"FISTICUFFS ON EVEREST" - The Daily Fail at it again

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 21 - 40 of total 587 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 28, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
As best I can make out, there has been a lot of tension this year over which route to take up the Lhotse face as there was a big problem with rock fall last year. Any problem affects the Sherpas disproportionately as they make so many more trips. All of the commercial outfits agreed to try a route further to the right, but that way proved icier and crevassed. A Sherpa fell into a crevasse and was pulled out and another was injured by ice fall. There was debate about moving the fixed ropes further to the left again. In the end, two separate lines were fixed to facilitate two way traffic and avoid the crowding that marred last year. In compensation, the Khumbu ice fall seems easier this year with fewer long ladders thanks to the heavy winter snows.

Along come three Europeans who are climbing on their own with little or no Sherpa support which is seen as noble by western mountaineers and somewhat treasonous by the Sherpas, and then the western mountaineers climb horizontally, all three of them, across the fixed lines above the Sherpas. A Sherpa gets hit by ice and they blame the western free lancers. All of them are tired, oxygen deprived, and probably dehydrated and hungry. So far, it's easy to see what happened.

The Sherpa leader becomes angry which is pretty unusual, and one guesses there were other aggravations earlier. He calls down his crew; they're all happy to go back to Camp 2. The retelling of the story there makes it worse, and the Sherpas stupidly decide to make it a tribal thing and back their own based on hearsay. Threats are made and other westerners intervene, it hits the web and the Nepali police are called which is never good for the Sherpas. The whole thing was totally avoidable, but now there's a big mess for Sherpas, western climbers, and the Nepalese government.

The Sherpas hold the ultimate power however, if they stick together and strike. Perhaps this is the beginning of a Sherpa mountaineering union. More likely, the leaders will be thrown in jail and the rest will carry on. The Sherpa community will be split and this event however it turns out, will be regarded as a major turning point.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:04pm PT
thanks jan. that seems plausible, save that the timeline is still murky.

the explorer's web story placed the sherpa injured by falling ice on the 26th. the conflict appears to have happened on the 27th. and i don't place a lot of faith in the reporting at the moment, given the logistical difficulties.

but yes, i would expect that whatever happened was basically a flash point for other things that had been building up and that probably didnt involve the steck-moroe-g team at all.

if the report is correct, that ueli has been airlifted out, that would suggest fairly serious injuries.

ueli is one of the nicest folks i've ever met. and it'd be hard to id anyone in the last 20 years who's done more for alpine style work on difficult peaks and up high. i really hope everyone involved is ok.

and yes, i agree with your last judgment. i doubt that in hindsight, in a few years, this will be just a minor incident. lots of things have been building up--
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:06pm PT
Jan: Thanks for your realistic analysis and prediction of outcomes. Anthropologsts should replace journalists as news sources when cultural divides must be crossed.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
TWP!

Two thumbs up for your comment!!


and Jan: Thank you posting on this subject, with your rich-background in Nepal.

Jan: Thanks for your realistic analysis and prediction of outcomes. Anthropologsts should replace journalists as news sources when cultural divides must be crossed.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
So you hire people to do something and while they are doing it you do something that makes them feel threatened.

They then get angry about their employer making it personally lethal to complete a day's work. What a classic exercise in 1930's labour relations.

The Sherpas and all other Himalayan porters REALLY don't have the same agenda concerning a project as the climbers.

Jan, you of all here understand that these locals are working for a living and there are limits to an employment agreement.

What's next, Home Depot employees in Kansas are supposed to wire up your house in a lightning storm just to prove they have the right spirit ?
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
I don't know. I think the whole Everest thing is getting a bit out of control.

And can you imagine Sherpa's encountering Ueli Steck types? What thoughts must cross their minds regarding their future. Life is tough, someone has a bad day, which we all do, and things go down.

I have no idea, other than what I've read here, just what happened, but it would be awesome (if possible) for Ueli's group to let it go and help the Sherpa's involved not get wasted by the authorities.

Just a few thoughts from someone that knows not much. Damn, mountaineering is just crazy. Just finishing Everest: The West Ridge by Thomas F. Hornbein.

Page 104, "And so it went. The daylight hours were often spent doing little and accomplishing less in our high sunny world, trapped between the walls of Nuptse and Everest. The heat and stillness were oppressive. Sometimes I would want to take my temperature to make sure I wasn't sick, but it was only glacier lassitude------we called it the 'Cwm gloom,' which was not gloom but a delightful lethargy that must be the Himalayan substitute for sex."

Heard some great stories from Jim Bridwell. That Dude, needs someone to write them down before they get lost. lynnie
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:40pm PT
So you hire people to do something and while they are doing it you do something that makes them feel threatened.

i don't think that's what happened.

as best i can tell from the current reporting, the sherpas were not working for simone, ueli, et al.

at least not on that rope fixing. it appears that these were two separate teams, one a fixing team of sherpas, the other a 3-man indy group, but climbing lines that ran parallel at that point.

so basically, two groups of professionals, independent of each other, but working in close proximity.

it may be that the contractor responsible for base camp ops, cooking & etc., for the ch-i-gb team, was also one of the contractors who paid the sherpa fixing team, but for a different set of clients. i can't tell from the reports available to me now.

