#1  
Old 05-22-2016, 04:31 PM
Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,339

Everest: Just Don't Do It


After back-to-back climbing season disasters two years in a row, Everest climbers are getting to the summit again and the mountain has claimed its first two fatalities for 2016.

The dead Australian woman was the wife of our vet, who's probably the "injured Australian man being helped down the mountain" referenced in the article . Who knows how many fingers and toes he'll come back with.

TBH, my very first thought, on hearing back in March that he was going Everesting was "you idiot", but I'm sorry to have been proved right. They were totally experienced mountaineers who'd already successfully climbed a number of major peaks, and the clinic kept sending out sensible-sounding updates from them, like "bad weather - we're going way back down the mountain to wait it out."

Didn't help...
  #2  
Old 05-22-2016, 05:06 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,308
May does seem to be "death on Everest" season.

My condolences. While I maintain that informed adults have the right to take risks it is sad when bad things occur.
  #3  
Old 05-22-2016, 05:08 PM
carnut is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: State of Hockey
Posts: 4,785
Altitude sickness is terrible. My ex went on a hiking tour in Nepal and got a mild case of it. He's had heart problems ever since. My condolences to your vet on his loss.
  #4  
Old 05-22-2016, 05:11 PM
Cazzle's Avatar
Cazzle is offline
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 7,741
I was reading her bio last night, and saw an article that said her mother was too devastated to talk. I hope it was worth it, because it all just seemed like the most pointless waste.
  #5  
Old 05-22-2016, 05:20 PM
kambuckta is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Vic, Australia.
Posts: 9,942
And who are going to be the poor schmucks sent up to retrieve her body, or will she stay there up the mountain along with the countless other bodies never recovered?
  #6  
Old 05-22-2016, 05:26 PM
Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,339
She was actually at one of the base camps on her way down, not in the 'Death Zone', so I think it's likely that Sherpas will be taking her back down. Probably no worse an effort/danger than all the ladder and rope setting they do every year before the climbers start up (though that's dangerous enough in itself)
  #7  
Old 05-22-2016, 06:18 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,308
At least the Sherpas have some very practical reasons for taking on the work - the money they earn in just a few seasons on Everest can make an enormous difference to their families, enabling them to educate their children, purchase health care, get the capital to start another business with less risk... Relatively speaking, they're potentially getting a huge payoff.

What do the First Worlders get? Bragging rights and frostbite?
  #8  
Old 05-22-2016, 06:24 PM
nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 12,549
I just watched this movie a couple weeks ago. It aired on the Discovery Channel and may yet again.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3746250/

It was really obvious that the documentary film crew were there to chronicle a BASE jumper who was planning to jump off the Everest summit in a wingsuit, and when the 2013 avalanche struck, killing IIRC 16 Sherpas, the focus of the story changed drastically.

In the closing credits, it mentions the 2014 earthquake that also resulted in multiple casualties at Base Camp.
  #9  
Old 05-22-2016, 07:05 PM
Ulf the Unwashed is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,376
The linked article says she experienced altitude sickness, snowblindness, and a stroke while on the way down the mountain.

It also says that she wanted to challenge the notion that people who maintained a vegan diet were malnourished and weak.

And it says that she didn't think novice climbers should be allowed on mountains like Everest--too likely to be "inexperienced people" blocking paths and spoiling it for the experienced climbers.

Deaths like this are always tragic, and I certainly feel for her family, but geez, making comments like these always seem like tempting fate, don't they?...

<sigh>
  #10  
Old 05-22-2016, 07:16 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,069
Latest news is that two more climbers are missing and 30 people are sick near the summit.

Some 400 people have made it to the top this month alone. A bit crowded, wouldn't you say?
  #11  
Old 05-22-2016, 07:23 PM
spamforbrains is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,416
Quote:
Some 400 people have made it to the top this month alone. A bit crowded, wouldn't you say?
It does make you wonder what they are trying to achieve.
  #12  
Old 05-22-2016, 07:38 PM
Sage Rat's Avatar
Sage Rat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 21,274
Quote:
Originally Posted by spamforbrains View Post
It does make you wonder what they are trying to achieve.
My brother wants to go climb Everest. I told him that I was more impressed by his having successfully quit smoking than I'd ever be of his hiking Everest.

