August 5, 2008

LA Climber Among K2 Survivors

On August 1, 2008, Hermosa Beach climber Nicholas Rice awoke after a freezing night at Camp IV and made his way to just below the “Bottleneck”. Rice, 23, was attempting to climb K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, widely considered one of the world’s most difficult summit (and one of the most deadly) (more…)

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March 26, 2008

Off to Everest…

Bishop-area guide and climber Kurt Wedberg is guiding a client up Everest via the south approach this year. You can follow their progress at the IMG Website, and also the personal blog of Kurt’s client, Michael Andrews.

This looks like a really unlucky year to be paying the usual fortune for an Everest bid. Civil war in Nepal has threatened to close off south-side access, and the Chinese government has apparently closed the entire north side of the mountain as part of an Olympics promotion stunt (they want to carry the torch to the summit). Just to add to the mix, China is reportedly pressuring Nepal to close the south side of the mountain as well. I guess they need the whole mountain to themselves for the torch ceremony?

Sounds like it will be an interested time on the world’s highest peak—but then again, it always is.

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March 18, 2008

8000m Crime

The Alpinist’s web site is running an excerpt from High Crimes: the Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed by Michael Kodas. High Crimes documents the shocking but very real emergence of theft as yet another deadly threat climbers must face on 8000 meter peaks. You’ve probably heard about the ‘borrowing’ of oxygen bottles on Everest and similar tales, but the depth of the crime on Everest and other big peaks (including K2!) is truly astonishing (more…)

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January 22, 2008

K2 Expedition Video in HD

NBC has an unusually good online video of a K2 expedition—the ‘Shared Summits’ attempt, which was captured in Hi-Def.

Hi-Definition footage is really changing how I think of television. Previous to the technology, you’d need a virtual army to take a 35mm Panavision camera on a trip like this. Now, with tiny HD cameras, even a small expedition can return with theater-quality video that gives the viewer a vastly more real experience.

That makes it possible for us to see video like this: a fast-and-light team trying for a new route up one of the world’s most dangerous and deadly peaks.

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January 11, 2008

“I am a Lucky Man…”

“I am a lucky man,” Hillary told an interviewer after the Everest climb. “I have had a dream and it has come true, and that is not a thing that happens often to men.”

National Geographic has put together a Photo tribute to the life of Sir Edmund Hillary.

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January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008)

Few goals captured the imagination like the first ascent of Mount Everest, at 29,035′ the highest point on Earth. Early attempts to climb Everest were turned back with a vehemence than soon had many believing the mountain could not be climbed. And then, in May of 1953, a New Zealander named Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay became the first to stand atop Everest’s summit (more…)

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May 30, 2006

Lincoln Hall Survives Everest

It has become another ‘bad’ season on Everest—fifteen climbers dead so far, including skier Tomas Olsson, who was skiing the mountain’s north face.

And then this: following a successful summit bid, climber Lincoln Hall collapsed around 8800 meters, struck by cerebral edema, one of the deadliest of the many high-altitude disorders.

Sherpas tried for nine hours to get him off the upper mountain, but eventually gave up for their own safety. Hall was left on the mountain, and word was sent to his family and to his native Australia that he had perished.

Seven a.m. the next morning: climbers on the way to Everest’s summit found Hall alive. His first words were reportedly, “I imagine you are surprised to see me here.”

Miraculously, Hall had survived a night alone on Everest. With the aid of fresh sherpas, he was assisted down the mountain to base camp, where, aside from frostbite, he quickly recovered.

It is strange, isn’t it, to read these stories? Every year, Everest’s call lures climbers to the deaths, and still they come.

If the opportunity came for you to go to Everest, would you be able to resist? Would you go, but tell yourself (as writer John Krakauer did) you’re only going to climb a little way above base camp? Or would you take your best shot, come what may?

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