With “National Pride” at Stake, Nepal Prepares to Remeasure the Height of Mt. Everest.

Nepal has announced plans to go ahead with a planned survey to remeasure the height of Mt. Everest, citing “National Pride” as a reason it is proceeding with the delicate, time consuming, and costly operation. The surveying expedition is expected to take up to two years to complete, and cost somewhere int he neighborhood of $250,000.

For decades the accepted official height of Mt. Everest has stood at 8848 meters (29,029 ft), although there has been some controversy surrounding that figure. For instance, the Chinese measured the summit in 2005 as 8844 meters (29,015 ft), with surveyors claiming that was the altitude without snow on the summit. Meanwhile, a 1999 GPS survey by the National Geographic Society lists the height as 8850 meters (29,035 ft), further confusing the subject.

So what’s the real height? Nepal is embarking on an ambitious plan to find out, and has rebuked any outside help. The country that claims dominion over the South Side of the mountain has never measured the height of Everest on its own, and is now intent on doing the fact that neighboring India has already announced its own plans to measure the mountain again as well.

The impetus behind these recent plans to survey the mountain once again come following the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal back in 2015. It is believed that the seismic forces that caused that disaster may have also caused Everest to shrink in height. Most reports indicate that the mountain probably only lost an inch or so, but that was enough to spur on talks of remeasuring the peak, with India first announcing its plans to send a survey team, and Nepal quickly following.

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Visiting Everest? You’ll Soon Have to Pay a Little More.

Planning on trekking to Everest Base Camp in the future? If so, it looks like you’ll have to pay a bit more as the local government in Nepal has instituted a new fee. But don’t panic, it isn’t enough to cancel your plans or break your pocket book.

According to The Himalayan Times, the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality in the Solukhumbu District – which is where Everest is located – had decided to impose an entry fee on all foreign visitors. The new fee will go into effect on October 1 and will set travelers back Rs 2000. That equates to about $20.

According to the new constitution passed in Nepal, local governments now have the right to impose such taxes and fees. This is the first time that any region has taken advantage of this option however, as the local government looks to claim a bit of revenue from the more than 35,000 people that visit the Khumbu Valley each year. Most come for trekking and mountaineering purposes.

The money will be used to create improvements in infrastructure throughout the Khumbu and to promote sustainable tourism in the region as well. But, the fear is that the money will be mismanaged by the local government, with much of the revenue somehow finding its way into the hands of politicians rather than actually being put to good use. There are also concerns about more districts across Nepal following suit, possibly charging an entry fee every time a traveler comes and goes. If that were to become the case, it could get a lot more expensive to visit Nepal, keeping some tourists from ever going there.

For now, plans are moving ahead to impose the new tax, despite protests from within the tourism sector. Just what kind of impact it will have remains to be seen however, but it is important that travelers know what to expect when they arrive. A $20 fee isn’t too serious, but multiple $20 fees start to add up quickly. Plan accordingly and take advantage of the time that you spend in a region, particularly the Solukhumbu area. Hopefully, this will be an exception to the rule for traveling in Nepal and not the new normal.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –Visiting Everest? You’ll Soon Have to Pay a Little More

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Happy 40th Anniversary Outside Magazine!

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of Outside magazine, and the venerable periodical has been celebrating all year long with a number of special articles. But now, the Outside website has launched an official anniversary section that is a stroll down memory lane for those of us who have read it for years, serving as an amazing look back at some of the most memorable stories of all time.

On the webpage for the 40th anniversary you’ll find reflections on what it was like to publish Jon Krakauer’s seminal work Into Thin Air, how the magazine survived a tumultuous time in the late 90’s when many of its writers moved on, and much more. You’ll find current stories about an antarctic expedition that went terribly wrong, a look at whether or not Lance Armstrong actually regrets doping, and a story about Reinhold Messner and Peter Habler climbing Everest without oxygen for the very first time. You’ll also find a nice piece on the the stories that have inspired the Outside team, and a thoughtful letter from the editorreflecting on the past 40 years.

For fans of the outdoors, adventure, and exploration there is a lot to take in on this single webpage alone. In fact, almost every story there is worth a read and you’ll probably find yourself finishing up one, just to move on to the next. Some of the articles are classics from Outside‘s past, while others are fascinating stories of things happening right now. In short, it is a wonderful mix of why we have come to love the magazine so much over the past 40 years. For four decades it has found ways to educate, fascinate, and inspire. Hopefully that won’t end anytime soon.

Here’s to 40 more years Outside!

Check out the 40th anniversary page here.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: –  Happy 40th Anniversary OutsideMagazine!

** see also: –

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Video: The Trek to Everest Base Camp.

Earlier today I posted an update from the Himalaya on the progress of the climbing teams there. Most of those teams are now en route to Everest Base Camp on the South Side of the mountain. If you’ve ever wondered what that trek is like, or what the mountaineers see on the way, this video is a great example of that experience. It was shot last year in April and should be a good representation of what is happening in the Khumbu Valley at this very moment. Having made this trek myself, this video brings back some great memories. This is a special, beautiful part of the world and I recommend that everyone visits it at some point.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Video: The Trek to Everest Base Camp

** see also: –  https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/video/

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Everest Climbing Gear – Then and Now.

National Geographic has another interesting article and photo gallery up today, this time taking a look at the past and present gear used on Everest. The slideshow contains a number of fantastic images, and each one focuses on a particular topic, such as “communications” and “insulation layers,” with information what was used when Hillary and Norgay completed the first ascent, versus the gear that the rank and file mountaineers are using now.

