic" issue for each guide, not a rule to be abided by.

This is a nice idea but all you need is one company prepared to ignore this voluntary regulation in return for sufficient $$$ and you will get repeats of incidents such as that which is reported to have happened on Everest. To be honest, the reports give the impression that the current situation isn't far removed from that anyway.

I don't actually think that any form of imposed regulation is a good idea, but I also think that any expectation of adherence to a voluntary code of practice is unrealistic in a business which offers to make the "inaccessible" accessible to those with enough money.
 The Crow 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I don't think it's black and white, as an example...

The most capable people on the mountain are likely to be the guides (in many cases with multiple ascents).

Is their responsibility/duty of care to the injured/dying stranger more than that towards their client?
Do they leave their client to carry on and assist the injured stranger?
What if their client is then injured or dies?
Do they force their client to turn back and help too?
Is the possibly weaker client likely to be any help anyway?
If so can the client sue for breach of contract?

Makes it very difficult to apportion blame.

I would suggest that if you climb Everest on a commercial expedition that, while you might expect help from the guides on your team, you should expect no help whatsoever from other climbers (even those on your team). Any help beyond this would be welcome but not anticipated.

On a private expedition then I'd expect help from my partners and would try to know them well enough to be sure of this before starting the climb.

Consider that on most other mountains there are fewer people and the self-reliance of you and your team is paramount. To expect anything different on Everest just because of greater footfall seems naieve.
__________________________________________________

In any case it's wise to expect more assistance where the risk/inconvenience to the helper is less. At 8000m the risks are considerable and the inconvenience significant (it may be a climbers only chance to summit ever) on the Ben I'd expect fellow climbers to help unless they were similarly injured.
 Ian W 25 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:

Couldn't agree more. Maybe the point i am slightly inadvertently making is that the lure of money has taken away the love of mountains from some who obviously started out as "real" mountaineers. I'd need a guide to answer why they do what they do.

From a personal point of view, I would dearly love to do one of the major peaks, but really have no wish to get involved in such a "circus", and everest holds no attraction for me at all.
 Simon Caldwell 25 May 2006
In reply to Eddie A:
> Oates was not 'left to die', he walked out of the tent to his own death

Yeah, like the others didn't know what he was doing.
tb 25 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

The difference being that he selflessly chose to die as he felt he was endangering the others. That's pretty different from walking past someone who wants and needs halp
 Simon Caldwell 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
A few more comments, including support for Inglis from Rob Hall's widow:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3680102a11,00.html
PJay 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
REMEMBER:
The BMC recognises that climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death.

Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.
prana 25 May 2006
In reply to PJay: do u agree with moof?

As I understand it, this guy was headed up on a solo attempt. Maybe I'm different, but when I head out backpacking, or climbing solo I assume total responsibility for whatever happens to me. I expect no one to go out of their way to bail myself out. Even backpacking solo is ill advised, and I would expect to go to an extra nasty level of hell if someone got hurt or died bailing my sorry ass out. Would I be grateful if I was bailed out if the sh#t hit the fan? Hell yes! But my risky choice should not turn into other people's obligation.

I find it very worrysome that we have moved further and further away from a sense of personal responsibility. The more we do so, the more more we willingly give up our right to make decisions for ourselves.

We only have to look at things such as seatbelt laws to realize that our right to do dangerous things that do not endanger others is being eroded. Before long some distraught mother will pull at the country's heart strings and tried to ban climbing, or skydiving, or similar becuase her baby died too young.
Dean 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

As I said on the original thread, I have climbed in the Himalaya, and had signed to climb Everest in 2003 (incidentally with Himex). I got HACE on Ama Dablam (private trip and if you think you'll get more help that way than with a commercial expedition my experience is different) and cancelled the trip.
However, I had made my mind up, that should we have encountered someone in difficulties, I was prepared to sacrifice my summit to help.

Nevertheless, we must all recognise that our morality changes - let's face it we probably all hold a moral that we shouldn't kill another human, but would be prepared to fight for our country in a war.

Also, morality in the mountains is such a subjective topic. If you are on the Cosmiques Arret and someone falls off, of course you'd help. But say, at the other end of the spectrum, by helping someone on Everest, you had a 50% chance of dying in the next 24 hours? Would you still help then? Would your family still want you to help?

Difficult questions for a difficult situation .....

I remember my first aid training where the first rule was to secure the situation, and to make sure your actions didn't put you or anybody else at risk.

I'm sure some people that walked on by were/are cold hearted bastards, but for others I'm sure it was a difficult / confusing situation. Personally, my summit and whole climbing career would be forever tainted if I had the slightest doubt about whether I could have helped.

P.S. I know Russell Brice (owner/leader) of Himex and is someone I would 100% trust with my life. I know in the past that he has led a number of rescue operations and doesn't take these things lightly or or in a merecenary manner. Thus, Inglis, shouldn't be judged too harshly if he took the advice of Russell.
Incidentally, Himex fixed all the rope that every team (commercial or not) used for the summit http://himex.com/c_pub/en/news/2006/everest_dispatch_no_6.php

PJay 25 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
not saying anyone is right or wrong, but EVERYBODY who climbs or mountaineers knows, or should know that they are risking their own lives and that their actions could endanger someone elses life if they make a poor decision.
I am not a mountaineer and never will be, I have a 4 year old child and a family who I would like to think would be very upset if I decided to do something very dangerous and died.
That is my opinion and in no way reflects on the decisions taken by others.For some the risk is acceptable, and that is their choice, but you have to take responsibilty for your own actions.
What would happen if, for example, I got in trouble and the person or persons who attempted to rescue me died in the process? Are they then heroes or fools? Could I live with their deaths on my conscience? Those who say they would have stayed and helped - are you parents? No one knows until their time comes if they would help or not, and no one who hasn't faced the situation personally is qualified to judge. If faced with the choice of stay, help and maybe die or go home to my son, then my son would win, but then, he is the reason I wouldn't go in the first place. If you want the ultimate thrill you presumably understand that you could pay the ultimate price, sadly this man like many others has paid in full.
 Al Evans 25 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell: Its a nonsense analogy, the pole in those days was way out of reach of any rescue team, the bllody yak route up Everest is these days is in reach of anyone with money, usually people with selfish ambition. I seriously dont believe it is impossible to get anybody who is ill down the yak route , Sorry there is no argument its bollox, we are not talking about getting people off K2 here, we are talking about a bloody snow plod with fixed lines.
Sir Ed thinks exactly the same, in fact he thinks even in the primitive days of 1953 the would have done it. AND I completely agree with him. AND forget whether it would be succesful, they would have tried and given up their chance to be the first to summit Everest.
Its Bollox, the people who walked past him should be tried for manslaughter by neglect, as Francoise pointed out it is an actual crime in France!
prana 25 May 2006
In reply to Dean:
>Inglis, shouldn't be judged too harshly if he took the advice of Russell.

