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May 092014
 

B3This is a season with no end from Nepal. As I reported yesterday, IMG noted the Icefall Doctors were removing the ladders from the Khumbu Icefall and, assumed, the season would finally come to an end. I noted there was one climber attempting Lhotse still there determined to climb with or without ladders.

Cleo Weidlich, made this comment on her Facebook page a few days ago:

This is just to let you know that my climb on the Everest Massif will continue with or without ladders. I have climbed some of the world’s most dangerous mountain WITHOUT them and this mountain is, actually, very tame when I compare it with the likes of Nanga Parbat, Annapurna 1 and Kangchenjunga. I refuse to give in to the pressures of the Everest mafia. I’d like to decide for myself when I have reached my limits. Thanks to ALL of you for all the positive energy; I can feel it..

And today it was reported Cleo did just that by taking a helicopter to Camp 2 in the Western Cwm. The report goes on to say:

American climber Cleonice P Weidlich, who reached Camp 2 from Gorak Shep on a chopper, has apparently done so without taking permission from the ministry of tourism and civil aviation. Ministry’s permission is mandatory to take a chopper to the restricted area above the Base Camp. International operators, including IMG, Himex, AAI, Adventure Consultants, Jagged Globe and Peak Freaks, chartered helicopters to carry Cleo’s climbing equipment and logistics up to Camp 2. Chief at the Lukla airport, Rimji Sherpa, and legal division chief at MoTCA, Ranjan Krishna Aryal, said they were not aware if any such flights were conducted. They said neither Lukla airport nor the ministry were asked for permission for such flights

My opinion is this is a misstatement regarding the commercial companies as the ones mentioned did receive permission to fly into the Western Cwm to remove gear at C1 and C2. I would be very surprised if they knowingly carried gear into the Cwm but nothing surprises any more on Everest.

The reported cost was US$2,000 per person per flight, so a person would spend $4K to get into and out of the Western Cwm. Also, it appears she is climbing alone without Sherpa support.

The second climber mentioned is Chinese Jing Wang trying to set a record for climbing the 7 Summits plus both poles. See these updates from Russell Brice on her project 7+2. She was with Himex on Everest and now appears to have reset her ambitions and will try to climb Everest through the Khumbu Icefall with a team of seven Sherpa:

“Chang, on the other hand, has hired seven local Sherpas and is headed for the Base Camp from Namche Bazaar,” sources told THT, adding that she will leave for Camp 1 in the next five days.

There is still time for these women to climb as the monsoons don’t usually arrive until late May to early June. However, recent reports on Cho Oyu show 100 mph winds on the summit and other reports have heavy snow in the Everest region.The usuall summit window on Everest is around May 21st.

Meanwhile, teams on the North side have mostly reed to Chinese Base Camp or lower to rest up for an anticipated summit around May 20th.

I don’t know about you but I’m getting whiplash!

Update 1:

Report of Jing Wang plus 7 Sherpa flown to C2 in Western Cwm to attempt Everest. Wang own the huge Chinese outdoor gear company Toread. She tried unsuccessfully to get a permit to climb on the North after the Nepal side effectively shut down.

Update 2:

Jing Wang’s helicopter flight has put Russell Brice and his company Himalayan Experience aka Himex at huge risk per this newsletter he sent out today:

Many of you know that I have been dealing with the logistics for Jing Wang to climb the 7 summits and 2 poles in record time. Of course this project came to an abrupt end when I was forced to cancel my Everest and Lhotse trips. I suggested to Jing that she go to the North side of Everest and obtain a climbing permit from the CMA or CTMA, but this was not forthcoming. Although Jing asked if I could arrange for her trip to continue on the South side, I refused and so did all my Sherpa staff.

In the event it appears that Jing has arranged to continue to climb with another agency and has without permission flown by helicopter to Camp 2, despite me warning her not to.

This has caused me considerable problems with the Ministry, who say that I am still responsible for Jing, despite me not knowing who the other operator actually is. Well in fact I do know who this operator is, but he continues to tell me lies, saying that he has not organised the 7 Sherpa’s that are currently with Jing, although they all come from his company. Even after repeated phone calls he still does not come to the Ministry to take on the responsibility of the Sherpa’s insurance and other such matters. In the meanwhile the Ministry says that they will punish my company, quite a large fine and probably banned from coming to Nepal for 5 years. It is only in the past few hours that I have now been cleared of the responsibility for Jing and her phantom operator.

