Happy New Year 2010!! – New Year Wishes.

When the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, people all over the world cheer and wish each other a very Happy New Year. For some, this event is no more than a change of a calendar. For others, the New Year symbolizes the beginning of a better tomorrow. So, if you look forward to a good year ahead, spread happiness with these wonderful New Year wishes.

Irish toast
In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want.

Charles Dickens
A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to the world!

Walter Scott
Each age has deemed the new born year
The fittest time for festal cheer

Benjamin Franklin
Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.

Mark Twain
New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wish you Health…
So you may enjoy each day in comfort.

I wish you the Love of friends and family…
And Peace within your heart.

I wish you the Beauty of nature…
That you may enjoy the work of God.

I wish you Wisdom to choose priorities…
For those things that really matter in life.

I wish you Generosity so you may share…
All good things that come to you.

I wish you Happiness and Joy…
And Blessings for the New Year.

I wish you the best of everything…
That you so well deserve.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* see :

Polish famous climbers – The golden decade of Polish Himalayan mountaineering.

Polish winter expedition to K2, 2002/3 /Version polish and english/

Winter Manifesto of Krzysztof Wielicki – Manifest zimowy Krzysztofa Wielickiego /Version polish and english/

goryonline.com

Nieruchomości on line

** zapraszam na relacje z wypraw polskich himalaistów.

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Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: Miss Oh and Miss Go, Himalaya Dream Mile.

“Man could not run a mile in less than 4 minutes!” And yet Bannister did exactly that, shortly followed by hundreds.

Tied with 11 mountains each, at the start of this year, Spanish Edurne Pasaban, Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Italian Nives Meroi were the three main women in place to become the first females to summit all 8000ers.

That all changed when two Korean ladies entered the scene. 

Miss Oh

Korean climbers live under different conditions than western mountaineers. South Korea faces constant threat from communist North Korea and most elders have fresh memories from the Korean War (1950-53) that killed 2.5 million people. It has provided Korea with mountaineers known for taking bigger risks but also achieving spectacular climbs.

Codenamed “squirrel” and “iron woman”, the oldest of three children Miss Oh worked several jobs and set up a noodle-shop to make money for her climbs. “Had I quit my job only to climb mountains, I wouldn’t have lasted long. In my opinion, to realize one’s true wishes it’s important to stay independent – not only financially, but also mentally,” she wrote in an open letter to fellow Korean women admirers.

Oh Eun-Sun achieved her very first 8000er (G2) 12 years ago in company of Um Hong-Gil and Park Young-Seok. Following several setbacks her second 8000er came not until 2004 on Mount Everest. That’s when everything changed for Miss Oh.

A charge of historical proportions over the highest mountains in the world followed; with Shisha Pangma in 2006, Cho Oyu and K2 in 2007, Makalu, Lhotse, Broad Peak and Manaslu in 2008, and Kanchenjunga, Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat and Gasherbrum this year.

She broke records too numerous to count, male and female. Speeding up 8000er after 8000er, in Himalaya she was the female version of Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter now considered the greatest sportsman on the planet.

Doubt

With the incredible successes came doubt. Some of Miss Oh’s summits were questioned. Other South Koreans facing the same problem in the past returned with a vengeance to clear their records. They were in fact Miss Oh’s partners from G2, her very first peak.

Um Hong-Gil repeated Lhotse and Shisha Pangma. Young-Seok Park repeated Lhotse, providing a super- photo gallery from all the sections, summit included. As for Miss Oh, ExplorersWeb have not seen any facts warranting doubts of her claims.

Criticized for heavy support, the woman climber said she climbs with a few regular Sherpa and used oxygen support only on Everest and K2. “And since an incident when we helped a climber with medical O2 (one of the Sherpas gave him a bottle of O2, I gave him my mask and there were comments afterwards) I don’t even carry a mask during the climbs,” she said. Go Mi Sun by ExWeb's

Miss Go

Korean star climber Go Mi Sun, 41, was another story and western mountaineers often confused the two. Former Asian X Games champion – Go had doggedly entered the world top-league of Himalaya climbers.

The youngest of 6 siblings, except for her first 8000er (Cho Oyu), Go Mi Sun mostly climbed in big teams using oxygen and led by Kim Jae-Soo. The two survived K2 together last year, and Go said that she hoped to climb all 14, 8000ers by 2011.