yes, if the judgers want to judge, then there is more evidence to uncover. Inglis is innocent
In reply to Martin W:

I'd be interested to know what IS in the contracts of these wretched companies, and what if anything is said about this kind of thing before people sign up. Maybe Tom B can tell us?

jcm
 Simon Caldwell 25 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans:
So you and Sir Ed think one thing. Other mountaineers and their relatives think another. It seems not to be quite as cut and dried as you make out.
 Al Evans 25 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell: All decent mountaineers think the same,they would not leave a human being to die, or at least not die alone, the families believe what they are told because they have to to cope.
 Simon Caldwell 26 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans:
> the families believe what they are told because they have to to cope

<<
Dr Jan Arnold, the widow of New Zealand climber Rob Hall, who perished on Everest in May 1996 after staying with another stricken climber during a storm, also said no-one should blame Inglis and his climbing team.

Arnold, who also lives in Richmond, has climbed Everest.

She said the chances of rescuing a climber stranded above 8000m were extremely slim.

"This is extremely difficult to judge from any of us who weren't actually up there, and I would not point the finger at anyone in this situation," she said.

"When you are up there, you can barely breathe, you can't eat, you can barely drink. All you can really do is plod on upwards with this one thing in mind.

"You would never point a finger, and I feel sorry for Mark to have to face these many fingers, and I congratulate Mark on what he's done. I sympathise with him."

>>
 Martin W 26 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

> They'd lose. My reputatation as a guide would be intact.

You sure? Ever heard of Michael Matthews? Once lawyers get involved all bets are off.

> If I don't help: my self worth would be gone, as would my reputation and profession.

We have a clear statement from Mark Inglis that he received radio advice from Russell Brice to ignore the climber in distress. Do you think Russell's "reputation and profession" will be "gone" as a result of this? Not according to at least one poster on this thread. If Himex were never to have another paying client again then your argument might turn out to have merit, but I'd bet that doesn't happen.

This isn't meant as a judgement or criticism of Russell, by the way, just a direct example of how the standards you set yourself may not necessarily apply to everyone in the field.

> From a practical point of view, I think guiding companies should have clauses that allow them to deploy resources to help people in distress, and which clients sign onto.

It's that "should" that's the catch. If it's voluntary then someone will be tempted to break the rule in return for money. If some body in "authority" eg a government which issues summit permits were to try to impose such a rule, it would be unenforceable for all practical purposes as there are no "authorities" above 8000m.
 Yyonnx 26 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
> [...]

> She said the chances of rescuing a climber stranded above 8000m were extremely slim.

> >>

Before 1978, the scientific community said the same thing about summiting Everest without oxygen...you know, "can't be done or you would suffer brain damage from the lack of oxygen, etc."

With full respect to Jan, I think she is wrong. And it only adds to the distortion of this "abscence of morality at altitude" debate to continue to refer to this outmoded statement as support for the abhorrent actions of those who did nothing.
 Al Evans 26 May 2006
In reply to Yyonnx: Refer to the Ed Hillary thread, thats what the great man thinks and having been there so do I.
I dont know what Jan Arnold's experience is but if she got up Everest on a guided expedition by the Yak route, I'm not impressed, I'd go with Ed (and my own experience) any day
 Simon Caldwell 26 May 2006
In reply to Yyonnx:
> With full respect to Jan, I think she is wrong

She may be. All I'm trying to do is add balance to the 'debate'. There are some good, experienced climbers out there whop are not as quick to lay blame as Al Evans and Ed Hilary.
 Yyonnx 26 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

I do understand what you are saying but I think this mentality is passe thus not truly balancing. At the time that Jan and Rob were climbing and guiding, that was the accepted mentality but I think our minds have now grown to accept that rescues can be carried out.
 TonyG 26 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
This now showing on www.everestnews.com :

"05/25 NEWSFLASH: Annapurna: Peter Hamor reached the summit of Annapurna. Piotr Pustelnik and Piotr Morawski after reaching the east summit had to help one of the Tibet, who got a snow blindness... and therefore did not summit "

It seems that these Polish climbers believe in the notion of high-altitude rescue. Pustelnik only needs Annapurna and Broad Peak to complete all 14 of the 8000ers, and he gave up his summit bid to rescue someone.

Real climbers do have morality, even in this day and age.
 Simon Caldwell 26 May 2006
In reply to TonyG:
Real climbers don't jump to conclusions based on a one-sentence report.
Iain Ridgway 26 May 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell: Bullshit!


You read Als posts!

Anonymous 26 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

isn't the first rule of mountain rescue not to make the situation worse?

