Month: February 2012

Everest Unclimbable Due to Climate Change?

The infamous Apa Sherpa, who has been on the top of Everest a record 21 times, and is now a global warming advocate, is on a trek of awareness in the Himalaya now to broadcast the message that Everest is melting, and the ensuing loose rock slides will soon make Everest unclimbable.

Popular Science has a very brief article which also references the Everest Height Controversy.

The conditions are deteriorating so much that the mountain may be unclimbable in a few years, according to Apa Sherpa, a Nepali climber who has reached the summit a record 21 times.

Source: via Charles on Pinterest

“When I first climbed there was a lot of snow and ice,” Apa has said of Everest’s decline. “But now most of it has just become bare rock. That is causing more rockfalls which are dangerous to climbers.” — TNT UK Magazine

So now I’d like to know how you feel.

1) I need to hurry up and climb this now while it’s easy
2) I’ve done the Colorado Fourteeners, so long scree slogs are cake
3) There’s like no chance of a vested interest in this news release, right?
4) The whole Eastern end of that land mass needs to look at their own industrial pollution first
5) I’ll never climb Everest so I don’t really care one way or the other

International Everest Height Dispute

And while we’re on the topic of changing the height of Everest, this Times of India news story points to another dispute.

In the border talks between Nepal and China, scheduled for earlier this month but postponed at the last moment at Nepal’s request , the height of Everest was one of the issues on the agenda, according to government officials.

For how to measure the summit of Everest, China wants to recognize the rock under the snow cap, while Nepal currently recognizes the top of the snow cap, which is about 12′ thick, making Everest that much taller by Nepalese standards. This may or may not be all that significant, since I don’t know that anyone has ever climbed Everest only to the top of the rock layer, without also being on top of the snow layer. Any opinions?

1) After 29,000-ish-feet who cares about 12 feet more or less?
2) Those countries over there are always having issues about something
3) If Global Warming continues, the top will naturally come down anyway, so let’s just wait.

Source: Uploaded by user via Charles on Pinterest – Ryan Hamilton climbing in Ouray CO

How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?

How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest? (Outside Magazine)

I saw this article referred to in a couple blogs and news services (Time Magazine), and had to read it. Very interesting to say the least. I’ve been on the edge of an Everest expedition for a few years now, since just after Kili when Angie told me I had to Everest. Alan Arnette does an excellent job of making the cost of climbing Everest comprehensible to the average climber, and especially arm-chair climber.

Aconcagua Basecamp Food
Cooked with care at Aconcagua Basecamp

If saving money is the goal [of going solo], you will be disappointed. Every climber and expedition must pay for a permit, liaison officer, visa, park fee, Icefall route management, fixed ropes, waste deposit, travel, and insurance. Then there is gear, food, tents, oxygen, and sherpa support. Add in and the bill comes out to at least $35K per person for a seven-person team, or $60K for a solo climber.

By sharing the fixed and transportation expenses (permits, logistics, fees, etc.) among 6 or more climbers in a group, you save quite a bit. Total costs for a participant in a guided trip are estimated between $30-100K, while expenses for a solo climber are estimated around $60K and higher.

If you opt to fly solo, according to Arnette’s estimates, at the high end of the spectrum that will total $82,900. Still feeling intrepid? For that cost, you could get a new Audi A8, a three-bedroom house in Schenectady, N.Y., or 150 iPads.

Keep in mind that these articles offer price ranges, and that there are expeditions costing over $100,000 per climber on Everest.

On some expeditions, you will also receive a higher quality of food. One service likes to promote their sushi, another their five-star chef. Some offer espresso machines and open bars. The sky’s the limit, all at a price.

So let me know how you feel about this…

1) I’d rather have the Audi
2) I’d rather have the 150 iPads
3) I am being supported by my charity, so expense is nothing to me
4) I like my La-Z-Boy a lot, thankyou.
5) I like my toes a lot, thankyou.
6) It’s way worth it and I’m going to go no matter what
7) Schenectady probably isn’t as bad as it sounds

How tall is Everest Now?

As if the recent measurement projects weren’t enough, now there’s an attempt to remeasure Everest using modern technology, and it’s presumed that it’s actually a few meters higher than we thought. Using GEOID – or a supposedly more accurate way to locate Sea Level, or 0′ for that exact location on Earth – this team is attempting to determine the exact height of Everest.

Source: via Charles on Pinterest

While a few meters doesn’t seem like much, this might be significant in comparison to other measuring attempts to declare K2 higher than Everest, and thus the new highest mountain on Earth. I’d be curious to see how Chimborazo does though…

How do you feel about this?

