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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.  

    OK! Nice ladies and gentlemen. All the comments are right from the personal point of view. Few years back there was a startling sensational news that some one have landed chopper on top of Mt. Quomolongma not only that, big E have been a plot to many strange semi true stories. And the oldest man of the world have been on top of Big E. first lady from Saudi etc. How do you understand us and the mountain itself? What do you know about us? What do you know about our social pressure? Strange thing about human is, sometime when you see a stranger you will sense like you know him/her for centuries and some time you are living with someone for decades and it turns out that one have been living with a total stranger! My heartache is Sherpa people/Nepali climbing community is unnaturally quite. While the irony is that, (sadly) this is the right time to utter your pain.

    In article/blogs people rarely forget to mention “in the country where people hardly make 600 usd in year these nepali climbers are making 5000, 10000 for.”…… are you rationalizing our death or expressing your kindness that you paid us this and that much????? No doubt about someone is brave (stupid, stubborn, arrogant) enough to climb E,L,N using the same rout while no one else is climbing. So just to claim I was the first climber to summit that year.

    A long story short. Anyone climbs E in this 2014 Spring season is not a climber is a beast of ego and arrogant.
    How can you fit in the brotherhood of climbers community if you don’t respect those who perished in order to take you on top of the mountain. Once Sir Ed Hillary said big E need at least 10 years break to heal herself from the pollution we made. Can you give her one season? Or your thirst to be the first is bigger? Please be a climber not the corporate.
    By the way I begun as a porter in 1988 in trekking. To clear you porter in trekking is different that climbing Sherpa. Proud to be become a climber. I love even my worst enemy because he is a climber too it means we are brothers.

    FINALLY ON BEHALF OF ALL THE NEPALI CLIMBERS, THANK YOU BY THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS TO HOLD OUR HANDS IN SUCH AN EMOTIONALLY PAINFUL MOMENT. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THAT YOU ARE OUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS.

    •  

      Dawa, I don’t have the adequate words to express my sorrow for this tragic loss of life. I can only imagine the pain the families, friends and loved ones of the fallen Sherpas must be going through. I am in fact embarrassed that you and other sherpas are reading some of the comments that have been posted here without thought and sensitivity to those who have perished. I am ashamed to call myself a western climber when I read some of them. I am so sorry.

    •  

      Dawa are you aware of Sherpas ever wanting to shut a mountain because paying members have died?

    •  

      Dawa, ALL climbers are mourning the loss of Sherpa and other workers’ lives.
      But if the loss of life, and not the dangerous icefall, is the reason for cancellation, why can climbing on Makalu, Kangchenjunga, etc. goes on? Why has permission be granted to FILM (CNN, DISCOVERY??) extensively the icefall from a chopper, hovering above the death site where one of our kin remains? You can tell what chopper company it is and simply call them to have them stop. I was shocked, at BC, to see this!
      Something is terribly wrong, and quite biased and hyporcit, in this whole discussion re. the dead.
      One should not use the dead to push personal and political agendas! And this is exactly what has happened and is still happening. At the cost of the dead, and of the paying members.

  2.  

    Well the logistics of climbing this mountain are huge. It takes months and a few individuals would struggle to carry all the tents, food and equipment required even on rotations. So Sherpa support is vital. Also It helps if you have people who know the environment.

  3.  

    Why cant they climb without sherpa support ?

  4.  

    I am really keen to keep up with the North side climbers. I am going to trek there, hopefully next year to ABC. I want to see the mountain from this side. Can’t climb it as I know I am not capable, although I have done a number of climbs but this is way too big for me. But climbing is still going on as we know on the North side and wait for further news.
    Alan, really look forward to your reports when you climb K2. Looking forward to that very much.

  5.  

    Sean I hope you enjoyed your nice cosy sleep while these brave girls suffer on the mountain

  6.  

    I think she may have sherpa support but have to wait and see latest reports.

  7.  

    I would respect people who have the win at all cost mentality if it is was only a cost to themselves they were counting but it never is. They completely disregard the cost to others when achieving their often selfish goals. I completely and fully understand the deep disappointment of the climbers who had worked and saved and dreamed of standing on the summit. My heart goes out to the families of those who have died far more. For right or wrong, and because of tragedy and politics climbing from Nepal is over for this season and it is now time for everyone to accept it. From someone who does not know her and only from reading the comment Cleo made it strikes me she is acting like a petulant child who has a tantrum when someone says no to her

    •  

      Agreed. Show some respect. This mountain is not there to gratify the ego of climbers and thrill ers. Yes the sherpas are behaving in a high-handed manner, but, by God, they have been walked over for so many years. I could tell you some tales…..

      •  

        Doesn’t seem high-handed. Anyone can refuse to work at any time, let alone after a disaster like this.

    •  

      Linda, I agree with all of what you say.

      It’s not all of what’s bothering me about this, but it’s some of it.