There's plenty of hard things you can do in life. Pick one that's actually got value.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 05-22-2016 at 07:38 PM.
  #13  
Old 05-22-2016, 07:38 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by spamforbrains View Post
It does make you wonder what they are trying to achieve.
And every year it seems there is someone trying to be the "first" to climb Everest for some reason like First Siamese Twins or First Person to Descend in a Potato Sack.

All those deaths over the past few years, and the circus continues. Nothing at all was learned. Nothing.
  #14  
Old 05-22-2016, 08:14 PM
China Guy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 11,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
The dead Australian woman was the wife of our vet, who's probably the "injured Australian man being helped down the mountain" referenced in the article . Who knows how many fingers and toes he'll come back with.
My condolences.

To your point, there are soooooooo many great places to trek or climb, Everest seems to be pretty silly as a priority.
  #15  
Old 05-22-2016, 08:19 PM
Spiderman's Avatar
Spiderman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: somewhere East of there
Posts: 10,474
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
May does seem to be "death on Everest" season.
That's because it's the 'easy' / best weather season.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
What do the First Worlders get? Bragging rights and frostbite?
Quote:
Originally Posted by spamforbrains View Post
It does make you wonder what they are trying to achieve.
I have no desire to go to the top*, I don't like my odds of coming back alive but I am an endurance athlete who has done a number of ultras including a bunch of 24's. The idea of pushing your body to the limit (& beyond) does definitely appeal to some/many people, including me & a bunch of people that I know.


* However, if I win the lottery (or one of you Dopers offers to pay) I am absolutely booking a trip to Camp 1, which means I have to go through the Khumbu Icefall. While the Icefall can occasionally be deadly, the lower altitude of Camp 1 usually isn't.
  #16  
Old 05-22-2016, 08:39 PM
wolfman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 10,848
I have always wanted to make it to the summit of Everest... In a mind-over-brawn method. Just build a garage jet-pack, zip up to the top, take a few pictures, and flit back down for lunch.

All I really need to do is figure out how to build the jet-pack.

Last edited by wolfman; 05-22-2016 at 08:39 PM.
  #17  
Old 05-22-2016, 08:46 PM
PastTense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,511
Actually it's been 3 climbers in 3 days.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/22/asia/e...imbing-deaths/

But one of them was a Sherpa so probably doesn't count in most articles.
  #18  
Old 05-22-2016, 08:56 PM
MacCat's Avatar
MacCat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,533
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman View Post
All I really need to do is figure out how to build the jet-pack.
Doesn't ACME make those?
  #19  
Old 05-22-2016, 09:18 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
Actually it's been 3 climbers in 3 days.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/22/asia/e...imbing-deaths/

But one of them was a Sherpa so probably doesn't count in most articles.
This all is so twisted. The exploitation of the land and its people is vile.
  #20  
Old 05-22-2016, 09:23 PM
Aspidistra is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 5,339
Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
Actually it's been 3 climbers in 3 days.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/22/asia/e...imbing-deaths/

But one of them was a Sherpa so probably doesn't count in most articles.
According to ABC news that wasn't an Everest fatality. Not that your general point isn't well-taken.
  #21  
Old 05-22-2016, 09:37 PM
Ken001 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,689
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
She was actually at one of the base camps on her way down, not in the 'Death Zone', so I think it's likely that Sherpas will be taking her back down. Probably no worse an effort/danger than all the ladder and rope setting they do every year before the climbers start up (though that's dangerous enough in itself)
Thing is, Camp Three is an eagles nest clinging to the Lohtse Face at 23,600ft. It is hard to get to and hard to leave in any direction. Bringing a body down may be impossible.
  #22  
Old 05-22-2016, 10:51 PM
nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 12,549
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
The linked article says she experienced altitude sickness, snowblindness, and a stroke while on the way down the mountain.

It also says that she wanted to challenge the notion that people who maintained a vegan diet were malnourished and weak.

And it says that she didn't think novice climbers should be allowed on mountains like Everest--too likely to be "inexperienced people" blocking paths and spoiling it for the experienced climbers.

Deaths like this are always tragic, and I certainly feel for her family, but geez, making comments like these always seem like tempting fate, don't they?...

<sigh>
Were they experienced climbers?

People who do this kind of thing require a huge amount of calories and fluids too, which is difficult because in many cases, the appetite disappears as does the sensation of thirst.

Aspidistra, keep us posted on how he's doing.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 05-22-2016 at 10:52 PM.
  #23  
Old 05-22-2016, 11:14 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,069
The last year no one died on Everest?