So for members who might think that I have carried on with my expedition, please know that this is the exact opposite, these actions of others has caused me considerable pain and hard work to clear my company name in the past few days.

Also, there are new reports of other people flying into the Western Cwm – no details on who they are. But the Nepal Ministry of Tourism seems to have lost control of Everest per this report on the Himalayan Times:

The CAAN has been given three days to furnish a detailed report on the flights conducted by different chopper companies in the Khumbu area from April 18 to till date, said Suresh Acharya, head of the Aviation Industry Management Division at MoTCA.

“The letter issued to CAAN has asked for all details regarding number of flights, chopper companies, status of permission, flights hours, destinations, purposes and other documents related to flights to the Everest region,” he said.

As per the law, except for emergency rescue, helicopters can be used above the Base Camp only after taking permission from CAAN.

Today’s move came after Wang Jing, 40, from China, who is attempting to scale Mt Everest, and American climber Cleonice Weidlich, 51 of Mt Lhotse Expedition flew to Camp 2 from Base Camp and Gorak Shep.

This report notes the other teams trying to bypass the Khumbu Icefall:

Climbers from Malaysia, China, Peru and Romania have shown interest in scaling the world’s highest peak, officials at the ministry of tourism and civil aviation told THT. “Azim Afif Bin Ishak–led six-member Ever Quest, Malaysia UTM, Everest Exp 2014 and a few others from China, Peru and Romania want to resume climbing.”

 

 

 

 

 

Climb On!

Alan

Memories are Everything

  103 Responses to “Everest 2014: Climbing Everest at any Cost from Nepal – Update 2”

  1.  

    I have closed the comments on this thread as it feels like it has turned into a non-constructive forum. 17 people died on Everest this year and it has evoked strong emotions. I wish those who continue to climb a safe return but I mostly hope that everyone who made a comment will also make a contribution to one of the funds to support the families of those who died. This is a time for respect, not jokes and satire.

  2.  

    the climbers who are attempting now are not real climbers. it seems that they have not understood what mountaineering expeditions is and has to be. summit is not only the thing!
    phurba

    •  

      I bet choppa girls and their sherpa escort are helping themselves to supplies stowed at camp 2 by commercial expeditions till next year.

  3.  

    Big climbing companies and Helicopter Companies taking Sherpa’s job a way!

    I am 2 times Mt. Everest summiter. As a climbing Sherpa I think all big media and climbing company need to push Nepal government to make a rule & regulation for $ 50’000 medical and $ 100000 death insurance for Mt. Everest and other 8000 m peak. Right now climbing Sherpa only has $1500 death insurance on Everest.
    You all think Sherpa only worth $ 1500? If worth more then that please share and speak out. We all have to make this happened. Everest is high risk and high reward adventure so every year some Sherpa or climber will die but we can’t cancel expedition every year. Also because of this accident big climbing company and helicopter company taking Sherpa’s job a way.

    If you have more questions contact: everestpemba@yahoo.com

  4.  

    It’s the year 2020.

    I stepped off the monorail at Base Camp and all these Asian-looking guys were holding signs with people’s names on them. I couldn’t see my name anywhere and got pissed. Finally at the Krispy Kreme (awful coffee, by the way — check my Yelp review) one of these guys tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was Mike. He told me his name but it was weird sounding and I forgot it anyway what with all the yelling at him for not finding me 10 minutes before like he should have. He was my “Sherpa” which means “servant” or something in Sherpese or Everest-ese or whatever.

    I got my pass for the cable car over the ice fall and realized I forgot to pack my swim trunks for the outdoor hot tub at C1. I told my Sherpa to go hire some but everything in my size was already out. I shouted at my Sherpa for a good ten minutes but I didn’t feel any better.

    He asked I could participate in a “puja” or something but I said dude, I need to take a dump. I’ll skip your ceremony but you make damn sure you reserve a place in the cable car line for me. I’m pretty sure the puja guys were going to try to hit on me for money. It sounds like some kind of scam.