    •  

      I disagree with your statement “[…] because of tragedy and politics climbing from Nepal is over for this season and it is now time for everyone to accept it.” Because Everest is SUCH a commercial mountain, there is the impression that once the Sherpas/commercial expeditions make the decision to leave for a particular reason (here, it being 16 Sherpas died), then everyone should follow suit because it is the right thing to do. But this isn’t true for the real mountaineer.

      Cleo has been an expedition leader before. From past experience, she has designed her own acclimatization schedule, fixed her own route, prepared all logistics, hired her own meteorologist and independently made the critical decision of a suitable weather window, etc. All these are extremely difficult decisions for one person, but it had made her tough, hardened, independent, and into a true mountaineer. True mountaineers climb for themselves and do it themselves. For true mountaineers, the mountains always remain open.

      I am certain Cleo has truly grieved for the Sherpas. Sherpas (along with westerners) have saved her life on Kanchenchunga before and she has praised the Sherpas for it. However, in Cleo’s belief, she doesn’t think it is disrespectful to the Sherpas to continue climbing. Ed Viesturs, one of the most respected American mountaineer, climbed Everest when his best friends Scott Fischer, Rob Hall, and many others died near the summit a week before. It is up to the individual to decide how to honor the dead. Furthermore, as a real mountaineer, she as hell would not let anybody (esp. minority Sherpas who threatened climbers with violence) to tell her the mountain is closed.

      I don’t believe she’s being disrespectful. I don’t think she’s a “petulant child” but actually a very brave, determined individual with more balls than any other guy to pursue their dreams. If she succeeds in her solo attempt, it will also leave a very positive view on the abilities of female alpinists, who are too few in this professional sport.

      •  

        FYI , she is climbing Lhotse.

      •  

        I love cynicism, and it make me feel sad too. I am hypnotized by George Mallory and having never been to the Himalayas my imagination is all I have to visuize. Mallory relied on the Sherpas although they were not called that in 1921. I wonder if modernity has not been the addiction for those who need the climbers $ to provide for their families, if Everest were in Colorado I wonder who would move the equipment up the mountain? I know if it were in NY it would be teamsters, OSHA would regulate the working conditions, EPA & NYSDEC the environmental issues and the taxes would reduce the numbers to the 1%; there would be a concession contract provided to a very connected corporate interest who’s stock traded daily in Hong Kong where all of the past NY companies moved to because they would not allow NY/USA to redistribute their profits. So maybe someday a company will build Everest-II in the US or Europe and all of those western climbers will leave Tibet/Nepal to themselves.

        •  

          I did not mean for my comment to be in response to this post I apologize as it is an inappropriate response to the comment it is below

  8.  

    I can only speculate as never having been there but there may be lots of old rope in place. Not sure you would want to use it though.

  9.  

    ? still need ropes to the summit

  10.  

    Atta girl!

  11.  

    This is not fair from Ice Fall Doctors to fix the ladder again. We postponed because they told to remove the ladder and rope from between base camp and camp-II

    •  

      There are times when it takes far more courage to walk away rather than to insist on continuing whatever the cost. This is one of those times and so, no, I do not admire Cloe in the slightest for her actions and, yes, I am a climber. The cost of climbing has already proven to be far too high this season. Now is the time to let the mountain be and to mourn the dead and then calmly consider what should be done for the future.

      •  

        Well, a Brazilian friend of mine told me that there were a lot of doubts in their country about her “achievements” – and that she was nuts anyway…

  12.  

    This is unfair from Ice Fall Doctors. They told they will remove all the ladders and they will no more fix the rope and ladder and we took our decision to postpone our expedition.

  13.  

    Passion is hard to deny

  14.  

    Not wise decision but wish her best.

  15.  

    CAn we please stop talking about costs and money, for a while?

  16.  

    Real climbers don’t get helicopters over the icefall, real climbers pay 50 grand to have others put up a path for them and carry all their junk over. *groan*

  17.  

    This is amazing. She’s going to climb the Lhotse Wall, Hillary Step, and Knife Ridge unsupported! She’ll have to find her own route and fix her own lines, probably going up and down many more times than normal and spending a tremendous amount of energy doing so. How can you people no consider this a real climb? So what she used a heli to C2. Do you consider walking on prefixed ladders and tracked routes really THAT challenging anyway? This is the realest climb it can get and 10x harder than a normal expedition. If she succeeds (which I kind of doubt), she’ll be highly regarded by many professional alpinists (and envied! as this is the only time in 1000000 years you’ll get to climb Everest south route with nobody else on it!).

    •  

      She is climbing Lhotse.

      •  

        Alan isn’t Lhotse closed too ?

        •  

          Neither Everest nor Lhotse were officially closed, just the Sherpas stopped supporting commercial teams and the Icefall Doctors delayed repairing the route and finally took out the ladders for next season a few days ago. The route to Everest and Lhotse share the same route up to the Yellow Band, or about 70% of the Everest route.

  18.  

    Ellen you lost me yonks ago. I have no idea what ur on about.