But shortly after she sped up her ambition. Following her Makalu-Kangchenjunga-Dhaulagiri triple this spring, Miss Go was headed for the Gasherbrums and Nanga Parbat this summer, hoping to crown her list with Annapurna in fall.

Miss Go’s records set a number of milestones for the world mountaineering community, in the end underlining the seriousness of Himalayan 8000+ meter exposure. She fell to her death on descent after summit at around 6200 meters on Nanga Parbat in a section where the previously fixed rope had been removed.

Back home in Korea, some local climbers said that media, sponsors and the “first-ism” of society had fueled a competition between Miss Go and Miss Oh – forcing the climbers to take undue risks.

Go’s older brother however replied that his sister and Miss Oh were friends, and never competed with each other. As for the sponsors, “My sister didn’t have enough money to climb, so they helped her,” the brother said.

Asked to rate the biggest difficulties, Miss Oh in turn told ExWeb’s correspondent in Korea Kyu Dam Lee, “It was hard to wait for a chance to summit Broad Peak on our third attempt. But the toughest was to recover from the shock after Go Mi-sun died on Nanga Parbat; I had to struggle to get my mind back in control.”

Cards still open

Currently preparing for Annapurna, her last 8,000er, nobody doubts anymore how serious Miss Oh is about her goal to grab the first female 14, 8000ers position (Messner holds the male spot).

Seasoned enough to evaluate the risk, “fear is only in our mind,” she said, “even though, every time I start an expedition, I can’t help thinking whether the mountain will accept me on her summit or not. I am also aware that death is very close to me all the time while I climb.”

“I am preparing to do my best,” she told ExplorersWeb. “In the end though, Annapurna will decide.”

With Edurne, Nives and Gerlinde so far ahead only some years ago, what then seemed impossible is now totally achievable for the South Korean woman.

The cards are still open though. All we know for certain is that Miss Oh and Miss Go have done something many mountaineers didn’t think was possible until a year ago. Miss Go died precisely because the quest is difficult and dangerous, showcasing the very heart – and risk – of pioneering.

As for the race, Miss Oh had the following advice to fellow Korean women: “Identify your dreams and follow them: Happiness lays right there. You will lose if you compare yourself to others. You will lose if you begin to worry about money, honor or whatever others may think. Remember that dreams and happiness come out of what you like to do – for yourself.”

Roger Bannister put it this way:

“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.”

Related story: StatCrunch, take 3: ladies of thin air – beyond Wanda’s footprints.

Related story: StatCrunch, take 3, final: ladies of thin air – XXIst Century women.

Related story: ExWeb interview with Oh Eun-sun: “Annapurna will decide”.

Special mentions:
– Good guys leaving too early: Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby…
– GIII/GIV attempt and rescue.
– Nives Meroi, fame for love.
– North Pole-Greenland crossing and polar records.

* Previous story :

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: new route on Nanga Parbat.

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: the 14×8000ers.

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: Altitude Junkies and FTA – corporate compassion.

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards – Special mention.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: new route on Nanga Parbat.

Although most explored on the mountain; the Diamir Flank on Nanga Parbat had merely two previous lines: the Kinshofer Route (with several variations) set in 1962; and Messner Direct Route, set in 1978.

More than 30 years later, this season another route was drawn on the slopes. The summit was reached on 11th July, by Austrians Gerfried Göschl, Sepp Bachmair, Hans Goger, and Canadian Louis Rousseau.

The victory was double-edged. A team mate vanished on the upper slopes of the normal route and another climber fell further down, sparking controversy as the fixed rope had been removed. The planned K2 double-header was scrubbed due to bad conditions (no one summited the peak this year).

But the ascent was one of only three new lines drawn on the 8000ers this year, and the pictures said it all: a frightening couloir, a vertical ice wall – the small group of friends survived and triumphed a partial new line on Nanga Parbat in a season when even summits on the normal routes were scarce.

The success arrived after long and tenacious planning. “We did our best in the last year and a half to try and optimize all items which are planable. We don’t want to leave anything to chance” Ger told ExWeb prior to the attempt. “I compared around 2000 pictures to find the possibility of this new line.”

And afterwards, “we did it nearly like we had planned it and the difficulties were exactly the same as we thought they would be,” Göschl concluded.

The route went through a hidden couloir between the Czech route on the right side and the (unsuccessfully attempted) Diamir glacier route on the left side. It was a secret way to join the untouched North West buttress.

The rest was just logical, said Gerfried: “Follow the ridge and overcome the two giant pinnacles that cross to the right above big seracs to reach a second ridge leading to the Basin at 7400 meters. More than 2000m of complete new ground”.

