NEWS: Bolts On Everest


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Mick Ryan

Trad climber
Kendal, English Lake District
Topic Author's Original Post - May 5, 2009 - 03:14am PT
Kenton Cool reports for from Everest.

"On the 2nd of May, after deliberation and coordination among the leading Everest teams, a small group of Western guides assisted by a number of Sherpas spent most of the morning working on the Yellow Band of Everest. The Yellow Band is situated above Camp 3 on the South (Nepalese) side of the mountain at approximately 7700m. The team cleared away loose rock and cut away old rope, making the forthcoming summit pushes this season a safer proposition."

"In doing this work, a number of bolts were also placed in this area of compact rock."

See also:

"Yesterday was a historic day for route making on Everest. Kari Kobler donated his Hilti bolt gun and guides Willie Benegas and Adrian Ballinger drilled six new 10cm Mammut stainless steel bolts up on the Yellow Band to anchor two new ropes one for up traffic and one for down. Good work you guys. In the process they also cut down over 30kg of old rope. The immediate benificiaries will be the sherpas, who have had to deal with a spider-web of old ropes over the years. Now, this is much safer for them. When the climbers start going up to the Col in the next few days they will find that this makes it a lot faster and less confusing. We are hoping to do the same thing up on the Geneva Spur next, and hopefully up in the rock step below the South Summit too."

Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader at

Best regards,

Mick Ryan

Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
May 5, 2009 - 03:29am PT


May 5, 2009 - 03:37am PT
all time classic tg!

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 5, 2009 - 03:41am PT
Like the failure of popularizing surfing culture, to ill crowding effect, we are now suffering the effects of enticing the masses to join our sport.

And, I am to be partially blamed for this terrible state of affairs, because I make it safer for anybody to go up, where no mere mortal man could otherwise go up.


Barcelona, Spain
May 5, 2009 - 04:18am PT
Nice tat on the cherub - what is that, a Moomintroll? Also, it's good to see Tom chasing Jerry in the background. Fixe hardware - made in Catalunya.

Trad climber
May 5, 2009 - 04:21am PT
Sport routes have been a long time coming to Everest. I welcome the safe, bolted moderates for the masses.

Also, Todd your couch is blocking my bivy spot and I won't be able to sleep with those cartoons blaring.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 5, 2009 - 10:26am PT
Let's take it to the next level and put in escalators, Everest is a farce- good for some guides though, and I'll bet an ascent can be a terrific pick up line in a Manhattan wine bar. The only ones I have sympathy for are the sherpas, they work hard and live in one of the World's poorest nations.

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 5, 2009 - 11:36am PT

I was going to say the same thing....

Bolts, hah. Get real and put in an escalator! We need to start getting serious about this safety stuff...

Tartarus, black hole of the internet
May 5, 2009 - 11:41am PT
If any one is actually following the climbing on Everest, then you know that there are approximately 500 climbers this season. the entire route is being fixed with ropes, except the section through the western cwm (top of the khumbu to base of Lotse face), thanx to the sherpas that actually climb the route.

The route is a quasi via-feratta. Bolts just are gonna make it safer simply because it facilitates fixing done by the few. Hardly makes a difference to the clients.

If you're an idealist like me, than you understand everest was lost a long time ago.
But take heart there is one guy doing the whole thing without assist.
"My goal is to make minimal use of porters, fixed rope, and supplemental oxygen while on the climb. I agree with Mark Jenkin's statement that style IS substance when climbing big peaks. While the general public doesn't care about style, I do. At the same time, I'm not going to walk away from a sure shot at the top if it means violating a self-imposed style rule. But it does mean that I start by playing the game in a certain way, and only 'cheat' if I feel it's absolutely necessary."

The other side of this is that old ropes from prior seasons are easier to remove, thus keeping the mountain free of old rope debris.
I hope they bolt K2, that thing is dangerous.

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
May 5, 2009 - 11:53am PT
How much to climb Everest? Big Deal, solo a Big Wall and you may have balls.


Tucson, AZ
May 5, 2009 - 12:16pm PT
this is almost as bad as adding those bolts to Double Cross.

.... almost.
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
May 5, 2009 - 12:25pm PT
"Let's take it to the next level and put in escalators, Everest is a farce- good for some guides though...
...The only ones I have sympathy for are the sherpas, they work hard and live in one of the World's poorest nations."

And here in lies the dilemma with me...
I do agree with the whole Everest farce thing, and as Ragz sayz it was lost long ago.

But, isn't this some variation of the "end justifies the means" issue too?


Since people are going to pay to get guided up, AND guides will take them up, with of course the Sherpas doing the bulk of the work-taking more than their share of the risks, doesn't it seem reasonable for them to have the pro. those bolts provide?