At the same time the idea of people walking past someone without doing anything at all for him fills me with horror
 GrahamD 26 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Simon Caldwell) All decent mountaineers think the same,

I take it, then, that you don't consider Stephen Venables to be a decent mountaineer ?
 Martin W 26 May 2006
In reply to TonyG: Also on mouneverestnews.net this morning: Lincoln Hall reported left for dead above the Third Step on the 25th, found still alive above the Second Step this morning and now being assisted down by a team of Sherpas from a Russian expedition.
 Al Evans 26 May 2006
In reply to GrahamD: I am convinced Stephen has been misquoted or misedited, obviously a great mountaineer.
Or maybe he is basing his thoughts on his experience and amazing unguided ascent on the Kanshung face, rather than the yak route. I am convinced if I was in trouble and asked him for help Stephen would help me down!
 Simon Caldwell 26 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans:
Have you read Stephen's article? It doesn't sound like it's down to editing. His general point seems to be, yes rescue or even just company to die with, is possible and desirable but not necessarily feasible.
xyzpaul 26 May 2006
Talk of not putting yourself or others in increased danger is all fine and dandy, but how would abandoning the summit attempt and instead comforting a dying man for an hour increase the danger?
 SecretSquirrel 26 May 2006
In reply to xyzpaul:
I'd guess that would depend on the weather - never been up there myself, but from what i understand at that altitude its always pretty extreme and you often have a fairly short window of opportunity when the weather clears enough for a summit attempt.

Still, I don't think I could leave someone dying just to get to the top. It would be a pretty hollow victory if it had been at the expense of their life and although it would be disappointing to get that far and turn back, doing everything I could to help them safely down would be a far greater acheivement for me as an individual.

On a more cynical level, I know its an expensive expedition, but how difficult would it really be to get the sponsorship/funding for another go for the hero who gave up their dream and abandoned the summit attempt to rescue someone? You could get stacks of publicity from TV/newspaper/magazine interviews and maybe even a book out of that sort of escapade.
 MikeTS 26 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> [...]
>
> You sure? Ever heard of Michael Matthews? Once lawyers get involved all bets are off.

I thought this was still unresolved.

>
> We have a clear statement from Mark Inglis that he received radio advice from Russell Brice to ignore the climber in distress. Do you think Russell's "reputation and profession" will be "gone" as a result of this?

Russell deserves to be banned from guiding. But my point was about his crew: he had 2 guides and 8 sherpas up there apparently. IMHO they should have helped.

>
> It's that "should" that's the catch. If it's voluntary then someone will be tempted to break the rule in return for money.

Inglis didn't have to do what Russell said. I'm talking morality.

A guy I met once, Fabrizio Zangrilli, rescued a guy from near the top of K2. A much harder mountain than Everest. A competent Everest guide should be able to rescue someone from 300m below top of Everest. Otherwise, why are they there? Are they admitting that they cannot actually help their clients at this altitude?
 Martin W 26 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

> A guy I met once, Fabrizio Zangrilli, rescued a guy from near the top of K2. A much harder mountain than Everest. A competent Everest guide should be able to rescue someone from 300m below top of Everest. Otherwise, why are they there? Are they admitting that they cannot actually help their clients at this altitude?

I think this question was raised after the 1996 disaster as well. Remember that Rob Hall died after trying to help Doug Hansen descend to safety - despite assistance from Andy Harris, who also lost his life in the storm. I don't think the question was resolved then, and I'm not sure it's going to be now.
Mr Rain 26 May 2006
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

That is an interesting point.

What is in the contract of thesee companies?

Anyone know?

Are you signing your life away?
Dean 26 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

With all due respect you're talking out of your arse.

You have no specific knowledge at what stage this conversation took place, and the state of the person concerned.

To say "Russell deserves to be banned from guiding" is total bollocks and it's a good job people like you are not responsible for such decisions.
 Nellie 26 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
What height was David at and are there any parallels with the ongoing rescue of the aussie at the momment, they sound like fairly similar situations. Ive never been at that height but they managed to get the aussie down to the north col then surely.... I might be wrong but I don't get it
Benedict jenks 27 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I have enjoyed reading this thread and there are many issues raised here. Without getting into the issue of whether it is correct to "walk on by" or to offer assistance, i think we should take account of the fact that climbers make a choice to try to climb a mountain.

People can either go solo (with or without some form of base camp support), join a peer group sharing costs or join a commercial expedition.

My understanding is that if you go solo, you are responsible for yourself. If you join a peer group, you really should be able to look after yourself but benefit from the support afforded by your "team". If you join a commercial expedition you are buying experience and leadership to assist you in your attempt.

Commercial expeditions have a duty to prevent unfit or inexperienced people getting themselves and others into difficulty and a leader may have to tell someone who is paying a considerable amount of money and incidentally his salary that he can not go on - in a peer group or in a solo situation there is no one to send the climber back.

Accidents do happen but had the unfortunate climber here been part of a group, someone might have sent him back before the point of no return.

Climbing high mountains is a risky activity and participants should manage that risk - that said people have a choice and i would not advocate a test of competence or a kit check before starting up the icefall - the way through the ice fall is eased by others climbing the mountain and without this assistance, many would never be able to get themselves into positions of danger.

I have been to ebc with the assistance of a porter and a guide but i do not forget that i need that assistance.
dtrepex 27 May 2006
I'd like to think (never having been in this situation either) that I'd get a much bigger buzz from being able to save someone's life, or at least make their end a more peaceful one...

In reply to Mike C:
If you'd get a buzz from that, it's not a hard thing to do. Go volunteer at a hospital. There are lots of old people that are dying but don't have any surviving friends or family to be with them at the end. They have volunteer programs where you can comfort someone at the end.
 MikeTS 27 May 2006
In reply to Dean:
> (In reply to MikeTS)

> You have no specific knowledge at what stage this conversation took place, and the state of the person concerned.

I don't need to know to make my statement. Russell is paid to take clients up E. He has a large support team up there. Part of the reason for the support team is to help clients who are in trouble. If they can't help, he is taking money falsely. If they can help at the top of E, then they should and could help people who are dying.
 MikeTS 27 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> [...]
>
> I think this question was raised after the 1996 disaster as well. Remember that Rob Hall died after trying to help Doug Hansen descend to safety - despite assistance from Andy Harris, who also lost his life in the storm. I don't think the question was resolved then, and I'm not sure it's going to be now.

Rob, to his eternal credit, tried. Now is this experience being used as a reason to not try?

Dean 27 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

So you don't need to know the facts to say someone should be banned from guiding - what planet are you on?