The name of the new route is the Nanga Parbat Austro-Canadian North-West buttress.

Special mentions:
– Good guys leaving too early: Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby…
– GIII/GIV attempt and rescue.
– Nives Meroi, fame for love.
– North Pole-Greenland crossing and polar records.

Related story: StatCrunch: 8000er mountaineers with 6 summits or more, updated.

Related story: K2 & Karakoram 2009 Season´s end Chronicle.

* Previous story :

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: the 14×8000ers.

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: Altitude Junkies and FTA – corporate compassion.

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards – Special mention.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: the 14x8000ers.

In 2005 Ed Viesturs became only the fifth man in the world to summit all 14, 8000ers without oxygen. In 2007, Silvio ‘Gnaro’ Mondinelli became number 6, followed by Ivan Vallejo last year as number 7, and number 14 overall (with or w/o O2) on the list.Veikka Gustafsson

This year we had a jackpot, with no less than four climbers entering the list, and two without supplementary oxygen: Denis Urubko and Veikka Gustafsson.

Even counting those using artificial oxygen, the number of people who have stood on top of all the highest mountains on earth (above 8000 meters tall) would not fill a room.

Gnaro’s quest took 14 hard years, Ed’s took 20. Done after only 11 years, Vallejo was fast. Faster even was Urubko, still requiring 9 years.

Ed and Christian Kuntner received a joint ExWeb award for the achievement – the latter post mortem: Christian died on his peak no 14, Annapurna. The number of mountaineers perished on the 8000ers while hoping for this success are staggering. This year we lost a woman, one of only five currently qualifying for the list.

If facts such as statistics, time and obituaries count for anything; then this is a human quest in a league of its own. The men and women aspiring for the experience need no numbers to know though; “I’ve been so lucky to survive this long,” Lock told Aussie home media.

Lock; one more mountain. Veikka; moving on.

Ralf Dujmovits and Andrew Lock both used oxygen albeit only on Everest. Planning to repeat Everest next year without oxygen, “I need to finish 8,000 metre climbing soon because I’ve been so lucky to survive this long,” Lock said. “That’s why I say, ‘this one more climb’ – then it’s time to hang up the boots.”

Andrew finished his project in style; he and British mate Neil Ward were the only to reach Shisha’s Main summit this fall, after climbing from the north side via a variation of Iñaki’s route.

On July 26th in a very thin year of summits, together with Japanese Kazuya Veikka Gustafsson stood at the top of Gasherbrum I, becoming the 9th climber in the world to summit all 8000ers without bottled oxygen.Australian Andrew Lock

Except for Cho Oyu, the Finn has done the first absolute ascent of all 8000ers for his country. On his record, 17 main 8000ers (repetitions on DH and 2x EV), and conquests on several continents, including first ascents on some Antarctic peaks in the 90´s.

Wrote Veikka afterwards: “Just said to Kazuya, that now this mountain has been climbed, it’s done and over. 17 years of freezing wind and glacier conditions – now that’s done and finished. It’s time to move on.”

Climbers who have reached the summit of all 14 eight-thousanders

Field 02 lists people who have peaked all 14 without bottled oxygen.

Order
accomplished
All without
O2 (order)
Name Period born at age Nationality
1 1 Reinhold Messner 1970-1986 1944 42 Flag of Italy Italian
2 Jerzy Kukuczka 1979-1987 1948 39 Flag of Poland Polish
3 2 Erhard Loretan 1982-1995 1959 36 Flag of Switzerland Swiss
4 Carlos Carsolio 1985-1996 1962 33 Flag of Mexico Mexican
5 Krzysztof Wielicki 1980-1996 1950 46 Flag of Poland Polish
6 3 Juanito Oiarzabal 1985-1999 1956 43 Flag of Spain Spanish
7 Sergio Martini 1983-2000 1949 51 Flag of Italy Italian
8 Young Seok Park 1993-2001 1963 38 Flag of South Korea Korean
9 Hong Gil Um 1988-2001 1960[6] 40 Flag of South Korea Korean
10 4 Alberto Iñurrategi 1991-2002[7] 1968 33 Flag of Spain Spanish
11 Wang Yong Han 1994-2003 1966 37 Flag of South Korea Korean
12 5[8] Ed Viesturs 1989-2005 1959 46 Flag of the United States American
13 6[9][10][11] Silvio Mondinelli 1993-2007 1958 49 Flag of Italy Italian
14 7[12] Ivan Vallejo 1997-2008 1959 49 Flag of Ecuador Ecuador
15 8 [13] Denis Urubko 2000-2009 1973 35 Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
16 Ralf Dujmovits 1990-2009 1961[14] 47 Flag of Germany German
17 9 Veikka Gustafsson 1993-2009 1968 41 Flag of Finland Finnish
18 10 Andrew Lock 1993-2009 1961 48 Flag of FinlandAustralia

