Friday, May 28, 2010

Everest 2010: Wrapping Things Up


It now looks that it is officially over on Everest for the season, as reports are that the Sherpas are bringing down all the gear and trash on both the North and South Sides of the mountain. The weather has taken a turn, and it seems that the monsoon has moved in, signaling an end to the climbing there, at least until the fall. Despite all of that, it seems there are still a few things to report on, even most of the climbers are now either back in Kathmandu or well on their way.

Before I get on with the remaining notes from the mountain however, it should be pointed out that tomorrow will mark the 57th anniversary of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary reaching the summit of Everest for the first time. It is a shame that no one will be up there to commemorate that event. Perhaps Sir Ed's spirit will be there however, as Apa Sherpa, making his 20th trip to the top, reportedly took some of the New Zealanders' ashes up with him. That seems a fitting tribute for this year.

Alan Arnette is still posting his excellent dispatches on the spring season, and he discusses the clean-up efforts that are taking place on the mountain at this very moment. Alan remarks that is is really tough work, even vor the incredibly strong Sherpas. He describes it as "back breaking" as they bring double and triple loads off the mountain in effort to finish up as quickly as possible. This is the grunt work that no one thinks about, and truly serves to highlight how important the Sherpas are to any Himalayan climb. Very few people would actually get to the top without the help of the Sherpas, and now, after the summits have ceased, and the clients have gone home, they're still there, working away. They get much respect from me.

Alan also quotes Aussie climber Duncan Chessell, who says that the weather he experienced on Everest this year was terrible, and said that the conditions at the summit were the worst he had ever seen, "by a factor of at least 10." This gives you an idea of what it was like for these late season summitteers, who waited out a snow storm for one last crack at the summit. It sounds like it was horrific up there.

Chad Kellogg has posted an update on his story at Outdoor Research's Verticulture site. You may recall that Chad was hoping to make a speed attempt on Everest, and by the sounds of things, it was going fairly well, until he reached The Balcony, located at 27,000 feet, on the South Side of the mountain, where he encountered traffic jams, and was eventually forced to turn back due to poor weather conditions.

In the post, Chad gives good details on his climb, including a series of mishaps that helped to slow him down and make the climb more challenging than he expected. Simple things like stepping in a pool of water and soaking a shoe, which caused him to change into other shoes, had an effect on his approach, particularly since he was attempting to go quickly up the mountain, wearing track spikes! He also had a trekking pole stolen from his cache at Camp 1, which didn't help his cause much either, and as a result, Chad was already behind his own schedule when he reached Camp 2 an hour later than he expected.

I won't spoil the rest of his story, but encourage you to read it. It's an interesting look at what these speed climbers go through, and some of the things they do to shave time off of their climb. Chad does say he hopes to return in the future and give it another go. I'm not sure if it is in the cards for him, but if he can go in the fall, he'll find far less traffic to deal with at the bottlenecks on the mountain.

Finally, ExWeb is reporting that there have now been more than 5000 successful summits of Everest. That's a pretty large number when you think about it. Does that take away the allure of the place? For the general public, it would seem that the answer is no, but in the mountaineering crowd, I think opinions are a bit more mixed.

10 comments:

Carl Hancock said...

When a 13 year old summits Everest, I think that damages the allure more than 5,000 people making it to the top. At least it does for me. I'm still an Everest junkie, but as you know... I didn't like seeing that happen.

Adventure Junkie said...

I'm right there with you. I didn't like seeing it happen for a wide variety of reasons.

Alan said...

Hi Guys, yes 5000 is a big number but it will not stop people from dreaming and going hard to meet their own personal challenges and goals.

The climbing community does view Everest (and Aconcagua and Rainier, etc.) very differently from the ROW. Sadly this is often misplaced imho. Not everyone could/should ski naked from an unclimbed Mongolian peak :)

I think Jordan Romero has a great opportunity to be a positive influence not only for climbing but also for his generation that could lead them to this great sport. I hope he uses his new voice wisely.

Great stuff as always Kraig.

Adventure Junkie said...

I agree that it is great that Everest continues to inspire people to dream big and go after their goals. I always appreciate that aspect of the mountain, and it really does inspire the general public on a big level. We sometimes lose sight of that in the "adventure community".

I'm with you Alan in that I hope Jordan uses his status to inspire others, and I honestly have no issues with the kid himself. I just worry about where it ends with these young kids doing these adventurous things. Word has it, for instance, that 14-year old Laura Dekker now has a new, larger boat, and is preparing to make her solo circumnavigation attempt very soon. How young is too young?