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:42pm PT
The situation is actually a little more complicated Jim. The Sherpas work for the big outfits who have, from the Sherpas up to the western owners, been unhappy for some time now that free lance climbers took advantage of their facilities. The Sherpas are particularly scornful of so called free lance soloists on Everest who use their fixed ropes all the way to the top, then claim they climbed Everest all by themselves.

However well known in the West, Griffith, Moro and Steck are seen as free lancers by the Sherpas. Although they did not use the fixed ropes (they were fixing their own to the left), they were then seen as jeopardizing the Sherpas in part by being unroped and thus dangerous missiles if they should slip and fall which has been known to happen even to the best.

I'm sure the Sherpas felt three ambitious guys were risking them, their livelihood, and the prospects for success of many other people, who also happen to be paying clients. In Asia, the group always supercedes the individual,and the large group the smaller one. It's a classic case of cross-cultural misunderstanding.

The larger question I think, now that so many Sherpas are getting qualified as internationally licensed mountain guides, is whether alpine style ascents dominated by westerners or Sherpa guided ascents will predominate in the Himalayas of the future. A good compromise perhaps, would be for the pros to stay away from Everest, especially the crowded southside, and leave that to the Sherpas and their clients. There are lots of other 8,000 m. peaks with new routes beckoning.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:53pm PT
The larger question . . . is whether alpine style ascents dominated by westerners or Sherpa guided ascents will predominate in the Himalayas of the future. A good compromise perhaps, would be for the pros to stay away from Everest, especially the crowded southside, and leave that to the Sherpas and their clients.

yeah, that's the crux: everest could become a place where sherpas hang ropes and rich n00b wankers jug them.

and because the mass market cares only about everest, and not about some brutally technical alpine ascent of a different 8k, even folks who would much prefer to be on a different peak get driven to everest. the problem is that the compromise-- sherpas and texas oil execs on everest, serious alpinists on other peaks --isn't functional. at least at the moment.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Thanks Jan,

The majority of your post reflected to me the fact that Everest is considered a work place for those who carry the freight and make a relatively safe route for it's delivery.

Their agenda is making a living and the glory at reaching the top is something second place to a paycheque and coming home to family.

The Sherpas are famous for their level of commitment and care if someone from anywhere gets in trouble.



Fluoride

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:07am PT
I still can't get over that they named the Swiss climber as "Wool Stick." I saw this initially on their page and thought WTF. Came over here and got the real story. DM is such a rag. They do post interesting stories but NEVER fact check anything. So many errors you'd think a slow 8 year-old child is doing their research work.

Everyone else, thanks for the clarifications on what happened. This is going to be a mess. Sherpas looking out for high ticket clients to come versus brilliant alpinists who want to get up the mountain by their own means.
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:21am PT
why are these three top climbers wasting time on the yak route anyway?
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:27am PT
"Wool Stick"... Buwaaahahahaaaa... Ohw lordy what a straight line!
WBraun

climber
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:28am PT
Someone should hire Jan to go over there as a mediator to fix this mess ........?
Fluoride

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:35am PT
FYI it looks like the DM deleted the article. I commented on it and now I can't find the article on their website where it was a few hours ago. I'm sure many across Europe who follow alpinism got on them about this.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:38am PT
What would Donini say?
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 12:52am PT
From Simone Moro's website (a bit more coherent than the translation above):

At about 8am on 27th April 2013 Simone Moro (IT), Ueli Steck (CH), and Jonathan Griffith (UK) left Camp 2 to reach a tent at around 7200m (lower Camp 3) on the Lhotse Face of Mount Everest. A team of high altitude sherpas were ‘fixing’ the Lhotse face and the climbers were asked to not touch the fixed ropes they were establishing. As such the trio climbed about 50m away and to the side of the Sherpa team to avoid disturbing them in their work. It should be noted that all three climbers have extensive climbing experience all over the world and were very aware of the work being carried out by the Sherpas and the respect given to them for it.

When the three climbers reached the height of their already established tent, they traversed across the snow and were forced to step over the lines of the Sherpas to reach their tent about 20 meters to the side. The climbers chose to step across the lines at a belay stance where 4 other sherpas were attached to the ice face whilst their lead climber continued to fix the line above. Stepping over the lines does not interfere in any way with the work being carried out. The climbers were soloing and not using ropes so there was no rope tangling either. In addition by passing beneath the lead climber no ice or snow could be knocked down on him. Jonathan Griffith was in the lead at this point and after crossing the rope and traversing another 15 meters on a snow ramp Ueli Steck followed. At the point where Ueli Steck stepped over the rope the lead climber noticed the climbers below and began shouting and banging the ice with his axe erratically. Still shouting down at the climbers, he fixed his rope and abseiled down to the belay stance. As Ueli was soloing and therefore not attached to a rope it was natural that he should hold his hands up to take the impact of the force arriving on him form the lead climber abseiling right on to him. This prompted the lead climber to accuse Ueli Steck of ‘touching him’. In between hitting the ice with all his force and screaming at Ueli Steck ‘

