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Apr 302013

As an experiment, I have created this page for those who would like to have a civil discussion on Everest items. However, please review these are the rules:

A valid email is required for all comments. All comments are welcome and will be moderated. I reserve the right to remove any content I deem knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually-oriented, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, or otherwise violative of any law at my discretion and without notification. All spam and non-authorized business solicitations will be removed. I reserve the right to block any user without notification. In other words, be nice.

The topic most people want to discuss is the Simone Moro conflict with the Sherpas. I moved all previous comments on this topic to this page.

These links are for your convenience:

Sherpa Interview

Climber Press Releases and Interviews

Professional Mountain Guides and Operators

Professional Climbers

Climbing Industry

Comments on/from Facebook

  146 Responses to “Everest 2013: Discussion”


    Can enough be said about Everest?

    Is the kind of stuff happening on Everest even remotely associated with what we call climbing or alpinism? I would say no, but thats just me… I can’t find words to describe what I feel about this… I only note that through out history, Everest has always been a place of excessive consumerism.

    Some time have now passed since the distinguished trio got kicked off the mountain after trying to do some real alpine climbing. Many have commented on the events and this is just an other post about the Everest shit show. I found it quite interesting to read Russell Brice defensive comments on his corporate website and I think it reflects the Everest industry sentiment.

    In all its glory and rich history Everest stands tall but the history of true alpine climbing is limited to a few sporadic moments barley remembered and not that well known to the larger audience.

    Many of us who dedicate time to climbing mountains don’t care that much about Everest. It’s been a lost cause for a long time and the recent event just proves the point that Everest is Babylon*. The sad state of affairs on the mountain dates back to the era of national pride, where any means to reach the summit was accepted as long as the flag of a sovereign state would feature on the summit picture.

    Why would any one want to go to Everest?

    Given the history of Everest and the fact that Everest is not a mountaineers mountain, I think its relevant to ask why such a distinguished trio of outstanding alpinists chose to go to Everest?

    I think most of us agree that the Himalayas is full of much more attractive mountains on which to open cutting edge lines. We can hike up virtually any valley in the greater ranges and be bombarded with amazing unclimbed lines of much better quality compared to what one can find on Everest. And all the unclimbed objects come with the added benefit of lacking annoying and violent crowds. I con only speculate and that is pointless.

    Cash is king

    Are today’s money making tour operators on Everest taking the same kind of social, environmental and economical responsibilities as we take for granted in any other normal business? Can IMG, AAI, JG, Global Adventure, Arun, Peak Freaks, Himex, Astrek, Miura and Seven Summits, show that they are not just shamelessly exploiting the Everest region for profits? My guess is that the answer is a big fat no. And this is, in my opinion, probably the single most frustrating issue with the concept pre packed guided trips to the Everest region.

    Is this not the real reason behind the recent lynching of the Trio?

    It’s a common misperception that Everest tourism is bringing in significant income to Nepal as a country. However, not a single major guiding company operating on Everest is incorporated and based in Nepal and therefore not paying corporate taxes and taking real corporate social and environmental responsibility in Nepal. If you sign up with Chamonix based HIMEX for an Everest expedition you will be instructed to pay for your trip up the tallest mountain in the world to a bank account at UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) in Geneva.

    In real economical terms only a tiny fraction of what a western member pays for his Everest expedition is actually spent in Nepal to the benefit of not only the high altitude Sherpa’s but also the country (UN economical data on GDP revenue sources in Nepal). Its so marginal that one might be able to argue that a team of four attempting Annapurna IV in alpine style might actually be a bigger or at least an equal net contributor to the economy in Nepal. How ever it should be mentioned as pointed out to me that teh peak fee is going to the Government of Nepal.

    A few high altitude Sherpa’s and their families in the Khumbu valley have no doubt benefitted from the hype on Everest in the short term and that’s great for them. But the real question is whether the Everest game is a sustainable way of doing business? Is the whole commercial guiding culture (operators and Sherpas) of greed to be blamed for the lynching of the trio? I think so.

    One mountain but not for every one…

    The events that played out at 7200 metes tells me only one thing, it’s all about the members need and in order to retain members and get a job as a high altitude Sherpa you need to perform. The guided trips and package tours take precedence over any other ambitions present at Everest. John Griffith is reporting that an influential individual (I speculate Russell Brice) has demanded that every issued Everest Permit should come with the condition that no one is allowed to climb above rope fixing Sherpas. That would be one of the single most tragic developments in mountaineering history. If this becomes the reality I guess its only a question of time before this will spread to neighboring Nuptse and Lhotse not to mention Ama Dablam etc. etc.

    Deal with the real issues

    When discussing the Everest issues, lets be honest and transparent. Its about money and business. Its guiding companies lobbying for the future of their business. If this issue was isolated to Everest its might be containable, but when browsing the web looking through the commercial outfitters offerings I notice that I can get dragged up a rarely climbed route on Ama Dablam, the SW Ridge on Cholatse and from the looks of it, even Nuptse is now on the menu. It’s a disaster in motion and something has to be done about this development.

    Russell Brice, HIMEX posted this:
    “We are right on schedule and the ropes on Mount Everest have been fixed all the way to the South Col at 7,900m while the ropes are only 150m short of the summit of Lhotse. The Himex Sherpas also used the low-wind-period and fixed the route on Nuptse all the way to 7,400m.”
    Source: Himalayan Experience

    I think its essential that the people involved in today’s commercial circus on Everest and its surrounding peaks in the Khumbu region take a hard look at what they are doing to the area. They exploit the area for profit and other dubious reasons. Its time to shift to a sustainable business model that is for the real benefit Nepal on a macro level and allow every aspiring alpinist space on the mountains. After all they are mountains and not an amusement park.

    * According to Babylon is used to indicate a strong and powerful, yet corrupted and immoral place.


      Well articulated argument. It seems that the risk of injury and death has shifted from the added perils of true Alpine climbing, (without the fixed ropes and other aids) in which the climber was much more skilled at his craft and pushed the envelope to achieve the goal. Today, the risk is just as much about the idea that the skill, preparation, planning and execution are lessened leading to perils that Alpinists may be respectful of but find mundane.

      David, you cover a number of subjects and possibly hint at more issues. Wish your voice would have been conveyed here during the event.


    This is a good old-fashioned turf war is it not? I’ve experienced this in pretty much every atavistic culture I have visited. It especially comes to a head when foreigners are involved and xenophobia, which is not considered a bad thing in atavistic cultures like Nepal, come into play.

    The Sherpas believe that they own the mountain. Why? Because its “their turf.”

    Spend a day in any city in Suth Asia and you will see the same sort of behaviour openly displayed. Greed, jealousy, and territorial thinking dominate any coveted asset.


    I have enjoyed your Everest coverage for many years. You really do a great job of mixing both clear, factual reporting and your thoughtful reflection in every post.
    My question has to do with pronunciation. While I read your posts I often wonder about the proper pronunciation for the names and places you mention in your posts. Do you know any resources for how to pronounce the various names all of the Nepali villages, mountains, and people? (ex: villages: Tengboche, Pheriche, etc. mountains: Kangchenjunga, Cho Oyu, Nuptse, Lohtse, etc. names: Tshering, Gyalzen, Lhakpa, etc) Thanks!


    Hello Alan and fellow Everest aficionados,

    Having been a rock climber (technical) for 20yrs, and a self-diagnosed gear whore, I find the equipment and personal gear planning for Everest, a bit fascinating. I’ve followed Chad Kellog’s speed attempts in the past and am hoping he kicks some butt this year.
    So I was looking at the OR site where it lists Chad’s selection of gear.

    Having only limited ice and snow experience, I’m wondering if someone can explain the gear selection. My particular interest is in the selection of crampons listed for him.

    >”Base Camp to Camp 2: YakTrax XTR rubber slip on traction device for running shoes”

    I kind of understand this, he’s going for speed, but is he really doing this section in running shoes?

    >”Camp 2 to Camp 4: Black Diamond Contact crampons
    Camp 4 to Summit: Black Diamond Sabretooth crampons”

    This selection is a real curiosity to me. I’m guessing that it has to do with route conditions for those sections, but I’d assume that the more rugged Sabretooth (12pt) would be the better choice for the Lotse face. The difference in weight is about 115g, the contact being lighter. Other than that, huh? Okay somebody enlighten me.

