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Thread: John Oliver - Mount Everest discussion

  1. #31
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    For me, the trueness of my mountain experience is almost always inversely proportional to the number of people that I see.
    Totally agree with that. The self reliance, skills and improvising is as rewarding as the hiking and the views. Much more impressed with alpine style climbs versus expedition style climbs at every level of hiking. I'm not sure at what point mountaineering becomes tourism but Everest of the past 5-10 years or so seems to be there. It's at a point now where you can do everything right and still be exposed to disaster by the actions of others. It's one thing to go up Everest untrained and unequipped, make a mistake or foolhardy decision and kill yourself. It's another thing entirely when that foolishness can kill other people. At that point some sort of regulation/enforcement of qualifications has to be involved.

    Maybe a bad analogy but imagine a NASCAR race where trained professionals in high end cars battle at 200 mph to win. Lot of time, money and effort goes into winning a race. Crashes happen but everyone is trained, equipped, has experienced teams and knows the consequences. Now imagine that I enter my Subaru Cross Trek, put some fuel additive in the gas and some kick ass tires on it and take that bad boy into Turn 2 at 140 mph and wreck the field, causing injuries and major financial expenditures. Do we have a right to do whatever we want simply because we want to and can afford it, even if it is wildly foolish? Maybe alone you do but when your actions affect others? Private group, private property, your signing a contract acknowledging the risks, etc. I get that. But even in a public place like a National Forest, etc there has to be some minimum level of expectation for people who go there. I have no issue with regulation on Everest. It has evolved to the point where that is necessary IMO.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    That route looks impossible without carrying lots of extra gear, etc. Don't forget, this is at like 28,000 ft and the weight of ropes, cams and other protection would probably kill most people at that elevation just walking around with it. And if they were already up there and hadn't planned for it - well then that route looks like suicide.
    Here's an interesting NPR article about the situation on Everest in which a Nepalese official says...

    "In the next season, we will work to have double rope in the area below the summit so there is better management of the flow of climbers..."


    The bad press is getting to them apparently. But while China has cut back on the number of permits Nepal will not. (Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world.)

    And here is an article describing the permitting process and prices for many mountains around the world. Interesting.
    Last edited by ChrisB; 06-28-2019 at 01:45 PM.
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  3. #33
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Another perspective from someone whom has actually been there...more than once.https://youtu.be/ZVMIl6o_UzE
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  4. #34
    Junior Member strider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    In normal situations, yes. The route takes the path of least resistance.

    In a total exercise of Monday-Morning QBing, and the with the added ignorance of never having been there, I nevertheless wonder if the following bypass might be possible. It is more difficult for sure and requires some rock work. But as an alternative to waiting for hours might it be worth considering.

    Major downside -- One would need real climbing skills to do it: traverse, rotten rock, etc.

    (We should ask Rick Wilcox at IME!)

    Attachment 6215
    IMG set up a rappel route around the Hillary Step in 2013. Guess it didn't catch on.

    https://www.mountainguides.com/evere...t-rappel.shtml
    "Viewed from the summit of reason, all life looks like a malignant disease and the world like a madhouse. "
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  5. #35
    Junior Member strider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Conrad climbed the second step. It took two try’s. The second time they removed the ladder. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/a...mallory-anker/

    A google search of “Everest second step” results in plenty of photographs of that area of the mountain.

    Per Jochen Hemmleb's website, at least five people have attempted to climb the second step without using the ladder (not counting the Chinese in 1960 and Mallory/Irvine). All five succeeded.

    According to climbers testimonies, the Second Step has seen up to four (4) free ascents over the years, i.e. without the ladder placed on the headwall by the Chinese in 1975 and therefore under similar conditions as during Mallory & Irvine's climb in 1924:
    - By Catalan Oscar Cadiach in 1985, climbing on lead;
    - By Austrian Theo Fritsche in 2001, climbing solo;
    - By Russian Nickolay Totmjanin in 2003, exact style unknown; and
    - By American Conrad Anker and Briton Leo Houlding in 2007, climbing as a roped party.

    Only verbal testimonies exist as proof of the first three ascents (although Totmjanin probably had several eyewitnesses), while the fourth ascent by Anker & Houlding has been extensively covered on film and still photographs.

    Cadiach rated the headwall crux pitch UIAA V+ (5.7-5.8); Fritsche between IV+ and V- (5.6), with the last moves probably in the V+ (5.7-5.8) range; Conrad Anker is on record with ratings between 5.8 and 5.10 (V+-VI+), while Leo Houlding, after seconding the pitch, rated it 5.9 (VI). No rating is documented from Totmjanin.
    "Viewed from the summit of reason, all life looks like a malignant disease and the world like a madhouse. "
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  6. #36
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strider View Post
    Per Jochen Hemmleb's website, at least five people have attempted to climb the second step without using the ladder (not counting the Chinese in 1960 and Mallory/Irvine). All five succeeded.

