#101  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:28 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
The Hillary Step appears to be gone.
  #102  
Old 05-20-2017, 01:37 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiannon8404 View Post
My cousin's husband was part of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster than John Krakauer wrote about in his book, Into This Air. Enough to keep me from ever considering it, even if I was into mountaineering.
Interesting. I hope he survived. Did he summit in May 1996? Was he on Hall's party? Or Fischer's? Or another?
  #103  
Old 05-20-2017, 04:10 PM
Ike Witt's Avatar
Ike Witt is online now
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 14,629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
The Hillary Step appears to be gone.
What exactly does that mean for climbers on the mountain?

Last edited by Ike Witt; 05-20-2017 at 04:12 PM.
  #104  
Old 05-20-2017, 04:51 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 42,360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
What exactly does that mean for climbers on the mountain?
From the article:

Quote:
How much easier or harder do you feel it has become?
It's easier going up the snow slope (and indeed for inexperienced climbers and mountaineers there's less 'climbing' to be done making it much easier for them). However it's going to form a bottleneck. The Hillary Step often formed a bottleneck but some years they fixed and up and a down rope. In the current state it would be difficult to safely negotiate down where the step used to be on account of the huge unstable rocks that are perched on the route.
  #105  
Old 05-20-2017, 06:19 PM
Ike Witt's Avatar
Ike Witt is online now
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 14,629
I got so caught up in looking at pictures of Hillary Step that I forgot to read the article.
  #106  
Old 05-21-2017, 10:31 AM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
1 dead one missing this morning.
  #107  
Old 05-21-2017, 11:50 AM
TroutMan's Avatar
TroutMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,719
Plus two more dead.
  #108  
Old 05-23-2017, 09:49 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
Hillary Step may be still there after all. Weird. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing you could simply overlook on the way up...
  #109  
Old 05-24-2017, 12:28 AM
Whatever4 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chihuahua View Post
From what I've heard, this is part of the problem.
I have been binge watching Everest videos. It seems that neither Nepal nor China are limiting the number of climbing permits. Many groups have had to wait up to an hour at the Hillary Step (which is or isn't gone depending on who is describing it) and that wait, standing still in the cold, is another danger to climbers.

I really don't care about how many try to summit Everest. Or how many die or lose feet or hands in the attempt. I do care about all the trash that is left behind. A mystical mountain just turned into a cash cow, and screw the locals who revere Everest.
  #110  
Old 05-24-2017, 12:40 AM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
Looks like more are dead.
  #111  
Old 05-24-2017, 07:31 AM
Ike Witt's Avatar
Ike Witt is online now
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 14,629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatever4 View Post
I really don't care about how many try to summit Everest. Or how many die or lose feet or hands in the attempt. I do care about all the trash that is left behind.
Well, dead bodies are often left there like so much trash.
  #112  
Old 05-24-2017, 08:09 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
Well, dead bodies are often left there like so much trash.
But O₂ cylinders aren't biodegradable...
  #113  
Old 05-24-2017, 08:45 AM
Ike Witt's Avatar
Ike Witt is online now
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 14,629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
But O₂ cylinders aren't biodegradable...
Are the bodies biodegradable in that environment?
  #114  
Old 05-24-2017, 08:56 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 19,285
From what I've seen in the news is that the body count this year is 10 so far. Is this accurate?
  #115  
Old 05-24-2017, 08:57 AM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Yet again, Titletown
Posts: 22,604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
Are the bodies biodegradable in that environment?
Green Boots has been there for 21 years now, although he's now hidden from view. From what I understand, bodies pretty much mummify up there.
  #116  
Old 05-24-2017, 09:23 AM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
From what I've seen in the news is that the body count this year is 10 so far. Is this accurate?
Yes. But current conditions are bad near the summit . There may be more.
  #117  
Old 05-24-2017, 09:38 AM
RTFirefly is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Maryland
Posts: 38,800
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiannon8404 View Post
My cousin's husband was part of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster than John Krakauer wrote about in his book, Into This Air. Enough to keep me from ever considering it, even if I was into mountaineering.
Nitpick: Into Thin Air.

That book took care of any desire I might have had to climb Everest.
  #118  
Old 05-24-2017, 09:45 AM
Just Asking Questions is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6,914
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
Hillary Step may be still there after all. Weird. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing you could simply overlook on the way up...
One of the earlier-posted linked articles had two links to supplemental stories, and one said the Step was there, and one said it was gone. And they both used the same picture!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Green Boots has been there for 21 years now, although he's now hidden from view. From what I understand, bodies pretty much mummify up there.
Mallory's body was there 75 years and was in pretty good shape.
  #119  
Old 05-24-2017, 10:00 AM
Ike Witt's Avatar
Ike Witt is online now
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 14,629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
[URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Boots"]From what I understand, bodies pretty much mummify up there.
That is what I thought. Cold and dry are good for preserving bodies.
  #120  
Old 05-24-2017, 11:18 AM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 11,966
It's my understanding bodies do not decompose up there so much as they erode away. There are pictures of bare skulls with hair still attached underneath their coat hood. Creepy.