1977
  #24  
Old 05-22-2016, 11:56 PM
octopus's Avatar
octopus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 8,323
30,000+ die annually on American roads. Many driving for no practical purpose. Since we are all still mortal why not live life as you desire?
  #25  
Old 05-23-2016, 12:09 AM
Northern Piper is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: The snow is gone. For now
Posts: 28,972
Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
And who are going to be the poor schmucks sent up to retrieve her body, or will she stay there up the mountain along with the countless other bodies never recovered?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken001 View Post
Thing is, Camp Three is an eagles nest clinging to the Lohtse Face at 23,600ft. It is hard to get to and hard to leave in any direction. Bringing a body down may be impossible.
Previous thread: Bodies remain on Mount Everest. Why?
  #26  
Old 05-23-2016, 12:18 AM
Ulf the Unwashed is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,376
Quote:
Originally Posted by octopus View Post
30,000+ die annually on American roads. Many driving for no practical purpose. Since we are all still mortal why not live life as you desire?
What's the denominator?
Always useful to know the relative size of the denominators when trying to compare and assess risk.
What fraction of drivers die on the roads? What fraction of Everest summit-attempters die on Everest?

Look, climbing Everest obviously appeals to some folks. And if this is something that somebody desperately wants to do, and they're willing to accept the risks, more power to them.

But I don't get it. The sense I have from reading about Everest is that it really is no longer the experience it once was--that the mountain is dirty, and crowded, and "tamed" with clearly delineated paths and fixed ropes set by underpaid, overworked Sherpas, to say nothing of the experienced "tour guides" who are hired by most climbers these days. When I was a boy, "climbing Mount Everest" seemed to signify one of the most remarkable things anyone could do. Now--not so much. I'm not going to say it's "easy," clearly it isn't that, but I've read a lot of descriptions of people who were essentially steered up the mountain and brought back down again, the beneficiaries of good fortune and other people's expertise more than their own skill. It sounds like both the climbers who died were more experienced than that, but... From where I sit, learning that someone climbed Everest elicits much more of a yawn than it did back then. It's lost much of its luster, and I'm not sure what it's supposed to demonstrate these days. It makes me think, "Wow, you sure had a lot of money and a lot of help," not, "Wow, you sure are a brave adventurer."

Maybe that's not fair and maybe that's not reasonable. But I doubt I'm the only person who has that reaction. Judging from some of the comments above, I'm pretty sure I'm not.
  #27  
Old 05-23-2016, 12:40 AM
octopus's Avatar
octopus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 8,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
What's the denominator?
Always useful to know the relative size of the denominators when trying to compare and assess risk.
What fraction of drivers die on the roads? What fraction of Everest summit-attempters die on Everest?

Look, climbing Everest obviously appeals to some folks. And if this is something that somebody desperately wants to do, and they're willing to accept the risks, more power to them.

But I don't get it. The sense I have from reading about Everest is that it really is no longer the experience it once was--that the mountain is dirty, and crowded, and "tamed" with clearly delineated paths and fixed ropes set by underpaid, overworked Sherpas, to say nothing of the experienced "tour guides" who are hired by most climbers these days. When I was a boy, "climbing Mount Everest" seemed to signify one of the most remarkable things anyone could do. Now--not so much. I'm not going to say it's "easy," clearly it isn't that, but I've read a lot of descriptions of people who were essentially steered up the mountain and brought back down again, the beneficiaries of good fortune and other people's expertise more than their own skill. It sounds like both the climbers who died were more experienced than that, but... From where I sit, learning that someone climbed Everest elicits much more of a yawn than it did back then. It's lost much of its luster, and I'm not sure what it's supposed to demonstrate these days. It makes me think, "Wow, you sure had a lot of money and a lot of help," not, "Wow, you sure are a brave adventurer."

Maybe that's not fair and maybe that's not reasonable. But I doubt I'm the only person who has that reaction. Judging from some of the comments above, I'm pretty sure I'm not.
I agree that not everyone sees the value. I ski and there is some risks to that but I'm not going to let the risk stop me. I personally don't see the appeal to mountain climbing. It's not for me.