    Had to wait 45 minutes for the cable car — someone else’s Sherpa said the cable had frozen and I’m like, it’s Everest, dude. You didn’t know there could be ice up here? It’s cold up here, savvy? You wonder if they know anything about high altitude at all.

    Then the heater in my car was malfunctioning. I had to put my jacket and my gloves on and I couldn’t work my iPad properly, so I missed getting some killer video. I complained to the Sherpa at the C2 tourist office and he gave me a voucher for a hot rock massage.

    Lunch was so-so. My waffles only had one strip of bacon so I complained and got a free side of fries.

    Beware: when you leave the food court after lunch these other Sherpas will crowd around you and try to guide you to a “reserved” lounge chair. It’s a scam. You take your chair and suddenly you’re stuck with this huge bill, like 50 pesos or something which is like $100 to them.

    The moving sidewalk to C3 was too crowded. Everest is becoming so spoiled.

    At C3 there was a guy who was making like a statue and although I was in danger of missing the summit window, I tossed a dollar at his feet so he would do a mime performance. Then I realized he’s yet another of these Sherpas, frozen to death. I thought of gently and respectfully shoving him into a crevasse, but Jeez – if I did that for every dead Sherpa, I’d never get to the top. You have no idea.

    Typing this now, I just realized I left my dollar back there, dammit.

    By the way, Tuesdays there’s a Swedish guy who plays Simon and Garfunkel on guitar. Great voice. I gave him five bucks.

    The escalator over the Hilly Step was a little bumpy and I started to feel nauseous. I asked for a glass of brandy but all they had was tea. I explained long and loud to these Sherpa guys that I’ve just paid $175,000 for the privilege of drinking tea, and how would they feel? I don’t think they got it.

    Finally around 3PM I stood on top of Everest. It was damn cold and hard to breath — you’d think they could do something about that — so I watched a ball game in the Hard Rock Cafe until it was time to leave.

    Back at Base Camp at 4:30 I thought my Sherpa had lost my day pack so I gave him hell, but then I realized it was on my back the whole time. I didn’t want to tip him as he’d been kind of a pain in the butt, but I gave him the pack of ball point pens I’d brought anyway. Well, why not, I was going to toss them away otherwise.

    He just looked at me. I don’t think he knew what to do with them. They are a backwards people.

    I didn’t get back to Kathmandu until after dark and by then the cultural dance show at my hotel was nearly over. Another bust for Everest. I’m going to ask for a refund on my permit when this clown show is over.

    Now that I’ve conquered Everest I will be able to embark on my new career as a motivational speaker. First thing I’ll need is a cool logo. Donate to my Kickstarter page.

    I’d rate Everest a solid 3 out of 5.

    •  

      You nailed it, my friend. Absolute PERFECTION.

    •  

      Brilliant

      •  

        Linda, I assume you are being sarcastic too, but you never really know with a one-word response. I for one found Mike Anger’s post to be offensive and extremely disrespectful of the tragedy, those that died, their families, and all climbers by making light of the entire climbing experience. Believe me, I am not easily offended or overly sensitive. It might have been a clever post in another time and another place. He’s entiltled to his opinion too, but now is not the time and place to make clever posts when so many families are suffering in their grief. One can only imagine how the Sherpas would read and understand or misunderstand this post. Would anyone have attempted a humorous post of the circumstances surrounding 9/11 just a month after it happened? Alan is too democratic and thoughtful to remove the post, but I for one would appreciate if Mr. Anger requested he do that himself.

  5.  

    They can take helicopter to the top finally.

  6.  

    I don’t mind the idea of ferrying gear up by helicopter to minimise Sherpa journey’s through there but I really don’t like climbers bypassing any sections in that way, it sets a very bad precedent.

    •  

      In any other circumstances I would be cheering on and routing for the two female climbers – it seems much more has been said about Chloe – but for me it just seems so wrong that they are pushing ahead regardless. It is not what they are doing but the timing of it I believe is wron. I wish them a safe return but I cannot applaud their actions

      Alan’s report here clearly states that Chloe did not obtain permission for the flight. Yes, you can argue that it is down to the pilot if he wanted to risk losing his license or other repurcusions, but Chloe should take part of the responsibility for that. Would it even matter to her if she achieves her goal. I assme that they will also need a ride back after/if they summit as they won’t be going back through the icefall.

