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May 062015
Everest 2015: Season Summary - Summits Don't Matter

Over 7,000 people died in April 2015 from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake near Kathmandu. And no one summited Everest – from either side, from any camp. Summits don’t matter. As has been my custom since 2002, I will summarize the season but this time from my first hand experience as I was climbing Lhotse which shares 80% of the route with Everest. I was between Camps 1 and 2 when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake reached the Western Cwm. This summary, while about the Everest season, is also about a human tragedy where thousands lost their lives, multiples of that are continue reading

Dec 152014
Everest 2015: The Cost to Climb Everest

Everest 2015 is quickly approaching and it is time to update my annual look at the costs. Many climbers will be in for sticker shock as prices have dramatically increased for 2015. Also, the North side will see much more activity as some operators have fled the south after the strange polices and actions of the Nepal government and some Sherpas. See my full preview of Everest 2015 I  posted in October. If you value this post and find the ads interesting, clicking on them will help support this site. Click for Current Coverage of the Everest 2015 Season The continue reading

Jan 272014
Everest 2014: What's More Important: Mental or Physical Toughness?

Some people say climbing Everest is mostly mental not physical but I beg to differ. Climbing Everest is about ands. The first time I attempted Everest, I was not ready, physically or mentally. The second time, only a year after the first, was a sad repeat. And the third? Well physically, I was better but mentally, that is a long story. But for the fourth, everything came together. I was in Everest Shape plus had the right mental toughness to go beyond what I thought was possible. The physical part of any climb is a given, but many climbers underestimate continue reading

Nov 112013
Getting in Everest Shape

Believe it or not climbers attempting Everest in the Spring of 2014 leave home in only 171 days, a little under 6 months. By now they have paid their deposits, are finalizing gear purchases but most importantly should be in the throes of training. By the way, the definition of throes is “intense or violent pain and struggle, especially accompanying birth, death, or great change.” OK then. There are other aspects to preparing for Everest including developing technical skills, gaining experience at altitude but I’m going to focus on training for this post. When I was training for Everest, I continue reading

May 282013
Everest 2013: Ladder on the Hillary Step? A Bad Idea

At the end of each Everest season, operators and officials review the results. They look mostly at the number of summits, deaths, and the issue of congestion at the bottlenecks. There were over 600 summits this year and Everest took nine lives in 2013, ten in 2012. For 2013, this process has begun with gusto as recent articles discussed doubling the permit fees as a way to address crowds and installing a ladder on the Hillary Step to address congestion. I think both proposals are bad ideas. By the way, Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan, 81, has abandoned his summit climb continue reading

Jan 252013
Everest 2013: What is the Easiest Route on Everest?

A trick question, I know! In all seriousness there are no “easy” routes up Everest, just degrees of difficulty. The so-called normal or standard routes are along the Southeast and Northeast Ridges via their respective Cols (click on the map to see the ridges). These are considered the most straightforward climbs that present the least amount of technical difficulty. But nothing is easy at those altitudes. Since Everest was first attempted in 1921, there have been many attempts and over 3500 successful individual summits along a variety of routes, 21 in total. Only two new routes on Everest have been opened continue reading

Dec 062012
Bodies on Everest

My wife and I signed the “body disposal form” and sat quietly for a moment. That was in 1998 prior to my first 8000 meter climb, Cho Oyu.  We were offered three choices: leave on mountain, return to Kathmandu or return home. We choose to leave my body on the mountain if I died. Obviously I did not but I did help bury a teammate that year on Cho Oyu. Around 225 climbers have died on Everest since 1953 with about 3,700 individuals standing on the summit. The vast majority of the dead are still there. This article will explore continue reading

Oct 292012
Everest Deserves Respect

Over four days in May 2012, around 250 Westerners and 270 Sherpas and Tibetans support climbers summited Mt. Everest. For many, attaining highest point on Earth was the culmination of endless training, personal sacrifices and hard work to achieve a meaningful and fulfilling lifelong dream. Yet it is common within the greater climbing community to bash Everest climbers, for using ladders in the Khumbu ice fall, for relying on bottled oxygen up higher, for having Sherpas carry their gear, fix their ropes and establish their camps. For the critics on the sidelines, Everest has become a joke. I am disturbed continue reading

Oct 162012
What is Wrong with Everest

An opinion piece … Everest is not for the inexperienced, the novice or someone looking for a walk-up. There, I stated the obvious, or did I? OK, so much for the drama! But as the 2013 season gets closer, I have noticed a few disturbing trends. You would think that after 10 deaths on Everest this spring, the operators would be hypersensitive to qualifying clients, setting expectations and focusing on improving safety. Most of the deaths had nothing to do with crowds but everything to do with personal responsibility and inexperienced guides. Setting High Expectations I recently read Alpenglow‘s promotion continue reading

May 302012
Everest 2012: Season Recap: A Study in Risk Management

If there was one phrase to sum up this season where over 500 people summited Everest, it might be: risk management. There were signs from the beginning that the Everest 2012 season would be different when Sherpas establishing base camp at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall reported that the upper mountain looked “dry”. Once climbers started moving up higher, urgent requests were made to the Icefall Doctors to move the route in the upper Icefall away from Everest’s West Shoulder  where a huge snow and ice serac sat waiting to drop, potentially killing climbers and Sherpas making their way continue reading