But I don't think something like Mt. Everest is foolish and perhaps I'm wrong. I tend to think that "extreme" sports participants are foolish. That to me is too much risk for too little reward. But I'm just not comfortable drawing that line for others.
  #28  
Old 05-23-2016, 01:10 AM
chizzuk is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,087
Of the fourteen 8000m peaks, Everest is actually one of the safest on a fatality rate basis. About 4% of climbers die in the attempt. Contrast that to K2, on which it's 27%, or Annapurna, where it's 33%. And over 5500 people have successfully climbed Everest, whereas K2 is just around 300 and Annapurna is under 200. I suspect the rate on Everest would be even lower if it weren't for underqualified people with misguided ambitions up there for a thrill--those same folks wouldn't dare try K2 or Annapurna.

That article says Dr. Strydom was trying to climb the Seven Summits, which is nice, but the Himalayas are a very different animal. She had done Aconcagua but that's a full 6000m shorter than Everest. I'm not sure she really knew what she was getting into. When I think of impressive, highly qualified climbers, I think of someone like Ed Viesturs, who has done all 8000m peaks (some multiple times) without oxygen. Not someone who has done a chunk of the Seven Summits.

From what I've read, Everest is very tall but is not such a technically challenging climb. I think this probably compounds the problem of overcrowding and underqualification because people can get higher on the mountain than they can safely deal with--then they go right past their limits without realizing they've done so and can't get back down, whereas if they were on K2 or Nanga Parbat they would have been unable to get so high in the first place due to lack of skill and technique and would have stopped earlier.
  #29  
Old 05-23-2016, 01:35 AM
Dickerman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 436
I'm not going to go for it, and I just convinced my wife to give it up as well.
  #30  
Old 05-23-2016, 01:37 AM
CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 4,795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post

It also says that she wanted to challenge the notion that people who maintained a vegan diet were malnourished and weak.
I have to admit I'm curious about what role, if any, a vegan diet played in her collapse. I'm not vegan myself (hell, I'm not even vegetarian, though I try to minimize our meat consumption and I do make vegan meals sometimes), but I do have some respect for people who make that choice, as long as they aren't PETA lunatics and as long as they are ensuring that they're getting all the nutrients that the rest of us get from animal products.

Still, I gotta wonder - good vegan food seems fairly preparation-intensive, hard-to-eat (as in, you need to chow down on a lot of fiber-packed vegetables and grains) and not especially nutrient-dense compared to, say, a pre-packaged beef stew that you can force yourself to swallow a few mouthfuls of while you are at altitude.
  #31  
Old 05-23-2016, 02:46 AM
Nava is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 41,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by chizzuk View Post
I suspect the rate on Everest would be even lower if it weren't for underqualified people with misguided ambitions up there for a thrill--those same folks wouldn't dare try K2 or Annapurna.
It's not so much that they wouldn't dare as that those folks do not even think of trying other mountains. My cousin (himself an Annapurna fatality) stopped taking guide jobs on Everest after one too many instances of "oh, I am in perfect shape, I don't need any kind of adaptation! I play squash every week!"

That cousin was vegan if possible, vegetarian if available, but when on the job he didn't even try. The ability to pack as many nutrients and calories in as little a volume and weight as possible was more important.

Last edited by Nava; 05-23-2016 at 02:47 AM.
  #32  
Old 05-23-2016, 04:35 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,308
There are nutrient-dense vegan options, but it is more hassle and prep to get them. You could, for example, use a broth heavy on vegan plant oils for calories. However, most vegan foods are bulky. Nutrient-dense vegan foods like avocados don't grow in the Himalayas. There's a reason Nepalese put yak butter in their tea rather than olive oil and it has nothing to do with vegan vs. non-vegan.

Seems to me, given the extreme environment on Everest, limiting your nutritional options is not a good idea.
  #33  
Old 05-23-2016, 05:08 AM
Frank is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kettering, Ohio
Posts: 20,471
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
And every year it seems there is someone trying to be the "first" to climb Everest for some reason like First Siamese Twins or First Person to Descend in a Potato Sack.

All those deaths over the past few years, and the circus continues. Nothing at all was learned. Nothing.
Yeah. This Reuters article on the deaths closes with people who didn't die:
Quote:
Among them was 19-year-old Alyssa Azar, who on Saturday became the youngest Australian to reach the summit, and Lhakpa Sherpa, who notched a new record for female climbers with her seventh ascent.