It seems the mother of David knows more of the facts than you and has come to a different conclusion -

"But one Sherpa appears to have tried to administer oxygen to Mr Sharp. He found him beyond help, in a crevice close to one of the main routes and near the remains of an Indian climber who died in 1997.

This gesture may have been futile but it enabled the mountaineering firm manager for whom he worked, Russell Bryce, to contact Mr Sharp's family and inform them of their son's death. "I cannot say how grateful I am to the Sherpa and Russell," said Mrs Sharp. "He had no obligation to do it."

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article571683.ece

So it seems of all the commercial expeditions on that side of the mountain, Himex fixed all the rope (that David undoubtedly used), Himex had the only member of staff that administered aid to him, Himex had the only member staff that spent time with him (at least the sherpa), Himex took the extremely painful and difficult decision to inform the next of kin and, from what I've read elsewhere, have been in contact witht he family to arrange what to do with the body.

You are saying Himex, and Russell in particular, didn't help now are you?

You are seriously on the wrong track here.
 MikeTS 27 May 2006
In reply to Dean:
> (In reply to MikeTS)
>
> You are saying Himex, and Russell in particular, didn't help now are you?
>
> You are seriously on the wrong track here.

Doesn't add up to an organised rescue attempt. Compare with what happened on the N side. Dan Mazur stayed with client to look after Lincoln: party of Sherpas went up and hrought him down.

 Martin W 27 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

> Rob, to his eternal credit, tried. Now is this experience being used as a reason to not try?

I don't know, but that's certainly not what I was trying to suggest. Bear in mind that Rob Hall (with Ed Viesturs and Guy Cotter and expedition sherpas) did manage to bring an unconscious client down from the South Summit in 1995.

The rescue of Lincoln Hall from above the Second Step in the last couple of days (see http://www.mounteverest.net ) might suggest that these things are possible if people decide they want to do it. Although there appear to some similarities between the circumstances in which Lincoln and David Sharp were found, it is hardly possible at this distance to know what differences there were eg in their physical states or locations which might have made a rescue attempt for David impractical or too great a risk to the rescuers.
 MikeTS 27 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:
Where was David Sharp? South Summit? Above or below Hilary step?
 Martin W 27 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS: According to this report http://www.everestnews.com/everest2006/sharpeverest05172006.htm David Sharp: "is now in the rock cave next to the dead Indian climber". As far as I can tell this is below the First Step (Inglis' ascent was via the NE ridge - the First Step is at about 28,000 feet and according to http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=2092 "David Sharp...was still alive at 28,000 feet" when Inglis saw him). According to the Telegraph article linked from that report, David started his ascent on the 14th and was seen by Mark Inglis on the 15th.
 L.A. 27 May 2006
In reply to Martin W: To show how close David Sharp was to the fixed ropes and groups as they passed!
http://www.everestnews.com/everest2006/sharpeverest05272006.htm
Dean 27 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

Brilliant! You don't even know what side of the mountain he was on!

FYI he was on the north side (Tibet side), south summit and Hilary Step are on the south side in Nepal.
prana 27 May 2006
In reply to L.A.: the Lincoln rescue shows that successful rescues can be made in the death zone if there's the will
 Martin W 27 May 2006
In reply to L.A.: That pic tallies with this description from an ascent on the North side of the mountain: http://www.explorersweb.com/ex018/ (scroll down to "First corpse").
 Martin W 27 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS:

> Dan Mazur stayed with client to look after Lincoln: party of Sherpas went up and hrought him down.

That appears to be confirmed by this article http://www.everestnews.com/Summitclimb2005/everesttibet2006disps05272006.htm which contains a verbatim statement from Mazur that he did not continue to the summit.

It also mentions that: "In 2005 [Mazur] returned as a guide for Himex (Russ Brice), but a few weeks into the expedition it appears Brice and he went their separate ways. No announcement was ever made why..."

Brice was the also the Himex expedition leader this year; Inglis has been quoted as saying that Brice advised him to leave Sharp and continue his own summit attempt.
In reply to Martin W:
I think you are getting your facts wrong. Ironic as the piece you are quoting is about the supposed shit spreading by one guide about abother in your quote you missquote the article you linked to which reports about an Australian called Duncan Chessell (sp?) not Mazur who worked for Himex. Everest seems to be the home for chinese whispers!

 Martin W 27 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell: You are right, I mis-read the article. Apologies if I misled anyone on that point.
Dean 27 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

To move this thread on, how should the situation change? Should each commercial, and non-commercial expedition member, pay an extra fee with the permit to allow a permanent recue squad to be ready on the mountain? Should it be obligatory that every person that comes across someone in trouble (how do you define that?) has to abort their summit and try and help? Does that include deranged people who turn up with no mountaineering experience, no equipment and despite all pleadings, continue up the mountain? Apparently it has happened .....
Should oxygen be banned on the mountain? You'd get less punters, but those that did have a go would get in more trouble....

Ian, you've been there, what's your solution?
 MikeTS 28 May 2006
In reply to Dean:
I know my Everest sides! Nowhere in this thread does it say which side (tho I should have been more careful with the reference to a cave and the Indian climber)
Well this makes it worse. There have been rescues from the first step area. The technically hardest part about the N side is the last day. And it seems that David was below most, if not all, of these difficulties.
If Lincoln could be rescued from the same area, why not David a few days earlier?
 Al Evans 28 May 2006
In reply to MikeTS: I think David was on the Yak route, I am fairly sure the army team would have mounted a rescue if they have been told and he was on the North side!
 koolkat 28 May 2006
In reply to al evans : i thought your knowledge of the mountain was better having been there , to mount a rescue from the west shoulder to the north ridge would be impressive , even by army standards and it has been well documented that he is on the north side
 Martin W 28 May 2006
In reply to Al Evans: http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=3315 has a diagram of where David Sharp and Lincoln Hall were on the NE ridge.
 MikeTS 28 May 2006
In reply to Martin W:
> (In reply to Al Evans) http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=3315 has a diagram of where David Sharp and Lincoln Hall were on the NE ridge.

