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A Tech CEO Suing His Guide Could Change Everest Travel

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I know a few surgeons and all very nice people.
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Interesting posts, specially from those who know something about mountaineering. I don't obviously but my (valueless and purely theoretical) opinion about Everest is unchanged. Very Happy
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cameronphillips2000 wrote:
There's a big difference between general climbers and those who shell out loads of cash to get a fully organised trip and expect to be led up. I've watched and enjoyed al the docs.


I was under the impression very few scale Everest without some form of help. Even if it's using the ropes installed by the main guiding companies. Didn't David Sharp register with a guiding company and try to do it on his own?

cameronphillips2000 wrote:
Some of those big decisions where people are near the summit, the guide says no - it's too late, turn back - but they continue, putting everyone in danger....
Fascinating topic.


This really fascinated me too. Then I watched a big mountain documentary where some french bloke took off his gloves to take a picture at around minus 30 Deg C and lost a few fingers to frostbite. Then it dawned on me that at such a high elevation many can't think straight, they have the thinking capability of a tanked up chav on a night out. Sadly probably the reason many of them (200+) are still up there.

If someone starts bragging about doing Everest, just ask him why he didn't go for a real challenge and do K2 instead. wink


http://youtube.com/v/rmrY240YsM4
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Quote:

I was under the impression very few scale Everest without some form of help. Even if it's using the ropes installed by the main guiding companies


Correct. It's why the generalisations of all the clients on Everest expeditions being rich idiots with no mountaineering experience aren't true. Not saying there aren't a few that fit that mould, but there are plenty like penny Webster (https://www.wildernessmag.co.nz/a-lifetime-of-summits/ she climbed with adventure consultants in 2018).

Its funny how people focus on clients overruling their guides. It tends to be the other way around in Nepal. Guides knew they would get a summit bonus for successful summit so would pretty much drag clients up if necessary. I heard about a guide and client nearly coming to punches at the top arguing about the bonus, with the guide threatening not to take him back down if he didn't agree to pay it. Most insurance companies don't cover Heli rescue in Nepal (or require a supplement) because it is such a scam. Guides would get a big kick back from the Heli companies for Heli evacuation. So climbing guide would see the client had altitude sickness, but drag them to the to for summit bonus and then call a Heli on the way down for that kickback. Maybe things are a bit better now, although even in 2018 I saw some pretty unjustified calls for Heli evacuation for trekkers that had extremely mild ams and could have just walked down the valley.
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Quote:

I guess our definitions of what a guided expedition is differ. If Sherpas are fixing your route through the icefall, portering and setting up all your high camps and oxygen bottles, and fixing ropes to the summit, for me it's a guided expedition regardless of if you get accompanied on summit day or not. I've seen "guided expeditions" offering far less than that!

You wrote as you know about climbing Everest. But you didn’t know that Sherpas fix route through the ice fall, AND on the Hillary Steps, for EVERYONE to use, regardless whether they’re on “guided” team or not?

So anyone who doesn’t want to use it will have to go a different route!

As for setting up high camp and carrying oxygen bottles, didn’t even Edmond Hillary had porters doing those on his climb? What would you say about his historical summit? Was he merely a “guided” client? Surely not, as he made his own decision?

Then, there’s something quite wrong about your so called “DEFINITION”!
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Irony in this thread.
'Many single minded, driven types'......

Before we're two pages in it's become a bit of a contest of who knows most,, who doesn't , who's right and who's wrong.

Some.very knowledgable folks though. I'm learning a lot about the.dynamics of commercial climbing trips.
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@abc, I think you would say Hillary's climb was clearly groundbreaking but also of its time. A climber of his stature would probably not climb an objective like Everest in that style today
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jedster wrote:
Ed_sec wrote:
Who wants to climb the thing anyway? It's too high for comfort, over crowded and the hassle of getting to base camp (+ weather) means you have a tiny window to try for the summit. Then from pics I've seen you ascend in a long queue. On top of all that it seems some of your companions may be major pains in the posterior. Other mountains are available. Madeye-Smiley


I totally agree. In my view, anyone who wants to be guided up Everest is just on an ego trip and doesn't really love mountains or mountaineering.


