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.