Climbing Everest is Not Climbing

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TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Topic Author's Original Post - May 23, 2019 - 09:18am PT
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/05/23/utah-mans-quest-ends-tragically-after-reaching-top-mount-everest/?utm_term=.6a2ef7da8d0a

This article provides countless pivot points from which one can make the point which is the title of this thread.

Who would go to "climb Everest" after seeing this photo of a line at the top longer than a checkout line at Walmart (by a factor of ten) and knowing that will be your grand experience. To stand in line, hand held all the way by Sherpas, sucking on an oxygen bottle you hope doesn't run dry, in order to tell yourself (and your fellow human beings) how great you are? And pay a big fat fee to do so?

Getting a tattoo and the ambition to climb Mt. Everest: moral equivalents in my book.

Supertopo forum only has a few more days until it expires; thought I'd help the fire go out with my own blaze of flaming invective.
ron gomez

Trad climber
May 23, 2019 - 09:35am PT
Go do it, come back and tell us how ďtrivialĒ it is. I know plenty of hard ass climber that have...and havenít reached the top
Peace

Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
May 23, 2019 - 10:04am PT
Just curious TWP

What's the highest altitude that you've been to?

What's the coldest temperature you've ever climbed in?

What's the strongest wind you've ever climbed in?
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2019 - 10:39am PT
18,700 feet

way below zero

over 75 mph

Jan, you asked, I answer. I am neither proud nor especially enamored with any of my own personal achievement(s) which I acknowledge are - in a relative sense - all trivial and inconsequential. There is always someone who is bigger, better, faster, smarter. And the converse. One's relative position upon this sliding scale of ability that applies to every person and endeavor is not as important as one's intention in undertaking any action. I am a Buddhist. I do point out that any person who believes they have done something "great" or "important" by climbing Mt. Everest as a guided client these days - in reality - has very little to write home about.

Ron, nothing is "trivial" in an absolute sense. It's all context. It's not "trivial" for a person with asthma to take the next breath, but it is totally trivial for a trained athlete to accomplish any number of athletic endeavors that are "beyond the ordinary."

Jan, adding 10,000 feet with an oxygen bottle might turn out to be identical to 18,000 without.

Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
May 23, 2019 - 10:43am PT
That's way better than most Everest critics.

But do you really think adding another 10,000 feet would be nothing?

ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
May 23, 2019 - 10:47am PT
I guess there is prerequisite to having opinion, so:

21,000+ feet (using two tools and front pointing, not slogging)
Below zero
Super windy.

The line looks pretty lame. Iíd go in a second if I could!!



TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2019 - 10:51am PT
You can! For $70,000 or so.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
May 23, 2019 - 10:56am PT
Of course climbing Everest is climbing, by any definition. All the other things are ancillary. I could not climb Everest because I am no longer young enough, I greatly dislike the freezing winds and cold, crowds, dead bodies and trash.

El Cap can be crowded and dirty. Are you telling me because of that it's not climbing?

Finally, this could be the last super Topo Troll. :)))) Cheers, lynnie
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 23, 2019 - 10:57am PT
Damn that line is crazy.
Is Everest on the Ikon or Epic Pass?
WBraun

climber
May 23, 2019 - 10:57am PT
Kilian Jornet ran up and down twice in 2017 without supplemental oxygen without Sherpas.

He didn't need no $70,000 either .....
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2019 - 11:14am PT
I thought WBraun would back me up. He has before. Thanks. I'll take his opinion any day over most others on Supertopo.

Yeah, I wanted to start "one last" ST troll - that was climbing oriented. Looks like I succeeded. Where's Moose and Donini?
ManMountain

Mountain climber
San Diego
May 23, 2019 - 11:32am PT
I have a lot of respect for self-guided Everest summiteers, and those that summit without O's, guided or not. I respect anyone who's summited Everest using a commercial guide service for their physical conditioning and mental stamina, but not their climbing skills.

I also have a great deal of respect for those that summit lesser peaks without fanfare. There are at least 109 mountains on Earth with summits greater than 23,600 feet, many of which are more difficult than Everest, some unclimbed to this day. If you're jonesing for the extreme difficulties of high altitude mountaineering Everest is not the only option.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
May 23, 2019 - 11:35am PT
adding 10,000 feet with an oxygen bottle might turn out to be identical to 18,000 without


That's a really interesting question actually. Something to get my Sherpa friends to debate.


Meanwhile my objection to these annual threads trashing Everest is twofold.

-You're trashing the livelihoods of people living in one of the poorest countries in the world

-no one does a similar thread on any of the trade routes in the Valley (thanks Lynne for pointing that out) or any of the other problematic areas like free soloing. If somebody dies after summiting Everest, it's "what stupid jerks" and if anyone dies free soloing "they died doing what they loved" and condolences to their families.

You troll, I point out hypocrisy. Nothing personal.
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2019 - 11:42am PT
Good point about the livelihood of the Nepalese. I am not critical of the locals at all. In 2018, I went on an expedition to Pakistan/Baltistan trekking on the glaciers of the Karakoram. My strongest impressions from the trip were my entirely positive and appreciative assessments of all Pakistanis I meet during the trip, especially the Balti porters. I should post a TR about that aspect of my trekking experience and might get off my ass and do so. Or at least post a synopsis of that experience on this thread.
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
May 23, 2019 - 11:44am PT


Have we ever had an Everest summiteer come back here and say it wasn't climbing?

Above around 20,000 feet breathing competes with eating and drinking. You get so oxygen starved you don't want to do either. Can't sleep, you nod off and the organism feels it is strangling and wakes up in alarm.

But is that climbing? Or simply deprivation. I guess you could stick your head in a plastic bag and get somewhat the same sensation.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
May 23, 2019 - 11:49am PT
And then there is always the definition of climbing which is ascending or if you're a plant, growing upward. :)))
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2019 - 11:55am PT
"no one does a similar thread on ... any of the other problematic areas like free soloing."

You just gave me (or anyone else) an excellent idea for another "last time around the campfire before lights out" thread that might get interesting.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 23, 2019 - 12:02pm PT
to be fair, none of the yosemite trade routes have 200+ people lined up nose to butt on their final pitch like in the pic there. I thought the photo was photoshopped for the story when i first saw it.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
May 23, 2019 - 12:04pm PT
It's "climbing" but still kinda lame. Effing fixed lines top to bottom! Sherpas and guides doing all the real work of leading. It's desperate slogging with a fairly high death rate. No thanks.

BAd
Radical Rebirth

Trad climber
Texas
May 23, 2019 - 12:09pm PT
One of these things again that can be seen equally accurate from opposing perspectives. I thought Nepal was the most impoverished place Iíve ever been. Haiti was like 1st world compared to Nepal. Even now, this is a hard thing to comprehend. In Haiti there are orphanages and in Nepal the orphans sniff solvents in the streets.


Just walking up to Everest and gazing at the mountain from 18500 feet was the greatest adventure trip of my life and that list includes Antarctica, Patagonia, Africa, Madagascar and the Arctic among others. You are 5000 feet higher than the summit of Mount Whitney just upon waking up in Everest base camp. You are definitely climbing if you step on Everestís slopes, as well as rolling the dice with your life. Iím sure it wonít be too long before poor judgment, ego and monetary gain collide once again with Everest; we will wake up to photos of a bright, fruit-colored, conga line that is frozen in place on top of highest mountain on earth.
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