Sibylle said...

Everest will be in climbers record sights for ever. I don't mind if people continue to want to push and do the climb, but lets encourage them to also support the villagers who have a tough life around there and the endangered wildlife which has it tough too.
Snow leopards recently came back to the Everest region, lets hope climbers can help them stay for ever.

www.snowleopardblog.com

Anonymous said...

Re Chad Kellogg.

Are you aware he used a drug, Diamox, during his speedclimb attempt? Drug aided?

Are you aware he used Sherpa support at two high camps, and support from Jamie Clark's expedition group? Water, food, shelter.

I found these reports so far on this climber. Likely similar to Dr. Frederick Cook.
Chad boasted in many news releases and interviews his speedclimb would be "unaided by Sherpa" and "without oxygen". He was aiming to beat Marc Batard's previous record from 1990.

Batard never used Sherpa, or anyone else. And never used drugs (Diamox).

Adventure Blog,
Why do you ignore these things?

I found these reports so far
http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?nav=messages&webtag=ab-climbing&tid=161

Adventure Junkie said...

Diamox is very commonly used at high altitude by many climbers and trekkers. There is nothing wrong with using it. On my trek there this past spring, others started taking in as soon as we arrived in Lukla. What is the issue with using Diamox? It's not exactly performance enhancing.

Also, why are you worried about what Chad did or did not do? He did not succeed in his attempt at a speed record, so it is not like there is any contention to his claims.

Move on already. It's old non-news.

Anonymous said...

Dear Adventure Junkie,

Diamox is performance enhancing. It's used to (1) prevent AMS (acute mountain sickness; hypobaropathy), (2) in doing so, it can prevent HACE and HAPE (high altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema).

The development of AMS, even slight symptoms of it, can really impede, or stop, a speedclimber. Whereas, a slower mountaineer can take breaks to recover. If a speedclimber starts to have symptoms, they will likely either stop, or have to go so slowly that they abort the speedclimb anyway.

I'm confused why you don't think it's performance enhancing. It certainly Can enhance performance. If it didn't, no one would take it. Neither regular mountaineers, or speed climbers.

You asked why care about Chad Kellogg. He has done a pattern of this since 1998 and is "perverting history", as is said of Dr. Frederick Cook http://www.drfrederickcook.com/
http://www.matthewhenson.org/Fess_web72.pdf
Chad Kellogg apparently perverted the history of Denali and Rainier, and he tried on Everest, and will continue to try.

Anonymous said...

Proof!
Chad Kellogg's admittance to using DIAMOX.

6th paragraph, mid-paragraph.

http://www.outdoorresearchverticulture.com/2010/05/base-camp-to-balcony-and-back/

""I decided maybe I should take a dexamethazone tablet to reduce the chances of HAPE and HACE.""


http://gravsports.blogspot.com/2010/05/addicts-on-bikes.html

Clyde said...

Don't forget the dirty little secret of a lot of climbers on 8000 meter peaks...dexamethasone. Pretty common for them to shoot up before the summit bid. Chad Kellogg is using it for his Everest speed climb. Dex is easier to hide than using oxygen but it's not any better.
7:53 AM

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cook's fraud on Denali: No summit photo; false summit photo.

Chad Kellogg also was trying to claim a record. Speed climbing time to the summit. Guess what? No summit photo!!

For 80+ years there have been cameras. Now there are tiny, featherweight cameras.

Chad's Denali attempt was to set a world record and break previous world records. No camera!!!!????? Shouldn't objective proof of reaching the summit be expected?

What a laughing stock!

Yet, the press has promoted him. Over and over. Record Record Record. But, NO SUMMIT PHOTO.

This wasn't a regular climb of Denali. It was a 'record attempt' planed months in advance. He also got sponsors from it. Uses it in his resume. Is in the Denali history books.

www.chadkellogg.com to find NO summit photos.
Search all press articles on this to find NO summit photo.

No WITNESSES at Summit. Either. On Denali.

No summit photo for Rainier either. Never. Not in 1998, not in 2004. No timers, no witnesses.

HEY! here's his summit photos for Khan Tengri. Some of the only one's he's provided::

http://www.chadkellogg.com/galleries/khan_tengri/pages/Khan010.htm
http://www.chadkellogg.com/galleries/khan_tengri/pages/Khan009.htm

No others.

Where's the summit??? No land, no mountain features, no background.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just sick!

Unethical media friends -- Craig Hill at the Tacoma Tribune -- ignore it all, and keep promoting him.