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(Smithsonian Magazine)   Bodies of climbers who die while attempting to climb Mt. Everest are used as c) landmarks (images of bodies in article)   (blogs.smithsonianmag.com) divider line 269
    More: Cool, Mount Everest  
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34965 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Nov 2012 at 5:21 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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kth
2012-11-29 07:58:58 PM  

reverend maynard: Fear_and_Loathing: "Into thin Air", documents it rather nicely as well as a host of other books.

I watched an excellent Everest documentary several years back that was either by National Geographic or just aired by them. It detailed an expedition where people were separated from the group and how they fought to stay alive through the night while others nearby died. It was a mix of interviews with the survivors while also profiling those who died. I Can't remember the name of it. I'm pretty sure it's not Into thin Air. Does anyone know of the doc I'm talking about?
I'd love to watch it again.


It might have been the IMAX movie that Brashears was making at the time of the incident. The movie is interesting: the first and last third are the movie they meant to make, the middle third is them dropping everything and going to help the people higher up on the mountain.
 
2012-11-29 08:00:57 PM  

coco ebert: Canned Tamales: Humans are a funny lot. if I were younger and healthier and human space exploration were more of a reality, I wouldn't mind risking my life that way. I would risk any kind of death to step on a new planet or see extraterrestrial life, if it were possible. In some ways it would be an honor to be the first human eaten by alien animals, and hopefully it would be educational for others.

Yet for some reason I don't even really understand, I think mountain climbers are just about the most stupid and useless fools in the world, doing useless risky things, to get to useless places, to learn nothing because there is nothing there left to learn, and yet managing to wring some kind of bizarre, masturbatory satisfaction out of it. I bet they are incredibly dull people at heart, and probably a bit pretentious as well.

Oh well, it takes all kinds, I guess. And even if they are silly and useless, most of them end up stuck frozen to the sides of mountains where I don't have to deal with them anyway. And if I ever got my wish of space travel but died in launch, maybe my frozen orbiting corpse would look down at their frozen corpses and wave.

/I understand ambition....I just don't understand pointless ambition.

I'm not a climber but I love reading about climbers. I don't think it's masturbatory or bizarre or useless. I think for them it's about the process of climbing. Yes, it's nice to reach the top, but it's not about discovering something new. Instead, it's experiencing the air, the rocks, the climb, the challenge, etc. It's more experiential in some ways than goal-oriented, even though the whole enterprise is driven by the desire to climb a mountain. That's a bit philosophical, but I think the more seasoned climbers who ponder these types of things with more depth argue something similar to that.


I believe the route to any summit is not so much up as within. Upwards to that extreme is only one direction of many to get there; For AT hikers it is North, etc.
 
2012-11-29 08:01:40 PM  
I wonder how many of them were carrying cash when they expired.

*checks airline miles*
 
2012-11-29 08:03:49 PM  
That sure was a lot of commas. Christ.
 
2012-11-29 08:05:44 PM  

Canned Tamales: ...I just don't understand pointless ambition.


"Because it's there!"
Yeah, George Mallory said that... always inspired me, and got me asking "why not?" when I was more adventurous. If you asked me now, why I might want to go to the top of a mountain, it would really be as simple a thought as I just want to see what it looks like from way the fark up there. That'd be my motive.

/hold mah beer
//hey, watch this!
 
2012-11-29 08:05:55 PM  

Canned Tamales: Humans are a funny lot. if I were younger and healthier and human space exploration were more of a reality, I wouldn't mind risking my life that way. I would risk any kind of death to step on a new planet or see extraterrestrial life, if it were possible. In some ways it would be an honor to be the first human eaten by alien animals, and hopefully it would be educational for others.

Yet for some reason I don't even really understand, I think mountain climbers are just about the most stupid and useless fools in the world, doing useless risky things, to get to useless places, to learn nothing because there is nothing there left to learn, and yet managing to wring some kind of bizarre, masturbatory satisfaction out of it. I bet they are incredibly dull people at heart, and probably a bit pretentious as well.

Oh well, it takes all kinds, I guess. And even if they are silly and useless, most of them end up stuck frozen to the sides of mountains where I don't have to deal with them anyway. And if I ever got my wish of space travel but died in launch, maybe my frozen orbiting corpse would look down at their frozen corpses and wave.

