Will the Everest 2017 Season Be One for the Record Books?

Autor : Kraig Becker

The start of the 2017 spring climbing season on Everest is still a couple of months off, but already there are climbers, guides, and Everest junkies all over the world who are gearing up for its start. Amongst them is mountaineer/blogger Alan Arnette, who always follows the climbing scene on the Big Hill closely and provides excellent insights as to what to expect and thoughts on events as they are developing. With a new season on the horizon, Alan is currently looking ahead and says that we can expect big things this year.

In an article posted to his blog yesterday, Alan says that 2017 is looking like a year for the record books. Two months before the first climbers start to arrive in Kathmandu, he is already predicting a record number of summits and many new climbers in Base Camp. This is in part because of the low cost operators who have begun taking over the mountain. This has allowed an influx of climbers from India and China in particular, and since those operators don’t mind dealing with large groups of clients. In some cases, more than 100 at a time.

But beyond that, there are a number of stories to watch this year that should prove of interest. For instance, Alan notes (as we have here at The Adventure Blog) that Ueli Steck is planning to return to attempt an Everest-Lhotse Traverse. He also mentions the Indian survey team that will be measuring the current height of Everest to see if the 2015 earthquake has had an impact on that number. And as if that wasn’t enough, Alan also notes that Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan will be on the mountain in an attempt to set a new record for the oldest person to summit. At the age of 86, Min Bahadur says he is still in good shape and ready to go.

Of course, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg in terms of storylines and drama that we’ll see on Everest this spring. As always, it will be a never ending source of inspiration and motivation, and probably a bit of controversy along the way too. It wouldn’t be Everest otherwise. Stay tuned for regular reports throughout the spring as events unfold.

* source: – Will the Everest 2017 Season Be One for the Record Books?

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Teen Ager Sets Eyes On Everest, Youngest Seven Summits Mark.

Author : Kraig Becker.

16-year old Brit George Atkinson is preparing to go to Everest this spring where a successful summit will earn him a spot in the record books. George is hoping to become the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits, and the 8850 meter (29,029 ft) Everest is all that stand between him and that goal.

According to this story from the BBC, Atkinson just finished up his climb of Vinson in Antarctica, and if he conquers Everest before the 29th of May, a likely scenario if he does reach the summit at all, he’ll be the first person to complete the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, before the age of 17.

Of course, this all brings into focus, once again, the debate about the age of climbers on Everest. Last year, after Jordan Romero climbed the mountain at the age of 13, both China and Nepal instituted age limitations for taking on the tallest peak in the world. The Chinese set the limit at 18, but said they would consider going as low as 16 if circumstances dictated. In Nepal, the age limit was set at 16 as well, which means George has his choice of which side he’d like to climb from, although Nepal’s South Side seems the most likely location.

Atkinson turns 17 on May 29th, so he’ll likely be just shy of his birthday when he goes to the top. His record will probably relatively short lived however, as Romero is scheduled to go to Antarctica in November, where he’ll probably finish off his Seven Summits by topping out on Vinson. He’ll be 15 at that time.

Thanks to my friend Alan Curr for sending this story my way.

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7 Summits Climb For Alzheimer’s: Alan’s Off To Aconcagua.

Author : Kraig Becker.

This past weekend, our friend Alan Arnette flew off to Argentina where he is attempting to climb Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America, as part of his 7 Summits Climbs for Alzheimer’s. Alan is currently en route to the mountain, which stands 6962 meters (22,841 ft) in height. While it is a mostly non-technical climb, at least along the regular route, the altitude alone is enough to cause some problems for those that are unprepared.

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas 6,962 metres (22,841 ft), and the highest mountain outside Asia.

Alan will not arrive in BC for a few more days yet, as he and his IMG guides are now in Mendoza awaiting the rest of the team and preparing the last of their gear before purchasing their climbing permits for the mountain. Expect good updates at every step of the process, as Alan always does an excellent job of keeping us informed of his progress and giving great insights into what it is like to climb the mountain he is currently on. I expect no less this time, especially considering that he has already successfully climbed Aconcagua in the past.

An example of Alan’s great work is the video below, during which he talks about his prep work for the mountain and shows off the gear he’s using on this climb. He doesn’t just show us the individual pieces however, as he actually shows us each piece in regards to where it is used during the climb. It is very insightful for those that wonder where all that gear is put to use.

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Everest 2010: Weather Window For Sunday?

Author : Kraig Becker.

It has been an interesting week on the world’s highest mountain, to say the least. All week long the teams have been moving up the mountain, and attempting to position themselves for an opportunity to take advantage of a possible weather window that could arrive on Sunday. There are conflicting reports as to when, or even if, that window will open, and for how long, but right now, it looks like climbers will be at the South Col tomorrow, hoping to go for the summit on Sunday.