While I am against any further summiting of Everest (the whole thing is an environmental disaster and whatever there was to be proved was proven long, long ago), but I would like to see it in person someday. I doubt I ever will, but that is the extent of adventure I'm up for, and I think that should be good enough for pretty much everyone else. I can look but not touch.
  #121  
Old 05-24-2017, 11:23 AM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Yet again, Titletown
Posts: 22,604
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
I doubt I ever will, but that is the extent of adventure I'm up for, and I think that should be good enough for pretty much everyone else. I can look but not touch.
Mountaineers climb mountains; it's what they do and who they are. It's not good enough for them to look but not touch.
  #122  
Old 05-24-2017, 11:29 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 35,589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Mountaineers climb mountains; it's what they do and who they are. It's not good enough for them to look but not touch.


And that's not an important enough reason by itself to let them go on like they are now.
__________________
*I'm experimenting with ē, ēm, and ēs as pronouns that do not indicate any specific gender nor exclude any specific gender. (I am also contemplating the spellings ë/ëm/ës, é/ém/és, e/em/es, Ē/Ēm/Ēs, Ë/Ëm/Ës, É/Ém/És, E/Em/Es.)
  #123  
Old 05-24-2017, 11:35 AM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 11,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Mountaineers climb mountains; it's what they do and who they are. It's not good enough for them to look but not touch.
Fair enough. True mountaineers I don't necessarily have a problem with. If it's what you do, if you're experienced and know what you're doing, then go for it.

It's the casual "bucket list" mountaineers who have never strapped on a crampon before who go to climb Everest because they felt like it one morning, and the commercialized industry that's arisen to ferry these people up and down the mountain like it's carnival ride that are destroying the place for everyone. I say take down the permanently affixed aids and every climber make his or her own way up, and if you can't, your ass shouldn't get past Base Camp.



.

Last edited by DCnDC; 05-24-2017 at 11:37 AM.
  #124  
Old 05-24-2017, 11:39 AM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Yet again, Titletown
Posts: 22,604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
And that's not an important enough reason by itself to let them go on like they are now.
I know this is a "No true Scotsman" argument, but most true mountaineers agree with you. The commercialization aspect (and the economic benefits or loss thereof to the local Sherpa community) is more complex than just saying "shut it down". It's literally a way of life for a whole community.
  #125  
Old 05-24-2017, 11:46 AM
velomont is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 643
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
[snip]
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.
So, purely theoretically, if there was such a thing as an Everest-able space-suit, then the breathing and oxygen aspect of the death zone would not be an issue?
  #126  
Old 05-24-2017, 12:10 PM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 11,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by velomont View Post
So, purely theoretically, if there was such a thing as an Everest-able space-suit, then the breathing and oxygen aspect of the death zone would not be an issue?
This was discussed a few years back if you're interested.
  #127  
Old 05-24-2017, 01:32 PM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
Mallory's body was there 75 years and was in pretty good shape.
As long as a body doesn't get swept off the mountain, it remains well preserved. But if it does get blown off or otherwise falls, since the body is frozen solid it'll often shatter like an ice cube. That can't be pretty.
  #128  
Old 05-24-2017, 01:36 PM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
So far, how many have died this season? I heard ten. From both routes.
  #129  
Old 05-24-2017, 01:52 PM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
So far, how many have died this season? I heard ten. From both routes.
And to be clear, I want toinclude Sherpas in that count. Sometimes, depending on who's reporting, they aren't included in the count.

So have ten people died so far this season?
  #130  
Old 05-24-2017, 02:05 PM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Yet again, Titletown
Posts: 22,604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
So far, how many have died this season? I heard ten. From both routes.
I've read 10 as well. This page is usually updated fairly quickly with new deaths, but is still a few days behind - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...est#Fatalities
  #131  
Old 05-24-2017, 02:09 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
And here, for comparison, is a list of deaths on the other eight-thousanders.
  #132  
Old 05-24-2017, 03:05 PM
Dinsdale is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,224
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
And that's not an important enough reason by itself to let them go on like they are now.
Why do you care? If someone wants to spend a bunch of money in an activity that is reasonably likely to result in his/her death, why not let them? Why deprive the local economies of the income?