Very clear. So David was well below the technical difficulties, and also below places from which people have been rescued. The story of his abandonment keeps getting worse.
 Lawman 28 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I think that many who have posted here are missing the point of the OP. He's not asking for the micro-analysing of previous rescues or disasters - he's asking if YOU believe it's right to leave an injured person high on a mountain. It's dead easy to say the joe bloggs should have done this or that in 87 etc, but what would you do.

Me, I'd take pride in stopping and doing something to help. I think I'd get more satifaction out of helping a fellow human being to survive than from summiting a mountain and I could never pass someone by without offering assistance.

I've never been to high alititude - the highest being 14,500 in the Rocky's. I might even be one of the people that got into trouble, I don't (and probably never will) know. But I do know this, if I was fit and healthy and I found a person in trouble, morality WOULD win over summiting.

Rich
In reply to Dean: Dean there are no easy answers. Your idea of a permanent rescue squad is a possibility but its worth reflecting that this will almost certainly be staffed by the strongest sherpas and would be an incredibly risky job. What is the morality of paying sherpas to risk their lives to clear up the mess-ups of Western holiday makers?

Some kind of law to force people to abandon summit and force them to rescue wouldn't work as it seems unenforceable and the reliability of information (distorted by jealously and lack of oxygen) would lead to lots of misscarriges of justice. I also hate the idea of laws being imposed on climbers in the mountains.

Oxygen banned on the mountain is an idea I have alot of sympathy with. Having used it myself I know how much it is cheating. 95 percent of the non locals on the mountain would stand no chance of summitting or even getting to 8000m, there would be less need for sherpas to risk their lives carrying clients spare oxygen for them and much less environmental impact on the mountain and area. Unfortunately the down side is that in the short term while the average climber and client works out that Everest would no longer be a viable holiday there would be a big increase in people getting into trouble

What I do think is worth considering is a ban on all ascents of the mountain for say 5 years. Its something Hilary has suggested. And on resumption that controls on who and how many teams can opperate on the mountain be strictly enforced. On both sides things seem far too crowded for safety. Elsewhere in the Himalaya most mountain permits are only issued to one person per team.

As I say I haven't any real solutions. All I can say is that this years large ammount of fatalities occured largely in perfect weather with apart from the sherpas caught under a serac collapse all the deaths down to human error. For me this makes this years events even more depressing than 1996 where a sudden storm caught out many folk unaware. I can only see things getting worse on Everest, and if this years human problems are combined with a big storm then its going to be very messy. If you're thinking of going, think again and choose one of the World's thousands of other beautiful and challenging mountains.
 MikeTS 28 May 2006
In reply to Lawman:
Well, I think the issues merge. Morality allows you an 'out 'if you think that to act means thst you die futilely in the attempt.
Here this 'out' does not seem to apply.
It sounds like an exact rerun of when 2 Japanese climbers walked past a dying Indian climber 10 years.
Everyone in the West jumped up and down in protest, some suggesting racism (or cultural diferences). Now westerners have walked past a westerner. I cannot find any moral justification for the inaction shown by those who were there this time.
 adnix 28 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
> (In reply to Dean) What is the morality of paying sherpas to risk their lives to clear up the mess-ups of Western holiday makers?

Aren't they doing that now already? They charge clients $40000 and pay sherpas $15/day, which might be good money in local currency but is not too much compared to what western guides get. Or have I understood something wrong?
 adnix 28 May 2006
In comparison:

For helirescue in the Swiss the guides charge about 106CHF/hour/guide. And the agency charges equal amount for administration and infrastructure. In addition there will be the helicopter cost of 60CHF/minute.
fdoctor 28 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
Would you pass someone in the street, dying, on your way to work with the excuse "I was late for work?"
Would you ignore someone drowning when on a beach on holiday with the excuse "you needed to get out of the sun?"
I can think of another 100 scenarios like these which cannot excuse passing another human being in serious trouble and likely to die alone, without help.
I am never likely to summit an 8000m peak, but have summited plenty of 6000+m peaks in Nepal and have helped plenty of people in trouble, twice resulting in missed summits personally.
The ignoring of people in difficulty, and the post event rationalisation by many on message boards shows many of the mountaineering community for what they are: Selfish, elitist, arrogant, self-centred ..........
jimbojj 28 May 2006
In Reply To All: He is alive!!!! i would like to congratulate the people that saved this mans life and i hope they get rewarded for their efforts!!!!!

mike
In reply to adnix: Not sure where you are getting your figures from? $15 is about the rate for porters. Sherpas earn alot more for mountain days. Infact sherpas are amongst the richer Nepalis (although as its one of the world's poorest countries...) most of them with our team were sending their kids abroad for schooling for example.
 adnix 28 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I read it on the link below. One well known climber cited a rate of $14/day.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=198763

It might have changed since he was there, though. Once people get more education they dare to ask more.
bolderclimber 28 May 2006
In reply to jimbojj:

I think you're refering to News reports that the Dan Mazur led summitclimb team rescued Lincoln Hall who had earlier been "left for dead". http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/hall-descends-everest-on-yak/2006/05/28/1148754864958.html

According to reports the Mazur team abandoned their own summit attempt to rescue Lincoln Hall.

This is a different story from reports of David Sharp who apparently died while so-called mountaineers passed him by on their way to the summit.

Of course, I agree we should celebrate the Mazur rescue and the bravery displayed in saving Lincoln Hall. A reminder that rescues are far from "impossible" and that some climbers at least are capable of doing the right thing.
In reply to adnix: You're right thats Conrad Anker who knows the sherpas very well, much better than me. It could be that there is a very differeing rate amongst teams, and Jagged Globe the team I was with are generous (I know for example that some sherpas tips on top of their pay was up to a couple of thousand bucks). Money aside you're also right wether rescuing, guiding, fixing ropes, or humping loads up high the sherpas are risking their lives to help our holidays.
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Of course, but so are guides. It's just that rates of pay are lower in Nepal. I don't quite follow this hand-wringing about that.

Nor do I follow, as a general proposition, all this you-can't-do-anything-at-that-altitude stuff. It may be that you can't do anything in some particular situation, but it seems clear that in some situations you can and people do.