  19.  

    that’s the spirit of a real climber

  20.  

    Removed per author’s request.

  21.  

    Ellen I think it is you who needs a rest. Its 3am in the morning here and I must also rest. But I see your passion regarding the issue. Best contact her about ? Perhaps she will listen.Nite.

  22.  

    I really hope there isn’t a messy rescue as a result of this one diligent(?) climber….

  23.  

    Apparently there will Be a McDonalds and a road to it at Camp 2 next year.

    •  

      My money is on a Starbucks franchise…These wannabe sourpuss “climbers” cannot be denied a steaming latte along a hot towel delivered early every morning by a Sherpa “boy” !

      Fearless “Cleo” has guts….She bought herself a one way ticket if she proceeds with her plan.

  24.  

    Removed per author’s request

  25.  

    Helicopter assisted ascents? Whatever means necessary? The Everest South Col route has officially jumped the shark.

  26.  

    LOL but they sure as hell havnt tried to hide the fact.

  27.  

    It’s only cheating if they get caught.

  28.  

    This is just silly. And I rather enjoy climbing.

  29.  

    Well said. But I really admire her spirit. Not everyone is born with the same drive or reason for being. I also understand really that its not a wise decision but It is her decision. So I will be positive about it and hope she stays well. I suppose its the way she has chosen to led her life. We can all have opinions about what she is doing but not sure what that means really. But if she gets into trouble and it puts other people in danger then its not responsible. So only time will tell and as you say its not to late to turn back.

  30.  

    Yes! Sue Cook

  31.  

    The Western Cwm is a very dangerous place. Babu Chiri Sherpa fell into a crevasse near C2 in 2001. Others have died on the Lhotse Face from falls – with the fixed line in place. The weather is dangerous. While each individual makes their own decisions and need to show personal responsibility, I believe, we as spectators also must show personal responsibility and not cheer them on when the risks are so obvious. There is a time honored saying on climbing: there are bold climbers and there are old climbers, but there are no old. bold climbers alive. Now that she is there I send her my best thoughts and also, it is never too late to turn around … but then again, we had a guy wanting to ump off the summit in a squirrel suit and he was getting paid for it. This is what Everest has become to the outside world. But it still remains unique to those who treat the mountain with respect.

  32.  

    Alen does it appear that these women are climbing without supplemental oxygen?

  33.  

    if counting in nepalise thats about 6900m.

  34.  

    Hey….3000 foot rule. ; )

  35.  

    Janelle Lilliebridge interesting.

  36.  

    I totally agree with you but she doesnt seem to operate that way. There are many mountaineers who are like that. Maybe they have a death wish?. Who knows. Im not saying its the right thing to do but clearly she gonna do it regardless what anyone says.

  37.  
  38.  

    She (Cleo) was mentioned here the other day and I did some reading. Two accounts of an eventful descent in 2011, here and her own here.

  39.  

    Good point. But Cleo has also been there before and summited. She knows her job well. You are right in all you say and its her choice. She nearly had a fatal a few years back snapping her ACL and being left for dead according to another team member. But that situation was a confusing as it was near fatal. Some people are just built to function that way.

  40.  

    Too expensive :))

  41.  

    Hell, why not just take it to the top.

  42.  

    I dont thibnk this has anything to do with victory. But yes god speed to them. I hope they summit

  43.  

    Prayers go with them..

  44.  

    I understand the drive to achieve ones goals, but question whether a summit after bypassing a part of the climb can be considered a victory. Maybe you can answer that question, Alan. With winds so fierce and snow in the area, I pray these two women have not made a fatal error in judgement.

  45.  

    If there was another way she would have taken it. she was prepared to go through the ice fall and was promised the ladders would be left. I think the removal looks vindictive. just my opinion based on what she has said. I think it just made her more determined not to give up. As she has already summited everest previously she is making a point here that she will not be coerced.

    •  

      In 1996 the Sweedish climber Goran Kropp was determined to climb Everest without any aid (or even bottled oxygen) and he climbed by a mixed route thru and around the icefall avoiding the ladders.

      •  

        Goran actually pedaled a bike all the way from home in Sweden to Jiri with all the gear, carried all his gear by himself to EBC, climbed the Mountain and rode a bike (most of the way) back home…

  46.  

    well who determins where the climb starts? No idea but I dont see why not. Its a means to an end. There is no way through the ice fall so by any means neccessary?

  47.  

    Does it count as an ascent if skipping the icefall?

  48.  

    Right or wrong a point is being made here.

  49.  

    Amen. God speed.

  50.  

    Oh dear.

    I know people make solo climbs, but there are usually other people on the mountain when they do it. Does anyone ever make a solo climb– of a seriously dangerous mountain– when there’s no one else around at all?

    Granted that Weidlich is now a considerable distance from Wang’s team, right?

    •  

      From all appearances, Cleo will be 100% alone. When asked her if she was taking any support and she said ” I must climb alone as per the agreement I have with the striking Sherpas.”