/I understand ambition....I just don't understand pointless ambition.


============

I've been saying the same thing for years. At this point, the government of Nepal should declare the thing off limits to anyone except legitimate scientists. Of course that would happen because there is too much money involved.
 
2012-11-29 08:06:03 PM  

Mutt Farkinov: Lollipop165: I have a feeling that many of those who died would gave been pretty proud to have their bodies left up there.

For these types of people, they'd rather go that route than not live and die old in a hospital bed having not done much.

My incredibly intellectually gifted scientist dad keeps on talking about how NASA is considering a program to send aging people on a one way trip to Mars to do studies over there. If it happens, he would gladly sign up.

He's absolutely serious about it.

For some people, that us REAL living.

Really? I'd be willing to bet that every one of those frozen had phenomenal regret for their decision when they were at the end and not a single fark was given about romantic notions of death. Among the things they all shared in common was, "It won't happen to me." Kids on chemo with no hair should be allowed to line the lower trails and falcon punch every climber in the gonads before they get their license to climb.


Painting these people with some broad strokes, are we? I'm seeing a lot of stereotypes in this thread.

As for Lollipop165, go find someone who has had a close relative live with dementia for a long period of time. While you may think your dad is crazy, think about the choice that he's making. He could live out the rest of his life and die the natural method. Sure, he may get a peaceful death and get to say his goodbyes to everyone. There's the risky that his health (mental and/or physical) deteriorates enough that he becomes a burden on yourself or any siblings you may have. Lots of unknown and variables in there. However, he could choose the known option of getting to say good-bye to his loved ones and participate in something he clearly believes in, eliminating any risk of becoming a burden on said loved ones. Does that decision really sound that crazy?
 
2012-11-29 08:07:39 PM  
Apparently mountain climbers are aholes.
 
2012-11-29 08:18:20 PM  
On the North Face of the Eigerwand, in the '50s, there was the body of an Italian climber that dangled from a rope for 2 or 3 years. You could sit in the comfort of your hotel room in Kleine Scheidegg, drink in hand and gaze ghoulishly through your telescope at his swaying dessicated body, until Swiss spoilsports finally cut him down.

/always wanted to climb the Eiger
 
2012-11-29 08:18:46 PM  

vernonFL: I try to keep myself out of places called "The Death Zone"


i55.photobucket.com 
The ICE... is going to BREAK!!
 
2012-11-29 08:20:00 PM  

special20: Canned Tamales: ...I just don't understand pointless ambition.

"Because it's there!"
Yeah, George Mallory said that... always inspired me, and got me asking "why not?" when I was more adventurous. If you asked me now, why I might want to go to the top of a mountain, it would really be as simple a thought as I just want to see what it looks like from way the fark up there. That'd be my motive.

/hold mah beer
//hey, watch this!


Any adventure really needs no more inspiration than that of adventure. Being acutely in the moment, paying attention, wandering, wondering why you are do these things, camaraderie, curiosity about yourself as well as your world...
I am always somewhat disappointed by the view at any sought out vista- it becomes quite clear that the summit is not the goal.
 
2012-11-29 08:20:33 PM  

Begoggle: vernonFL: I try to keep myself out of places called "The Death Zone"

[i55.photobucket.com image 330x224] 
The ICE... is going to BREAK!!


Walken in a winter wonderland?
 
2012-11-29 08:21:17 PM  
67.18.219.83
 
2012-11-29 08:21:27 PM  

Fissile: Canned Tamales: Humans are a funny lot. if I were younger and healthier and human space exploration were more of a reality, I wouldn't mind risking my life that way. I would risk any kind of death to step on a new planet or see extraterrestrial life, if it were possible. In some ways it would be an honor to be the first human eaten by alien animals, and hopefully it would be educational for others.

Yet for some reason I don't even really understand, I think mountain climbers are just about the most stupid and useless fools in the world, doing useless risky things, to get to useless places, to learn nothing because there is nothing there left to learn, and yet managing to wring some kind of bizarre, masturbatory satisfaction out of it. I bet they are incredibly dull people at heart, and probably a bit pretentious as well.

Oh well, it takes all kinds, I guess. And even if they are silly and useless, most of them end up stuck frozen to the sides of mountains where I don't have to deal with them anyway. And if I ever got my wish of space travel but died in launch, maybe my frozen orbiting corpse would look down at their frozen corpses and wave.