why you touch me’ he said that they had kicked ice down on them and injured a Sherpa. Seeing as the trio were climbing a completely independent line and entirely on snow this is highly unlikely. Ueli Steck tried to help calm the situation by offering to help fix the lines up to Camp 3 but this only made matters worse. Simone Moro then joined the team and the lead climber turned on him wielding his ice axe in his direction. Simone swore at the lead climber as is the natural reaction when faced with this aggression. No amount of talking would calm the lead Sherpa down and as a final act of defiance he ordered his whole team of 17 Sherpas off the Lhotse Face and back to Camp 2. There was no reason to descend off the mountain because of the three climbers. They had not touched or interfered with the Sherpa’s work. To help smooth things over Ueli Steck fixed a further 260m of rope to Camp 3. By the time the climbers descended back to Camp 2 some 100 Sherpas had grouped together and attacked the three climbers. They became instantly aggressive and not only punched and kicked the climbers, but threw many rocks as well. A small group of Westerners acted as a buffer between the out of control mob and the climbers, and they owe their lives to these brave and selfless people. Nevertheless all three climbers were attacked as well as many of the Westerners who were trying to calm the situation down. The climbers were told that by that night one of them would be dead and the other two they would see to later. After about 50 minutes the crowd had calmed down and the climbers, who had been pushed away and told to hide, had regrouped and were told that if they weren’t gone in one hour that they would all be killed.

The climbers packed the bare essentials and made a circuitous route back down to the base of Mount Everest in heavily crevassed terrain with no rope on, feeling that given the current situation this was the safest place to be. The Sherpas said that the reason they attacked the climbers was because they had knocked ice down on a Sherpa below. As it stands no Sherpa has come forward to show any injury. Furthermore on an ice face getting hit by chunks of ice is a very natural occurrence. The climbers believe that the lead Sherpa was tired and cold and felt that his pride had been damaged as the three climbers were moving unroped and much faster to the side of him. Whatever the reason may be, there is no reason to instigate vigilante rule and to try and kill three visiting climbers. The Nepalese authorities have taken the matter very seriously as have commercial teams on the mountain. At the moment the 3 ring leaders have been taken off the mountain and the Police, Ministry of Tourism and the head of the Sherpa Association are investigating. The three climbers would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who saved their lives at Camp 2 and to those who are now taking over the investigation.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 29, 2013 - 02:31am PT
Everyone else, thanks for the clarifications on what happened. This is going to be a mess. Sherpas looking out for high ticket clients to come versus brilliant alpinists who want to get up the mountain by their own means.


I think this is really the wrong way to look at it. Not every client who goes with a commercial expedition is high ticket. Some of them saved for years, mortgaged their house etc. to follow their dream. Why are they less important than a brilliant alpinist? And if those alpinists are so brilliant what are they doing on the cargo route anyway? I know they hoped to do a new route higher up but why there in the height of the season? They're good enough they could do it in the fall instead and have more of a challenge from both weather and less possibility of support.

And finally the really big question, with fourteen peaks above 8,000 meters, why can't brilliant alpinists find somewhere else to climb that doesn't interfere with Sherpa livelihood? The Sherpas think westerners are weird for being so crazy over one mountain, but as long as they make a living, they'll accommodate that craziness. If some other mountain were equally desired, they'd go there.

Sherpas want to support their families and come back alive and they don't have any other means. Brilliant alpinists can climb on any other continent they want.

And finally, am I the only one who thinks climbing unroped above other people on an icy slope, even if they're anchored in, is kind of dangerous in case of a fall? One body hurtlin into another, crampons through the rope and human flesh etc?
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 29, 2013 - 02:53am PT
TO Clarify for many of you:

Simone Moro - the Pilot whom rescued injured Sherpas off of Everest last year, extracted bodies from Pumori via long line, and retrieved the body af a Canadian woman from the south col, arrived this spring in Kahtmandu bringing from Europe, his own higher capacity Eurocopter to support yet more rescue efforts this year on Everest.

Three Cheers for a Hero, a Gentleman, and a world class Himalayan Athelete

Simone Morro, an Athlete and a Gentleman with his new Eurocopter 2013
Simone Morro, an Athlete and a Gentleman with his new Eurocopter 2013
Credit: Simone Morro

Simone is presently Stationed under the auspices of Fishtail Air, at Everest Basecamp, on contract with the Nepalese helicopter company he works with in Nepal when he is not climbing.

http://www.fishtailair.com/team-fishtail.php
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 29, 2013 - 02:59am PT
Yes, Simone Moro is one of the good guys (and the other two as well). That's why this whole thing is such a mess. That's also why the three Sherpas taken off the mountain are going to get fried. Meanwhile, it will be really interesting to hear the debates among the Sherpas after the season. There were so many involved, it can't be papered over and I'm sure they were disgruntled about other things.

If everyone is smart, they'll have an extra puja to ask the gods for harmony on the mountain, both sides will apologize and exchange prayer scarves, and things will continue on.

If anyone from the west decides to press charges in the chaotic and corrupt system there, it will get really ugly.

Messages 21 - 40 of total 587 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews