Welcome to my kick-off for Everest 2012 coverage! This will be my 10th season of Everest: 6 times providing coverage and another 4 seasons of actually climbing on Everest. I summited last year on May 21st from the south side.
My goal is to provide insight and analysis of what is going on up there with no favorites or agendas. I use sources directly from the mountain, discount public information and my own experiences to develop my posts. Usually I post once a day as the season gets started in early April and ramp up to almost hourly coverage during the intense summit pushes in mid to late May. I spend several hours a day to create these updates. You can sign up for (and cancel) notifications on the lower right sidebar or check the site frequently.
Why do I do this? Well, one word : Alzheimer’s. I hope that you enjoy my coverage and make a donation to any of my selected non-profit partners as a tangible thank you. I never benefit financially from my coverage.
So what does 2012 look like? Busy as normal on the south (Nepal) side if the pre-bookings are any hint. Many of the major guides are showing their expeditions fully booked or only a few spots left. The prices have remained steady on the south.
The North is a different story, as usual. The Chinese raised their permit pricing so the north side is no longer the bargain it once was. The major, reputable services are now charging $40K for a good trip. Almost double what it has been. This includes, permits, personal Sherpas, oxygen and all the normal services like stocked camps, cooks, tents and food. This is about same as a south climb but as usual you can always spend more.
I have begun to create my annual climbing matrix. If you have a team not listed, please let me know and I will add them if I can track them.
I will post a few background articles and interviews between now and early April when the teams arrive at the base camps. If you would like to see anything special this year, post a comment or drop me an email.
To get us started let’s look at Bill Burke. Many of you might be familiar with Bill in that he is the oldest American to summit Everest and return alive. Now at age 69 he is returning to attempt a life long dream of a double summit from BOTH the north and south sides. From his website:
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.” Mark Twain.
I couldn’t express my feelings any better. So, next year, at age 70, I plan to return to Mt. Everest to finish my quest for a double summit. This time, I plan to start on the South side in Nepal and then move to the North side in Tibet. This is because the lines are fixed much earlier on the South than on the North.
I have given this a lot of thought, although some of you may feel this is an obsession with the mountain. Maybe so. But, this year, I was within 1,000 feet of the summit, moving strong and feeling good, when I was turned around by what I feel was a miscalculation by my Sherpa. I just can’t bear to give up my dream on those terms. If I don’t succeed next year, I’ll probably declare victory based on my summit in 2009 and move on to other adventures:
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.” W.C. Fields
I will do an in-depth interview with this amazing person next month. Best of luck Bill.
Another intriguing goal is the infamous traverse – where the climber starts from one BC, summits and finishes on the other BC. The Chinese have refused permits for a traverse in recent years. It has rarely been done and last, to the of my knowledge, by the three Filipino women Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon and Janet Belarmino, and British climber David Tait all in 2007. Tait wanted to make it a double but was exhausted with one lap. I will hopefully post an interview with our mystery traverse candidate soon. Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein made the first traverse of Everest on May 22, 1963.
Here’s to a safe season for everyone on the Big Hill.
Memories are Everything