One more Everest post, just to point out that Everest can still bring out the best, not the worst in people. After being reported dead by one of his team members, Hall was found alive by the SummitClimb North Ridge Expedition 2006, who in the process of saving him, gave up their own hopes for reaching the summit. That comes on the heels of having saved another climber from edema on the 18th.
Sitting to our left, about two feet from a 10,000 foot drop, was a man. Not dead, not sleeping, but sitting cross leggedd, in the process of changing his shirt. He had his down suit unzipped to the waist, his arms out of the sleeves, was wearing no hat, no gloves, no sunglasses, had no oxygen mask, regulator, ice axe, oxygen, no sleeping bag, no mattress, no food nor water bottle. "I imagine you're surprised to see me here," he said. Now, this was a moment of total disbelief to us all. Here was a gentleman, apparently lucid, who had spent the night without oxygen at 8600m, without proper equipment and barely clothed. And ALIVE.
We fed Lincoln snacks, and hot water and juice we'd brought with us, and gave him our oxygen to breathe. We pulled all his clothes on and talked to him. Dan radioed to ABC and had our staff at SummitClimb rouse the Seven Summits team, of which Lincoln was a member. It took a while to convince them that Lincoln was still alive. They believed Lincoln to be dead, having been informed of this by a sherpa the night before. Tragically, acting on this information, the leader of Seven Summits, Alex, had already called Lincoln's family to inform them of his death. Yet they quickly sprung into action and sent a sherpa team from high camp and some from lower down to try to pull Lincoln from the mountain. Phil by this point was in high camp and assisted in informing the Seven Summits sherpas there.
Coming back down the ridge, to be honest feelings were of nothing but disapppointment at not making the summit; Everest is a peculiar mountain in that the summit is so highly prized and sought after, that nothing else seems important. This was made abundantly clear to us as two Italians walked by just as we found Lincoln. They increased their pace, moved on by, and said "No speak English." Although one of our compatriots at high camp had had an hour-long chat with them in English the day before.
Nice work gentlemen. Read the whole post on Everestnews. I hope I've got all the names right since you deserve a hell of a lot of credit for this:
Myles Osborne Jangbu Sherpa Dan Mazur Andrew Brash Phil Crampton (turned back before the rescue but kudos for helping to save another climber from endema)
A solo climber (I like his style, though no one's really solo on Everest) died on the descent of oxygen complications on 15 May.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary said Wednesday he was shocked that dozens of climbers left a British mountaineer to die during their own attempts on the world's tallest peak.
David Sharp, 34, died apparently of oxygen deficiency while descending from the summit during a solo climb last week.
Sigh* While I've put a ban on Everest reports, this one strikes close to home. From the EBomb archives: in 1999, a female climber from Henry Todd's group slipped and fell on summit day. Miraculously, she fell to a ledge on the Kangshung face, I mean talk about karma. Dozens passed her by on their summit bids until finally she was rescued. Snow blind, but in good shape. You can point fingers at anyone. In this case, Mr. Sharp was climbing solo, a difficult endeavour to begin. This may point to the fact that he was left alone, he had no one really looking out for him, as expedition members look out for each other, as confirmed by Hillary:
He said that his expedition, "would never for a moment have left one of the members or a group of members just lie there and die while they plugged on towards the summit."
On summit day, it's each man/woman for him/herself. 'Guiding' is only a mirage as guides themselves are in no position to rescue or assist when things go bad, as witnessed in 1996 when more than a few guides died. However, the fact that people passed by Mr. Sharp on their way to summit? Hardly fazes me. One member from my Everest expedition asked me what I did to train, since I only knew I was coming 2 weeks prior. I said I quit smoking. I asked him for how long he'd been training, 52 weeks to the day was his reply. So you can see the Ahab-esque mentality that exists for Everest attempters - it's bascially the summit or nothing. The physical, financial, social commitment is immense, would you bail on a summit bid to rescue a complete stranger? Won't touch that one, like I said, and as Hilly agrees, Everest has turned into a total shithole in all aspects.
"I think the whole attitude toward climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top," he told the newspaper.
Well, all Hillary wanted to do was summit as well, but that's not the point here. Discuss amongst yourselves on the comments, I've had enough.
I keep coming back to this accident, probably because he has a son the same age as mine. Do I have an opinion about pursuing extreme sports when you have kids? Sure, but this isn't a forum for it. It's an interesting article if you want to find out more about the accident. His wife is interviewed and has some poignant things to say. One quote at the end sticks out:
"You know, the mountains are full of dangers, and they swallow you up," she said. "But mostly, they give."
Anyway, if you want to donate to his memorial fund, it's here. Help take care of our own. Read the full article on the NY Times.