I don't think that applies to the other two climbers in the guided group we are talking about tbh...

1. Tim Emmet, his wikipedia page says:

Tim Emmett is a British-born adventure climber. One of the world's top all around climbers, practicing in ice, mixed, rock, deep-water solo, traditional, alpine (styles of climbing) and para-alpinism.

Life Achievements in climbing are:

- 1st Ascent of Interstellar Spice at Helmcken Falls, Canada, the first Ice Climb graded WI 12 in the World. [1]
- Nomination for Piolet D'or for climbing Kedar Dome in Pakistan with Ian Parnell 2006.
- Red Bull White Cliffs Champion in 2015. [2]
- 3 times Ice Climbing World Cup Speed Climbing podium.
- Climbing "Superman" F8c+ [3]

And 2, Joe Vernachio, president of Mountain Hardware. A quick google didn't reveal much of his climbing resume, but given he's spent his career working for the likes of MH, The North Face, Patagonia, etc, I don't think it's a stretch to assume he loves mountains!

Clearly the whole industry surrounding Everest is a mess, and has been for a while, but if you think about it objectively, I'm sure most of us can understand how the idea of climbing the worlds highest mountain can still be a big draw to even the most accomplished mountaineers, despite the relative lack of technical difficulty. And I don't think anyone with experience of high altitude would write it off as easy - even now, every year plenty of highly skilled climbers fail to reach the top.
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I'd be for people having to prequalify before trying Everest or any of the 8000ers for that matter. I'm no Sailor but once did the Fastnet Race and even this entailed having to do a series of qualifying races beforehand.

This could also help to support the Sherpas who do the real work (and take most of the risk*) by giving them more work away from the Khumba Ice Falls and the death zone.

* of the approx. 200 frozen bodies up on Everest, approx. 60% of them are said to be support staff (Sherpas, guides etc).
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So who are the real heroes that summited Everest without oxygen or high-altitude Sherpa support.

Alison Hargreaves?
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Lars Olof Göran Kropp

who else?
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DB wrote:
So who are the real heroes that summited Everest without oxygen or high-altitude Sherpa support.

Alison Hargreaves?
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Lars Olof Göran Kropp

who else?


Reinhold Messner I think
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@DB, +1

That was the gist of my comment about hiking in. It would be a good test of fitness.

A walk in the park for fit, serious mountaineers , but something that might exclude a lot of the "tourists".


btw, I wasn't aware that such a high proportion of bodies were support staff.
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As an aside, everybody travels there to climb Everest, but how many of the surrounding peaks have yet to be climbed?
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@DB, Stephen Venables (UK) - by a pretty audacious new route up the Kangshung Face, too
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^^ All without Sherpas and the fixed ropes? From what I understand these days, unless you want to climb an unusual route, in effect you are either working with the Sherpas or working against them (by making their job harder and more dangerous by climbing round/above them etc).
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It's not a proper ascent unless you start on the beach, naked wink

I think this attempt was outside of the usual climbing season so maybe deserves a little more respect than some are giving
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Quote:

It would be a good test of fitness.

A walk in the park for fit, serious mountaineers , but something that might exclude a lot of the "tourists".


Climbers are walking in from lukla or namche. It's a pretty well defined route, the classic ebc trek that thousands of tourists do each year. I would actually recommend anyone with the time walks in from jiri the original starting point for the early expeditions for 2 reasons: you will see a completely different side of Nepal than up past lukla (culture, scenery, much less tourist effects), it's also great preparation (6 days of walking with 900m+ ascent each day and a high point of around 3500m), for trekking higher up in the region. For most it's simply not an option do to time constraints though.

Quote:

@abc, I think you would say Hillary's climb was clearly groundbreaking but also of its time. A climber of his stature would probably not climb an objective like Everest in that style today


Couldn't have put it better, spot on.

Quote:

You wrote as you know about climbing Everest. But you didn’t know that Sherpas fix route through the ice fall, AND on the Hillary Steps, for EVERYONE to use, regardless whether they’re on “guided” team or not? So anyone who doesn’t want to use it will have to go a different route!


Usually the guided teams work together in putting the fixed ropes up. With the team's doing least giving some kind of financial compensation to those doing more. While you could turn up with your permit and use their fixed ropes, without some kind of payment it would not go down well!

There are 18 named routes on Everest, plus a few unclimbed routes. Plenty of options if you want to avoid the fixed ropes and do something more challenging. Or do it out of season.
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clarky999 wrote:
jedster wrote:
Ed_sec wrote:
Who wants to climb the thing anyway? It's too high for comfort, over crowded and the hassle of getting to base camp (+ weather) means you have a tiny window to try for the summit. Then from pics I've seen you ascend in a long queue. On top of all that it seems some of your companions may be major pains in the posterior. Other mountains are available. Madeye-Smiley


I totally agree. In my view, anyone who wants to be guided up Everest is just on an ego trip and doesn't really love mountains or mountaineering.


I don't think that applies to the other two climbers in the guided group we are talking about tbh...

1. Tim Emmet, his wikipedia page says:

Tim Emmett is a British-born adventure climber. One of the world's top all around climbers, practicing in ice, mixed, rock, deep-water solo, traditional, alpine (styles of climbing) and para-alpinism.

Life Achievements in climbing are:

- 1st Ascent of Interstellar Spice at Helmcken Falls, Canada, the first Ice Climb graded WI 12 in the World. [1]
- Nomination for Piolet D'or for climbing Kedar Dome in Pakistan with Ian Parnell 2006.
- Red Bull White Cliffs Champion in 2015. [2]
- 3 times Ice Climbing World Cup Speed Climbing podium.
- Climbing "Superman" F8c+ [3]

And 2, Joe Vernachio, president of Mountain Hardware. A quick google didn't reveal much of his climbing resume, but given he's spent his career working for the likes of MH, The North Face, Patagonia, etc, I don't think it's a stretch to assume he loves mountains!

Clearly the whole industry surrounding Everest is a mess, and has been for a while, but if you think about it objectively, I'm sure most of us can understand how the idea of climbing the worlds highest mountain can still be a big draw to even the most accomplished mountaineers, despite the relative lack of technical difficulty. And I don't think anyone with experience of high altitude would write it off as easy - even now, every year plenty of highly skilled climbers fail to reach the top.




Yes - what I said was too extreme but I still don't understand why someone who loved mountains and wanted to climb a major Himalayan peak wouldn't pick a quiet one without the circus.
Cheaper and a better experience.

But I am a bit biased in that I think 8000m mountaineering is sufficiently hazardous that anyone getting involved should be competent enough not to need a guide. I appreciate that guides need to earn a living though.
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jedster wrote:



Yes - what I said was too extreme but I still don't understand why someone who loved mountains and wanted to climb a major Himalayan peak wouldn't pick a quiet one without the circus.
Cheaper and a better experience.

But I am a bit biased in that I think 8000m mountaineering is sufficiently hazardous that anyone getting involved should be competent enough not to need a guide. I appreciate that guides need to earn a living though.


Would agree with both of those!
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Well the clients joining expeditions are vetted now. If they are truly qualified for Everest is always going to be a judgement call. It's not like back in the day of people being taught how to use crampons for the first time in base camp Shocked (that said some of them made successful summits!). Death rate has been below 1% for quite a while now so it's not like lots of people are getting themselves killed.

Quote:

I still don't understand why someone who loved mountains and wanted to climb a major Himalayan peak wouldn't pick a quiet one without the circus.


They probably already have. The circus is arguably part of the Everest experience, and plenty of serious climbers feel the need to tick it off. I can see where you are coming from, there are certainly lots of climbers that would agree with you, I just don't think the flip side is so hard to see either. Where do you draw the line though? Vallee blanche is too much of a circus there are much better, quieter routes to ski in Chamonix? Europe is too developed and busy for skiing, if you really loved the mountains you would only tour from a yurt in central Asia?
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Also as much as we criticise the Everest circus worth remembering it is huge for the local economy. Plenty of people in khumbu worked a few expeditions in order to build a teahouse which is now their families primary income.
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Yeah approx. 300 deaths total on Everest. Mont Blanc has around 100 deaths per year.
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DB wrote:
So who are the real heroes that summited Everest without oxygen or high-altitude Sherpa support.