/I understand ambition....I just don't understand pointless ambition.

============

I've been saying the same thing for years. At this point, the government of Nepal should declare the thing off limits to anyone except legitimate scientists. Of course that would happen because there is too much money involved.


The first guy mentioned on the list, David Sharp, was passed by the first double amputee to summit Everest (Mark Inglis) on his ascent. However, Inglis and his team decided that Sharp was beyond saving and decided to continue with his ascent, as opposed to abandoning it for the sake of possibly saving Mr. Sharp. I'll let you read about what exactly happened or has been stated that happened, but one could make the argument that his ambition to become the first double amputee to summit Everest caused him to leave a man, who may have been rescuable, for dead.

Still feel like being the first to do something isn't a "pointless" ambition?
 
2012-11-29 08:21:50 PM  

thisiszombocom: vernonFL: I try to keep myself out of places called "The Death Zone"

How about Danger Zones? Are they ok?


coreydemoss.files.wordpress.com

Are they not?
 
2012-11-29 08:23:04 PM  
"His body eventually froze in place, rendering him unable to move but still alive"

Why was this never on a "100 ways to die"
 
2012-11-29 08:27:38 PM  

Bacontastesgood: Founder of Intrade is one of those bodies. I don't know if he's a marker but his corpse is like 50m from the summit. Left behind not only a company, but his wife and three young kids.


Those are my favorite. Like Rob Hall: "Gee, I have a pregnant wife, so I'm going to go climb a really big farking rock that A) I've already climbed four times and B) will still be there after my child is grown up and doesn't need her dad so much any more. What could possibly go wrong?"

And yes, I know it was because he was going back to help another climber that disobeyed the order to turn around because it was past the cutoff time. Doesn't mean that there were two other people whose lives he should have put first.
 
2012-11-29 08:27:54 PM  
These fellas have an interesting story too.
Touching the Void
/it's about the two British lads who both nearly periled in the Andes.
 
2012-11-29 08:33:52 PM  
This insufferable cock nearly made Everest beyond the limit unwatchable. Crappy crappy human.

media.super.cz
 
2012-11-29 08:36:07 PM  

pissedoffmick: This insufferable cock nearly made Everest beyond the limit unwatchable. Crappy crappy human.

[media.super.cz image 538x693]


THIS

He single handily made me hate reality tv
 
2012-11-29 08:50:26 PM  
so I take it its to much effort to bring them back down?
 
2012-11-29 08:54:23 PM  
$25,000-$40,000 to blow on this meaningless ego trip, not counting your gear and prior training and other expeditions?

No sympathy, derpsicle.
 
2012-11-29 08:57:45 PM  
Wow, when global warming starts thawing the dead bodies out, Everest is going to STINK.
 
2012-11-29 08:57:47 PM  

lordjupiter: $25,000-$40,000 to blow on this meaningless ego trip, not counting your gear and prior training and other expeditions?


It's cheaper if you're an actual climber and don't need someone to guide you up there. Also actual climbers can just avoid the busy routes, well the busy route up from Nepal. The next busiest route is nowhere near as busy.
 
2012-11-29 09:01:46 PM  

Doogled: but one could make the argument that his ambition to become the first double amputee to summit Everest caused him to leave a man, who may have been rescuable, for dead.


It's an argument a lot of full time climbers have made, that passing someone on the way up and not assisting is indefensible. You can always try for the summit again a few days later. The person may not have but a few hours left if you don't help them. And there's a long history of climbers giving up climbs to save someone. Plenty of climbers who've gone back to a mountain because the previous time they ended up not making it to the summit because they had to help save someone and then the weather got bad or the season ended.
 
2012-11-29 09:02:58 PM  
Kanemano: If each climber picked up a bone and an empty O2 Bottle on the way down the mountain would be clean

Aren't the bodies too cold to decompose at a normal rate?
 
2012-11-29 09:06:12 PM  

DrRatchet: Both Aydin Irmak and Lincoln Hall were left for dead by climbers on the way to the summit, only to be rescued (and even walk down) by others later. Beck Weathers was also prematurly given up for dead. "Well, he's alive and breathing, but ahhh he'll probably die and I have a summet to make" strikes me as a little selfish, but I am not a climber.