In general commenting on these situations, on either side, without knowing the facts, which of course we don't, doesn't seem very sensible. But it does seem a little bit unlikely that all 40 of these people walked past this character after he was past help. It's not like he became past help as the result of a single moment, it was a process.

I am shocked by some of the would-you-give-up-your-dream-to-save-a-life (answer, yes of course, jeez, what do you take me for?), he-was-soloing-anyway-so-it's-up-to-him (words fail me), attitudes on this thread. I guess these are the kind of folk who make up JG's clientele.

jcm

 adnix 29 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

> Money aside you're also right wether rescuing, guiding, fixing ropes, or humping loads up high the sherpas are risking their lives to help our holidays.

I'll just wait the moment the sherpas get enough money to have strict working union and decide to strike for a season or two. The truth is that most people can't do it without them so they have a very good position for pay negotiations.
Kurt 29 May 2006
In reply to adnix:

Adnix, that thought makes me smile. Good start to a monday. Tah.

K
Barney Adams 29 May 2006
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: I completely agree. I think that alot of the ethics here are being lost by the commercialisation of such expeditions. In my opinion people that are not prepared and/or able to climb such peaks without the help of "tourist" guides do not properly qualify as true mountaineers and therefore may lack the nessacary skill and experience. It is like being given a job as a surgeon with no more than a qualification in basic first aid. There is absolutly no alternative to personal experience.
Dean 31 May 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Ian - one thing that strikes me, is that many of our solutions involve hardship for the local populace. Banning climbing for 5 years, banning oxygen etc would seriously damage the economies both sides of the mountain. As these are some of the poorest peeople in the world this doesn't seem fair - that they should lose out because us westerners can't be bothered to save others in trouble.

The more I think of it, the more a professional rescue service on the mountain makes sense. If it attracts the best sherpas, and they have to risk their lives - well they are risking them at the moment - let's pay them appropriately. The permit fee could be increased to take account of it - say an extra $100 per person.

There are drawbacks however - westerners / summiters would all "walk on by" - 'cos they say the resuce squad have to take care of it. And people would take more risk / keep pushing for the summit in bad weather / cut corners on equipment, because they know there is back-up.

That leads me to wonder the effect of mountain rescue has in the Alps. Do you think your decision making, for example planning and during the Lafaille route on the Dru in winter, would have been different, if you knew there was no chance of rescue at all?

All interesting stuff, and except for the knee-jerk let's ban people stuff, has been well considered.
 adnix 01 Jun 2006
In reply to Dean:

> That leads me to wonder the effect of mountain rescue has in the Alps. Do you think your decision making, would have been different, if you knew there was no chance of rescue at all?

Not really. Rescue services don't work in bad weather. If the weather hits you're always on your own. I've phoned rescue once due to my partners frostbite and they basicly said: "Climb up boys, we can't fly with this wind."

In good conditions I don't see any reason why I wouldn't get out the situation with my own two feet.
Dean 01 Jun 2006
In reply to adnix:

Really? Even with multiple fractures (from a fall say) on a sunny day, you'd be capable of getting off the hill on your own? Why have mountain rescue at all then?
Iain Ridgway 01 Jun 2006
In reply to Dean: Well accidents only happen to careless people.

It's not like you may get sudden avalanches, rock fall etc suddenly causing injury...
In reply to Dean:
"Do you think your decision making, for example planning and during the Lafaille route on the Dru in winter, would have been different, if you knew there was no chance of rescue at all?"

Everyone of my climbs has been done expecting no rescue at all. On the Dru we turned round below the summit, for various reasons but mainly beacuse we'd run out of food and were so exhausted "little accidents" were creeping in. We turned round before the big accidents happened. Judgement is crucial. Many of the recent Everest tradgedies haven't happened from sudden storms or unforseen avalanches so one can only conclude that peoples judgement was way off.
Dean 01 Jun 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

I think most experienced climbers think in the same way - "mountain rescue is the last resort and it's better not to count on it". However, it's evident that many people attempting Everest these days aren't experienced and don't have the same thought processes.

Also, many of the recent people on Everest would have found themselves above 8,000m for the first time (many first time above 7,000m as well). Also, it's very different when using o2 - basically the clock is ticking. I think the majority of summitters have no judgement to rely on, and that's why there are problems. It's a bit like sending someone who hasn't dived before to extreme depth - they'd panic and know the clock was ticking against them. I think the analogy with diving is much better than other forms of climbing.
matnoo 01 Jun 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Regardless of whether I was 100 or 10000ft from the summit, and again regardless of how likely the injured climber was to survive, giving him help and getting him down would be the only thing i would want to do.

I wouldnt care whether he 100years old with no legs, I would gain no pleasure from the summit whilst there was someone dying in pain or alone.


Anyone who chooses to summit over helping (or just being there til they die at least) I think has an unfortunate set of values.

There are people who have summited everest 20 times.

How often do you get the chance to save someones life?



Whether their life could be saved or not isnt the question. Its where your priorities lie.

Mat
Adrian Lawrie 04 Jun 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell: People go on and on about the fact that 40 climbers just walked past the poor bloke who was dying as though this in itself was really shocking. I think the fact that there were so many on the mountain that day makes it EASIER to understand WHY those people just waklked past. It is easier to hide in a crowd!
If I had paid a shedload of cash to get up Everest and I came across someone obviously in trouble I would like to think that I would stop and try to help, AND try to SHAME others into helping as well but who knows?...I think you really had to be there.
I have recently gotten into climbing and mountaineering (far too late at the age of 38) and willl probably NEVER be able to afford even a cheapo Everest expedition. However, Everest is THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD...The stuff of childhood dreams and Dan Dare books. It would be really interesting to look at an individual profile of each and every one of the 40 supposed BASTARDS who walked past the dying climber. I would suggest that most of them were probably not SUPERSTARS of mountaineering and probably a lot of them were seriously unsure of whether they would make it themselves...
It is easy to get on a "high horse" and talk about mountaineers codes and morality and bla bla bla sitting in front of the laptop with a cup of char. No doubt those people SHOULD have stopped to help but they didnt.
To be scandalized from the comfort of one's sofa is just too easy. Had there have just been 10 climbers on the mountain that day I think itb would've been harder to just walk past...If the people on Everest that day were PROFFESIONAL ELITE MOUNTAINEERS then there is absolutely no excuse.
Recently Spanish climbers IKER and ENEKO Pou were involved in a rescue on Fitzroy in Patagonia. They were quite rightly scandalized when they tried to enlist help at base camp and were told pretty much to EFF OFF by other definitely elite climbers who were getting some kip before summit bids. Needless to say the Pou brothers did rescue the people in trouble and could not summit coz of bad weather (having missed the weather window as a result of their exhausting rescue).
 peteclark 04 Jun 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:
I apologise if I am repeating what has already been said because I have not got time to read all of the posts.