* Special mentions:

– Good guys leaving too early: Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby…
– GIII/GIV attempt and rescue.
– Nives Meroi, fame for love.
– North Pole-Greenland crossing and polar records.

Related story: StatCrunch: 8000er mountaineers with 6 summits or more, updated.

Related story: K2 & Karakoram 2009 Season´s end Chronicle.

Related story: Shisha Pangma TRUE summit report: and the winner is

Related story: GI summits – Veikka Gustafsson completes the 14x8000ers list!

Related story: Andrew Lock completes the 14×8000ers list!

* Previous story :

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: Altitude Junkies and FTA – corporate compassion.

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards – Special mention.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

gieldanieruchomosci24.com

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Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: Altitude Junkies and FTA – corporate compassion.

”We want to congratulate Altitude Junkies for their great attitude in C1,” wrote Portuguese Daniela Teixeira from Gasherbrums BC in early August. When independent climbers thank commercial expeditions, a wind of change is blowing.

After being told to mind their own business, Altitude Junkies went inside a crack, recovered the trash bags, brought them to BC and silently emptied them right in front of the offenders mess tent.

French team member Arian Lemal later compiled such a sensible report on expedition waste that the community actually took it to heart.

In the past, the main objective of many environmental expeditions has been money rather than sanitation. Altitude Junkies showed that much can be accomplished by small means if the purpose is true.

Soon after, another commercial outfit went beyond its duties, for an independent climber.

“Deciding to help was automatic,” team member Dave Ohlson told ExplorersWeb. “We had returned previously from K2 of course, but circumstances changed when we heard of a Spanish climber trapped on the NW ridge of Latok II, a 7100 meter peak off the Biafo glacier.”

Field Touring Alpine joined the search for Oscar Perez without thinking twice. The rescue attempt was unsuccessful but its legacy remains. “I had never met Oscar, Alvaro or any of the Spanish,” Dave told ExWeb afterwards, “[but] Oscar is one of us and we all hope our brothers would help if we were in need.”

Later in fall, several commercial teams helped keep the records straight on true summits.

“I know that when I plan my Everest trip in the next 3 years I would spend an extra $10k to work with a company that has corporate compassion,” a reader wrote to ExplorersWeb in relation to commercial guide Luis Benitez speaking out on Nangpa La.

This is the first time commercial outfits receive an ExWeb award. We hope it’s the first of many.

Related story: Arian Lemal: waste management +8000 m style.

Related story: ExWeb interview with Latok II rescuer Dave Ohlson, “deciding to help was automatic”.

Related story: “I would spend an extra $10k to work with a company that has corporate compassion”

Special mentions:
– Good guys leaving too early: Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby…
– GIII/GIV attempt and rescue.
– Nives Meroi, fame for love.
– North Pole-Greenland crossing and polar records.

* Previous story :

–   Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards – Special mention.

–  ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards – Special mention.

We have covered hundreds of expeditions in 2009. It’s difficult to choose the best, as they all contributed in their own way, sharing their story – their very soul in fact – with us and the world.

And yet, there are those who continue to linger in our minds long after their final debrief. We have chosen 8 expeditions who have contributed in an extraordinary way to the Spirit of Adventure in 2009.

By their performance, these expeditions have proved themselves outstanding in all or most of the following:

– Courage
– Determination
– Persistence
– Self reliance
– Ingenuity
– Pioneering
– Idealism
– Comradeship
– Compassion
– Respect towards competition
– Honesty

Out of the hundreds of expeditions, the countdown of the most exceptional begins tomorrow, but starts already today with a special mention to an additional 4:

Special mention: Good guys leaving too early – Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby, Mark…

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare,” said Mark Twain. You might be surprised to find this quote in a place covering hard adventure. Yet real explorers know that true heroes own the full spectrum of guts.

A special mention to the many this year that left us with a legacy to do things our way, and the right way.