It's physically impossible for all but perhaps a few sherpas to carry a body down from the dead zone. It's all most climbers can do to keep one foot in front of the other. The only way you can save a climber high on Everest is to convince them to turn around before they are too drained and hypoxic to make it on their own, and for most of them they must have enough O2 left to get back to high camp.
 
2012-11-29 09:15:27 PM  

robodog: The only way you can save a climber high on Everest is to convince them to turn around before they are too drained and hypoxic to make it on their own, and for most of them they must have enough O2 left to get back to high camp.


A lot of ITGs here don't seem to get that.

"If -I- were up on that mountain, I would have slung that guy and his gear over my shoulder and carried him down MYSELF!
 
2012-11-29 09:17:08 PM  

Doogled: Mutt Farkinov: Lollipop165: I have a feeling that many of those who died would gave been pretty proud to have their bodies left up there.

For these types of people, they'd rather go that route than not live and die old in a hospital bed having not done much.

My incredibly intellectually gifted scientist dad keeps on talking about how NASA is considering a program to send aging people on a one way trip to Mars to do studies over there. If it happens, he would gladly sign up.

He's absolutely serious about it.

For some people, that us REAL living.

Really? I'd be willing to bet that every one of those frozen had phenomenal regret for their decision when they were at the end and not a single fark was given about romantic notions of death. Among the things they all shared in common was, "It won't happen to me." Kids on chemo with no hair should be allowed to line the lower trails and falcon punch every climber in the gonads before they get their license to climb.

Painting these people with some broad strokes, are we? I'm seeing a lot of stereotypes in this thread.

As for Lollipop165, go find someone who has had a close relative live with dementia for a long period of time. While you may think your dad is crazy, think about the choice that he's making. He could live out the rest of his life and die the natural method. Sure, he may get a peaceful death and get to say his goodbyes to everyone. There's the risky that his health (mental and/or physical) deteriorates enough that he becomes a burden on yourself or any siblings you may have. Lots of unknown and variables in there. However, he could choose the known option of getting to say good-bye to his loved ones and participate in something he clearly believes in, eliminating any risk of becoming a burden on said loved ones. Does that decision really sound that crazy?


I'm not sure what you read in Lollipop 165's post, but it does seem we both read something different in it. It's not my business what another person does with their life and if they end it doing something arguably foolish is their own business. Go ahead and Google Ranger Nick Hall Mt. Ranier, though
 
2012-11-29 09:18:56 PM  

lordargent: Kanemano: If each climber picked up a bone and an empty O2 Bottle on the way down the mountain would be clean

Aren't the bodies too cold to decompose at a normal rate?


it looks like anything exposed is stripped to the bone, no idea about the rest of the tissue. The air temp seems to range between -30 and -2 F, and thw wind... the actual jet stream often blows over the Himalayan mountains, and apparently the wind speed on everest might get up to 175mph, although most climbers wait until the wind is below 35mph to summit.

www.nws.noaa.gov
 
2012-11-29 09:21:48 PM  
I'm drawn to mountain sports...skiing and mountain biking. I'm not a climber, but if I were I don't think I'd ever climb a mountain that I wouldn't have a good chance of surviving a night on if I got tired or lost.
 
2012-11-29 09:27:07 PM  

Mutt Farkinov: Doogled: Mutt Farkinov: Lollipop165: I have a feeling that many of those who died would gave been pretty proud to have their bodies left up there.

For these types of people, they'd rather go that route than not live and die old in a hospital bed having not done much.

My incredibly intellectually gifted scientist dad keeps on talking about how NASA is considering a program to send aging people on a one way trip to Mars to do studies over there. If it happens, he would gladly sign up.

He's absolutely serious about it.

For some people, that us REAL living.

Really? I'd be willing to bet that every one of those frozen had phenomenal regret for their decision when they were at the end and not a single fark was given about romantic notions of death. Among the things they all shared in common was, "It won't happen to me." Kids on chemo with no hair should be allowed to line the lower trails and falcon punch every climber in the gonads before they get their license to climb.

Painting these people with some broad strokes, are we? I'm seeing a lot of stereotypes in this thread.

