I was based in the Kathmandu AP office for over two years. Every week during climbing season I heard of the fatalities on the mountain. I understand why people attempt it, the varying reasons are immense from personal lifetime goals to fundraising to pure ego.
Many attempt it on the cheap with poor training and physical fitness. Remember that altitude sickness and frostbite is a great leveler of people regardless of your race, financial status or intelligence. It can strike anyone at anytime.
Say goodbye to your loved ones and ensure your estate is in order before you do this trek, there is a huge chance that you might never see your family ever again.
By the way, I'm heading to base camp in two years and have an apartment that I rent out in Patan if anyone is coming for a short trip over. Though the startup scene is small in Kathmandu, we exist...
I've never seen the point of behind giving someone money "for charity" to do something they can't afford on their own. It's all about them and not the charity.
Fundraising for yourself is a little strange, even if you use, "part" of the money raised to donate to a charity. Technically, the money you collect is taxed, which is a big chunk of what you've raised. You would need to start a non-profit for this to be 100% kosher IMHO, but even then, I've caught "organizations" that just say they're a non-profit or are, "waiting non-profit status" and it turns out to be a big scam. It really irks me, as it casts a bad shade on people doing it the right way. Just sell something to raise the funds - anything: stickers, a t-shirt, a dinner date, and drop the whole charade. Using a platform like Go Fund Me sounds fine with me, as long as you're giving everyone deliverables. There's too big of a chance that you won't put on the trip altogether, and it's tough luck for your backers.
Saying that, I have done something similar - partially funded a trip and gave some to another org, but it was for a local needle exchange organization, which operated in a major grey area as what they were doing wasn't legal, but was done with the knowledge of the local police. Since then, needle exchange has become legal. The experience was rough - fundraising is just another way to employ yourself - it's just easier to find another job, honestly.
Alan Arnette is a standup guy. Wish him luck with his unfortunate leg injury and recovery!
Well, some of it does, but a massive chunk goes on paying for the slot they're running in. Because they want to do it for fun/validation/other.
With the London Marathon, charities buy their spots for £300 each and get well over £1000 (sometimes much more) in return for each spot. Marathons are very expensive to organize, so it is not unreasonable for the organizer to charge for the entires. In addition, many spots that charities get are given out totally free of charge.
In all, millions of dollars and pounds are raised through these programs.
The problem was especially acute when cycling exploded in the UK following Bradley Wiggin's and the British Team Sky's huge successes at the Tour de France. Charity cycling events called "sportives" sprang up all over the country, many of them badly organised and poorly run, with often very little of the funds raised going to charity. Basically a bunch of people saw an opportunity to make serous cash, given entry fees where often over 100 quid per person depending on the "package" you selected. It all kinda tied into the "cycling is the new golf" scene that gripped a lot of business people. The kinds of people vain enough to drop 15 grand on a full Sky Team issue Pinarello bike often like to pay for fancy events to show off their exspsensive habit. The guardian did some good coverage of the phenomenon a couple of years ago.
Of course millions are raised. Millions are raised by the investment funds into which charities pour their excess capital, and the adverts they make, and the people they employ to stand on the street.
Charities are fund raising businesses which put profits into causes. If you're fine with donating £10 so someone can run a marathon and £20 to charity - good on you. I am not
Qualifying by time is out of reach for most recreational runners, and there are only a few thousand charity spots, so people regularly raise 5 figures in order to run.
TBH a lot of people see startups in the same light.
Cannot stress on this enough.
Dimox is usually advised for anyone doing a high altitude trek in which case one has to drink more water than usual.
Do such drugs safely assist with acclimation, or do they mostly mask symptoms? It would be very dangerous to take them if it's the latter. I'm thinking of any similarity to pain killers - just because you can't feel the pain does not mean you should be running around trying to operate at 100%.
I haven't been up to that altitude for a fairly long time. I can't say I'm up on the various recommended protocols.