I have never climbed an 8000 meter peak but I know that if I did and I came across a climber in a bad way I would postpone any summit attempt to save a life.

I, personaly, would feel more satisfaction in knowing I had made someones last moments more comfortable or saved someones life than climbing Everest.

It is disgraceful that anyone should walk past a dying man and offer no assistance. Any respect I had for mark inglis has now dissapeared like it has for the other self obsessed climbers that day.

My thoughts go out to the family of the dead climber.
In reply to Adrian Lawrie:

>People go on and on about the fact that 40 climbers just walked past the poor bloke who was dying as though this in itself was really shocking.

Well, er, yes.

jcm
prana 04 Jun 2006
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: what about the point that it's easier to walk past someone in need if there are many others?
Conrad Anker 05 Jun 2006
Greetings,
Hello from Montana. A few thoughts on the Everest scene. These are my postings from a thread on supertopo, the Yosemite forum.

Soloing ::
On a popular routes such as the North Ridge, & South Col of Everest, the West Buttress of Denali and the standard route on Aconcagua one is hardly soloing in the way we as rock climbers define it. That is, you are the master of your destiny by the choices you make. On routes that are prepared (fixed lines, set camps, food, radio support, back up climbers) it is not a solo ascent. In 99 we encountered a lone "solo" climber who poached tents, begged water and hired other expedition Sherpas to carry his supplies. He was in way over his head and a liability to the other climbers on the route. He didn't summit in '99, came back on '00 and died trying. The standard I look to is Messner's ascent mid monsoon in '81 of a new variation on the north side of Everest. His support? A liaison officer and his girl friend in base camp. Very much alone.

The climber in question passed away was "on his own" and had spent 24 with out protection above 8500 metres. He had a pulse, yet was frostbitten on all four extremities. What do you do? A classic question for ethicists. We in our hearts know we would be drawn to affect a rescue and condemn those that climbed past. Not being in their place at that time this is a hard call. The guilt of leaving this climber for dead is more than I personally would accept and I would have done what I could to make his existence a little less painful. If this involved short roping him down or providing intra muscular medication (morphine) to lessen the pain would again depend on the situation.

In 99 we lowered a non ambulatory Ukrainian climber from the north col to the lower glacier. By passing overhand knots on a munter belay we were able to do the lower in six 100-metre stations. Even then it required four western climbers with rescue skills and radios and an equal amount of Sherpas - who are much tougher and stronger. A rescue from 8-5 would probably require putting 40 people at great risk and with a doubtful outcome. Again - time and place come in question.

16 years ago on the 21st of May Mugs Stump died in a crevasse on the South Face of Denali. It was a grim event, one that changed my world. Stuff happened, but only to "Twinkies" (novices), not climbers of the caliber of Mugs. How wrong I was. Gravity plays for keeps and no one is favored. In the subsequent years and the recurring fact that this game is deadly, I have come to accept what happens and not wrack my soul over "what if" situations. One should make peace with the potential outcome and those you leave behind before venturing into the vertical.

Guiding ::
This scenario and that of 96 are in part attributable to the increase in guided climbs on the big mountains. The standard routes on these mountains are tamed. Recall if you will a metaphor. Sigfried and Roy after years of training tigers one day got their asses handed to them. Same with "domesticated" grizzly bears. Some one is bound to get hurt. Play with fire and the odds catch up.

Overall I am not opposed to guided climbs of these "tigers and grizzlies". They are an ego-based goal for successful people. Better to flail away on the big E than hunt rhinos in the Serengeti, tigers in Siberia, polar bears in the arctic or ibex in the Karakorum. The planet can ill afford the loss of these rare creatures. So if Viagra and mountain climbing makes the world less threatening to wild animals, all the better.

The other aspect is that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in SE Asia. 80 % of the population is involved in subsistence farming and the influx of cash and employment mountain climbing brings is a positive benefit. There is a disparity in the distribution of wealth and climbing (and tourism in general) is a way to move cash from developed nations to those that do not have as much. Plan an expedition, get to know your porters, play cards with your cook and share a joke with your liaison officer - it is good fun and you'll return with a story to tell and the people you hired might be able to send a child to school, buy a roof for their house or improve their lot. Not that bad,eh?

In a rescue situation the primary concern is that of the rescuers - not to endanger them in way that would compromise the whole operation. Second to this the next point is to take care of the injured person.

The climber's en route to the summit should have done what they could to make life better for the stranded soloist. Conditions were such that helping out the climber would not have put their life at risk, just their summit bid. In a triage sense, they choose the summit over the climber. Had a storm been brewing, the climbers out of O2 and the situation on edge yes, they would have been justified in walking past. Yet the fellow had a pulse and was still breathing. Even if he was on the short list to heaven and a burden, I feel it is human nature (and perhaps a responsibility) to care for others.

If I had been the climber that walked past a stricken climber in this situation I would be haunted for the rest of my life about the quality of that summit day. Heavy stuff.

The poignant memory in this is the Sherpa, who wanted to care, help and aid and was pulled away with tears. These humble folk have put their lives on the line for many years to allow westerners to make the summit. That fellow is my hero.