I tend to disfavor the idea of the trash left behind, but given the location, I'm not sure some O2 bottles and dead bodies qualify as an environmental nightmare.
  #133  
Old 05-24-2017, 03:12 PM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
I tend to disfavor the idea of the trash left behind, but given the location, I'm not sure some O2 bottles and dead bodies qualify as an environmental nightmare.
It's not an environmental nightmare, but it is quite ugly. Given that, at least on the main route of the South Col and southeast ridge, the main camps I-IV are fairly well established, as is Base Camp, the litter really piles up in those areas. Based on what I've read, anyway -- I have never been anywhere near Everest. It's ugly, it's a blight, and frankly it is quite disrespectful of the affluent folks who can afford to (at least make an attempt to) climb her to trash the place, basically just leaving their litter behind.

Bad form.
  #134  
Old 05-24-2017, 04:41 PM
lisiate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
Hillary Step may be still there after all. Weird. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing you could simply overlook on the way up...
Maybe it's kind of hard to see past the butt of the climber in front of you? Only the guide in front gets a clear view.
  #135  
Old 05-24-2017, 05:32 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10,670
Just saw a preview that a story about deaths on Mt. Everrestinpeace will be on the CBS Evening News tonight.
  #136  
Old 05-25-2017, 10:23 AM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
The 4 climbers that were found dead in tents may not have been from this year. More conflicting information from the top of the world.
  #137  
Old 05-25-2017, 10:48 AM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 11,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
I can pretty much guarantee that NO ONE who attempts Everest expects to die. They know the risks (or should, at least), but they aren't there specifically to die tragically, or, according to you, "tragically".

If 6% die attempting to summit, that means 94% don't die.
For comparison, Annapurna I, the world's 10th highest peak, has had 191 summits as of March 2012, and 61 deaths on the mountain. 43 more were killed on or in the vicinity of the massif in 2014. Almost all of the fatalities were the result of avalanche. But I wouldn't even consider that "attempted suicide."

It's exceptionally dangerous in a sport and place in the world that is already extraordinarily dangerous, but I agree, I can't imagine anyone who goes there to climb is actively suicidal.
  #138  
Old 05-25-2017, 11:16 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biotop View Post
The 4 climbers that were found dead in tents may not have been from this year. More conflicting information from the top of the world.
Great. But those bodies are apparently at or near Camp IV on the South Col, and from what I've read the South Col isn't a large place -- maybe 2-3(?) football fields, before the slopes become prohibitive for tents or walking. That's where Yasuko Namba died in May 1996, and where Beck Weathers was left for dead. My point is, seasoned climbers would be able to tell quickly if those bodies are new, or old. I don't have high confidence in the accuracy of Nepal's records at some office in Kathmandu.

Besides, I suspect Nepal would be motivated to keep the death toll numbers down.
  #139  
Old 05-25-2017, 11:38 AM
TroutMan's Avatar
TroutMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,719
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
Besides, I suspect Nepal would be motivated to keep the death toll numbers down.
The Nepali tourism department seems to ignore the possibility that they were rogue climbers without a permit. I have to assume this happens (someone was arrested this year for climbing to Camp 1 without a permit). Isn't this a more likely possibility than two tents with dead people sitting unnoticed for a year or more and no reports of missing climbers?
  #140  
Old 05-25-2017, 11:51 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutMan View Post
The Nepali tourism department seems to ignore the possibility that they were rogue climbers without a permit. I have to assume this happens (someone was arrested this year for climbing to Camp 1 without a permit). Isn't this a more likely possibility than two tents with dead people sitting unnoticed for a year or more and no reports of missing climbers?
Good point, and I agree. I have to assume this happens too. The climbing permit, AFAIK, is to allow you to climb past the icefall, and you only need a trekker's permit to hike to base camp. I don't know where those permits are checked, that wasn't in any of the books I read about 1996. I could ask my friends who hiked to base camp (and told me how incredibly thin the air was there, at 'only' 17,600'!).

I guess it's easy enough to sneak out of base camp, cross the icefall, and sneak up the mountain. But anyone who does that likely wouldn't be following the good acclimatizing ascents and descents to prepare well for a good summit push, because they likely wouldn't be returning to base camp on those acclimatizing climbs (because they'd be hiding). And besides, it wouldn't be easy to hide the fact you're attempting a summit push, because of the extra gear you'd need.

But yeah I suspect many people try it, especially if there is a minimal police force to enforce the permit limitations. Mt. Everest does a lot of enforcing, herself.
  #141  
Old 05-25-2017, 02:54 PM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 11,966
This report says there actually aren't four new bodies after all.
  #142  
Old 05-25-2017, 03:22 PM
RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 41,237
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
Nitpick: Into Thin Air.