* see :

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Special mention: GIII rescue

Bad tales grab most headlines but Himalaya also offers the most incredible rescues. Often un-noticed so far away from the climbers’ homelands, here’s just one example:

Attempting a new line on GIII’s NW flank in Pakistan, American Don Bowie, Bruce Normand, Billy and Guy were in C4 at 7300m going for the summit at midnight.

Things didn’t go to plan. Bruce became sick that night and his state worsened through the following day, while a storm unfolded outside. By the second night the situation became critical as the climber drifted in and out of consciousness, with an O2 sat measurement a staggeringly low 37%.

Early morning Bruce vomited while Don failed to establish a GPS signal. An amazing emergency descent followed in howling winds and zero visibility. Roped together the four climbers tackled unknown terrain through icefalls, black crevasses, fresh snow and avalanche debris for hours on end, eventually bringing their mate down to safety.

Details and more images here.

Related story: GIII-GVI: ExWeb special on “the other Gasherbrums”.

Special mention: Nives Meroi, fame vs. love

The position of the first woman in the world to summit all 14, 8000ers (Messner was the first male) will not necessarily go to the one who “deserves” it most.

A few years ago Nives Meroi and her husband Romano Benet were the only to summit K2 without oxygen, Sherpas or fixed rope on the upper sections. That year only two other climbers reached the summit, heavily supported.

This spring, Romano became seriously ill high up on Kangchenjunga and his wife gave up her top rank on the female 14x8000ers list to save his life. In her interview with ExplorersWeb, Nives said the chain of events helped her realize what is really important in life.

“I have summited all my 8000ers together with [Romano] and can’t think of reaching a summit without sharing it with him,” she said. “[The events] opened my eyes, and put my feet back on the ground. I remembered why I climb, how I climb, what is really important in life, and what is without sense.”

Related story: ExWeb Interview with Nives Meroi: “Romano comes first, whatever happens”.

* Previous story :

–  ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review Final: Statistics and Politics.

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review Final: Statistics and Politics.

(ExplorersWeb.com) In previous years, ExplorersWeb have published one big Year in Review on January 1st.

This year we are cutting it up in sections, to be posted every day until the awards, with the compiled report to go up early 2010.

Part 1 : –  ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

Part 2 : –   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

Part 3 : –   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

Part 4 : –   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

Part 5 : –   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

Part 6 : –   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

Part 7 : –  ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

Today the final flashback: Statistics and Politics.

Politics

In spring, the Tibetan side of Everest was closed for climbing until April 1 due to the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama exile. Authorities issued some climbing permits later on but continued to restrict access to the region.

In fall, China again banned entry into Tibet reportedly due an Oct. 1 communist celebration in Beijing. Afterwards, Chinese police searched expeditions’ gear at the border and a Belgian mountaineer was reportedly kicked out after officers found a “Free-Tibet” flag among his personal equipment.

In a March 10 MountEverest.net special, a full story (different from China’s official version) of the 50 years-long battle was published at ExplorersWeb by an explorer who was there. Close to ninety years old now, George Patterson became involved with the Tibetan resistance to the invading Chinese Communist army in the winter of 1949. His inside story about Tibet read like a spy/war novel; complete with secret top-rank political meetings, betrayal, murder and finally the eradication of an entire culture.

MountEverest.net March 10 special: George Patterson’s inside story about Tibet.

US President Barack Obama raised the Tibet issue in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in the White House. Lawmakers at EU’s Parliament urged China to renew dialogue on real autonomy for Tibet. China issued a number of denouncing press releases while a representative told Hillary Clinton that the US should “stop meddling in China’s internal affairs.”

Enroute to China Hillary Clinton remarked that contentious issues such as human rights “can’t interfere with the global economic crisis.” When President Obama dodged a meeting with Dalai Lama former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel sounded off.

Once the first head of state to directly invite the Tibetan leader, Havel said that the Chinese only reacted by coming over with a bunch of books with their own version of the Lama. “Because they respect it when someone is standing his ground, when someone is not afraid of them,” Havel explained, adding, “When someone soils his pants prematurely, then they do not respect you more for it.”

A legal fight developed between Spanish Judge Santiago Pedraz and the Chinese authorities in connection with the violent 2008 crackdown on protesters in Tibet and the 2006 shootings at Nangpa La. ExplorersWeb was again affected by cyber attacks. This time the intrusions were tracked to Chinese IP addresses.