Alison Hargreaves?
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
Lars Olof Göran Kropp

Kropp did his as part of a "guided" expedition!

But he climbed (and succeeded) independent of his "expedition". He even went so far to go through the ice fall in his own route instead of the routes already got fixed ropes and ladders.

In other words, he's not at all "guided up Everest" even though he "joined a guided expedition".

Given the cost of the Everest permit, no independent climbers, especially solo climbers (the "real climbers") can actually climb completely "independent" of large expeditions. In fact, the most convenient way for solo independent climbers are indeed to join "guided" expeditions by paying a small fraction of the permit cost, but climbing independently once they leave base camp.
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@abc, not only that but he cycled there from Sweden and (if memory serves) a fair bit of the way back too on his first attempt (solo sans oxygen - didn't quite summit) - a proper gnarler. Pretty sure he did summit a few years later though not so sure of the details of that one.
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@offpisteskiing, I think he summited from the north side. Again as a member of a “guided expedition” whilst climbing all by himself, sans sherpa.
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Kropp also summited some other 8000'ers (including K2 - the first Swedish person to do so)
He raced in Formula 3 too.

Quote:
Mount Everest
For his 1996 ascent, Kropp left Stockholm on 16 October 1995, on a specially-designed bicycle with 108 kilograms (238 lb) of gear and food. He traveled 13,000 kilometres (8,000 mi) on the bicycle and arrived at Everest Base Camp in April 1996. Following a meeting of all of the Everest expeditions on the mountain at the time, it was agreed that Kropp would attempt to summit first. On 3 May, Kropp climbed through thigh-deep snow and reached Everest's South Summit, a point 100 metres (328 ft) from the summit.[4] However, he decided to turn around because it was too late in the day and if he continued, he would be descending in the dark. While Kropp recovered from the ordeal at base camp, the 1996 Everest Disaster unfolded. He helped bring medicine up the mountain. Three weeks later, on 23 May, he again tackled the mountain, this time successfully summitting without extra oxygen support.[5] He then cycled part of the way back home.[6]
He returned to Everest in 1999 with his girlfriend Renata Chlumska to undertake a cleanup, during which they removed 25 discarded canisters from the mountain. They also successfully summited together.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Göran_Kropp

Quote:
Before his death, Kropp had sponsored the Göran Kropp Bishwa Darshan Primary School in Taptin, Chyangba, Solukhumbu, Nepal, which has 165 pupils and 8 teachers. A tax-exempt non-profit organization named Around-n-Over, established by Erden Eruç, aims to create educational and inspirational content for young students based on human powered journeys.
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abc wrote:
ed123 wrote:
brianatab wrote:


Hopefully, nobody will want to climb with him again, meaning his chances of ever getting to the summit are practically zero.

hopefully?

Very unlikely any other guides will ever take him to join their guided groups. So yep, his chance of ever getting to the summit are now non-existing.
oh yes- who in their right mind would go anywhere near? Not for love nor money- there are no other reasons for doing anything.
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@DB, thanks for the share enjoyed the article on the 1996 Everest Disaster and on Goran Kropp - just interesting to think about what some people are driven to achieve
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extremerob wrote:
@DB, thanks for the share enjoyed the article on the 1996 Everest Disaster and on Goran Kropp - just interesting to think about what some people are driven to achieve


Yes it's amazing what some people in the mountains are driven to do. Tourists on Everest don't really interest me but the achievements (and sadly sometimes failures) of the more experienced mountain climbers in difficult conditions do.

These events/books may interest you ….