As for Lollipop165, go find someone who has had a close relative live with dementia for a long period of time. While you may think your dad is crazy, think about the choice that he's making. He could live out the rest of his life and die the natural method. Sure, he may get a peaceful death and get to say his goodbyes to everyone. There's the risky that his health (mental and/or physical) deteriorates enough that he becomes a burden on yourself or any siblings you may have. Lots of unknown and variables in there. However, he could choose the known option of getting to say good-bye to his loved ones and participate in something he clearly believes in, eliminating any risk of becoming a burden on said loved ones. Does that decision really sound that crazy?

I'm not sure what you read in Lollipop 165's post, but it does seem we both read something different in it. It's not my business w ...


Sorry, fat fingers and typing on a tablet...it's not my business to tell someone they can't risk their life for a purely elective challenge, but do a google search for Ranger Nick Hall and you might read some evidence that their thrill sometimes costs someone else's life.

The primal drive to live is not necessarily painting with a broad brush, nor would it be to say that said drive is more powerful at the time of someone's mortality than a romanticized concept of, "at least I am dying doing something I love."
 
2012-11-29 09:28:00 PM  
George Mallory's remains were largely intact when they were found 75 years after his death. 
 
2012-11-29 09:28:40 PM  

kth: reverend maynard: Fear_and_Loathing: "Into thin Air", documents it rather nicely as well as a host of other books.

I watched an excellent Everest documentary several years back that was either by National Geographic or just aired by them. It detailed an expedition where people were separated from the group and how they fought to stay alive through the night while others nearby died. It was a mix of interviews with the survivors while also profiling those who died. I Can't remember the name of it. I'm pretty sure it's not Into thin Air. Does anyone know of the doc I'm talking about?
I'd love to watch it again.

It might have been the IMAX movie that Brashears was making at the time of the incident. The movie is interesting: the first and last third are the movie they meant to make, the middle third is them dropping everything and going to help the people higher up on the mountain.


Don't think that's it, but thanks all the same. It looks interesting as well and I plan on watching it. I found it here on vimeo if anyone else is interested.
 
2012-11-29 09:33:01 PM  

Fear_and_Loathing: George Mallory's remains were largely intact when they were found 75 years after his death.


I still don't know how they found the injury on his forehead, when his head was well buried in the shale....
 
2012-11-29 09:34:17 PM  

Doogled: Fissile: Canned Tamales: Humans are a funny lot. if I were younger and healthier and human space exploration were more of a reality, I wouldn't mind risking my life that way. I would risk any kind of death to step on a new planet or see extraterrestrial life, if it were possible. In some ways it would be an honor to be the first human eaten by alien animals, and hopefully it would be educational for others.

Yet for some reason I don't even really understand, I think mountain climbers are just about the most stupid and useless fools in the world, doing useless risky things, to get to useless places, to learn nothing because there is nothing there left to learn, and yet managing to wring some kind of bizarre, masturbatory satisfaction out of it. I bet they are incredibly dull people at heart, and probably a bit pretentious as well.

Oh well, it takes all kinds, I guess. And even if they are silly and useless, most of them end up stuck frozen to the sides of mountains where I don't have to deal with them anyway. And if I ever got my wish of space travel but died in launch, maybe my frozen orbiting corpse would look down at their frozen corpses and wave.

/I understand ambition....I just don't understand pointless ambition.

============

I've been saying the same thing for years. At this point, the government of Nepal should declare the thing off limits to anyone except legitimate scientists. Of course that would happen because there is too much money involved.

The first guy mentioned on the list, David Sharp, was passed by the first double amputee to summit Everest (Mark Inglis) on his ascent. However, Inglis and his team decided that Sharp was beyond saving and decided to continue with his ascent, as opposed to abandoning it for the sake of possibly saving Mr. Sharp. I'll let you read about what exactly happened or has been stated that happened, but one could make the argument that his ambition to become the first double amputee to summit Everest caused h ...


Actually, I was saying that I DO in fact think that being "first" just to be first, or taking unnecessary risks for no reason IS pretty much pointless. Even though there are some things that I find interesting enough to try, I would actually hope there would be a greater reason for doing them than "just because", or for some minor internal perspective shift that would never benefit anyone or achieve anything.

Personally, I couldn't give two shiats what some douchebag amputee chooses to do to feel all powerful and cool and empowered or whatever the fark. On the one hand, Sharp knew the risks, and has no right to expect others to save him. On the other, the amputee and his crew might have saved a life but didn't. In almost any other situation, that would make him a complete douchebag, and I don't think his ambitions or achievements change that assessment much..

