2022 in Review: The Year Climbing Changed

Lhotse Face

“It was the best of times and the worst of times.” With all respect to Mr. Charles Dickens, I’m talking about the 2022 climbing year, not the French Revolution in 1775. Oh my, what a year. Hundreds of new people tried out the sport, while old hands showed up after a couple of down years. Operators and countries generated much-needed revenue, and some people accomplished their lifetime dreams.

As I’ve written several times while covering the high-altitude mountaineering world, I believe history will consider 2022 as an inflection point in the evolution (or devolution) of mountaineering.

Opinion: The Changing World of Climbing News

Bierstadt Celebration 2010

Does anyone care that Jane and John Smithe became the first couple from rural Northland to summit Mount Impossible?

The comments posted on my blog show a declining interest in today’s climbing world and the highest level of disdain I’ve seen in covering the climbing world since 1999. And it appears that even the general media world is adjusting. Long-time climbing publications have sold to the lowest bidder. As a result, they are transitioning from print to online publications that feature captivating stories like “The Best Biodegradable Bag for your Poop” or the “Top 10 Ways to Wear Socks.”

Climbing forums have plenty of pithy comments citing fast food restaurants on the summits, paved trails, and men (and women) in kilts (and stilts) doing the ordinary. And, of course, a fan favorite, “Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory,” where the author thinks they invented the saying (apologies to Mr. Viesturs.) Everyone is a comedian, it appears, even me.

This summer, a reporter researching an Everest story asked me to “explain the difficulty and significance of Barney being number 646th American to summit Everest.” I politely explained that even the magazines sold at a grocery store checkout lane wouldn’t cover it.

So what’s going on?

Autumn 2022 Himalayan Season: Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu and Death

Climbing in the Himalaya continues to set records. Sadly another death. Some previous records are being questions while others continue their pursuits.

The popular 6000 meter Nepal peak, Ama Dablam, 22,349 feet is currently swamped with climbers and their support, some estimates are over 800 will be the final total. The Nepal Ministry of Tourism has officially issued 250 permits to foreigners as of October 19,2022. You can double that for support climbers so we are already at 500. However, as one climber told me, they were there with few people thus far.  so like I always say, you can still enjoy climbing Nepal, or Pakistan, if you go at the right time, on the right route wit he right team.