19 responses

  1. Anpijola
    March 23, 2013

    Great writing, Alan. Appreciate your passion for the mountains and perspective.

  2. Dianne Oelberger
    November 4, 2012

    Well done! I am not a climber but my daughter and her husband summitted, unguided, in 2010. They are “climber poor” as they work, train, scrimp and save to reach their goal of climbing the seven summits as a couple. They love the sport and they do it as a personal challenge. I am very proud of them for every peak they summit and I thank you for your informative and supportive blog on Everest….it sustained me when they climbed in 2010.

  3. Maury
    October 30, 2012

    Alan, as always you are right on the money with your writings. Everest is tough and no cakewalk. My congratulations to you and to all who attempt her.

  4. Peter Stanley
    October 30, 2012

    Excellent read as always Alan – thanks! On one hand I don’t believe ‘1st time Climbers’ should be given a permit to climb Everest but on the other hand if one can show a reasonable level of experience of high altitude climbing then why should they be denied the opportunity of Everest? As great as my admiration is for the pioneers you don’t have to be Messner, Bonnington or Scott to summit this mountain as many hundreds of summiteers have proved over the years. Great website!

  5. Kate E Smith
    October 30, 2012

    A very well written and thought provoking article. I spent quite a number of conversations trying to explain the cause for the traffic jams and the lengthy queue of climbers waiting to cross a crevasse, photo taken by Ralph D didn’t help my cause.It is very difficult trying to explain to armchair climbers the amount of energy and preparation involved to make a summit have a chance of success.It is utterly impossible to convey the joyous thrill of actually achieving your goal, perhaps I should just keep quiet but that’s very difficult when your sport is under attack. Cheers Kate

  6. Lori Schneider
    October 30, 2012

    “I remember as a kid watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, reading of Hillary and Norgay on Everest, of Bonington’s expeditions, and having an insatiable appetite for anything adventurous. These pioneers planted a seed in me that grew into my own adventures even though I was never first up any mountain or never opened a new climb, but what I have accomplished were all firsts for me and of that I am proud.”

    I remember those things too Alan and have always had a desire to take a risk and see the world in all its glory. Reaching for the stars and accomplishing my own personal firsts is what drives me, and most people I think. We all want to believe we are capable of adding monumental goals in our life, and through hard work and grit we can actually achieve some of them.

    Thanks for the words and stories that make my heart pound and my mind race to new heights. -Lori

  7. Mark Horrell
    October 30, 2012

    Heartfelt and honest. Thanks once again for standing up for commercial climbing. I always enjoy reading your posts.

  8. Becky Rippel
    October 29, 2012

    Thanks for this Alan for your comments on Everest bashing.

    We tried to tell the other side of the story (Tibet closed, Sherpas in that photo due to days lost re-routing to Camp 3) but the media quite frankly did not want to hear it, I believe it didn’t fit with the drama they were already intent on building.

    It is busy but what world attraction isn’t ? Here’s my thoughts:

    The suggestion of limiting applicants to an 8000m bio would only move the problem to other peaks like the recent turn out on Manaslu.

    Limiting permits on Everest would be a good start- the way it used to be.- 15 max including guides, no shared permits, this may help operators and private teams pick the best for their teams for success and make room for new upcoming operators but with more restrictions put on who would qualify commercially.

    If commercial guiding restrictions were implemented it could be used as the doorway for new Nepalese operators and others who are wanting to get in on the leading to take the right steps to gain more professionalism and safety practices and be accountable. It’s nothing new, other popular mountains of the world have these restrictions to protect their tourism investment. It still won’t detour the popularity of Everest-but success in safety measures should always be above profits in any extreme sport. Nepal should seriously be listening for change for the sake of their people who feed their families on tourism but I fear they aren’t.

    Again thanks for making an avenue for mountaineers to tell the story.

    Becky Rippel- Peak Freaks

  9. William Tyler
    October 29, 2012

    One addition note Allen,

    The North side was essentially closed, even though permits were issued towards the end of the time most require to acclimatize. This forced most of the outfitters to switch to the South side to enable thier clients to have a chance, adding hundreds to the route.

    With the massive increase of climbers, it is a wonder that the loss of life was not quite higher…

    • Alan Arnette
      October 29, 2012

      Bill, you are correct that teams arrive a bit later on the north than on the south. Having to do with anniversaries, holidays and protests, the Chinese have taken to opening the North Base Camp around April 10th each year now. However, the north had over 150 summits in 2012, with around 15 teams, about normal these days. I did not hear of any teams who wanted to go to the north, not going. The south side numbers were about the same as they have been for the past several years. It was the weather that created the bottlenecks with 500 people squeezing into 4 summit days rather than the normal 6 to 8 or more.

      • William Tyler
        October 29, 2012

        The weather wasa huge factor to be sure, But I was under the impression Himex, 7 summits club, and several others I cant remember at this moment that moved to the south side to allow clients full acclimatization?

        By the way, I am in total agreement with your essay. I made summit in ’07 and feel exactly the same way…

      • Alan Arnette
        October 29, 2012

        Congratulations on your summit!! Yes, after 2008 when the Chinese did close the north side to take the Olympic Torch to the summit, many long time north teams switched to the south including Himex. But most have returned and now run regular trips on the north including 7 Summits, Summit Climb, Adventure Peaks, Altitude Junkies and more. It seems that only Himex has chosen not to return.

        Due to the lack of a hard stop to the season on the north (the south stops due to the Icefall conditions on May 31) north teams can start later without a lot of impact on acclimatization by climbing into early June.

  10. theodore fairhurst
    October 29, 2012

    Very well prepared and delivered article. I commend you for it.

    Following your passions, dreams, goals or what you want to call it, is about taking action and testing yourself and finding out what you are made of. Being first at anything is evidently great – but being your best and your first is not far behind. Everest is an epic challenge for anyone, but climbers must be prepared. At Elbrus this last August I met and spoke with Adrian Ballinger about this overcrowding on Everest, and according to him the in-thinking is somehow to limit Everest to climbers who have 8000m experience. It makes sense to me and I personally checked myself out climbing Cho Oyu before attempting Everest in 2010.

    In 1969 I spent 32 days alone hiking from Kathmandu to the base of the Khumbu Icefall. Since then, Everest has been an ongoing passion and dream for me, and finally having the time and funds to ‘go for it’ in 2010 was, as you mentioned, a life-changing experience. No one with the proper experience and desire should be denied such a life opportunity. There is only one Everest.

  11. Michael Moniz
    October 29, 2012

    Alan – well written, insightful and an important perspective that needs to be heard.

  12. Adrian
    October 29, 2012

    Wonderful article Alan….gives one pause for thought for sure. Always enjoy your perspective on Everest and other climbing venues.

  13. Paul Grems Duncan
    October 29, 2012

    Great read Alan. Thanks.

  14. Charles Miske
    October 29, 2012

    I think every climber, mountaineer, and especially stay-at-home mountaineer needs to read this and reflect. Thanks for a great perspective that goes counter to the media hype that accompanies Everest.

  15. Charles Miske
    October 29, 2012

    I really enjoyed reading it in R&I – thanks

  16. Sumit Gupta
    October 29, 2012

    Very true and thought provoking article….

Back to top
mobile desktop