    And thanks Alan for keeping this updated. It’s a great repository of information if anyone should ever get an itch they can’t scratch (below 26,000 ft).
    Be Safe, Live Long, Climb Hard


      My guess Rick is he is shaving off every gram. The crampon choice has a lot to do with the ice conditions. YakTrax makes sense to me for EBC-C2 and the Sabertooths were what I used the entire way but completely agree with using them above the South Col where it is steeper. Personally I would use the on the Lhotse Face but then again, I was not running 🙂 I think some of the other professional climbers also did these same sections in shoes other than mountaineering boots so it is not completely unheard of.


        Thanks Alan,

        Reading your route description again, I see that the area from the slabs to the south summit is steeper than the Lhotse face by a bit. I guess it actually make sense. That route above the south col is rockier (and steeper) than the face, yes?

        I can’t imagine doing it in anything other than mountaineering boots. Well, I guess I could as long as conditions were right.


    Love your site and blog Alan. It’s very well done and run. I think you do a great service for a lot of people. Top job.

    An interesting read from Russell Brice from Himex that you put up a link to. Unfortunately it seems (to me anyway) to have some of the same tone as of the other teams. What I mean is an understandable yet unfortunate glossing over of the violence and an attempt to find excuses. A little subjective? I guess it’s hard being objective in the middle of an Everest expedition.

    “there were a few rough words uttered by Simone Moro that were not appreciated by the Sherpas, and understandably made them angry.”

    But then again, who wouldn’t swear at someone who’s attached to the line and allegedly very nearly nocks you off while you’re not. Then allegedly tells you off for hanging on to him for dear life and waves a ice axe at you and your colleague?

    “the Sherpas’ response was certainly somewhat over the top and some of their reactions were probably unnecessary.”

    Mmm, yes I guess the masked mob was “somewhat” over the top and “some of their reactions” such as the stoning, death threats, punching and kicking and attempted murder was “probably unnecessary”.


    Alan, in your overview page “Moro/Sherpa Conflict Coverage”, Mike Hamill’s accusations are listed as “first hand report”.
    Not only it is not a “first hand report (a judge would never call Hamill to testify, but Melissa and Chad instead), but also highly manipulative in structure and content. In my opinion it should not even be listed as an opinion piece on your site, since it contains accusations and arguments that are blatantly wrong and some even may have legal consequences.

    This already begins with the manipulative title: “An Unfortunate Event: Inciting Violence on the Lhotse Face”. I hope you make it very clear that what happened on Camp 2 (the “unfortunate event” according to Mike Hamill) has absolute no justification. (Nor is a “keyed radio” a justification for that matter).

    Rather than separating the reports and opinions by professional groups, I would personally find it useful in order to avoid any type of confusion and foster constructive discussion to divide the reports and opinions by

    * Directly Involved Climbers/Sherpa Press Releases and Interviews

    * Real First Hand Reports of Lhotse face and Camp2 events (no reports here of somebody that reports what an unnamed Sherpa or climber has said to him)

    * Opinion pieces on the specific “fight” – event (Lhotse and/or Camp2) and its causes

    * Opinion pieces on the general situation (and future) of climbing on Mt. Everest

    and No listing of opinions that are clearly manipulative in character, even if from professional guides or expedition (co)leaders.


    “I had initially thought it would pass over simply attributed as climbers behaving badly, but with the severity, it seems to have created a serious injury on the Everest industry.”

    How does assault and attempted murder pass over?

    How could anyone looking at this objectively put it simply down to bad behaviour of the victims, which takes all responsibility and liability away from the attackers, in fact justifying their actions?

    This may have caused a serious injury to the Everest industry, but it very nearly caused serious injury or worse to 3 innocent people. It’d put people lives over the industry any day.


      To be clear, I do not condone any of the violence or any of the disrespect. period. Full stop.

      The timing of my thought was on first report of a fight on the Lhotse face and not of the violence at C2.


    Alan Arnette says:
    May 1, 2013 at 8:10 am .Hi Martin, not sure which comments you are disappointed with, but in this post I think the the ones you reference are from AAI Guide from Garrett Madison and they are just as valid as Chad’s in my opinion.

    Alan, really hate to dwell on this subject, and it is going to be my last post concerning this negative situation, but I really want to hear your expert opinion and feedback. I think now, it is safe to say, Garrett Madison’s comments are totally INVALID. He has made a total joke out of himself, clearly acting in self interest and posting false information.


    truly sad to hear abt another people death again.

    now, briefly to sherpa fight incendent. i just come across to point of view from Denis Urubko on his blog giving somewhat sharp truth analyses why this might has happened. very emotional, and without western politically corrected wording. guess it would be unpleasant to those who try to absolve in every possible way violence of sherpas. though google translation is terrible hope it still gives right meaning.


      You can see a manually translated version of Urubko’s opinion piece at this link. I don’t think he will help solve much by calling the Sherpas “pigs”

      Another opinion piece was issued today from IMG Sr. Guide Mike Hammill who arrived at C2 on the 28th (the rest day after the fight) during which time he talked to many up there about what had happened.



        Great blog! I enjoy following all the angles and various adventures, at whatever level. It is always sad to hear of injuries and death. Prayers to all involved. Good on Moro for the heli support.

        Regarding the Urubko piece, while much may be lost in translation, he is very straight forward and the gist is clear. With all his experience, his observations surely must carry significant weight.

        His reference to “pigs” is aimed at the locals who were urinating and exposing their genitals to him and his partner as they approached base camp.

        He also states early on some basic sociological tendencies:

        “Locals, when they’re in crowd ( or group) absolutely lose frameworks of decencies and care. The impunity multiplied by confidence of forces in the «home territory», breaks last restrictions.”

        He follows up with:

        “«to rat» in one hundred small details”, (I.e. news, however accurate, travels fast in tight groups. Reference the attitude shown toward Bolokov and him down valley.)

        He also refers to the ringleaders as “rascals” and calls the group involved in the assault as “The cattle which waved knifes and stones in Camp 2,”. Obviously tying into his theme of group / herd behavior.

        Cheers, Doug


        No, it will not solve much by calling them “pigs”, but in this case it is true. At least Urubko has the courage to call it like he sees it, without any of the “political correctness” that only tends to diffuse the severity of serious situations, and not present them in their real light. That “banana republic” or whatever contract they signed at base camp won’t solve much either. You have essentially had an attempted murder x 3 situation here, and these guys are signing some make believe contract that is supposed to make everyhing OK overnight. Seriously???


          Martin, this type of disrespect is at the root of the issue.


            He disrespected me (or at least I perceived it as such), so we did him. Sounds more like urban gangland than highly paid guides and employees. The disrespect goes both ways. If the attackers had any respect for professional climbers who they don’t earn any money from they would have behaved very differently. The whole thing smells of a power play, that’s worked.


        I did read all the accounts presented here, and honestly, this another report, this time from guide Mike Hammel (who was not present there and obviously arrived at site only next day after and took info from others) looks somewhat biased. there one may find some inaccuracy and contradiction to common sense if you like. for the start he says “ueli descented and grabbed sherpa”. how could he descend if he apparently was below the lead sherpa and yet was unropped? it even difficult imagine that unroped climber would be heading down to “fight” with roped sherpa. such climber would of been insane then. secondly he claims the climbers when traversing were “causing injury”. this statement also looks untrue as the sherpa who got some injury to his face later admitted he just slipped himself on ice causing this injury to himself. further, speaking of events in camp 2, he says, some westerner “landed a first blow against sherpa”. we all know from all other accounts that this westerner was only trying to kick off stone from sherpa hands, and yet again it rather difficult to imagine the guy wanted to start fight against 100-sherpa mob.
        and finaly, no need to speculate here whether were they allowed to climb face or not. they obviously were not prohibited to do so at first place and everyone knows they ascended separately 50 or so meters. aside. the most and perhaps the only bad mistake Simone did was swearing at Sherpa. He is long time there and should have known or predicted what reaction or consequences might be in such case.
        personally, the incindent left me with feeling that it rather team leaders and their sirdars should take large part of responsibility and blame for what happened.


        I’m disappointed in the comments from the senior guides and team leaders. It appears those that have commented so far do little much more than to appease. This is understandable but I don’t think it’s excusable, as what happened should be unacceptable and condemned by those who employ and take customers on the mountain, even if they are so very much reliant on those hired and the smooth running of things. Every comment I’ve read from a team leader etc. has described it as an unfortunate incident, not a terrible act. No condemnation for the attack. Gross glossing over the worst of the violence. I understand that the commercial guides want to get their customers up and down the mountain safely and for that they need the same employees that were part of the masked mob and smooth relations with them. But at what cost? Mob rule. Westerners led the line fixing attempt the day before the violence and friction was already there as a result. It was speculated that some western climbers may try to summit with or behind the line fixing team to the summit but now climbers are commenting that after the violence they dare not. Sad and wrong. If it were the commercial guides’ members who were attacked it would be interesting to see the team leaders’ reactions. But these were independent hot shots, so it seems that’s different. Different rules, different morality.


    Well have to say,have read this blogg for several years,my daughter teaches climbing.As far as Iam concerned the western climbers disrespected the sherpas,even disrespected them in Nepali,climbing fast without oxygen but with no regard to others,Everest and the sherpas will be here forever,respect means everything.Chris


    I followed the link to Himalayan Ascent owner’s blog, as you suggested.
    I read the whole thing and it seems to me quite similar to Garrett Madison’s report, especially in style. I won’t say my opinion again, but this sentence struck me and I cannot refrain myself to copy it here:
    “The fixing team threw rocks at the tent to get the group to come out.”

    So we learn some rocks were thrown, but just to invite people out their tents. May I suggest North Face to equip their tents with doorbells in the future, very useful on higher camps? Ok well sorry, couldn’t refrain.

    I appreciate that you have put together reports from different perspectives, you may want to consider this link as well, even though it’s not an eye witness report, it’s in Russian – or you have an automatic translation:

    thank you


      Max, thank you for the link to the Russian climber’s blog. I found it intriguing, relevant and a rare voice from someone there that doesn’t have vested interests and can, dares to speak their mind. I would love to read a properly translated version as all too often the automatic translation comes up well short.


    In addendum to your previous post in regards to “in the Sherpas defense”.

    I perceive the Western commercial guiding companies and possibly the associated heads of Nepali based trekking agencies entirely have their interests at heart in this one.

    They are entirely propagandizing this situation by using the generalized squeaky-clean image of the Sherpa guiding community to guilt the public and wrongfully victimize those who were assaulted in this uprising. Here is some probable evidence from a dispatch from one of the main guiding companies and it coincides with Chad Kellogg’s report. It also lays out who organized the route fixing and what companies had their Sherpas take part in this assignment. Therefore, if those 16 Sherpas who were fixing the lines were the most probable instigators of this event, then potentially the companies associated with those Sherpas ultimately hold the smoking gun.


    I’ve got video (unreleased) from that day at 6400M of a very large rock being tossed by one human being at another. I also listened and recorded the radio dispatches that afternoon. No one should have the right to toss a rock that can kill or seriously harm another. A woman screaming, men pleading, others on their knees begging? Yes, they should have been more respectful, yes there are all kinds of other issues that go deeper than the incident at C2, but to respond in this manner? I’ve seen 7 year old’s behave better. I’m ashamed to say I am climbing Everest.


    The sad part to this entire account is that the focus on the 2013 climbing will be in this event and not the summits. Uli must not be in any shape to climb mentally or physically if he has abandoned the alpine attempt via a new route after getting his acclimatization rotations in and was getting ready for an early summit. Sounds like the hero of the day as mentioned above was Melissa.


    Wow, this must be the most commented post on Alan’s site.
    I’ve never been higher than 23,000, but know this: at altitude I get super irritable. Things that would make me laugh at sea level might make me pretty mad there. Hence, when I go to altitude now I keep thinking, this is just the altitude, chill out. You would think professional climbers from Europe and Nepal learned this much before me.
    The events sort of reminds me of big marathons. There are world class pros (with or without world class egos), a lot more weekend warriors and a bunch of organizers who need to keep both of those happy. Everest climbing looks similar sans the dedicated organizers.
    Also, funny how the Nepalese collect huge fees, mandate liaisons, yet these liaisons did not sound like played any real role in mediating the resolution.


