Three Cups of Tea disputed

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Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 20, 2014 - 01:44am PT
AGAIN, couch, one has to look at the sherpa culture, and how they react to different people.

Inasmuch as they hero worshiped Anatoli, because of his climbing strength, SAID things in support of him.

However, the facts are not in dispute.

He climbed without oxygen. People like Ed Viesturs WILL NOT CLIMB WITHOUT when guiding. They consider it unethical, at least that is what he said directly to me.

There is no dispute that when the sh*t hit the fan, he went down, and left his clients behind to fend for themselves, while he go hot water and oxygen to take back up. Terrible judgement. In my occupation, that is abandonment....and it is in guiding, too.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Apr 23, 2014 - 12:04am PT
Ken M said:
"There is no dispute that when the sh*t hit the fan, he went down, and left his clients behind to fend for themselves, while he go hot water and oxygen to take back up. "

Nope. There is dispute and that is exactly what is being disputed.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 23, 2014 - 12:28am PT
sorry, it is NOT disputed, not even by the Sherpa, and not by Anatoli in his book. He went down when his clients got into trouble. He didn't wear O's.

He heroically went back up, an amazing feat.

The sherpa take on it was "wow, he went back up, isn't he just the most amazingly strong climber, we love him".

but they do not dispute the facts. he went down and left his climbers, he did not use O's.

If you have something else, let's hear it.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
Apr 23, 2014 - 12:39am PT
Ken M, you weren't there when people who were, did what they did.

Altitude is a great separator of "team mates" both guided or band of climbers style.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 23, 2014 - 01:21am PT
Ken M, you weren't there when people who were, did what they did.

Altitude is a great separator of "team mates" both guided or band of climbers style.

You are right Jim, I was not there.

I have personally spoken with 4 people who WERE there. I have corresponded with several others, and I have read every book written by anyone who was there.

But that doesn't change the fact that when I ask you for something in dispute, you have nothing.

I asked you to put up, but you don't.

But since it is your measuring stick, where on the mountain were you?
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Apr 23, 2014 - 01:53am PT
Where on the mountain were you Ken? You're doing allot of sh#t talking about an incredible climber and guide. The man did what had to be done to survive, and to assist in the survival of those he was with, of that I have no doubt. I only doubt your qualification to judge him.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Apr 23, 2014 - 06:42am PT
Ken , did the American alpine club award Anatoli it's highest honor???????
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Apr 23, 2014 - 10:01am PT
This discussion brings up another issue that nobody wants to touch and for which there are no clear answers. At what point should a guide save himself/herself if there is nothing more to be done for the client? I think often of the case of Rob Hall whom I feel, died heroically but needlessly, staying with a dying client until he too succumbed. I'm pretty sure his wife and for sure his unborn child would have preferred he lived rather than dying gloriously.

Of course one could argue that he should never have allowed the client to get in that position in the first place, but when multiple efforts and so much money are involved, that becomes difficult. Anatoli saved lives and lived another day only to die a little later on. What does it all mean? Hard to say.

It's so easy to judge from the comfort of a computer screen whether about guiding or trying to do some good in some of the poorest and most corrupt and dangerous countries in the world. I think more compassion is called for in both cases.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 23, 2014 - 10:38am PT
Completely agree Jan, compassion is called for.

In this case it's difficult because Mortenson hasn't provided a direct response to the allegations nor asked for any type of forgiveness. We still have no idea if Jon's allegations are true, or how true from his perspective. At least Anatoli provided a rebuttal.

I've never met the man, but Mortenson sounds incredibly strange.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Apr 23, 2014 - 11:00am PT
Believe me, normal western people could not operate in that part of the world!
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 23, 2014 - 11:20pm PT
It did award Anatoli the award, with which Krakauer agrees.

But it doesn't change the fact that he didn't have o's, and he left his clients when they were in trouble.

Ok, guys, if you are submitting the testing level for being allowed to have an opinion, you are not allowed to have one, at all, on anything you were not on when something happened.

In which case, you are not entitled to an opinion on Everest.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 23, 2014 - 11:30pm PT
It's so easy to judge from the comfort of a computer screen whether about guiding or trying to do some good in some of the poorest and most corrupt and dangerous countries in the world. I think more compassion is called for in both cases.

Jan, I think it is important for people to look at things and make judgements. This is how ethics are created, through communities looking at things.

I think it also has an effect upon people. It would be nice to think that everyone is brilliant, well-read, and thoughtful about their actions.

This very year, there will be someone who thinks it is a hoot to swim in the pool just above the waterfall, and doesn't care if people think he is crazy. Maybe even relishes it.

But there is a large group of people "in the middle", who look at reactions and think "maybe I will double the buckle back" "maybe I will tie a knot at the end of the rap line". And those people will live, perhaps for their children.

Why else publish "Accidents in N. American Mountaineering, other than to learn the easy way?
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Apr 24, 2014 - 12:47am PT
"He went down when his clients got into trouble. He didn't wear O's."

Ken M,
From what I remember you are in error in the above statements.

He went down before his clients got into trouble. He didn't need oxygen. Big difference! He not only stayed at or near the summit for nearly 1.5 hours helping others with their summit efforts he went back out and rescued climbers in bad weather. Scott F. was behind him and was the leader. Don't you think Scott and him hadn't discussed how summit day was going to go and they also had discussions during the day.

Bottom line. Every one of Boukreev's clients survived.

Yes, I stole some of this from Wikipedia to refresh my memory

Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Apr 24, 2014 - 08:50am PT
JJ2onK2-

It seems a bit disingenuous to suggest in your post that you are still gathering facts and that you remain open to where the story will take you. We learn from the trailer that you are a friend of Mortenson and it is abundantly clear ( as Ken points out) that the purpose of the film is to blame “American journalism” for the damage to Mortenson’s reputation.

Your trailer contends that Mortenson has helped children in Afghanistan and that Jon Krakauer and 60 Minutes unfairly attacked him. It may be true that CAI has helped children in Afghanistan, but that is beside the point.

The Krakauer/60 MInutes expose focused primarily on allegations that Mortenson had personally enriched himself at the expense of CAI contributors. The facts supporting this charge are no longer in dispute because of an exhaustive, independent investigation of Mortenson and CAI, conducted by the office of the Montana Attorney General. Read it yourself here:

https://doj.mt.gov/campaigns/investigative-report-of-greg-mortenson-and-central-asia-institute/

This was a far more thorough investigation than Krakauer or 60 Minutes could have performed, because the AG used its subpoena power to compel production of documents and make Mortenson and other witnesses testify under oath. This investigation took over a year and was much more detailed than audits typically conducted by accountants.

This AG report concluded that Mortenson improperly paid himself $1,000,000, out of CAI contributor’s money donated to CAI. He did this after being warned for years by his own board of directors that his misuse of CAI funds was improper. Here, again, are key excerpts from the report of the Attorney General of the state of Montana:

Mortenson, in particular, consistently failed to comply with either commonly accepted business practices or CAI’s policy manual with respect to documenting expenses charged on CAI’s accounts. The issue was repeatedly raised through the years. Board members testified that despite requests, cajoling, demands and admonitions, they were unsuccessful in getting Mortenson to submit proper documentation to support the charges he was making to the charity...

The more significant issue was not simply compliance with expense reimbursement and documentation policies, but the nature and magnitude of charges for which inadequate documentation exists. Through the years, Mortenson charged substantial personal expenses to CAI. These include expenses for such things as LL Bean clothing, iTunes, luggage, luxurious accommodations, and even vacations...

The board’s history and testimony from certain members, however, supports a conclusion that there was a deliberate effort to put people who are loyal to Mortenson on the board. The three board members who resigned in 2002 were effectively ousted, based on tensions and conflict that had developed with Mortenson. Meeting minutes show Hornbein, the board chair, and Wiltsie, the board treasurer, repeatedly asked for documentation to prove that CAI was getting a positive return on the money Mortenson was spending. Hornbein in particular requested itemized lists of Mortenson’s travel expenses, of the money coming in, and of contacts being made. He also advocated for phasing out Mortenson’s role in overseeing daily operations. In short, the board members who resigned were essentially trying to perform the kinds of oversight functions expected of boards of directors for organizations such as CAI.