Today a number of teams moved up to Camp 3 in anticipation of the move to C4 tomorrow. They report that high winds are still buffeting the mountain. Jaime Clarke of the Hansebrands Climb With Us Team sent out a tweet earlier today saying that the climb to C3 took several hours longer than expected thanks to those winds, and surprisingly cold temperatures. They did make it to their destination however, and just in time for a hot cup of tea it seems.

The race to the summit that we’ve heard mentioned a few times these past few days seems to be off, at least for now. You may recall that two women, Carina Raiha and Anne-Mari Hyryläinen were both vying to become the first woman from Finland to tag the summit, and each was positioning themselves to make a run at the top. Well, it seems that discretion is the better part of valor, as the Altitude Junkies have announced that they are uneasy about the high winds, and feel they will not dissipate over the weekend, so they have elected to bring Anne-Mari back down the mountain out of concern for her safety. Carina, who is climbing with the Peak Freaks, remains at C3, waiting for the window to open. If it does, she’s likely to stand on top, and win this “race”, but if it doesn’t she’ll go back down as well, and await a second, longer window, which is due next week.

While all of these teams on the South Side scramble for position, on the North there is very little to report. We know that a large Chinese team set out for the upper portion of the mountain a few days back, presumably to fix the lines to the summit, but whether or not that work has been completed remains to be seen. Alan Arnette is reporting in his excellent Everest Blog that David Liano has set off on his summit bid, and it is likely that other climbers are following, hoping to take advantage of this same weather window that the South-Siders are eyeing. If the lines are not set as of yet, those climbers will have a slow slog to the top to say the least.

Finally, the First Ascent Team is one of the top teams that is leading the way up the mountain these past few days. They arrived at Camp 3 yesterday and plan on resting there until tomorrow, when they’ll go to C4. After that, Melissa Arnot and Dave Morton plan on standing on the summit, provided the weather cooperates. Check out the video below in which Melissa discusses their final acclimatization rotation.

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Everest 2010: Teams Hit BC!

Author : Kraig Becker.

The Everest 2010 spring climbing season hit another milestone today with the news that the first teams have arrived in Base Camp on both the North and South Sides of the mountain. With both ExWeb and Alan Arnette confirming that RMI and the Peak Freaks are now on the scene in Nepal. Meanwhile, on the Tibetan side of the mountain, a Hungarian team has reached BC and is preparing to move up to Advanced Base Camp by the weekend.

With the news yesterday that the route through the Khumbu Icefalls is now complete, Everest is about to become a very busy place. There will be teams heading up on both sides in a matter of days, beginning the process of establishing their camps, shuttling gear, and acclimatizing to the altitude.

Speaking of altitude, it is apparently getting to some of the climbers and trekkers on the way to BC on the South Side. Tim Rippel, who is with the Peak Freaks team says that two of the members had to go back down the mountain to recover from Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS. As Tim points out, they have “hit the wall”, but it has nothing to do with fitness, and everything to do with how the body adapts to being at altitude. Hopefully with a little time in the region, they’ll be back with their teammates soon.

In his latest update, Alan notes that there are still some teams in Kathmandu, biding their time, and waiting for the initial rush to BC to be over. Those teams have the benefit of trekking in less crowded conditions, but also the teams ahead of them help to find the challenging, more difficult, spots along the climb as well.

Alan also reports that the fixed ropes are already in place to Camp 1, but that it’ll be a few days before they start up. They’ll settle into camp, rest and acclimatize in BC for a bit, and of course, there is the all important Puja Ceremony before they can actually begin the climb itself. That will likely take place in the next day or two, and the climbers will have the proper blessings to begin the ascent.

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Everest 2010: Jordan Romero Leaves For Kathmandu, Tibet Is Open!

Author : Kraig Becker.

The Everest updates continue at a hectic pace today, with all kinds of news coming from the Himalaya. Of course, the biggest story, which has caught the attention of the adventure press as well as mainstream media, is that 13-year old Jordan Romero has left the U.S. for Kathmandu, where he’ll go for the last mountain on his list of Seven Summits, Everest. If he is successful on the mountain, he’ll not only become the youngest ever to reach the summit, but also the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits as well.

Everest

I’ve said my piece on Jordan many times already, and regular readers already know how I feel. I think it is incredible what he has already accomplished, and I have a lot of respect for the kid, but I’m still against taking someone his age to Everest. That said, I do wish him the best of luck, and I hope he comes home, safe and sound, summit or no.

Jordan and his team are climbing from the North Side, due in large part because the Chinese don’t enforce an age limit for climbing from that side of the mountain. In Nepal, you have to be 16 years or older to make the climb. As of yesterday there were questions as to whether Tibet would be open to visitors, with ExWeb reporting that China still wasn’t handing out visas. But today, Alan Arnette tells us not to fear, as climbers are now heading across the border, with climbing permits and visas in hand. It seems that Tibet is open for business, and that should come as a relief to a number of teams heading that direction.