Today’s climbers are outfitted with highly technical apparel, a host of gadgets, and gear that offers an amazing weight-to-performance ratio. Everything from the boots they wear to the tents they stay in have improved dramatically over the past 60+ years. With all of the advanced fabrics and space-age materials at our disposal, it is easier to climb lighter, faster, and more comfortably than ever before, which is part of the reason so many more people are making the attempt.

So just how different was it back in 1953? In the Nat Geo article we learn that Hillary and Norgay couldn’t use wireless communications higher up on the mountain, so they communicated by laying out their sleeping bags in a particular pattern that could be seen below. Today, walkie-talkies, sat phones, satellite messengers, and even cell phones can be used to communicate from any point on Everest, including the summit.

Similarly, the tents used on the first ascent where heavy and bulky. Those shelters were made from cotton, and were often crowded, uncomfortable, and very heavy. In contrast, today’s tents are surprisingly strong, lightweight, and warm, even at higher altitudes. Every aspect and component of a tent has been upgraded, making them easier to carry and assemble, even when the weather turns bad.

The story is a fun one and well worth a read for Everest fans and gear junkies alike. Lots of good information here comparing climbing now to then. You’re likely to come away with even more respect for those early Everest climbers.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Everest Climbing Gear – Then and Now

** see also – https://himalman.wordpress.com/category/gear/

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Himalaya 2017: Everest Summiteer Cory Richards Shares Intimate Challenges of His Life.

In the mountaineer world Cory Richards is known as quite a success story. He is an accomplished climber and adventure photographer who has topped out on some of the world’s tallest peaks, including Everest. Back in 2011, he was even part of the first team to complete a winter ascent of Gasherbrum II, joining Simone Moro and Denis Urubko on the summit. To all outside appearances, Richards looked like a guy who had the world at his feet, knocking off tall peaks in remote parts of the world and delivering some of the most stunning images of those places. But, as it turns out, he was also battling a lot of demons, which hid just below the surface threatening to bring it all crashing down.

In a new article for National Geographic, Richards opens up about the challenges he has faced in his personal life, revealing that he first ran into trouble as a young teenager who began using drugs and found himself homeless on the street at the age of 13. That would alienate him from his family for a time and send him on a downward spiral that would leave a lasting impression on any young person. But, he would eventually crawl out of that situation and reunite with his family.

Years later, while climbing Gasherbrum II, he would get caught in an avalanche, narrowly avoiding death. Understandably that would lead to Richards developing a case of PTSD that would begin to haunt him on and off the mountain. He started to drink, he battled addiction issues, he got married but struggled to stay faithful. The difficulties continued to mount, even as his career really started to take off. Eventually, it would all come crashing down. He lost his wife, he left the multimedia studio he helped found, he turned away from friends, and it looked like everything would implode.

Then, last year, climber Adrian Ballinger reached out to Richards to see if he would be interested in climbing Everest together. The two men traveled to Nepal and went to work on the highest mountain on the planet, using social media in unique ways to document their climb. On summit day, Ballinger was forced to turn back, but Richards continued upward, reaching the summit alone. It was then that he knew he had to confront the demons that he faced and get his life together.

In the article, Cory shares some very personal stories about his internal battles, how he got to the lowest point in his life, and what it has been like to crawl back out of that spot again. He gives us a stark, honest look at himself with the hopes that his story might help others, even as sharing the truth helps him too. It is an interest read and a cautionary tale for sure.

Check it on in its entirety here.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Himalaya 2017: Everest Summiteer Cory Richards Shares Intimate Challenges of His Life

** see also: –Himalaya Spring 2017: Season Progressing On Schedule.

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Is the Hillary Step Gone From Everest?

Yes, we’ve had a lot of news focused on Everest of late, including an update already today. But this new is big enough that I thought it deserved its own post.

Last year we speculated that the Hillary Step, one of the most prominent landmarks on the route to the summit of Everest on the South Side, may have been destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. The iconic spot was named for Sir Edmund Hillary of course, who scrambled up that section of the mountain on his way to the first ascent with Tenzing Norgay back in 1953. That part of the climb has always told climbers that they were closing in on the summit, and was an important access point for climbers who may not have had the technical skills necessary to complete the ascent. Now, it appears that there is more evidence that the Step is gone, and it could cause problems for future alpinists.

When news broke last year that the Hillary Step was no longer on the mountain, there were some that said that it was indeed still there, but it was covered in a lot of snow and ice, altering its look. When climbers approached, they still found a similarly shaped obstacle that had to be overcome on the way to the top, leading many to believe that everything was normal, but things just looked a bit differently. But now, it appears that those reports may have been wrong.

According to a report posted by Alan Arnette. climbers Tim Mosedale and Scott Mac summited Everest earlier this week just behind the rope fixing team. On the way up, the discovered that the route was indeed a bit more technical than normal, and that the Hillary Step was no longer there. Mosedale is quoted as saying:

“The route from the South summit is reasonably technical and, shock horror, there’s no Hillary Step. The next thing you know we’re on the summit enjoying the views and the sense of achievement.”

He later posted the photo above with another quote:

“It’s official – The Hillary Step is no more. Not sure what’s going to happen when the snow ridge doesn’t form because there’s some huge blocks randomly perched hither and thither which will be quite tricky to negotiate.”

So there you have it, it seems this iconic point that has been a part of the Everest climb for decades is now gone. How that will impact the summit push ahead remains to be seen, but it sounds like it will have a bigger role in years to come, when there might not be as much snow on the mountain. We’ll just have to wait to see.
This season continues to get more and more interesting.

Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Is the Hillary Step Gone From Everest?

** see also: –

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