1936 Eiger North Face - covered in the book "The white spider"
1961 Freney Central Pillar, Mont Blanc
1971 Cairngorm Plateau mountaineering tragedy (which I heard about on here)
1985 Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes - covered in the book "Touching the void"
1996 Everest - covered in the book "Into thin air" - not the only book covering this tradegy though
2008 K2 - covered in the book "no way down"

There must be other similar incidents, maybe others can provide details …

A few more here ….
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Mountaineering_disasters
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Two Everest climbs worth reading about

1980 Reinhold Messner's solo climb from the Tibetan side. A feat never likely to be repeated simply because it was just him and a non climbing companion with a bit of help to get the equipment to base camp. It was not the first no oxygen climb (he did that with Peter Habeler a couple of years previously). He narrowly avoided falling into a crevasse, if he had it would have been very unlikely he would have survived. He wrote a book, The Crystal Horizon about the experience. He is somewhat controversial in some circles but to walk up Everest with no support or possibility of rescue (no satellite phones either) with just a couple of ski poles was a remarkable achievement.

1982 Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker's disappearance on the North East Ridge of Everest. Pete & Joe were the golden boys of a golden generation of British climbers. Perhaps inspired by Reinhold Messner's exploits they set out to climb from the Tibetan side via the then unclimbed NE ridge. It was a small team, them, Chris Bonington & Pete Renshaw with some support at base camp. Pete Renshaw suffered a stroke at 8,000m and had to walk out (no helicopter evacuations!). Chris Bonington realised that he was not physically capable of climbing high on Everest without oxygen. Joe Tasker became ill but resolved to try to complete the climb with his great friend Pete Boardman. They were last seen on the ridge at 8,250m moving very slowly. After a number of days it was clear they were not coming back and Chris Bonington had to break the news to families and the press. Peter Boardman's body was found a number of years later by another expedition, Joe Tasker's body has never been found. The story has been covered in a number of Chris Bonington's books. Also worth reading is Fragile Edge by Maria Coffey, she was Joe Tasker's partner and gives a rather different perspective on the events, including a poignant visit she and Peter Boardman's partner made to the site of high camp in the remote cwm below the NE ridge.
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@DB - 1961 Freney Central Pillar, Mont Blanc - what a read!

Just phenomenal what they went through, and so hard to imagine the conditions, and the fact that technical clothing and equipment as we know it didn't exist back then!
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@munich_irish, Just for the record, his name was Dick Renshaw Smile . There is a wealth of great mountaineering literature. A search on UK Climbing (UKC) or in the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book festival will bring up enough excellent suggestions to outlast Covid...
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@Skevinski, Yep not sure where that Pete came from!
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extremerob wrote:
@DB - 1961 Freney Central Pillar, Mont Blanc - what a read!

Just phenomenal what they went through, and so hard to imagine the conditions, and the fact that technical clothing and equipment as we know it didn't exist back then!


Yes I was just watching a bit of Austrian TV a few weeks ago and this came on …..


http://youtube.com/v/gTI3rkF5oyI


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Tue 20-10-20 12:02; edited 1 time in total
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The difference between success and failure in the high mountains can often be down to timing and the weather.

The story of Tomasz Mackiewicz was particulary tragic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomasz_Mackiewicz

He started with very little climbing experience and wasn't one of those rich climbers. He turned his life around after becoming a drug addict. Getting the funds to make so many attempts was not easy. His aim was to be the first to achieve a winter ascent of Nanga Parbat and he tried to do so 7 times.

Other climbers eventually had more luck with the weather than he had experienced and summited before him. He still wanted to do it though and tried again finally reaching the summit ….. during his rescue the weather turned on him again and the rest is history.


http://youtube.com/v/ITfJ70Q8Y_E
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Seems a good time to mention how some folks do it right. Ed Viesturs for instance. Possessed of the will to summit all the eighthousanders w/o O2, but ALSO has the discipline to do a u-turn 300 vertical feet from the summit of Everest because he felt it was necessary to survive. It's impressive when anybody summits; much more so when they do it the right way.
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[quote="boarder2020"]
Quote:


Its funny how people focus on clients overruling their guides. It tends to be the other way around in Nepal. Guides knew they would get a summit bonus for successful summit so would pretty much drag clients up if necessary. I heard about a guide and client nearly coming to punches at the top arguing about the bonus, with the guide threatening not to take him back down if he didn't agree to pay it. Most insurance companies don't cover Heli rescue in Nepal (or require a supplement) because it is such a scam. Guides would get a big kick back from the Heli companies for Heli evacuation. So climbing guide would see the client had altitude sickness, but drag them to the to for summit bonus and then call a Heli on the way down for that kickback. Maybe things are a bit better now, although even in 2018 I saw some pretty unjustified calls for Heli evacuation for trekkers that had extremely mild ams and could have just walked down the valley.


I find that somewhat surprising. I am a trekker and not a climber but I have trekked in the Everest region a number of times and have been to both the Nepalese and Tibetan base camps.

The highest helicopter rescue I can think of is during the 1996 disaster when Bek Weathers was rescued by helicopter from the South Col at 26,000 feet. To do that they had to strip out the helicopter as much as possible and even then the pilot was taking a big risk. If a client has AMS then it would make no sense the guide forcing him on to the summit as the client could possibly die in the process or at the very least not make it back to even 26,000 feet.

You obviously know that the simplest cure for AMS is to get lower although that is not always easy if the terrain has any serious undulation. I definitely agree that helicopters are called out too often these days and certainly from somewhere like the base camps at around 17,000 feet often will not be necessary and you are no doubt correct that financial incentives could play a part. I suppose it's a bit like what happens in Britain these days since the advent of mobile phones, where walkers rather than being more self sufficient, just call out the mountain rescue
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Quote:

I suppose it's a bit like what happens in Britain these days since the advent of mobile phones, where walkers rather than being more self sufficient, just call out the mountain rescue

Is it really?

Unprepared walkers is nothing new. In the past, without mobile phone, they simply had to keep walking till they got out. Or if they're incapacitated, they'll eventually get rescued when their companion make it out to initiate rescue.

Being self-sufficient is a learned behavior. It may come as a result of bad experience. But a lot more often as a deliberate learning process.

Having seen many unprepared walkers along the trails, I'm of the opinion it's not the advent of mobile phone that's to blame for the unpreparedness of walkers. But rather the culture of disrespect of "experts" which lead to not bothering learning the proper preparation before setting out into the woods/mountains.

I've had the unpleasant experience of my casual friends wishing to join me on ventures they are not prepared for, yet unwilling to invest in the preparation! I guess there's an element of "you don't know what you don't know" also. Sad
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@richjp,
I think it was the highest rescue at the time but curiosity got the better of me so I searched it up on the tinternet which said .....
Beck weathers was found at 26000 ft / 7900m (near Base Camp 4) but they walked him down to a lower camp even though parts of him were still frozen (including his feet).
He was rescued from Base Camp 1 at around 20000 ft/6100 meters although nowadays a lot of helicopter rescues on Everest are from Base Camp 2 (21000ft/6400m).
http://edition.cnn.com/US/9605/13/everest/index.html

In an ironic twist of fate Simone Moro is reported to have rescued one of his Everest attackers at 25600ft /7800m.
https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2013/05/22/simone-moro-in-highest-ever-everest-helicopter-of-stricken-climber

I remeber Tomasz Mackiewicz was up at around 7000m when they couldn't get up to him with a helicopter but I wasn't sure if it was the altitude or weather, or a combination of both.

This link confirms his tent was at 7200m
https://polandin.com/38641867/czech-climbers-claim-to-have-found-body-of-lost-pole-in-himalayas
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Quote:

I find that somewhat surprising. I am a trekker and not a climber but I have trekked in the Everest region a number of times and have been to both the Nepalese and Tibetan base camps.


It's been widely known about for a while now. Here's an article written by the guardian a few years ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/03/nepal-cracks-down-on-multimillion-dollar-helicopter-rescue-scams

It's why lots of insurance companies either don't cover Heli rescue in Nepal or require a supplement. These aren't high altitude dramatic rescues (arguably not even rescues!).
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