Climbing Everest is Not Climbing


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Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 23, 2019 - 12:10pm PT
Next time I see Tom Hornbein I’ll be sure to remind him of how lame his climb was.

And my friends Chris Chandler and Ray Genet, whose bodies are still up there,
were as badass as they come.

Ice climber
hartford, ct
May 23, 2019 - 12:11pm PT
It's become a high-altitude circus of death. A freakshow. Sorta another checkmark for the triathlete crowd. There are sooo many other places to climb without waiting in line I simply can't fathom why...


Trad climber
May 23, 2019 - 12:25pm 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.


It's a sanitized, commercial clusterf*ck.

Guide companies doing everything the can to get their clients to the summit.

Summitting Everest by whatever means is still an impressive feat. But it's not nearly as impressive as it was 30 years ago... before the days of guided outings. And it's not as impressive as the crowd-free expeditions to other 8000 meter peaks.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 23, 2019 - 04:11pm PT
It really depends how you define “climbing.” Take the examples of a hill and a flight of stairs. Some people would say they hiked up a hill and some would say they climbed it. Do you ascend, climb or walk up stairs?
Getting to the issue of Everest. It is a fact that with guides, sherpa support, fixed ropes and oxygen many oeople who possess only rudimentary climbing skills ascend, climb or hike up one of the two normal routes in Everest every year.
They pay a lot of money and put in considerable physical effort to do so. Your own definition of climbing can be used to categorize what they do.
The people who ascend, climb or hike up Everest can also use their own definitions to describe what they do.

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
May 23, 2019 - 04:11pm PT
People here have bagged on all sorts of other climbing for being too dangerous, too crowded, too damaging to the environment. Plenty of folks commented on the cluster that the cables on Half Dome can become. No reason Everest should be exempt.

I do have sympathy for Nepal and its poor. And am happy that climbing and mountain tourism helps out.

And it certainly takes effort to get up there and back safely. But that doesn't make that conga line at 28K any less awful looking to me. And it sounds like it might also have been the cause of the fatality.

Trad climber
Straight Outta Crafton
May 23, 2019 - 04:26pm PT
Forgetting about the altitude and weather, how hard is the crux move-pitch-or-whatever on Everest? How long's the hard part(s) go?

From the photos I've seen, if situated at sea level and climbed on a sunny day, the toughest moves look to be about 4th class.

Don't get me wrong: climbing 4th class at altitude hauling and breathing tanked oxygen while dressed like the Michelin Man is probably tougher than anything I've ever done in the mountains. Especially for the guy on the sharp end.

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
May 23, 2019 - 06:53pm PT
In a way the issues here are similar to those on the Half Dome Cable route. The difference is the much much lower death rate and the fact that no one's livelihood is involved on Half Dome. Otherwise, opinion here is pretty unanimous that both may be climbing but not the kind any of us would want to do.

Meanwhile I've been thinking some more about TWP's question of whether climbing from 18,000 to 29,000 with oxygen was the equivalent of climbing to 18,000 without and I don't think so. Once one gets to the death zone at 26,000, the body begins deteriorating toward termination whether you're on oxygen or not. It just happens slower if you are on it. While people have been known to get altitude sickness and die at 18,000 it's relatively rare. Not so, above 26,000.

Of course altitude sickness is a tricky thing. I've been deathly ill at 17,000 (cured by going down to 15,000) and I've been to 20,200 without even a headache climbing without oxygen, Sherpas or fixed ropes. The difference was the speed of ascent.

The average altitude at which people's thinking gets screwy, with and without oxygen, would be yet another interesting thing to study.
Radical Rebirth

Trad climber
May 23, 2019 - 09:24pm PT

It’s obviously getting pretty ridiculous. I can definitely lean to the opinion that this is as far from true climbing, self reliance and exploration as you can now get. Some sort of perversion of bucket lists, consumerism and ego where the true journey is lost; in its place is a self absorbed, goal-driven obsession; where death comes for you as you join the ultimate cluster f*#k at the top of the world.

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
May 24, 2019 - 03:36am PT
Agreed, but I think you can say this about a lot of sports. We know that American style football is terribly destructive of human brains, causing dementia in otherwise healthy men as early as their 30's yet the show continues on because poor Americans, ego obsessed and consumer oriented, play the game in spite of the statistics while other thrill seeking consumers pay to watch people damage their health. And then there's hockey and boxing.....
Radical Rebirth

Trad climber
May 24, 2019 - 05:14am PT
Yes, Jan , very true

Not to mention riding motorbikes.
okay, whatever

May 24, 2019 - 06:46am PT
I attempted to climb Manaslu in 1978, when I was 24, but we didn't make it because the snowfalls were so constant and heavy that the avalanche danger was very high. We just ran out of time, in the end. I have climbed Denali, in 1976, which, even back then, was a zoo. There were hundreds of people on the mountain, and sanitation was already a big issue even 43 years ago.

May 24, 2019 - 07:00am PT

Just see all those people having a fine day together on this nice Everest mountain while you greedy armchair critics don't want them there .....

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 24, 2019 - 07:06am PT
With the toffs dropping at one per day this week think of the poor Beemers and Land Rovers whose owners aren’t returning.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 24, 2019 - 07:07am PT
One less person at the water cooler in a Manhatten law firm.

Big Wall climber
Ridgway CO
May 24, 2019 - 07:22am PT
Most of what people call “climbing” isn’t what we used to do BITD.
A guy in my town soloed E without O 40 years ago.
He CLIMBED E, those people today? I have no idea what to call that other than wealthy stupidity.

My buddy is on E right now, but on the North Ridge, and it’s a very different thing.

I waited in a shorter line to meet the Dalai Lama.

So how long until the Sherpa figure out they can put up a second set of lines and charge more for the “Express VIP” fixed lines?

They should build a giant circus human cannon, and just shoot people at the summit, fatality/success ratio might go up or down, hard to say.

Looks like the line for the bathroom at Indian Creek.

Gym climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 24, 2019 - 08:11am PT
What bums me out is that 49 years ago I was inspired to become some kind of climber (turned into a boulderer) from finding "The Ascent of Everest" in my 7th grade homeroom.

Then to see this photo where the biggest hazard is probably getting behind a slow person or group. The change from the early days just seems crazy. It is shocking to see this place, almost a sacred place turned into this. "Pave paradise, put up a parking lot..."

That was followed a few years later by "Everest, the West Ridge" which has to be one of the most beautiful books ever.

I am hella going to miss the climber humor of this place. It does feel like some kind of campfire where we all have something in common.

When someone writes that it looks like a bathroom line I know I am with my people somehow.


May 24, 2019 - 08:15am PT

That cluster fuk killed a woman.


May 24, 2019 - 09:00am PT
I remember the first time I climbed Royal Arches what 35 years ago we got stuck behind these noobs who were freaked out by the pendulum. Fortunately we convinced them to let us pass them - those guys didn’t make it down that night and we would have had to bivy up there behind them!

Meanwhile my buddy and I were congratulating ourselves on what bad ass climbers we were, Royal Arches being the biggest climbing adventure we had ever been on.

Climbing pfft! To each his own I guess.

Boulder climber
May 24, 2019 - 09:54am PT
^^ "She had become stuck in the "traffic jam" above camp four" - soon will be in California local news

Social climber
The Deli
May 24, 2019 - 02:27pm PT
Messages 21 - 40 of total 91 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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