Sounds like a couple of absolutely, completely, and totally useless wastes of air to me, but then, I'm "not a climber", and I don't find their idiotic quests interesting at all except in a morbidly curious sense, like watching lemmings jump to their deaths.
 
2012-11-29 09:35:49 PM  
images.nationalgeographic.com 

Ummm... Hi, guyz. Over here! Been waiting a long time.
 
2012-11-29 09:36:28 PM  

octopied: Fear_and_Loathing: George Mallory's remains were largely intact when they were found 75 years after his death.

I still don't know how they found the injury on his forehead, when his head was well buried in the shale....


www.rei.com
 
2012-11-29 09:38:34 PM  

Thisbymaster: 1 in 4 people die on mount Everest. Well that is if you are not one of the native people who can climb it without a second thought.


So there are 1.5 billion people dead on Mt Everest?
 
2012-11-29 09:38:34 PM  

Spanky_McFarksalot: so I take it its to much effort to bring them back down?


I think it probably focuses the mind of the current climbers, reminding them that this is a very serious game they're engaged in. So, leaving them there probably serves a safety purpose.
 
2012-11-29 09:42:40 PM  
7minutemiles.com
 
2012-11-29 09:48:07 PM  
Sherpas are very, very superstitious/religious/wary of the dead. They are not, in a general sense, willing to be part of any operation that involves moving the dead. There are other aspects of Sherpa culture involved with sacrifices made (in terms of behavior, not....living things) that are done to appease the mountains. Essentially, what I understand, is that the Sherpas believe that if you piss off the mountain, you die, and they don't want to further anger the mountain by trying to take you back. Anyone who knows otherwise, jump in.

I understand mountain climbing. I live in Colorado, and I regularly head out alone to camp out and climb one. It's an amazing experience to be on a summit.

That being said, I'm not reckless or stupid. If I'm going alone, I tend to stick to well-traveled routes. I always carry a GPS communicator. People know my routes. Mountains are no joke, and I'm very much aware of the ones that are beyond my abilities. A lot of people die in the mountains. That being said, I have ZERO interest in climbing Everest. The commercialization of the climb means that basically anyone with enough money is allowed on the mountain, with the end result being many, many people that are waaaaayyyyy beyond their limit. They end up limping along because they pay for the support services - how many of these people would actually be able to make it up (and down!!) under their own steam, without supplemental oxygen and Sherpa support?

I know my limits. There's a reason I stick to class III climbs. I have no business being beyond that, and I'm not willing to take stupid risks just to summit a mountain. I've turned back before, and have never regretted it.
 
2012-11-29 09:54:35 PM  

netringer: [images.nationalgeographic.com image 600x398] 

Ummm... Hi, guyz. Over here! Been waiting a long time.


Now THAT would be the ultimate...

"Oh, you climbed Everest as an amputee? Well, aren't you special! Let me tell you about how I was the first to do it with no clothes..."
 
2012-11-29 09:55:56 PM  
I'd hit it!
 
2012-11-29 09:56:27 PM  

Mutt Farkinov: netringer: [images.nationalgeographic.com image 600x398] 

Ummm... Hi, guyz. Over here! Been waiting a long time.

Now THAT would be the ultimate...

"Oh, you climbed Everest as an amputee? Well, aren't you special! Let me tell you about how I was the first to do it with no clothes..."


Plus if you we're going to freeze and die, you could do it in a manner that forces everyone on the trail to look at your junk for the rest of time.
 
2012-11-29 09:58:17 PM  
ts2.mm.bing.net

Death isn't the handicap it used to be in the olden
days. It doesn't screw your career up like it used to.
 
2012-11-29 10:02:23 PM  

Spanky_McFarksalot: so I take it its to much effort to bring them back down?


More likely it's too expensive. To get even one body down from that altitude you'd need a dedicated team, probably 4 climbers minimum, plus support staff at base camp, tents, ropes and climbing gear, hundreds of O2 bottles, climbing permits, 6 weeks worth of food for everyone, etc. The cost would be $100k at least. And worst of all you'd be risking the lives of the climbers doing the work in the process.
 