Mortenson’s team of lawyers apparently did not persuade the Montana AG that Mortenson’s actions can be explained away by inattention or mere negligence. If you think you can do a better job of defending Mortenson through your documentary, go right ahead. But please don’t try to disguise the position your film will take when soliciting donations here on ST.

Maybe your film can explore this question: does Mortenson take any personal responsibility for the damage caused to CAI and its reputation or does he still maintain that it is all someone else’s fault?
Bad Climber

climber
Apr 24, 2014 - 09:09am PT
Thanks, Rick, that pretty much nails it and supports the same point I made earlier. Mortenson couldn't keep his hands out of the cookie jar, and that's the plain truth. Bummer.

RE. guiding on the Big E.: I think every guide and client needs read the plethora of books and articles about the clusterf*ck that place has become and go to the mountain with eyes wide open. There is a very good chance you can be killed by the crowding and incompetence of others. I'd much rather climb some obscurity, on my own, than deal with that mess. I just don't get the Everest fever. Exciting to read about the disasters, though. So would-be Everest sloggers, keep at it! We need morbid stories to stoke our blood lust.

BAd
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 24, 2014 - 11:49am PT
--- Insert pic of man beating dead horse---
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Apr 24, 2014 - 11:54am PT
Through the years, Mortenson charged substantial personal expenses to CAI. These include expenses for such things as LL Bean clothing, iTunes, luggage, luxurious accommodations, and even vacations...

Well, day-um, let's take the evil bastard out right now and string him up!
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 24, 2014 - 12:45pm PT
He went down before his clients got into trouble. He didn't need oxygen. Big difference!

I don't know if you have no experience on big mountains at very high altitude, or don't understand physiology. No shame in either.

EVERYONE performs much better with O's. EVERYONE. Yes, there are some people who can climb Everest without a leg. But how would you describe someone who specifically and deliberately had their leg amputated before climbing Everest? I'd call them crazy.

But there is another motivation. And that is to be in an exclusive group.
The group that builds a reputation to which the laws of physiology don't apply. Clearly, Anatoli craved that.

Why would he go down, and abandon his clients up high, where people die? What are the circumstances that you would do that? When would you abandon your clients on "the crux", where you had been hired to help them?

That is irrational, and is not what Anatoli did. He went down because they were in trouble. Everyone who was on the hill said so.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 24, 2014 - 12:49pm PT
Ken, you are too comfortable in your sofa...
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Aug 10, 2014 - 07:46am PT
Jon Krakauer has posted a response to Mortenson’s effort to restore his reputation using an upcoming documentary film entitled, 3000 Cups of Tea. The producers of that film solicited funding from the ST community in this thread back in April, claiming they “remain open to where the story is taking us.” But it was obvious from the trailer that the documentary would attempt to blame the media and Krakauer for Mortenson’s precipitous fall from grace, and Krakauer’s article confirms that Mortenson has no one but himself to blame for his stained reputation.


http://https://medium.com/@jonkrakauer/760949b1f964

One part of the documentary apparently seeks to defend the origination story of the Central Asian Institute. It tells of how Mortenson supposedly got lost retreating from K2, was rescued by villagers in Korphe, and vowed to build a school in gratitude. That story was thoroughly debunked by Krakauer in Three Cups of Deceit.

Excerpts from Krakauer below:

After I pointed out in Three Cups of Deceit that it would have been impossible for him to reach Korphe by the route he described above, Mortenson abandoned that story in favor of an entirely different one. In this new account (written by CAI Communications Director Karin Ronnow, and published in CAI’s annual magazine, Journey of Hope, in November 2011), Mortenson didn’t make a wrong turn “two hours before Askole.” Instead, he continued down the obvious trail to Askole and then, immediately before entering that village, inexplicably took a sharp turn to the left and walked across a little-known suspension bridge, which he then neglected to mention over the years that followed.