1) Who cares about a few meters here or there?
2) Wow, I’m more excited than ever to attempt Everest now
3) Who’s paying for this and why?
4) Poor K2, I hope this goes totally backwards on them

Australian Moms on Everest

Two Aussie women, both moms in their mid-fifties are headed to Everest together and could set a couple Australian records, including oldest Australian woman to climb Everest. The article also points out that the women are paying their own way, and not relying on income from the charity they’re affiliated with.

Story HERE

On the importance of Training

They wake each day at 4am, and either do a long hike carrying 20-kilogram backpacks, or run, lift weights, and do strength work with a personal trainer. There is more training each night after work.
To add variety, they go to a rockclimbing gym at St Leonards and run the sand dunes at Palm Beach for hours to boost endurance and strengthen their legs.

Source: via Charles on Pinterest

I totally agree that this level of training is necessary for any long expedition where you would be hauling heavy loads for long distances and elevation gain.

How do you feel about moms that age doing Everest?

1) they need to stay home baking cookies
2) far out – hope I’m that strong at that age
3) anyone doing Everest is nuts
4) a “normal” person is doing this?

Let me know your thoughts …

How tall is Aconcagua now?

Recently I read an article pointing out that Aconcagua, being in an area along the Chile/Argentina border with very high seismic activity that generally has caused many of the nearby peaks to gain elevation, is probably higher than the currently accepted height of 6,962 meters (22,841 ft), which is somewhat higher than the last official measurement (in 1956) of 6,959 meters (22,831 feet).

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In the article it mentions that an expedition is currently on the mountain attempting to use the latest technology to get an accurate measurement. There are a lot of reasons why both barometric and GPS based measurements can be inaccurate, so we’ll see. Interestingly, the second tallest peak in South America is also along the Chile/Argentina border, Ojos del Salado at 6,893 meters (22,615 ft) – less than 100 meters difference. Every few years some measurement comes up a couple hundred meters higher, making it the second highest peak in South America. This is a recently active volcano, considered the highest volcano on Earth, and is grouped in both The Second Seven Summits, and the Volcanic Seven Summits list.

7 year old Indonesian on Seven Summits Quest?

I read this story recently about a 7 year old Indonesian boy who will be attempting Elbrus this July hoping to summit on July 23, National Children’s day with a follow-up Climb in November of Island Peak, a 6,000 meter mountain in the Himalayas near Everest normally used as a testing ground for the ability to climb Everest.

7-year-old Indonesian Turns Mountains into Molehills If successful, he will be the youngest climber to do Elbrus.

From a newspaper article about Arya Cahaya Mulya Sugiarto: — the treacherous peaks do not seem to faze Arya — last year the boy told the tabloid magazine Nyata that it was “nice to be able to reach the top of the mountain; I can see God’s creation.”

Some food for thought:

1) Can he possibly become the youngest Everest climber?
2) Can he possibly become the youngest Seven Summits Climber?
3) Is he really self-motivated, and really able to finish all these climbs under his own power?
4) What if something goes horribly wrong?
5) What are the long-term repercussions?

How do you feel about this?

What’s up with Prince Harry and Everest?

If you’ve been watching the news, you would have heard an announcement in January that based on the relative success of his North Pole adventure with one of his favorite charities, Prince Harry was intending to walk with Walk with the Wounded to the top, or at least Base Camp, of Everest this year.

Source: via Charles on Pinterest

Recently he appears to have waffled on that, and decided to maintain his support for the charity from afar. I’ve read a handful of articles in various online newspapers and a few blogs (including: “Is Prince Harry Really Going to …“) – but really, what does this even mean?

1) Climbing Everest is a great charity donation motivator?
2) Climbing Everest is a great thing for wealthy young fit celebrities to do?
3) Climbing Everest is almost a mainstream event?
4) Climbing Everest is almost meaningless anymore?

I can only imagine the fit his Mother would throw at his intentionally involving himself with an activity possibly slightly more dangerous than driving helicopters. People normally don’t die very often hiking to the North Pole. Everest on the other hand does see a few deaths on average every year.

In a study of 8,030 climbers and 6,108 Sherpas there were 212 climbing deaths between 1921 and 2006 (approximately 1.5%) – based on a study by The British Medical Journal (BMJ ), Vol 337, December 2008, by PG Firth and colleagues

I can certainly see the value in a charity that shows being a disabled war veteran needn’t stop you from doing great things you might believe are lost dreams. I can see that Everest is a great way to walk the walk and show your stuff. I remember being wrapped up in the Discovery documentary showing Mark Inglis’s summit of Everest and his great capacity for endurance and suffering. I see value in celebrities hanging on with charities like this, to offer the support of their fans and supporters. And in the case of Prince Harry, I don’t see that he really stands to gain anything obvious from this either way.

I wish the team at Walking with the Wounded great luck and success on their expedition this year.