That book took care of any desire I might have had to climb Everest.
The movie based on it, which was stupidly called "Everest" instead of the much better book's title, did the same to me. I was cold just watching it.
  #143  
Old 05-25-2017, 03:25 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10,670
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
This report says there actually aren't four new bodies after all.
It was bad enough when Everest was only killing people. Now it is making them never have existed!

Poor Pete.
  #144  
Old 05-25-2017, 03:32 PM
Biotop's Avatar
Biotop is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Faber, VA
Posts: 8,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
It was bad enough when Everest was only killing people. Now it is making them never have existed!

Poor Pete.
Why? Because they're not there.
  #145  
Old 05-25-2017, 03:35 PM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Mother Goddess of the Earth is devouring people, real or imagined.
  #146  
Old 05-26-2017, 02:06 PM
aurora maire's Avatar
aurora maire is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 887
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
The movie based on it, which was stupidly called "Everest" instead of the much better book's title, did the same to me. I was cold just watching it.
I had free HBO for a while last year and must have watched all or parts of it a dozen times. It fascinated me. I couldn't wrap my mind around why people wanted to do that to themselves. I can't imagine how awful it was for the guide who got stuck and knew there was no hope that he could be rescued. It's one thing to be die up there when you are no longer thinking straight and are in no pain but to be well aware that you are going to die and there is nothing you can do is just brutal.
  #147  
Old 05-26-2017, 05:37 PM
Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Michigan
Posts: 16,870
So I read a book by Oliver Burkeman called The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, and he actually devoted an entire chapter to the Everest phenomenon. It's a very real psychological reality: when people have made a decision to do something, and they have suffered to achieve the goal, they are more committed to the goal just by nature of having suffered for it. In these most extreme cases, their attachment to the goal becomes a reflection of their identity - they have to be the guy who successfully climbed Everest. This identity struggle eventually becomes more powerful than their survival instinct. They prepared for months or perhaps years, fantasized about achieving this thing, envisioned what it would mean for their lives and who they are as people, and when they are faced with the prospect of failure, they reject it even at the expense of their own lives.

There was one study done on the psychology of Everest climbers. I'm not an Everest expert so my details may be sketchy, but essentially the group was instructed to keep a diary of the climb. At a certain point, the group had to make a decision between taking a little-used, more treacherous route that would be faster, thus increasing their likelihood of making it to the summit on time, or a safer, more traveled path with a lower likelihood of success. The group was divided on what decision to make, so they decided to split up. The diary entries revealed that people wanting to take the more treacherous path immediately began to doubt the decision they had made, worrying about the inclement weather, etc., but that they were more vocally and stridently committed to sticking with their decision anyway. Essentially they talked themselves into it via their diaries.

Burkeman also looks at a pretty high-profile disaster (the specifics of which I can't recall) in which one team, encountering a bottleneck that slowed them down, made the decision to go for the summit well past the window of time that is considered safe. Being so close to their goal, they couldn't give it up, even at the expense of their lives. They made it to the summit, but a storm arrived and they never made it down.

Burkeman's ultimate target is the ''you can do anything'' mentality so prevalent at corporate retreats and Tony Robbins seminars, which results in ordinary people thinking they are capable of amazing, life-altering feats and sort of fetishizing high achievement in the form of risky expeditions like Everest. I can't say American/European individualism is one hundred percent to blame, but there is likely some element of truth that we do encourage people in our culture to do pointless, risky things just to prove that we can, without asking so much whether we should.

It seems there may be a certain kind of person who has mountain climbing in their bones, who has to do it because it is their love and their passion, who is aware of the risks and also how to mitigate danger, and then there are a slew of other people who are just trying to prove something to cover over some perceived inadequacy. I'd bet the latter get killed more often.
  #148  
Old 05-27-2017, 06:29 AM
si_blakely is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 4,942
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
The movie based on it, which was stupidly called "Everest" instead of the much better book's title, did the same to me. I was cold just watching it.
The movie "Everest" may have covered the same events as Into Thin Air, and Beck Weathers book Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest, but it was a completely new treatment of the material, partially based on Weather's book.