Krakauer then explains that this route into Korphe was also impossible in 1993, because construction of the suspension bridge was not started until 1999 and not completed until 2000, according to villagers.

In 2012, Mortenson traveled to Korphe for the first time in several years. During this visit, according to a Korphe native, Mortenson invited all the residents of Korphe, Testay Dass, and a nearby settlement known as Tinu to a feast. While the villagers were eating, he offered five hundred Pakistani rupees—slightly less than five dollars—to anyone who would testify there was a temporary bridge across the Braldu River at Testay Dass in 1993. “The temptation is big,” explains a woman whose husband is from Korphe. “This is the thing. Life in Baltistan is so hard.”

Fast-forward to the summer of 2013. Mortenson returned to Korphe with a two-person film crew from Utah: Jennifer Jordan, the director, and her husband, videographer Jeff Rhoads. On her website, Jordan describes Mortenson as “her friend and colleague.” She and Rhoads had accompanied him to Baltistan to make a documentary titled 3000 Cups of Tea, which was intended to refute the allegations made by 60 Minutes and me about Mortenson’s lack of probity. Before their departure, Mortenson told Jordan he would introduce her to local men who would testify on camera that they witnessed Mortenson cross the Braldu River in 1993. And sure enough, as promised, when Jordan and Rhoads arrived in Baltistan they were taken to interview two individuals who told them exactly what they had traveled so far to hear.

In February 2014, after her return to Utah, Jordan sent me an e-mail requesting that I sit down with her to do an on-camera interview for her film. When I asked several pointed questions to help me decide whether I could trust her to accurately represent my views, she refused to answer them. She assured me, however, “t is my job as a journalist and filmmaker to investigate the story, no matter where it leads.… I do not have an agenda here.”

Three weeks later, on March 13, Jordan posted a tendentious seven-minute trailer on the Internet to raise money for 3000 Cups of Tea. When the trailer initially went online, it opened with a montage of video clips, each only five to ten seconds long, of various talking heads delivering withering criticisms of 60 Minutes and me while a mournful dirge played in the background. Among the individuals featured in this opening montage were Mortenson’s wife, Tara Bishop, fighting back tears of anger; an outraged Abdul Jabbar, the former CAI board chairman who was forced to resign by the Montana attorney general; and Marvin Kalb, the distinguished television correspondent, author, and news anchor, speaking with concern about the sins of present-day journalists. The montage was skillfully edited to lead viewers to believe that each of these individuals considers the 60 Minutes Mortenson exposé to be reprehensible. On March 23, however, a new iteration of the trailer replaced the first version, and in this revised version the clip of Marvin Kalb had been deleted.

It turns out that the clip vanished as a result of an e-mail Kalb sent to Jordan on March 21. They had been friends since the late 1980s, when Kalb was director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Jordan was director of the Forum—the Kennedy School’s prestigious venue for public speakers. The subject line of Kalb’s e-mail to Jordan read, “unhappy.” The body of the message explained,

When you first called asking for an interview, I told you I had not seen the 60 Minutes piece and therefore could not comment on it…. Weeks later, you sent me a video copy of a fundraising trailer, which had no mention of me in it, no image of me in it, and now I see another version of that same trailer, which does include me…. Now I am used in a video fundraising trailer, and in a context that puts me in criticism of a broadcast that I told you I had not seen and therefore could not comment on.
The current, revised version of the trailer is exactly the same as the original, minus the footage of Kalb…




The Marvin Kalb embarrassment—making it appear that Kalb agreed with criticism of the 60 Minutes program when he had not even seen it—is evidence that the filmmakers are not engaged in evenhanded journalism, as they claimed in this thread.

And if it is true, as Krakauer reports, that Mortenson paid villagers to fabricate support for his Korphe story, that would mean that Mortenson is beyond Machiavellian, and is capable of dirty tricks worthy of Richard Nixon.


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