American reporter Elizabeth Hawley has lived in Kathmandu since 1962, where she is the world's authority of the summiting of high Himalayan mountains and keeps Himalayan Database. The High Priestess of Posterity
These files are her life's work, containing the largest catalog of man's athletic achievements at the edge of the troposphere. Never mind that Hawley hasn't climbed a mountain in her life. She has interviewed, documented, and, when necessary, investigated nearly every expedition coming through Kathmandu since the country opened its doors to outsiders in the mid 1950s. She's also acted as an archival historian, collecting trip reports from as far back as 1905.
The Shark's Fin on Meru is a 1500-foot sheet of smooth, featureless granite with few pre-existing fissures, cracks or footwalls. In September 2011, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk climbed the Shark's Fin and made Meru, a film about the first successful climb of the most difficult peak in the world.
The tragic tale of Mt Everest’s most famous dead body is part one of a two part BBC article centered around the story of Tsewang Paljor, known as "Green Boots", whose body has remained for 20 years near the summit where he died. Part two is Death in the clouds: The problem with Everest’s 200+ bodies [more inside]
The Value of a Sherpa Life - Grayson Schaffer reports on Friday's Everest avalanche that claimed the lives of 16 Sherpas in an instant. "And, yes" he says, "there is something that needs to be done about it." In the wake of this devastating tragedy, many Sherpas are threatening a strike and the government is mulling total closure for the upcoming season, which has 335 permits in the queue. Footage of the avalanche. Previously, in The Disposable Man: A Western History of Sherpas on Everest, Scaheffer spoke of the high risks, low pay and shocking mortality rate: "... no service industry in the world so frequently kills and maims its workers for the benefit of paying clients." [more inside]
Last weekend, almost 60 years after the first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, fights broke out between three Western climbers and a group of sherpas, at around 7200m on Mount Everest. [more inside]
"As a climber goes up even higher in altitude, into the so-called death zone, the dangerously thin air above 26,000 feet, there is so little oxygen available that the body makes a desperate decision: it cuts off the digestive system. The body can no longer afford to direct oxygen to the stomach to help digest food because that would divert what precious little oxygen is available away from the brain. The body will retch back up anything the climber tries to eat, even if it’s as small as an M&M." -Excerpt from To the Last Breath: A Journey of Going to Extremes
A 73 year old returned, making it seem easy, yet increased traffic left four people dead this weekend. Traffic jams at Mount Everest. [more inside]
It's mid-May and for outdoor adventurer fans that means one thing: thanks to major weather pattern shifts, the tiny window of opportunity for climbing Mt. Everest is upon us. The first to summit this year looks to be a team from Mexico and Canada, planning to hit the top on Sunday morning. Of course, summiting Everest is a dangerous endeavor, and the crowds on the trail can often lead to disaster. In other mt. climbing news, the north face of the Eiger is unclimbable this year.
A Sad Day. Sometimes it seems like all the people I admire die before their time. It's a long list: Dan Eldon, Ned Gillette, Ciriello, Galen Rowell, Alex Lowe, Dan Osman, (plus many others), and now: Goran Kropp, died a few days ago. "The Crazy Swede" became famous for riding a bicycle from Stockholm to Everest, climbing it solo and without oxygen, and riding back. This story is told in Ultimate High:My Everest Odyssey.