In particular, the production team listened to the Adventure Consultants audio tapes from 1996, which had not ever been replayed in the intervening period, with those Adventure Consultants staff from 1996 present, and also Rob Hall's daughter.
  #149  
Old 05-27-2017, 10:21 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spice Weasel View Post
So I read a book by Oliver Burkeman called The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, and he actually devoted an entire chapter to the Everest phenomenon. It's a very real psychological reality: when people have made a decision to do something, and they have suffered to achieve the goal, they are more committed to the goal just by nature of having suffered for it. In these most extreme cases, their attachment to the goal becomes a reflection of their identity - they have to be the guy who successfully climbed Everest. This identity struggle eventually becomes more powerful than their survival instinct. They prepared for months or perhaps years, fantasized about achieving this thing, envisioned what it would mean for their lives and who they are as people, and when they are faced with the prospect of failure, they reject it even at the expense of their own lives.

There was one study done on the psychology of Everest climbers. I'm not an Everest expert so my details may be sketchy, but essentially the group was instructed to keep a diary of the climb. At a certain point, the group had to make a decision between taking a little-used, more treacherous route that would be faster, thus increasing their likelihood of making it to the summit on time, or a safer, more traveled path with a lower likelihood of success. The group was divided on what decision to make, so they decided to split up. The diary entries revealed that people wanting to take the more treacherous path immediately began to doubt the decision they had made, worrying about the inclement weather, etc., but that they were more vocally and stridently committed to sticking with their decision anyway. Essentially they talked themselves into it via their diaries.

Burkeman also looks at a pretty high-profile disaster (the specifics of which I can't recall) in which one team, encountering a bottleneck that slowed them down, made the decision to go for the summit well past the window of time that is considered safe. Being so close to their goal, they couldn't give it up, even at the expense of their lives. They made it to the summit, but a storm arrived and they never made it down.

Burkeman's ultimate target is the ''you can do anything'' mentality so prevalent at corporate retreats and Tony Robbins seminars, which results in ordinary people thinking they are capable of amazing, life-altering feats and sort of fetishizing high achievement in the form of risky expeditions like Everest. I can't say American/European individualism is one hundred percent to blame, but there is likely some element of truth that we do encourage people in our culture to do pointless, risky things just to prove that we can, without asking so much whether we should.

It seems there may be a certain kind of person who has mountain climbing in their bones, who has to do it because it is their love and their passion, who is aware of the risks and also how to mitigate danger, and then there are a slew of other people who are just trying to prove something to cover over some perceived inadequacy. I'd bet the latter get killed more often.
Spice Weasel, great post, fascinating points. I am no Everest expert, either. What I've learned is from a few books. I was drawn in by Krakauer's Into Thin Air and the events surrounding that May 1996 tragedy. I eventually sought out and read (what I think are) all the books written by folks on the mountain at that time. Especially Anatoli Boukreev's, but also all the others'. And over the years I've read Into Thin Air about six ot seven times.

Krakauer does a good job explaining the pull of the mountains. Many in this thread have expressed the sentiment of - what those climbers are doing is absurd; those people are crazy; and why do they do it? Krakauer calls it "summit fever" and explains the pull of what most normal people consider to be a ludicrous endeavor. Spice Weasel's post touches on that well.

I do recommend Into Thin Air, if you haven't read it. Also, Broughton Coburn's Everest: Mountain Without Mercy is good because the expedition it represents was at base camp when Rob Hall's and Scott Fischer's teams were attempting their summit pushes. That was the IMAX filming expedition led by David Brashears and with Ed Viesteurs as a climbing consultant. Both Brashears and especially Viesteurs knew Hall and Fischer well, and they are the ones who called Jan Arnold, Hall's wife, and patched her through to the un-savable Hall dying high on Everest. Brashears and Viesteurs were in a unique position at base camp to communicate with both teams, Hall and Fischer. Other than direct voice communication across the teams by any team members who encountered each other high on Everest, those teams did have much ability to communicate directly. Especially once they left Camp IV.

Brashears and Viesteurs ended up coordinating the rescue attempts and communicating with other expeditions on the mountain, and they assisted the helicopter rescue of Gau and Weathers initiated by Peach Weathers from Texas. Everest: Mountain Without Mercy is a large format book with great pictures, which is to be expected from the IMAX team.

Spice Weasel, when I read where you describe the group that splits into two and one part takes the treacherous short cut, I couldn't help but think of the Donner Party. They took a short cut that ended up delaying their crossing of the Sierras, resulting in their winter of 1846-1847 disaster. I can imagine much of their conversations were similar, convincing themselves as they went that they made the right decision. Until it was too late.
  #150  
Old 05-27-2017, 10:26 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants 2010•2012•2014!
Posts: 25,378
About the 2015 movie, Everest, which I enjoyed, what I especially liked about it is that it showed us what the key places along the South Col route look like: the icefall, the South Col, the south summit, and the Hillary Step.
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 01:11 PM.

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