Also of note, the Ice Doctors have completed their work on the Khumbu Icefalls, and the route through that treacherous part of the mountain is now open. The route is said to be safer and more stable than last year, which bodes well for the climbers that will be heading through that dangerous section on the South Side. The route was completed more than a week ahead of last year’s schedule, which means that teams will begin heading up to Camp 1 very soon.

It won’t be long before most of the teams are settled in to Base Camp on both sides of the mountain, and they’ll fall into a routine of climbing up their respective faces to establish their camps and complete their acclimatization process. We’re probably about five to six weeks away from the first legitimate summit attempts, but there is a ton of work to do before then. Stay tuned!

* Source : – http://theadventureblog.blogspot.com/

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Interview with Mike Farris: Alone on Everest.

Author: Alan Arnette.
Courtesy of www.alanarnette.com © reproduction prohibited without authorization.

A constant debate within the climbing community is not what you climb, but how you climb. Style. It is all about style. Mike Farris found himself in the middle of this argument on the summit of Everest last spring.

He climbed with style but paid a price with the removal of portions of seven fingers, both big toes, and portions of six smaller toes.

Climbing pundits will rate Reinhold Messner as a superior climber to Ed Viesturs even though both climbed the fourteen highest mountains on earth without supplemental oxygen. Messner climbed new routes and Viesturs used standard routes. Messner had superior “style” according to the pundits.

Mike had over 30 years of climbing under his belt. He is an experienced rock and ice climber and a veteran of five 8000 meter expeditions including K2.

Mike has written a book entitled The Altitude Experience: Successful Trekking and Climbing Above 8,000 Feet, where he explains the details of high altitude climbing.

In other words, Mike was quite experienced when it came to altitude.

He did not go to Everest believing it was “easy”. He wrote prior to his climb about Everest:

Nobody who has climbed it has said that it’s easy. It is technically easier that K2 (second highest) and Kangchenjunga (third highest peak), both of which I’ve attempted, but there are still difficult sections high up on the mountain, and of course the extreme altitude has a major effect. So it’s a real mistake to underestimate the difficulty of any peak.

Yet with all his experience, this Professor of biology at Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN found himself alone on top of the world, late in the day and running low on oxygen. His goal was to climb as an independent climber. Before the climb, he explained what climbing in style meant to him:

  • Using most of the available fixed rope is unavoidable. I have to be content with the knowledge that I could climb the route without them, if need be. This doesn’t include the icefall, which requires fixed ropes for safety’s sake for all climbers.
  • Anything I want to use above Base Camp, including oxygen, is carried by me. I won’t have any Sherpas carrying tents, food, fuel, stoves, etc. Except:
  • Most teams set up an Advanced Base Camp at about 6400m (21,000 ft) and have a kitchen staff to prepare meals. Since I’m paying for this service anyway, I will use this ABC facility.
  • I will use the minimum amount of bottled oxygen needed for safety. I won’t know what that amount is until I assess my level of acclimatization and fitness.

He made it to the South Col per his plan and left at 10:00 PM – alone.

I have followed Mike for years and find him a confident individual who strives to do his best in the high altitude world. I was curious about his decisions on Everest, his thoughts on style and on the other climbers who probably saved his life.

Q: You wanted to climb Everest in ”style”. What did that mean to you exactly and why was that important?

I began as a rock and ice climber at a time when style was very important and changing rapidly. No pitons, no aid climbing, no step cutting–all very different from the 1960s. The emphasis was on skill rather than equipment. As the author of two rock climbing guidebooks I’ve had to think a lot about style for the benefit of the guidebook users. I think this has carried over into my high altitude mountaineering. Mark Jenkins’ book ” A Man’s Life” has a wonderful chapter on climbing style, and I recommend that to anybody contemplating climbing a high peak.

At many levels, style is a completely personal choice. If your goal is to collect summits, you may not care how you get up or down. If the journey is more important than the destination, then style does matter. I wanted to have a satisfying experience; the summit would be great but not essential. Given the reality of Mount Everest on the standard routes, I had to decide what was feasible for me to do. For me, climbing in good style meant using the least amount of outside help possible. I used the fixed rope and the kitchen at ABC; otherwise I carried my own gear and oxygen. I didn’t use supplemental oxygen below the South Col.

The truly committed stylist would have avoided the fixed ropes as well. Safety has also been central to my climbing ethic, so I wasn’t willing to go that far as an independent climber.

Q: On your summit bid, you were climbing alone – no teammates or Sherpas. You are an experienced mountaineer with five 8000m attempts at that point but why choose to go it alone?