      Alan also reported that there was concern that a successful summit on Lhotsie could possibly put in jeophardy the extension of the permits for other climbers who had also turned up and paid their hard earned money to climb this year. How grossly unfair that would be for everyone

      As you rightly say what will this rush to grab a helicopter mean for the future. Again, has this been even considered by these women or do they just not care about anything except their own ambitions

      •  

        There is nothing wrong with the timing of her climb. If you are referring to the hooliganism of a few sherpas who forced others to leave then I think she deserves even more credit. Also does it matter of she achieve her goal? Of course it does. If she pulls this off (doubtful) it will be far more impressive than people who breath oxygen and get dragged up the fixed ropes by their “personal” sherpas while sipping hot tea.

  7.  

    I was discussing abilities and possibilities. Can you think of any two better examples?

  8.  

    I don’t know if invoking Ueli – while discussing respect and responsibility – is the best example

  9.  

    Steve House and Vince Anderson climbed the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat without fixed ropes in a little over a week. Ueli Steck soloed the south face of Annapurna in 28 hours. So id say all the above in question is certainly achievable.

  10.  

    Fantastic news!!! soon new world “Mountaineers”will land 5 m from the highest point of Planet Earth and hook up to a tank of O2 spewing 23 LPM.They’ll crawl that ultimate 23 degree snow slope and be able to shout aloud, once and fore-all… l” I climbed to the top of the word!!”

    •  

      Let’s put things in perspective. Climbing up the Lhotse wall solo, setting C3 yourself, bringing up all your own gear (without Sherpas carrying your tent and other stuff) is WAY harder than walking on prefixed ladders, ropes, and tracked routes through the icefall and western cwm. I don’t know if she’ll fix rope or not (as Alan mentioned it is possible to climb Lhotse without ropes), but if she does fix her own rope, then it’ll require many more trips and tons more energy. If she succeeds, it will be a much, much larger achievement than a normal expedition. Again, I find it ridiculous people are making such a big deal about heli-ing to C2 when it’s obvious the rest of the trip will be 10x harder than normal!

  11.  

    Everest is just one big 80s style midlife crisis now. Both 1880s and 1980s can work here. The climbing community has to figure out how to help keep the Sherpa employed without this harmful and disrespectful treatment of the mountain. Maybe Google can hire them to googlemap the region so they can afford to stay away from Everest for a while – until climbers and expeditions can get it into their heads that the summit of Everest is a privilege, not a right by any means.

  12.  

    Don Jing left Russ’ team and formed her own. He had nothing to do with her or Cleo flying into the Cwm. Thye arranged the heli and Sherpas, if any, themselves.

  13.  

    Anxious to see which Sherpa were handpicked by Russell, how many trips the heli took, if he had to offer something to the Maoists, extra fees to the Ministry, etc. What is Brice’s nickname ?

  14.  

    On a par with some of Messner’s exploits?

  15.  

    thats a tough call climbing the Lhotse Couloir without a fixed rope. (from what I have read). So is Cleo doing all the 8000m peaks?

  16.  

    FYI, both Everest and Lhotse have been climbed frequently throughout history without fixed ropes. Each year, Sherpas such as Phurba Tashi, Himex, lead the summit push and fix the ropes. Ropes are used as safety lines in case of falls – as in high wind conditions or missteps on narrow or steep terrain and to mark the route to avoid cornices, etc. Cleo is climbing Lhotse and Jing is climbing Everest.

  17.  

    Fair play to her for trying… true solidarity and I guess she’s experienced enough to make the judgement. Just hope nothing goes wrong and Everest has it’s reputation tarnished further by a bunch of insidious journalists whom haven’t climbed Snowdon let alone been to Everest or met Sherpas.

  18.  

    Margaret, why?

  19.  

    Don, she is climbing Lhotse.

  20.  

    Cleo has quite a climbing resume. Seems possible she is without oxygen. Might be doing Lhotse?

  21.  

    I really dont think a pilot would fly them up unapproved. They would loose their licence

  22.  

    Wow, 2k seems REASONABLE. But doesn’t sound approved

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