Last edited by Frank; 05-23-2016 at 05:09 AM.
  #34  
Old 05-23-2016, 05:50 AM
Nava is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 41,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
There's a reason Nepalese put yak butter in their tea rather than olive oil and it has nothing to do with vegan vs. non-vegan.
You put olive oil in your tea?
  #35  
Old 05-23-2016, 06:16 AM
Gyrate is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Greater Croydonia
Posts: 23,180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
At least the Sherpas have some very practical reasons for taking on the work - the money they earn in just a few seasons on Everest can make an enormous difference to their families, enabling them to educate their children, purchase health care, get the capital to start another business with less risk... Relatively speaking, they're potentially getting a huge payoff.
I'm not sure it's worth the risk level, though, and Norbu Tenzing says that things have to change - not that no one should climb, but there are too many people attempting it who don't understand the risks and are endangering themselves and the Sherpas as a result.
  #36  
Old 05-23-2016, 08:13 AM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by octopus View Post
30,000+ die annually on American roads. Many driving for no practical purpose. Since we are all still mortal why not live life as you desire?
I agree consenting adults can do what they want. But surely you can see how the huge cluster of people in that very dangerous situation using locals whose economic situation makes them vulnerable to exploitation might need some sort of oversight. 400 people on the summit this month? Wow. I am sure all those competing trekking outfits from different nationalities can all work it out peacefully when the time comes to see who goes up next.
  #37  
Old 05-23-2016, 08:15 AM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,069
Oh, and another confirmed death this morning. And still two missing in an area where... well, where "missing" is often a permanent condition.

Last edited by Biotop; 05-23-2016 at 08:15 AM.
  #38  
Old 05-23-2016, 09:54 AM
Azeotrope is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,980
Quote:
Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
I have to admit I'm curious about what role, if any, a vegan diet played in her collapse. I'm not vegan myself (hell, I'm not even vegetarian, though I try to minimize our meat consumption and I do make vegan meals sometimes), but I do have some respect for people who make that choice, as long as they aren't PETA lunatics and as long as they are ensuring that they're getting all the nutrients that the rest of us get from animal products.

Still, I gotta wonder - good vegan food seems fairly preparation-intensive, hard-to-eat (as in, you need to chow down on a lot of fiber-packed vegetables and grains) and not especially nutrient-dense compared to, say, a pre-packaged beef stew that you can force yourself to swallow a few mouthfuls of while you are at altitude.
My brother in law is a marathon runner and running coach. One of his most challenging coach-ees was a vegan, because she had no fat reserves and it was hard for her to physically eat enough to store up enough energy, just because of the bulk-to-calorie ratio of vegetable foods.

That doesn't even include the amount of energy your body has to burn just to keep warm in a cold climate and the fact that at high altitude just moving and breathing takes way more effort.
  #39  
Old 05-23-2016, 09:56 AM
Azeotrope is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,980
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
You put olive oil in your tea?
I think she's saying that since olives don't grow in Nepal, if you need an energy boost from fat you're stuck with yak butter.
  #40  
Old 05-23-2016, 11:23 AM
octopus's Avatar
octopus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 8,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by chizzuk View Post
Of the fourteen 8000m peaks, Everest is actually one of the safest on a fatality rate basis. About 4% of climbers die in the attempt. Contrast that to K2, on which it's 27%, or Annapurna, where it's 33%. And over 5500 people have successfully climbed Everest, whereas K2 is just around 300 and Annapurna is under 200. I suspect the rate on Everest would be even lower if it weren't for underqualified people with misguided ambitions up there for a thrill--those same folks wouldn't dare try K2 or Annapurna.

That article says Dr. Strydom was trying to climb the Seven Summits, which is nice, but the Himalayas are a very different animal. She had done Aconcagua but that's a full 6000m shorter than Everest. I'm not sure she really knew what she was getting into. When I think of impressive, highly qualified climbers, I think of someone like Ed Viesturs, who has done all 8000m peaks (some multiple times) without oxygen. Not someone who has done a chunk of the Seven Summits.

From what I've read, Everest is very tall but is not such a technically challenging climb. I think this probably compounds the problem of overcrowding and underqualification because people can get higher on the mountain than they can safely deal with--then they go right past their limits without realizing they've done so and can't get back down, whereas if they were on K2 or Nanga Parbat they would have been unable to get so high in the first place due to lack of skill and technique and would have stopped earlier.
Perhaps this is a silly question, but don't climbers use oxygen in the ascent? Is the altitude sickness from only using it periodically? With the consequences being what they are you'd think that'd be a priority.
  #41  
Old 05-23-2016, 11:25 AM
octopus's Avatar
octopus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 8,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
I agree consenting adults can do what they want. But surely you can see how the huge cluster of people in that very dangerous situation using locals whose economic situation makes them vulnerable to exploitation might need some sort of oversight. 400 people on the summit this month? Wow. I am sure all those competing trekking outfits from different nationalities can all work it out peacefully when the time comes to see who goes up next.
Yeah. I was a bit ignorant as to how severe altitude sickness was at that elevation. After a bit of reading Everest is more risky than I thought.
  #42  
Old 05-23-2016, 11:29 AM
Lemur866's Avatar
Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 22,386
Change that to "coconut oil" and yeah, people really do dump it in their tea.