FYI, this is true anytime you go from sea level to any altitude. Live on the coast and go to Denver for ski trip? Drinking a ton of water will help your body acclimate faster.
Amazing trek though. One of the greatest experiences of my life.
Probably less if you just count clients not guides/Sherpas, and less if you expand to include climbers that don't end up attempting the summit.
But I did read their incredible carrying capacity seems to just be training. Which makes sense since that's a recent thing.
Well, finally, this climber's blog has the answer: it's 30 square feet (or about 3 ㎡).
Found the answer here: http://www.alanarnette.com/everest/everestsouthroutes.php (search for "30 square feet").
I thought this had recently become regulated but I hear conflicting reports on these.
These are few years old but both worth a read on the subject of Sherpa insurance benefits:
Note: I'm not saying it's a fair amount (I don't even know how you'd judge that) just that the information you linked might be outdated.
Edit: it appears to have gone from $400 to $5000.
Summitting Everest as most people do it now simply isn't that impressive--anyone with a mediocre level of fitness and a deep enough wallet can do it. It's more of a status symbol than an achievement. And in the process you'll end up supporting and industry that pays sherpas a fraction of the profits to risk their lives doing all the difficult and dangerous parts of Everest climbing for you.
Sure, an Everest summit photo will impress your dentist and your mom, but people who climb are just going to laugh at you. There are more difficult faces on every continent, and you can climb an equivalently difficult climb near where you live for a fraction of the cost. People in the know will be much more impressed if you tell them you climbed Rainier than Everest.
Those "in the know" would be impressed by climbing Makalu long before Rainier would be even on the radar. Rainier is a three day climb at most, while operating over 7000m for weeks at a time is an entirely different universe.
Sorry for the rant but that condescending tone some people take when they imply that Everest is just a walk-up has gotten pretty old. When you summit Everest, then perhaps you can belittle those that dream of doing it.
To your point about "more difficult faces on every continent" -- I beg to differ, Killamanjaro is an easy walk up and unless you're doing the north faces in the Alps, they still barely compare with the mental difficulty of Everest. South America has a few nice mountains, but it's an entirely different world above 8000m. I've done a dozen 4000m peaks in the Alps and they don't even compare for a second the difficulty of just walking around at 7000+ meters.
Real climbers (who have summited Everest) don't laugh at anyone who has summited Everest. They might not buy you beers in Kathmandu, but they certainly respect the accomplishment. Everest is really really hard -- guided or not.
Have you personally summited Everest? I'm interested in hearing you talk about your experiences and what it's like to operate at over 7000 meters.
I had a stupid incident on a 4K peak in Mexico -- I was doing a one-day climb and O was feeling great then like an idiot I started speed climbing to the summit. No problems until the decent, then I got a severe headache and could barely get down the mountain. I went from sea level to 4K in just a few hours and didn't pay attention to the altitude and without warning, I was almost on my knees. Even popular mountains like Mont Blanc (4810 meters) require a few days of acclimation, yet because Nevado de Colima is an "easy" mountain I didn't take the 4200 meters seriously. Almost a disasterous mistake.
My point is that above 4K, it pretty much sucks in terms of cardiovascular efficiency. Even Everest base camp is over 5k meters -- taller than anything in the Alps. Dehydration, snow blindness, feeling permanent exahausted.. it's a feat to hang out that high for very long. It isn't too hard to suffer above 4K for short stints (such as Mont Blanc for a day or two, but for weeks at a time, it takes a toll, even with acclimation.
I have nothing for respect for "beginners" that tip out on Everest or any Himalayan peak. The mental fortitude required is extraordinary.