Without them the danger (and work) truly only increases for them.
And, they ARE the locals right?

I haven't seen any evidence that less paying customers are now climbing Everest than prior to any Sherpa death or injury. Bolts or no bolts these folks will still head up there.

I guess it could be argued their chance of success increases with the increase of Sherpa safety...

But I'm curious, is it the bolts themselves that will make any difference...

Cleaning up all that ratty shite is good, but there sure is plenty more up there.

Anyway, with the road up there and the Hotel going in on the Tibet side it's all kind of a moot point anyway right?



Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
May 5, 2009 - 12:50pm PT
I am not that concerned about the bolts, but was really does concern me is that expeditions take responsibility to remove all the stuff they bring to the climb. That means tents, oxygen bottles and trash. And, I don't think burning all the trash at basecamp and then tossing the remains down a crevasse is OK.

Whether it is a commercial or non-commercial expedition getting all your stuff(not just the climbers) off the mountain should be number one priority. I don't care how many people climb Everest, but if they turn it into a trash heap that would be a real tragedy.
Unfortunately, maybe it is already there.

Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
May 5, 2009 - 12:56pm PT



Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
May 5, 2009 - 03:17pm PT
Bryan and Coiler? You up for a high altitude chop-shop mission?

God, that would be hilarious...

Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
May 5, 2009 - 03:52pm PT
Agree with Jim - the only people to sympathize with are the Sherpas. They do most (if not all) of the hard work and spend the greatest amount of time in the danger zone. Can't blame them for trying to make the job site safer and more efficient.

Lots of "real climbing" has been done on Everest, but those days have been sadly over for many years (at least on the South Col and North Ridge).

Even for the guided client there is a huge difference between actually climbing a mountain (following a guide across glaciers and up technical ground, helping set up camps, carrying your own gear, making at least a minimal effort to take care of yourself) and what now seems to constitute a "guided ascent" (having your meals delivered to the tent, having your gear and oxygen delivered to each already-set-up camp, clipping into a fixed rope at basecamp and following that to the summit and back).

Unfortunately the same thing is now happening on K2.

But there are still thousands of sub-8000m peaks to find real adventure on.

Like these guys:


Trad climber
May 5, 2009 - 03:54pm PT
Hey, at least there's less bolts on the ~30,000 foot hunk of rock then the salathe wall... perspective I guess.

Hobart, Australia
May 5, 2009 - 05:26pm PT
kind of surprised those were the first!

I know Willie does good work wherever he climbs, so I reckon it was a job well done.
Dingus Milktoast

May 5, 2009 - 08:50pm PT
Where's the American Chopper

Vrroom Vrroom!


Trad climber
the base of the Shawangunk Ridge
May 5, 2009 - 08:52pm PT
what does it cost (roughly) to climb it unsupported?
Swami Jr.

Trad climber
Bath, NY
May 6, 2009 - 11:11am PT
I always thought everest would be the perfect sport climbers destination.

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
May 6, 2009 - 11:39am PT
For a couple of years now I have been of the opinion that an Everest ascent via enhanced virtual reality is a possibility. Take some of the cool IMAX photography and projected it into a huge VR setup wrapped around some dork's head. Make him stand with sixty pounds of guilt in a beef freezer with an industrial-sized wind machine while ice water is pumped through his boots. Get some high-wattage sun lamps on his face and he's good to go! He can accomplish his ascent of the big'un complete with frostbitten toes, third degree sunburn, cracked lips and huge ego in less time that it takes to apply for a place on a guided climb.

Don't forget to stop by the photo booth on the way out to collect the picture of you on the summit.

Trad climber
The 7th Pin Scar on Serentiy Crack
May 6, 2009 - 12:47pm PT
I've heard the peak fee is on order of $10k, but it may be more now.

The masses can have Everest. For the rest, there are peaks like Anapurna I - 151 Ascents, 61 Fatalities.

Trad climber
May 6, 2009 - 01:01pm PT
Where is Ken Nichols when we really need him
Bill Sherman

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 6, 2009 - 02:41pm PT
Porkchop, the last number I knew of for the peak fee was $70,000 for up to 7 climbers.

The key would be to find an expedition that already had a permit and try to "purchase" a spot on the expedition. It would cost you $10,000 minimum for that spot.

After that, the costs would be whatever you deemed necessary to get you and your gear to basecamp. Figure on at least $2000 to get from Kathmandu to BC unless you walk the whole thing without any porter assistance but that takes on average 2 weeks alone.

Politics get tricky on the mountain and groups will charge you for using the route they put up through the Khumbu icefall. They are possessive of their work.

Figure in other incidentals and you're probably still looking at around $20,000 to climb the mountain unsupported.

