Happy New Decade to all. Thank you so much for your loyalty and support not only in 2019, but since I started my website back in 1999. I also want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported my Alzheimer’s Advocacy in any way over the last decade. My heartfelt gratitude.
We have shared a lot over the years, from my climbs on Everest, and K2 to Ecuador and Bolivia this year. Also during my annual reporting on the Everest climbing season, and now most of the other 8000ers year-round. I appreciate your ongoing thoughtful comments and questions, as well as the occasional disagreements we have. Keep it up!
The traffic continues to explode. In 2019 there were over 6 million page views by over 2 million visitors for both my website, alanarnette.com, and blog, alanarnette.com/blog/ I was honored to be ranked as the fifth-best climbing blog by The Adventure Junkies site.
2019 In Review
85% of readers are between 25 and 65 years old, with the largest group between 25 and 34. And 67% are female. Readers are from all over the world with the US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, and Germany taking the top spots. Palu and Nauru have the honor of one visit each!!
For those into more stats, the majority, 80%, of you used either the Chrome or Safari browsers. And 57% of the traffic came from mobile devices, 35% on desktops, and 8% on tablets. For 2019, these were my most-read stories:
- How Much Does it Cost to Climb Mount Everest? – 2020 Edition
- Everest Facts for KiDs
- Comparing the Routes of Everest – 2019 edition
- Everest: 2019 Coverage
- Everest by the Numbers – 2019 Edition
- Everest 2019: 3 New Deaths, Now 9 on Everest, 19 Overall
- Everest 2019: Near Death on Annapurna. What Happened?
- Description of Everest South Col route
- Everest 2019: Too Many Deaths – Opinion
- Why K2 Will Never Become Everest
- Everest 2019: Season Summary The Year Everest Broke
The Next Decade
Looking ahead over the next ten years, I believe we will see these trends.
Climate change will be a real game-changer in the next decades. Reports are pouring in that glaciers are melting at alarming rates, and in some cases cutting off traditional routes. I see this as an opportunity for the next generation of climbers to discover new routes on new faces transforming the spirit of adventure from the ‘formula’ climbs to one of pure exploration.
Record Summits and Deaths will continue. Everest saw a record number of summits in 2019 at 836, as did Denali with 793. I believe that mountains are for everyone with the caveat that each person should climb, being self-sufficient, and with the proper experience. The recent deaths on Everest demonstrate how people can be seduced by slick websites and low prices that sell the myth that anyone can climb anything from Everest to K2 to skiing across Antarctica. The truth is that adventure tourism has taken a turn to the naive. Follow your dream, but also do your homework.
We will also see more new rules. China enacted a wide range of new rules for its 8000 meter peaks, including Everest. Nepal continues to talk but has taken no meaningful action concerning new rules. Canada imposed new regulations on Mt. Logan due to what they considered as too many rescues. And the Village of Chamonix has floated new rules for Mont Blanc all year after another summer of rescues and deaths. I hope these rules will leave room for a true adventure.
Even though I think the absolute number of deaths will increase, the death rate will go down. With the advances in climbing technology from clothing, boots, communications, weather forecasting, plus a dramatic increase in the use of supplemental oxygen, the death rates on the world’s highest peaks have gone down. Everest is one of the lowest.
With a new generation coming of age, I think they will pioneer new routes on familiar peaks and get a lot of first summits on previously unclimbed ones. And K2 will be summited in winter.
My Plans and Hopes
I started climbing at age 38 and went on to summit Everest at age 54 and K2 at 58, the oldest American. Climbing has been a vehicle for my learning and growth. I returned home after each climb an improved model of myself, more so when I didn’t accomplish my objective, but with great learnings after a difficult summit.
As my reporting, writing, speaking, and Summit Coach consulting work accelerates, my climbing on the world’s biggest peaks is on the decline. I’ll always climb here in Colorado and explore a 20,000er here or there, but I think the days of “one more 8000er” are over.
My hope, no, my challenge, during the next decade is for those hearing the draw of the mountains, follow it, embrace it. There is no failure; there are only lessons that will contribute to all aspects of life.
Memories are Everything
P.S. With all my heart, I hope for a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease in this next decade. I believe.