Stepping back from my neverending crusade to save the world and provide grammatically correct dispatches for GoBlog, I couldn't pass up the chance to share one of my favorite recently busted myths. If you haven't seen this video, don't worry. No kayakers were harmed during the filming. In fact, no kayakers were anywhere near the original footage. Digital effects aside, I enjoyed this. And, back on dry land, a park ranger in Africa gets schooled by a leopard who apparently doesn't like being poked with a stick. Duh! Maybe this is why power windows were invented. Or guns.
Missing and presumed dead since last week, Tomas' body was found this weekend according to Everytrail.net:
I am very sad to report that Tomas Olsson has been found dead. His
father reported the news. The world has lost a fantastic person and one
of the greatest ski mountaineers. My thoughts are with all the ones
close to him.
Those of you who enjoyed my immensely amusing bear blog post earlier will now see the other not so amusing side of man and nature. Apparently he was only attacked and left, underscoring the fact that bears don't attack and eat humans, they attack out of being threatened. Read more here.
Banff, Canada - A 41-year old man was taken to a Calgary hospital after being mauled by a bear while mountain biking. According to the Calgary Sun, the man suffered wounds to his chest and right shoulder; there are no reports of his current condition.
Again, as we venture further into animal habitats, these types of attacks will only increase. Luckily he survived, though a fatal attack was reported just last year. Be careful out there.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Bears killed and ate a monkey in a Dutch zoo in front of horrified visitors, witnesses and the zoo said Monday. In the incident Sunday at the Beekse Bergen Safari Park, several Sloth bears chased the Barbary macaque into an electric fence, where it was stunned.
Hey, look, if you're fed the same thing over and over, day after day, for the rest of your life, and you know every damn inch of the cell you're confined to, wouldn't you need a little excitement in your life? Fresh meat, the thrill of the chase, ripping apart something with your now useless claws/paws? Imagine, the bears now have something to talk about while they're sitting around in their old age. Imagine ...
Bear 1: Dood, remember that monkey we chased and mauled?
Bear 2: Yeah, we f**ked his sh*t up.
Bear 1: You know it bro, felt good to stretch the legs you know?
Bear 2: That was strange meat tho, a little on the tough side, kinda bony.
Bear 1: Let's try to get the fat zookeeper, he'd be some good eating
IN THE FIRST FEW HOURS THERE WAS NOTHING, no fear or sadness, no thought
or memory, just a black and perfect silence. Then light appeared, a
thin gray smear of daylight, and I rose to it like a diver swimming to the surface. Consciousness seeped through my brain in a slow bleed; I
heard voices and sensed motion all around, but I could see only dark
silhouettes and pools of light and shadow. Then, vaguely, I sensed that
one of the shadows was hovering over me.
So seriously, what would you do? If there was nothing else to do but eat a teammate, could/would you do it? Hard to say, but the excerpt from Outside is long, a good read, and most important, it's free. Enjoy.
An unfortunate event, 11 climbers may have died on Mt. Elbrus, one of the seven summits. Apparently one climber made it down and alerted others, read more here:
10:00 am EST May 11, 2006
(MountEverest.net) Seven people are reported dead and 4 others missing on Elbrus, according to Italian news agency ANSA. The dead climbers were part of a group of eight Russians and four Ukrainian mountaineers attempting to reach the summit Tuesday to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. The group later lost contact with expedition organizers at the base of the mountain. Mount Elbrus, located in northern Caucasus (Russia) is the highest peak in the European continent.
While not known as a killer mountain, Elbrus, like any mountain is dangerous, especially during a cold snap as reported. Hopefully the other 4 will be found, GoBlog will follow this story.
Paul and Fiona Adler: Accident at the Lhotse face – Czech climber reported dead
Details are still sketchy, but the Adlers have posted a new report with bad news.
“We woke this morning to hear that a Czech climber on Lhotse had
fallen overnight and had just been found in the snow on the face below
the Yellow Band,” reported Paul Adler. “He was found by Sherpas heading
up to the South Col. They had him on oxygen pretty soon, and moved him
over to the fixed line. They were joined by a doctor from the Chilean
team (currently climbing Lhotse). They then attempted to get him down
to the tents at camp 3, but by the time they got him there he was
pronounced dead by the doctor.”
Interesting where he was found. Just below the Yellow Band would mean he had fallen on the descent to high camp or on his way to ABC in the Western Cwm. This area is not super steep or technical and most likely, it was fixed - you descend the face via the left part of the face and then join up with the South Col route above the Lhotse camp. The pic on the right shows the Lhotse face above the Yellow Band. An easier place to fall is below the Lhotse Face camp to the bergshrund above ABC. We'll report more on this as we get more information.