Fees are much lower on the North Side (Tibet) but I'm not as familiar with them.
Bill Sherman

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 6, 2009 - 02:47pm PT
Now to address the original issue of this post. I've never climbed on Everest and have no intentions of ever going back to Nepal for that mountain. I have other objectives in mind that are much more pure in many senses.

The bolts were coming at some point and I'd rather have someone responsible like Willie putting them in.

It's still better off than what's in place in Europe on the popular guided routes and if the trash can be cleaned up at the same time then I'm for it.

I climbed in Chamonix for the first time in 2007 and was astonished at the local "ethics" (or rather lack of). On something simple like the Cosmiques Arete, any time there was any "difficult" climbing, front point placements were chiseled/drilled into the rock. The crux crack of the climb had a huge metal fixture with 20 slings hanging from it in addition to the front point placements all the way up the section.

On other routes like the Chere couloir, there were sets of belay/rap bolts every 30-40' along both sides of the couloir despite plenty of natural pro placements.

And I don't even want to get started on the madness that ensued on climbing Modica-Noury.

Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Riverside, CA
May 6, 2009 - 04:11pm PT
As per usual, Michael Kennedy has it right.

Ed Bannister
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
May 7, 2009 - 02:04am PT
Beer, bolts , babes, and oxygen cylinders.....

Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
May 11, 2009 - 01:06pm PT
I'm really glad that bolts are being placed on Everest, because it is everyone's 'right' to have a safe ascent, right?

Somebody should also replace the fixed ropes every spring, and place permanent tents on the south col, but what would really make the mountain 'world class' is a full scale mall at the south col....And everybody there had better be able to speak english or I'll be upset at having to adjust myself to another culture. First thing we need is a couple of good restaurants so I don't have to eat that $hit expedition food. They better have extensive wine lists or I won't leave a tip. And there had better also be a starbucks as I'll want my latte to carry with me on summit day....and finally a Gap store in the mall would allow me (it's my right after all) to purchase cheap goodies made overseas to take home to my family when I tell them about how "I" climbed Everest.



Ice climber
Ashland, Or
May 11, 2009 - 01:39pm PT
If the bolts help facilitate the Sherpas in keeping themselves and other people safer on the mountain, and reducing the clusterf*#k of fixed ropes, then I'm all for it. I'll never forget jugging a fixed line on Ama Dablam, reaching the anchor and having the old pitons come out with my fingers.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 11, 2009 - 08:12pm PT
(Posted by Mick Ryan to a new thread - it seems to fit well here. He doesn't say who the "we" are/is.)

'Last week we ran a news item from Kenton Cool detailing the recent placing of bolts at the Yellow Band on Everest.

"The Yellow Band is one of the most noticeable features on the South Side of Everest. It sweeps through Nuptse and Lhotse before cutting through Everest itself." explained Kenton.

We now have images of the bolting sent in by Mara Larson and taken by Adrian Ballinger.

The photos show Willie Benegas placing the new bolts that will anchor the fixed lines at the Yellow Band.

Kenton stated:

"The fixing of a number of bolts at this spot isn't "murdering the impossible" but a sensible act that will without a doubt save lives of Sherpas, Western climbers and guides alike."'

Trad climber
Armstrong BC
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:31pm PT
must be 10mm bolts. 10cm would be as wide as your fist. Getting pretty crowded up there I guess

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:47pm PT
Bolts on Everest and the cable route on Half Dome have a lot in common. If there is a piece of terra firma of interest it will be made accessible to the masses, but let's not confuse these pathways with actual climbing.

Mountain climber
Poor Valley
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:55pm PT

Stewart Johnson

t.c. ca.
Oct 21, 2009 - 04:43pm PT
there are other routes to climb on this mountain that are still wild,but there is no money there.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#131871

Oct 21, 2009 - 06:33pm PT many draws will I need to do Everest now?
Stewart Johnson

t.c. ca.
Oct 21, 2009 - 07:09pm PT
jeez, it actually helps everyone to have cables to the top of half dome.
a well maintained via ferratta to the worlds highest point is really no different.although we certainly dont bragg about going UP the half dome cables on this forum .more people will spend and summitt everest...
gonzo chemist

the Orange Curtain
Oct 21, 2009 - 07:29pm PT
Where is Ken Nichols when we really need him?

or Art Messier...


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 21, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
I have many Sherpa friends who make the dangerous trek up Everest with heavy loads time after time every season. Part of the reason they do it is to pay for their children to be educated so they don't have to do that kind of dangerous work anymore. Bennegas and other Western guides have seen plenty of Sherpa friends die as have I. If the bolts offend you, climb it without clipping in to fixed ropes as the original party did, but let your Sherpas do it in safety.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 21, 2009 - 09:37pm PT
As usual Jan is right on the money.
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