    According to climbers testimonies, the Second Step has seen up to four (4) free ascents over the years, i.e. without the ladder placed on the headwall by the Chinese in 1975 and therefore under similar conditions as during Mallory & Irvine's climb in 1924:
    - By Catalan Oscar Cadiach in 1985, climbing on lead;
    - By Austrian Theo Fritsche in 2001, climbing solo;
    - By Russian Nickolay Totmjanin in 2003, exact style unknown; and
    - By American Conrad Anker and Briton Leo Houlding in 2007, climbing as a roped party.

    Only verbal testimonies exist as proof of the first three ascents (although Totmjanin probably had several eyewitnesses), while the fourth ascent by Anker & Houlding has been extensively covered on film and still photographs.

    Cadiach rated the headwall crux pitch UIAA V+ (5.7-5.8); Fritsche between IV+ and V- (5.6), with the last moves probably in the V+ (5.7-5.8) range; Conrad Anker is on record with ratings between 5.8 and 5.10 (V+-VI+), while Leo Houlding, after seconding the pitch, rated it 5.9 (VI). No rating is documented from Totmjanin.
    Translation: The part-time "mountaineers" in these groups could not do this. Some of these people do not even know how to use crampons until they show up at base camp. I seriously doubt they can pull off 5.7-5.10 moves in the death zone as a realistic option for skipping Hillary Step.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  7. #37
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Translation: The part-time "mountaineers" in these groups could not do this. Some of these people do not even know how to use crampons until they show up at base camp. I seriously doubt they can pull off 5.7-5.10 moves in the death zone as a realistic option for skipping Hillary Step.
    Just a point of clarification here: We are mixing two different Everest routes. The "second step" referenced above is on the Northeast Ridge route. The "Hillary Step" is on the South Col route. Few if any commercially guided groups attempt the Northeast Ridge. Too long, too difficult and requires you to deal with China.

    On the South Col route commercial guide companies pool their resources ($$) each season to establish a safe route ALL of them will use through the Khumbu icefall and on the upper mountain. This cuts costs and saves time and effort. It also creates jams when good weather windows are short and everybody goes for it at the same time, which happened this season.

    I think it only a matter of time until alternate, (possibly slightly more difficult) routes from the South Col to the summit are explored and established.

    When a guide service can say, "hey mate will keep you out of that mess at the Hillary Step," they will gain a significant marketing advantage.
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  8. #38
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Translation: The part-time "mountaineers" in these groups could not do this. Some of these people do not even know how to use crampons until they show up at base camp. I seriously doubt they can pull off 5.7-5.10 moves in the death zone as a realistic option for skipping Hillary Step.
    Wrong side of the Mountain. But I do get your point. Both The Hillary Step (South Col Route) and The Second Step (North Ridge Route) can be bottlenecks. The above quote you cited is about the Second Step where a ladder is in place to get over this obstacle. The Class 5 ratings described are about climbers that climbed the Second Step after the ladder was removed, at least in Conrad Anker’s case. This was done as a matter of trying to add clarity to wether Irving and Mallory could have climbed this section of the Mountain when the ladder did not exist.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  9. #39
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    My bad. I thought we were still discussing the alternate route ChrisB highlighted on map as a bypass of Hillary Step. And back to my original point, spontaneously deciding to take an alternate route like that, with the needed skills and gear, would not be an option just to avoid the wait as was suggested. Obviously, if someone were to climb it and establish ropes, protection, etc that would be a different story. But that would have to be planned, not improvised on the spot as a reaction.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  10. #40
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    ... if someone were to climb it and establish ropes, protection, etc that would be a different story. But that would have to be planned, not improvised on the spot as a reaction.
    I wonder if in that conga line on the step there were any independent, self guided, teams of capable experienced climbers.

    Can you imagine the likes of Bonnington, Willans or Messner ( I date myself) in a crowd like that? I guarantee they would seek and probably find an alternative to standing around for hours waiting for a turn on the fixed ropes.

    The notion of attempting Everest without being capable of lead climbing still amazes me. But for better or worse that’s the era we are in.
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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  11. #41
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strider View Post
    According to climbers testimonies, the Second Step has seen up to four (4) free ascents over the years, i.e. without the ladder placed on the headwall by the Chinese in 1975 and therefore under similar conditions as during Mallory & Irvine's climb in 1924:
    - By Catalan Oscar Cadiach in 1985, climbing on lead;
    - By Austrian Theo Fritsche in 2001, climbing solo;
    - By Russian Nickolay Totmjanin in 2003, exact style unknown; and
    - By American Conrad Anker and Briton Leo Houlding in 2007, climbing as a roped party.
    If that's not impressive enough, the two in bold used no supplemental oxygen.

  12. #42
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Translation: The part-time "mountaineers" in these groups could not do this. Some of these people do not even know how to use crampons until they show up at base camp. I seriously doubt they can pull off 5.7-5.10 moves in the death zone as a realistic option for skipping Hillary Step.
    They won't be (and probably never are) in the death zone. Thanks to bottled oxygen, they're only climbing, at the most, a 24,000 foot mountain.

    https://8kpeak.com/blogs/sneak-peak/...by-the-numbers
    (see the excellent plots at the end)

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