Coconuts do not grow in Nepal.
  #43  
Old 05-23-2016, 11:35 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
You put olive oil in your tea?
No, I don't - nor am I Nepalese!

I am a barbarian Yankee and add sugar but no milk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azeotrope View Post
I think she's saying that since olives don't grow in Nepal, if you need an energy boost from fat you're stuck with yak butter.
^ This.

Last edited by Broomstick; 05-23-2016 at 11:37 AM.
  #44  
Old 05-23-2016, 11:47 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,308
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
At least the Sherpas have some very practical reasons for taking on the work - the money they earn in just a few seasons on Everest can make an enormous difference to their families, enabling them to educate their children, purchase health care, get the capital to start another business with less risk... Relatively speaking, they're potentially getting a huge payoff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
I'm not sure it's worth the risk level, though, and Norbu Tenzing says that things have to change - not that no one should climb, but there are too many people attempting it who don't understand the risks and are endangering themselves and the Sherpas as a result.
He has a valid point and crowding certainly changes the equation. If Nepal's overall economy was wealthier there would be less incentive to take such risks. And, as noted, the Sherpas and Nepalese would be less vulnerable to exploitation.

That said, what constitutes "acceptable risk" for First Worlders is not always such for people in the third world and vice-versa. I try to keep an open mind about such things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Perhaps this is a silly question, but don't climbers use oxygen in the ascent? Is the altitude sickness from only using it periodically? With the consequences being what they are you'd think that'd be a priority.
It's not just a matter of having oxygen, it's also a matter of atmospheric pressure. We evolved to live under more or less sea level density of air. When the air gets thin enough it not only contains less oxygen per volume but our lungs are less efficient at gas exchange, too. There is an altitude at which breathing even 100% oxygen is useless because there is insufficient air pressure for the exchange of gases in the human lung and bloodstream. Everest isn't quite that high, but it's high enough that in the "death zone" your lungs and respiratory systems no longer function well enough to adequately oxygenate your body. Hence, "death zone" because eventually you'll die if you stay there long enough, even on 100% oxygen. Your metabolism is slowly suffocating.

Because we're all slightly different some people will be affected more rapidly than others, hence why some people have managed to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen and some die even with oxygen. Existence in that environment is so marginal that those individual variations, normally never noticed in day to day existence, are the difference between life and death.
  #45  
Old 05-23-2016, 01:27 PM
TroutMan's Avatar
TroutMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,716
Climbers also aren't using enough oxygen to mimic sea level or even close to that. As you surmise, they use it only periodically. Carrying up enough oxygen for full-time use simply isn't possible.

It's supplemental oxygen, not replacement.
  #46  
Old 05-23-2016, 01:53 PM
Spiderman's Avatar
Spiderman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: somewhere East of there
Posts: 10,474
Quote:
Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Perhaps this is a silly question, but don't climbers use oxygen in the ascent? Is the altitude sickness from only using it periodically? With the consequences being what they are you'd think that'd be a priority.
1. Cost. Both $ & effort to have O2 cylinders lugged up to the position that they'll be needed in, along with being able to find them days after prepositioning when more snow has fallen to cover them.

2. A set of brass ones syndrome.
  #47  
Old 05-23-2016, 02:50 PM
Chihuahua is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,389
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
Latest news is that two more climbers are missing and 30 people are sick near the summit.

Some 400 people have made it to the top this month alone. A bit crowded, wouldn't you say?
From what I've heard, this is part of the problem.
  #48  
Old 05-23-2016, 04:32 PM
Turek is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Inara's shuttle
Posts: 3,999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Coconuts do not grow in Nepal.
Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
  #49  
Old 05-23-2016, 04:49 PM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,090
I read the most recent articles with dismay. I honestly don't feel very sorry for those who die in the quest anymore, because they are aware that the odds are terrible.
  #50  
Old 05-23-2016, 04:58 PM
Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 13,622
Ehhhh...redacted.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 05-23-2016 at 05:00 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:21 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017