Just a point of contention with the comment calling Everest a "beginner" mountain -- with a proper guide, even Eiger or the Matterhorn can be ascended by a beginner. A guide could drag a beginner up K2 (as insane as that might be,) the technical skills aren't the limiting factor on the big mountains, it's the endurance and mental toughness to survive in that environment. Perhaps K2 is a bit extreme, but technical skills are easily taught, what can't be taught quickly is how to read the mountain -- on Mont Blanc for example (and also Paradiso in Italy,) crevasses are often hidden under snowbridges, so you have to learn how to "read" the terrain. Interestingly, Mont Blanc is one of the deadliest mountains because people don't respect it -- they take a 3 day trip to Chamonix and think they're Ueli Steck and fall off the mountain or get hit by a Volkswagen sized rock crossing the Grand Couloir. Pretty much any mountain can be climbed by a beginner with the right guide, but that doesn't make them any less impressive.
By the way, I am not a "good" climber or an expert, I just love being up there and have immense respect for the people that make it look easy. It's anything but!
Don't know if that answered your question, but that's as good as I got!
I have summited Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, however, so I'm well aware of the difficulty of operating at altitude.
Lots of people summit Everest as their first (and often only) major summit. On what basis can you claim that Everest isn't a beginner summit if hundreds of beginners climb it every year?
Lastly, Kilmanjaro isn't the hardest summit in Africa.
Both you and @briandear are correct. On a sustained-alpine-climbing level, there are hundreds of routes/mountains harder than Everest. And to be sure, there are huge, difficult routes with thousands of vertical meters of sustained alpine climbing on 7000m+ peaks that are far beyond the Everest north and south normal routes and only attempted by the top 50 or 100 climbers on Earth.
But nonetheless, Everest is very hard no matter who you are. I disagree that Cotopaxi and Chimborazo have much do with the difficulty of Everest. These are mountains climbed in a single push from a medium-altitude camp, with only one or two hours spent above 6000m on Chimborazo, let alone 7000m. Trekkers in the Himalaya may sleep at higher altitudes than you ever would on Chimborazo. The hut you likely launched your summit bid on Cotopaxi from is not significantly higher than airport you fly in to in Lhasa to climb Everest from the north. Besides the far lower altitude, it's much easier to find a weather window for the 6-10 hour summit bid. I don't mean to downplay the challenge of the Andean volcanoes, but merely to tell you than the higher you go, it gets much, much harder. 6000m is only the beginning of "high altitude". I've climbed 6000m peaks in a weekend coming from sea level with one night of acclimatization. It's not the same by any measure.
Everest is an achievement by any route. No, it isn't the same as soloing huge routes in the Alaska Range like Colin Haley or Steve House, but that doesn't make it any easier.
I don't get your point about Rainier. Disappointment Cleaver on Rainier is a tourist route too, with no significant technical difficulties. Everest South Col is that plus a whole whack of other challenges.
Sure, you can do Everest that way too (and then it is indeed very difficult) but that's not what we're talking about.
Altitude is certainly a challenge, but acclimatization takes out a lot of the difficulty. I actually had a harder time on Cotopaxi than on Chimborazo despite the altitude difference because I had 8 days of acclimatization in between.
It's also worth noting that a lot of Everest climbers have sherpas carry oxygen tanks up for them.
For what it's worth, ascending the Andes is what got me into altitude mountaineering in the first place. I'm looking forward to Cho Oyu which will be the first step towards Everest. Seeing how I'm yet to surpass 7000m (Aconcagua in December), it will surely be a test of faith.
I'm sorry I assumed your motivations. Why do you want to climb Everest? Why that mountain in particular, when there are so many other mountains that are just as challenging but can be climbed with a clean conscience?
And the sherpas on Everest also use oxygen themselves. Above about 7000m or so, you're pretty much out of the range where the human body can function in any sort of long-term way. You don't acclimatize at that level.
For peaks in the 6000m+ range (and even lower), acclimatization is somewhere between helpful and crucial. And that's about as high as I can go personally. Above that really does become a different game for almost everyone.
For the others, look for Wim Hof. I still don't understand how.