There is a difference between being with people and being alone. Above 8000 m you’re really alone unless you’re traveling with a group large enough to evacuate an incapacitated climber. Of course a partner serves other purposes: psychological support and help with decision-making. Up to this point I’ve never had a problem traveling alone on 8000 m peaks. I suppose it was part of the test I gave myself–could I do it completely on my own? In this case, I couldn’t.

Q: Let’s look at your summit night. You climbed to the Balcony in 8 hours, which is on the slow side and then arrived at the South Summit around 10:45 AM, almost 12 hours after leaving the South COl. This was quite late. Did you consider turning back then given your pace?

Yes. I had a constant discussion with myself from about 3 AM onward. Once I reached the Balcony and changed oxygen bottles, I felt I was moving better. At about 9:30 AM I set a turnaround time of 11 AM if I hadn’t reached the South Summit. When I arrived there at 10:45 AM I felt okay. I had been moving faster and the weather was reasonable. Everything seemed under control–though slow– and I knew there were ropes all the way to the top.

Q: Your summit was at 1:39 PM and you were alone on the top of the world. Your thoughts on that moment?

Phil Crampton, leader of Altitude Junkies (my BC provider) radioed from Base Camp and said, “leave in five minutes!” and I agreed. So I shot a little video and went down. It was quite windy and the clouds were starting to boil up near the summit of Loki. I suppose I realized just how alone I was at that point.

Q: As you descended, the trouble began. From your report it is not clear if you suffered from AMS but you became disoriented and after almost 17 hours after leaving the South COl you were sighted by various other climbers. Can you tell us any memories of how you felt? The cold, frostbite, being scared, hallucinations?

I was descending under control and wasn’t all that far from the Balcony when my oxygen ran out. My slow progress was due to a faulty regulator, and I was probably getting about half the oxygen flow that I should have been. I remember descending below the rocky buttress below the South Summit. Aside from a fleeting memory of shivering I have essentially no memories from 5:30pm until Bernice Noteboom and Walter Laserer found me after midnight, hypothermic and partially undressed near the Balcony. I experienced no hallucinations, no fear-nothing. I believe that I became hypothermic soon after my oxygen supply ran out. I quit making good decisions and forming memories, but I still was making radio contact with the South col and descending the ropes with proper technique.

Q: Members from several other teams gave aid to get you down to the South Col. Any thoughts on other teams giving you assistance?

I have the utmost gratitude for all of those who helped me. Until I spoke with Bernice and Walter in Kathmandu I had absolutely no idea what had happened!  It took several months to piece together the story as I know it now. Bernice and Walter spent valuable time on their ascent getting me restarted down the hill . Russell Brice, his ascending HimEx team, and his Sirdar Phurba Tashi provided crucial aid in my amazingly slow descent below the Balcony. I’ve tried to come up with a complete list of those who helped — it’s in the report on my website. I’d love to add the names of anyone else who contributed.

As I wrote in my book, part of the compact one enters into on these routes is an implicit agreement to help one another. I was heartened to see the willingness of many other groups to help somebody they didn’t even know. I’m very glad that nobody missed out on the summit as the result of my misadventures.

Q: You were using the best high altitude oxygen system available with Poisk and a Top-Out mask but still there seemed to be a failure. How can this be avoided?

It’s clear to me that I just got a bad regulator. I should have carried a spare. I had no problems with the Top-Out mask.

Q: What are your thoughts a year later on your experience. Specifically any advice for 8000m climbers wanting to go as independent as possible?

This was my first accident in 35 years of climbing. I’ve been lucky before, but this was too much! I came extremely close to a non-eventful climb an extremely close to death. Except for the Khumbu Icefall, Everest may be the safest big peak I’ve attempted. Certainly K2 and Kangchenjunga were far more dangerous.

Independent climbers should do their share: either provide, carry, and fixed rope or contribute financially. Get to know as many people as possible (which I found hard to do on Everest). Especially on Everest, travel with a respected BC provider. They know how things work behind the scenes and have worked with the majorplayers in the past. I know that made my situation easier.The independent climber can afford to take fewer chances. I forgot that rule on summit day.

Q: You had had surgery to remove portions of seven fingers, both big toes, and portions of six smaller toes. How are you today?

I’m healing quite well; it’s more of an inconvenience than a disability. I’m running, climbing indoors, and if I wasn’t so lazy I’d be outside ice climbing and cross country skiing more often. I frost nipped my fingers and toes many times over the years, which led to my injuries being more severe than we first thought. I could easily still be sitting up there, serving as a grim landmark for future climbers. In that light my injuries don’t seem bad at all.

Mike with Bernice Notenboom and Walter Leserer

Thanks Mike for your courage and candidness. We hope to see you back in the mountains soon!

Climb On!

Alan

* Source : – Alan Arnette : 2010 Everest expeditions.

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** zapraszam na relacje z wypraw polskich himalaistów.

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