Hypothermia ::
In 95 Alex Lowe and I rescued two Taiwanese climbers off the Football Field (19-5) on Denali. They were wandering around with their gloves off, no hats and in a real stupor after a 36-hour open bivy. After short roping (dragging and lowering) them to the 17 camp a Chinook helicopter from the Army Rangers picked them up. Cold does strange things to people.

We later visited the climbers in Anchorage and they were not happy to see us. It reminded me of the scene in Forrest Gump where the one soldier is pissed that Forrest rescued him, as he wanted to die a hero. (They later made peace, in a movie like way.) This team continued on the Big E and Makalu Gao was part of the grim 96 scene and was lifted off. We heard back that the two fellows we helped out left Providence Hospital (perhaps the best in frost bite care) to return to Taiwan and that one of them took his life afterward. A sad story.

A very trying ordeal on Everest this season. Condolences to the families and small wish that media would cover new routes and great climbs with equal fervor as they do the macabre side of climbing.

Kind regards,

Conrad
Conrad Anker 05 Jun 2006
Greetings,

Regarding High Altitude Porters (HAP) and their earnings. This work is primarily done by the Sherpa people, one of 70 ethnic groups in Nepal. The Ministry of Tourism has a suggested minimum wage and an insurance requirement for the people who work up high. As there are many Nepalis eager to work it is a buyers market for their services. This figure is around 14 to 20 US dollars a day. The way these hard working people earn a little extra is being good employees for the guiding concerns and getting steady work, carrying double loads, extra trips through dangerous sections, working out a summit bonus with a client they have befriended (carrying thier extra O2 on summit day) and having the equipment allowance paid in cash rather than gear.

The Sherpas are wealthy by Nepali standards, but in comparison to the clients (and even western guides) these people are not rolling in the dough. If you have been on Everest you have an idea of how hard these people work. My layperson observation is that the Sherpas die in falls and ice accidents, not the slow grind as westies do when summit fever fogs the decision to turn back. They know what their limits are, are safe climbers and are very strong.

Best,
Conrad
 Trangia 05 Jun 2006
In reply to Ian Parnell:

The attitude of guided parties on Everest comprised mainly of non-mountaineers paying for "glory" brings out the worst in human nature. It reminds of those awful incidents a few years back when the Hymalayas were hit by unprecedented snow storms resulting in rescue operations to being launched with helicopters. Who got out first abandoning their porters to freeze to death? The "wealthy" Europeans who could afford to pay for helicopters of course. A lot of porters died. That was another series of incidents which stank.
JulianE 05 Jun 2006
In reply to Conrad Anker:

> On a popular routes ... one is hardly soloing in the way we as rock climbers define it.

... or indeed climbing as many define it: just plodding up the weakest lines of resistance in order to get to the top.
Humph 06 Jun 2006
I am coming late to this discussion but I am disturbed by some of the comments regarding the right of people to climb everest and other high mountains. There appears to be a suggestion that people using low support, inexpensive providers to bring them to advanced base camp, is somehow dodgy.

There is an emerging trend in the mountains that one has to have ticked certain boxes before you are entitled to climb In particular in the high mountains there is an absurd elitisim emerging that if you do not have a sherpa or are not part of a well known and expensive outfitters team, that you are behaving reckles.

Have I missed the point, I thought that going it alone in adventure with minimal equipment and support, where all decisions were made by the climber rather than their team, was the ultimate form of adventure. This form of adventure is not something indicative of carelesnes or sharp practise by an outitter, but rather low budget seat of pants climbing is the eptimoe of personal decision making and personal responsibility.

On the specific subject of David, I find it hard to believe that forty climbers on a mountain would colectively or individually decided that they would walk past David, if there was some hope of saving him. I have more faith in humankind. Rescues at that heght in the past have relied on concious and somewhat ambulatory rescuees whereas it would appear that David was unable to move.

David also know the score, this was his third time on everest, and while everyone has a moral obligation to assit others regardless, ones physical capacity to do so is inverse to altitude. Perhaps what people find disturbing about this is the reality that if all forty people could walk past David, despite all of the retoric posted on this thread, it is likely that anyone of us in similar conditions would have done the same.

 Tom Briggs 06 Jun 2006
In reply to Humph:
> Have I missed the point, I thought that going it alone in adventure with minimal equipment and support, where all decisions were made by the climber rather than their team, was the ultimate form of adventure. This form of adventure is not something indicative of carelesnes or sharp practise by an outitter, but rather low budget seat of pants climbing is the eptimoe of personal decision making and personal responsibility.

This whole moral question has come about because you are not alone on Everest and there's a good chance that someone else might be there to assist you. So it's not just about personal responsibility, but also your responsibility to others on the route, if you choose to climb in a 'lightweight' style.

Ian: I don't think giving the mountain a break will do anything other than mean you have more people when you open the mountain again. And lots of unemployed local staff in the interim. But I do think we should look towards the way a mountain such as Denali is managed. With all due respect, Ed Hillary is out of touch and unrealistic. It's a shame, because he might have been able to persuade the Nepalese/Chinese (with the current media interest) for a pragmatic solution.

Conrad: You perpetuate the myth that all guided climbers are rich trophy hunters, who aren't interested in the mountains. It's just not true.
 adnix 06 Jun 2006
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

> So it's not just about personal responsibility, but also your responsibility to others on the route, if you choose to climb in a 'lightweight' style.

I hope this kind of thinking doesn't get popular among the so called "climbers". You're basicly saying that: I don't want to rescue anyone or jeapardize my summit attempt but I hate being in the news for doing nothing.

What happened to enjoying your time on the mountains?

My personal intake in this is that I had a very good day on the mountains if I mamaged to save some punter's arse. Even better if I knew the punter.
 Tom Briggs 08 Jun 2006
You and Yours - BBC Radio 4 Friday 9 June at Noon.

Dr Charles Clarke (BMC President), Stephen Venables (climber and author) and Simon Lowe (MD of commercial expedition company, Jagged Globe) will be discussing this subject.
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

Tom, what if anything do your company's contracts with the punters say about this kind of thing?

jcm

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