Nepal

A historic first ever meet of Nepali climbers was convened in Kathmandu on 21 June. It was attended by 34 regional mountaineers clubs, mountaineering related association/agencies, approximately 600 Nepali climbers and 100 expedition operator representatives.

Over 30 speakers, majority of them Nepali climbers, spoke on special provisions to be incorporated in the drafting of the new constitution to address concerns of Nepali mountaineers such as rescues, social security, insurance, regulations, education and retirement.

“Nepali mountaineers have come of age to lead their own destiny,” said one. “Does the state know the plight of Nepali climbers when they get old?” asked another. “Foreign climbers talk more about their yaks than their Sherpas,” a third chimed in.

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Maoist Nepal ranks eighth in the list of countries where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis. An editor of the Nepali Times told a climber that if local conflicts are not resolved, a war could break out that would be “Bosnia times ten.”

Pakistan

Antoine Girard, Ludo Gianbiasi and Annapurna survivor Eli Revol drove non-stop past Chilas, “since Taliban terrorists are reported to descend from Swat valley in the dark and loot convoys staying for the night in villages by the KKH.” Some later climbers on the highway enjoyed police escort and reported high security also in Islamabad due to bomb attacks.

American Teru Kuwayama, the fearless NYC photographer who has helped Central Asia Institute (CAI) for several years and New York Times photographer/writer Lynsey Addario were involved in a near fatal accident on the road from Peshawar to Islamabad. Teru had multiple contusions and head trauma, while Lynsey sustained a broken collarbone among other injuries. Sadly, Pathan driver Raza Khan was killed.

Rumors about the kidnapping of a foreign expedition leader were debunked by ExWeb correspondent in Islamabad Karrar Haidri. “A French citizen has been kidnapped in Quetta as he arrived there from Iran, but that person is not related to climbing expeditions,” he said.

Iran

An avalanche of Iranian climbers hit Karakoram this summer. 22 Iranian climbers from three different provinces arrived only on G2, Spantik was summited by a whole bunch of Iranian lady climbers and the Arash Mountaineers on Broad Peak SW face cleaned up not only after themselves but most of the entire mountain after some of their fellow Iranians were criticized for dumping trash.

In the midst of the ascents, wild protests against the regime broke out in the streets of Tehran, with the folks tweeting (in vain) the west for support. K2 summiteer Kazem Faridian was arrested on 25 June and held in the notorious Evin prison for almost 50 days.

Afghanistan

“The Tigers of Wakhan,” Afiat Khan, Gurg Ali, Amrudin and Malang summited Afghanistan’s highest peak, Noshaq (7492m) with two guides from Chamonix. The mountain has had many ascents including the first 7000er winter climb, but never by Afghans themselves. Project manager Louis Meunier plus guides Jean Annequin and Simon Destombes helped the four Afghan men to become the first locals to reach the summit.

“This has been our best year ever to set up about twenty new (mostly) girls schools in Afghanistan. With the help of local shura elders, we’ve been able to start efforts in volatile areas like Urozgan, Kunar, Patika, and Wardak province,” wrote Greg Mortenson from Afghanistan. CNN ran a Christiane Amanpour special two hour feature called “Generation Islam” with 20 minutes dedicated to Central Asia Institute’s work in Afghanistan.

Statistics

In an extensive spring 2009 Everest & Himalaya climbing end report, Rodrigo Granzotto Peron accounted for the youngest, the oldest, the races and the new faces, the controversies, the triumphs, the disasters and even a mystery – all reported in numbers as well as a thrilling narrative.

Everest and Himalaya 2009 spring Season’s end Chronicle

A Karakoram summer 8000+ summits showed very few summits on G2 and K2, and zero summits on Broad Peak. Fewer climbers, bad climbing conditions – but also an improved watch of true summits all contributed to the resulting 35 summits this season, compared to 93 in 2008. And on only 35 summits, we lost 5 mountaineers on the Karakoram 8000ers.

Karakoram 2009 Season’s end Chronicle

Peron next updated the list of 14, 8000er mountaineers with 6 summits or more.

StatCrunch: 8000er mountaineers with 6 summits or more, updated

8000er national ranking: How many (and which) countries have at least one climber with all 14x8000ers summited? And who’s next up? Rodrigo ran the stats.

StatCrunch, take 2: 8000er national ranking

And finally we are leaving 2009 with an update on the women.

StatCrunch, take 3: ladies of thin air – beyond Wanda’s footprints

StatCrunch, take 3, final: ladies of thin air – XXIst Century women

* Previous story :

–  ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

–  ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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