    Oh, and “elite” climbers who spend a fortune to reach this goal might think about taking their tons of trash off Everest when they leave. I guess litter only matters when it’s your own country? Or does this not matter to climbers whatsoever? Everybody “shares” the mountain and nobody “shares” the cleanup, is that correct? The next bit should look at how 10 tons of trash impacts the climbing community and then look at the sad state of garbage left there from the eyes of the Nepalese. The mountain is a sacred place.


    The western climbing teams are entirely missing the point. And if the western group went on the “fix” the rope that very day, I would question their intent. The mountain is sacred to the Nepalese and the climbing warriors. You have no idea. Their love isn’t about achievement or conquest or a notch on an alpinist’s rope. Pay attention, you all might learn something truly valuable about life and love.



    I am generally fully on board with your comments and blog, but here I think you are way, way off!!!! Your account was solely based on speculation and opinion, like the majority of others, and I think you clearly jumped the gun, again, like everyone else. I hate to say it, but, I never grouped you with the New York Times, but here, you do not leave me a choice. I have held back my comments for a few days to not jump to any conclusions, and see what transpires from eyewitness accounts, and let more opinions flow in before making any judgment calls. Cannot find anything even close to justify the actions of the Sherpas. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE!!!!! Sherpa or no Sherpa, respect or no respect, we are all human, so again, I repeat, NOT. EVEN. CLOSE!!!!! Especially after reading Chad Kellog’s account. Extremely sad to see Ueli Steck leave the mountain, and from what I undersdand, saying that he will never return again. Big words from a world class alpinist at the top of his game. From his posts, one thing is clear, he had a dream, and it was taken away from him, unjustly. That expedition, along with Denis Urubko are the only two expeditions this year that probably still give Everest any cred.

    PEMBA: Extremely, extremely disappointed with your comments!!! You have definitely dropped down a few class levels in my book, and I have always held you in high regard. You were always world class in my book, but now I question that. With comments like that, it is clear that only, and only “commerm” is in your interest, and not alpinism, and your credibililty has dropped down from world class to regional level, as I like to classify it. Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all. I do feel that commerm does have it’s right place in the high mountains, especially the Himalaya. But at the same time, please do not discredit TRUE Alpinists, such as Artur Hajzer.

    Again PEMBA, you are quoted saying, “Every action is a reaction. The sherpas would not go and fight like other punks. You all need to know the reality up there.”

    If anyone knows the reality up there, it is ARTUR HAJZER, and like he stated above, and has been presented in numerous accounts, there was no action whatsoever, that justified that type of a reaction from the Sherpas. A MOB of 75-100, come on!!!

    You (PEMBA) are also referenced above talking to him (ARTUR) about the use of oxygen and being blacklisted off a mountain. Seriously????????? A Sherpa saying someone should be blacklisted off a mountain.????

    The quote is “Sounds like that european climber guy is very stubborn and has no respect of Local Sherpas. He also has been causing trouble with oxygen last year which also deals with others life. ”
    “That guy hardly looks straight and talks to the camera on cbs interview. He is trying to gain his publicity. That guy should be on black list”

    Extremely dissappointed to hear something like that from you. First off, publicity wise, I do not think ARTUR HAJZER needs to do anything as far as publicity goes, even if he stopped climbing today. Feel free to reference his resume, and you will find a true alpinist, not someone who goes up the standard route of Everest 15 times, and proceeds to call himself an alpinist. Standard route on Everest, by today’s standars is NOT even close to alpinism. Oxygen wise, that’s a mute point. If you need oxygen, you do not deserve to be there, PERIOD. Go climb a 6,000-7,000 meter peak.

    ROSS!!!! Take those suggestions to heart!!! Do your homework first before posting and wasting everybodys time with an uneducated post like that. I think everyone on this forum is on a level that they should know who Artur Hajzer is, if not, you shuld probably not be posting and wasting everyone elses time with senseless and uneducated comments. The mountaineering community has received enough embarassment in the last 3 days to last 3 years.

    Good comments MAX!!!!



      Hi Martin, not sure which comments you are disappointed with, but in this post I think the the ones you reference are from AAI Guide from Garrett Madison and they are just as valid as Chad’s in my opinion.