2012-11-29 10:04:17 PM  

Canned Tamales: Canned Tamales: Humans are a funny lot. if I were younger and healthier and human space exploration were more of a reality, I wouldn't mind risking my life that way. I would risk any kind of death to step on a new planet or see extraterrestrial life, if it were possible. In some ways it would be an honor to be the first human eaten by alien animals, and hopefully it would be educational for others.

Yet for some reason I don't even really understand, I think mountain climbers are just about the most stupid and useless fools in the world, doing useless risky things, to get to useless places, to learn nothing because there is nothing there left to learn, and yet managing to wring some kind of bizarre, masturbatory satisfaction out of it. I bet they are incredibly dull people at heart, and probably a bit pretentious as well.

Oh well, it takes all kinds, I guess. And even if they are silly and useless, most of them end up stuck frozen to the sides of mountains where I don't have to deal with them anyway. And if I ever got my wish of space travel but died in launch, maybe my frozen orbiting corpse would look down at their frozen corpses and wave.

/I understand ambition....I just don't understand pointless ambition.


So...you're calling all mountain climbers useless risk takers? I hike rather steep mountains for exercise and fun (and most of Everest is hiking, it just heavily utilizes climbing equipment because of poor traction in the snow). Right now hiking mountains is a fairly safe and exciting sport in my neck of the woods and the benefits generally outweigh the risks. So long as a person is fairly fit and conditioned for their respective hike and has the proper equipment, sore muscles are the major risk factor. And, yes, I do take pleasure in completing a technical hike/climb on a relatively mean looking mountain when I know most humans can't be troubled to get off their asses to take a walk.

If you think all risk taking is stupid, then most exercise is off the books, but consider that being fat, sedentary and generally life-avoidant increases one's risks of all sorts of nasty diseases as well.

There are indeed limits to my risk-taking, generally whenever the risks of an activity far outweigh its benefits, so no, I never want to hike Everest. It's just stupid to lump all mountain climbers/hikers/outdoor enthusiasts together.
 
2012-11-29 10:06:29 PM  

moxiecola: Sherpas are very, very superstitious/religious/wary of the dead. They are not, in a general sense, willing to be part of any operation that involves moving the dead. There are other aspects of Sherpa culture involved with sacrifices made (in terms of behavior, not....living things) that are done to appease the mountains. Essentially, what I understand, is that the Sherpas believe that if you piss off the mountain, you die, and they don't want to further anger the mountain by trying to take you back. Anyone who knows otherwise, jump in.

I understand mountain climbing. I live in Colorado, and I regularly head out alone to camp out and climb one. It's an amazing experience to be on a summit.

That being said, I'm not reckless or stupid. If I'm going alone, I tend to stick to well-traveled routes. I always carry a GPS communicator. People know my routes. Mountains are no joke, and I'm very much aware of the ones that are beyond my abilities. A lot of people die in the mountains. That being said, I have ZERO interest in climbing Everest. The commercialization of the climb means that basically anyone with enough money is allowed on the mountain, with the end result being many, many people that are waaaaayyyyy beyond their limit. They end up limping along because they pay for the support services - how many of these people would actually be able to make it up (and down!!) under their own steam, without supplemental oxygen and Sherpa support?

I know my limits. There's a reason I stick to class III climbs. I have no business being beyond that, and I'm not willing to take stupid risks just to summit a mountain. I've turned back before, and have never regretted it.


I hear you on the no regrets, the first time I climbed Whitney I became hypoxic after eating dinner (digestion takes oxygen away from the brain) and had to descend to below the tree line. It turned out it was probably very fortunate because while climbing down we came across a father and two sons who were in shorts and tshirts (it was in the mid to low 30's) without proper boots or a light. They were stuck at a technical section of the trail. We lit up the section with our headlamps and a couple spare flashlights and let them keep the lights. Despite not summiting that trip it's still one of my favorite hikes.
 
2012-11-29 10:09:21 PM  

Mutt Farkinov: Mutt Farkinov:
Now THAT would be the ultimate...

"Oh, you climbed Everest as an amputee? Well, aren't you special! Let me tell you about how I was the first to do it with no clothes..."

Plus if you we're going to freeze and die, you could do it in a manner that forces everyone on the trail to look at your junk for the rest of time.


As I remember the story, when he was first discovered and nobody realized how old he was, the first thing some wisenheimer did was chop off his willie.
 
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