Is it really the experience, counting for itself, that those climbers claim to seek? I doubt that. Its about belonging to a exclusive club, either by paying or by having some attribute. And of course, everyone is in it for having the attribute, not the money.
If it really was about the experience, why not just ignore somebody who was never there? Respect comes to those who do incredible things, not regarding what other humans might think about it or consider of this accomplishment. Thus respect is rare.
It's basically a warning to people who think they have the ability to do something, only to find out when the rubber hits the road, they were completely unprepared for what happened.
Aconcagua - elevation: 22,841
Everest - elevation: 29,029
Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia. Thus, it is the highest mounting in the Western and Southern hemisphere.
Sure, you can do the same for Everest, but then you're actually in a class of elite alpinists. That's not really what we're discussing here.
Complete beginners climb Everest as their first and often last major summit. No argument about altitude can prove that it's not a beginner climb if hundred of beginners are doing it every year.
By the way if anyone's interested in trying I recommend chatting to my organizer, Dan Mazur. They sometimes run free Mt Rainier climbs if you are over that way. https://www.summitclimb.com/climb/seattle-glacier-school/
Good reason to visit Seattle.
Rainier is the iconic destination and the park is worth a visit. But it is crowded and there's a whole lot of wilderness and other summits throughout the Cascades.
Nope, Yellowstone is active.
"Is the volcano still active?
Yes. The park’s many hydrothermal features attest to the heat still beneath this area. Earthquakes—1,000 to 3,000 per year—also reveal activity below ground. The University of Utah Seismograph Station tracks this activity closely."
I hope people are never denied such opportunities based on the opposing rationale that they're unsafe. Sometimes a self-unactualized can be worse than death.
Like many things in life, it probably has more to do with the weather conditions and the phase of the moon than your abilities as a person. To derive your self-esteem from external things which are almost entirely outside of your control makes no sense to me.
Self-actualization for many is not about standing out in comparison to others, it's about simply doing the experience itself for oneself.
You could say that about sailing across the Atlantic solo too but it wouldn't make any sense. It's all part of the journey and the accomplishment.
The "abilities" you speak of also encompasses emotional fortitude, decision making, pushing yourself, etc. The challenge doesn't need to be about being a world class mountaineer. For most - it's reaching a personal best and accomplishing something that scares you. That can make you feel even more alive.
When I rest I feel utterly lifeless except that my throat burns when I draw breath...I can scarcely go on. No despair, no happiness, no anxiety. I have not lost the mastery of my feelings, there are actually no more feelings. I consist only of will. Messner on the first solo ascent of Everest
Changing weather is part of the risk, but I doubt anyone heads out knowing a storm is on the way.
One from today,
Mount Everest: Bodies of four climbers found in tent
Yes, he took drugs but then again, who didn't in a 4 day bike race.
21 days for the Tour de France, most other races in the season are 7. 4 days is a really nice amatuer stage race :)
Regardless of the ratio of Sherpas-to-tourist deaths, almost every year a few Sherpas die performing the real dangerous work of running up and down the mountain making the climb manageable for the tourists, installing ladders and carrying oxygen to base camps and such.
So for the tourist, the death rate is probably much lower, likely in line with other dangerous activities such as skydiving, base jumping or race car driving.
This isn't really specific to basecamp. A lot of people in the area generally come down with "Khumbu Cough" due to a combination of altitude, dryness, cold temperatures, and exertion.
That "cough" has nothing to do with pollution, it has to do with being at high altitude for prolonged periods.
To your other point, you're of course correct. You can't exactly wake up one day and whip out your credit card. Controversy about the degree of assistance provided by some guided trips notwithstanding, it's still a very challenging endeavor. I'd be very surprised if just about anyone summited Everest without other significant climbs (even if not other 8,000 meter peaks) under their belt.
Sure some save years for the chance but there's a good percentage that have sponsorships to try to summit.
But then I read this money angle and I am just repulsed by the idea of spending this kind of money on something like this. For this kind of money, I could basically pay cash for a small house (and would do so, if I had a chunk of change like this). I am appalled by the idea that anyone spends this kind of money on climbing a mountain.
And yet the articles about the climbing experience that I found so very meaningful would not exist if no one was willing and able to spend money like this.
My boss gets really upset when I kill just a single customer.
I don't have personal experience as I've never been that high. They're relatively small tanks (mostly 3 liter) that weigh about 2.5 kg full.
Edit: from the article, "Alpenglow unapologetically offers a climb from the Tibet side for an astonishing $85,000 per climber... They have a high western guide ratio, and include pre-acclimatizing in an altitude tent at home." So it sounds like pre-acclimatizing exists, but with this particular deal it's not cheap either.
Of course not.
Some people can and do arrange their lives and their employment so that they can do this sort of thing. Even if not Everest, other types of extended climbing/trekking/walking/traveling sorts of vacations. I haven't done it for years but I've taken several month-long treks in Nepal during an earlier life.
Some people do focus their vacation on an extended annual trip--which is pretty much what I did at the time. Others make arrangements to take additional time off unpaid. If that's a priority, you find an employer willing to allow this.
Senior people can take extended leaves but it tends to be on a one-off basis.
As a "lowly employee," assuming you have some degree of power in your employment position, this is exactly the sort of things that you have control over. You may find that you really can't earn enough to take a bunch of the year off. But I've known plenty of people (and have myself to some degree) who can take a fair amount of time off if that's the [riority.
Personally, I still have a few thousand kilometres and a dozens of peaks and lakes to see in Norway and Finland before a trip around the world chasing wilderness makes sense. And if I were looking for more wilderness - Siberia is closer...
You'd also need a LOT more power than used for real spacesuits, because of the heating requirement. In space, you don't need much heat to stay warm, because there's no way for the heat to leave your spacesuit other than by radiation, which is horribly ineffective (and that's a good thing for keeping astronauts warm; it's not such a good thing for keeping your electronics cool though). Climbing a mountain, there's still plenty of air, even if it's thinner than what you're used to, and that means you'll have convective cooling, which is extremely effective (notice how it's used in convection ovens, where they blow a fan to improve the effectiveness of the heating). So your spacesuit will need some really serious insulation, and still will need to generate a lot of heat to replace the heat that's continually being lost to the the ambient air.
On top of that, you're not floating around in space, you're climbing a mountain, so the spacesuit needs to be very rugged. Of course, tearing it won't cause immediate doom like in a spacesuit, but it's going to make it much worse to have cold air streaming in, and losing your pressurization.
IMO, the whole idea of climbing one of these mountains seems unnecessarily risky and just plain foolhardy to me. If you want to see nature, go hike a nice mountain trail in a temperate climate, where you'll see greenery, trees, maybe wildlife, etc. There's nothing to see on Mount Everest except a lot of snow, rocks, and corpses, and there's a significant chance your corpse will be added to those. AFAICT, the main reason people do this is for pure ego, nothing else. That's why they walk right by people who are dying on the slope instead of stopping to help. Utterly disgusting.
The economy of Nepal has been horribly distorted by western trekkers and do gooders.
If you're comparing someone climbing Everest in 2017 to the moon landing you have your head so far up your ass that you'll probably never see light again.
I never said the accomplishments are equal; just that they were both accomplishments that required money and resources for the people to succeed.
Just because something requires money to accomplish doesn't mean it's not an achievement. You don't spend money and ride an elevator to the top of Everest as you and others try to suggest.
It's a challenge and an accomplishment any way you slice it.
Many people could climb it, but if too many people take a flight, buy furniture, food, waste all this energy for just this artificial pride, it's really bad.
But that's exactly where the planet is heading
At least when Jornet climbs it with no assistance, no oxygen, it's interesting, because it's more eco-friendly