Everest Bodies

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  • Everest Bodies
  • Premier Icon csb
    Subscriber

    Everest can’t be that sacred to the Nepalese if they’re willing to let it be littered with the detritus of such egocentric human endeavours. Their gods must be livid.

    I agree Everest has become a sad place.

    Marin
    Member

    I think that hopefully we would all choose to help our fellow dying man or woman in the circumstance. However the size and scale of Everest is hard to comprehend when looking at it in the flesh so to speak. If ascending then yes I’d like to think we would all stop and help. If descending and having run low or out of oxygen and suffering from the onset of HACE or PACE and barely managing to keep yourself alive the answer may be very different. Such judgement calls I believe cannot be made whilst sitting at home. Presumably we all like to think we would do the right thing but the answer could only be found out if you were in the hot seat on the mountain.

    matther01
    Member

    Truly shocking. Had never realised so many souls had perished up there or that their bodies had never made it home or been buried properly.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Member

    Marin – I don’t think you can criticise anybody for not attempting a rescue on their own descent. However I do have an issue with those passing by on the way up.

    It was a reality in our family my dad has been out many times over the last 25 years when we were young it was our main concern…the last time he was out there was 7 years ago and that was to base camp…he was 73 years old at the time…hes now 80 and wants to go again…its his passion can we stop him no…he has lost many friends mountaineering/climbing it goes with the territory…whenever he speaks about past friends they are always so highly thought of its like they were hero’s…which I suppose they were…

    Marin
    Member

    I’m not criticising anyone for actions taken just pointing out that its hard to realistically say what you, I, or anyone would do if in the hot seat on the mountainside. Having met a few organised commercial climbing groups in the Himalayas I would rate the chances of them attempting to rescue you or me as very low indeed.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    aracer – Member
    would you happily pay tens of thousands in order to make an attempt on the summit but abandon it in order to try and save somebody’s life? Because for me that would be the reality – I don’t think reaching the summit could be so important. Clearly for most people who go up the summit is more important than it would be for me…

    Same for me. Despite the fact I am not in least brave – I couldn’t leave someone there. Probably because the thought I could have done something would haunt me it I did nothing.

    IanMunro
    Member

    Here’s the thing: very normal & decent people attempt Everest, some very normal & decent people become so disorientated that they make terrible decisions. I wouldn’t want to be in that environment where such a thing is possible – it disgusts me. So, I wouldn’t go. Everest is a sad place for me, a place where good people can & do do terrible things/are forced to have to make awful choices. Choices in any normal environment would never be considered.

    No thanks. I’d rather not be faced with such grimness. The price is too high.

    My thoughts exactly.

    mattsccm
    Member

    “There is no amount of money which would stop me helping someone live, no matter how slim their chances. I don’t know how anyone can live with themselves doing anything else.”

    And you have been at 8000 metres+ on Everest I assume.
    Nope?
    Then how about qualifying things a touch.
    The reason why I suggested that this thread avoid the moral side is that the world is filled with those who have brilliant things to say (they think) without first hand experience of the situation.
    Of course I do apologise if I am posting to a experienced 8000 metre climber who has had things go terribly wrong.

    Seems most people would step over some one in the street. Let alone up Everest…

    example 1

    example 2

    example 3

    Could go on. How many thousands of examples do you want of humans in everyday situations ignoring another human in need? It’s not nothing to do with mountains.

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Subscriber

    Is this only a problem on Everest? Will there be as trickle down of this practice to lower altitudes where people end up stepping over bodies on Mt Blanc?

    ji
    Member

    Interesting article on the wider issue of people climbing Everest.

    Here

    robdob
    Member

    “There is no amount of money which would stop me helping someone live, no matter how slim their chances. I don’t know how anyone can live with themselves doing anything else.”
    And you have been at 8000 metres+ on Everest I assume.
    Nope?
    Then how about qualifying things a touch.
    The reason why I suggested that this thread avoid the moral side is that the world is filled with those who have brilliant things to say (they think) without first hand experience of the situation.
    Of course I do apologise if I am posting to a experienced 8000 metre climber who has had things go terribly wrong.

    Maybe that’s where we differ then. I’d rather die trying than not bother to help.

    marcus7
    Member

    interesting thread, a young lad a few doors down in training for a Everest attempt, young as in would be the youngest from the UK if he did it, his mum is a taxi driver and she was telling me all about him being sponsored by cammel laird and others, I was considering sponsoring him myself but now am not so sure. to be honest I’ve not met him so don’t know what he is like but I really do hope he gets back safe regardless of what happens.

    Climbers tend to be a different breed, capable of stepping over their own dying mothers just to summit the stairs

    Really, no. But Everest aspirants do seem a bit special. There are cocks in all walks of life, even cycling.

    athgray
    Member

    “I’d rather die trying than not bother to help”.Thats a bold statement rob, and one I find hard to believe.
    Bear in mind that the human body is not developed to survive above 8,000m. Your body begins to shut down. Never been higher than 6,000m but even that is exhausting. Your mental faculties can also start packing in.
    I would like to think that if I saw someone dying but could not help, I may spend time with them then turn back, but would not like to face the moral dilema in that situation so I would never go.

    Many Everest aspirants will not be particularly capable climbers and will almost certainly not know each other
    prior to the expedition. Would you be prepared to die for a complete stranger. I would not. Much rather climb with friends.

    Premier Icon WEJ
    Subscriber

    Anyone can climb Everest.

    Doesn’t the photos prove otherwise?

    In my experience, (2 Himalayan expeditions in the 90’s, one of which was to Everest) your sense of acceptable risk changes as soon as you get off the plane in Kathmandu, and then significantly changes again as you climb above base camp.

    A friend, Mike Rheinberger, died on an Everest. An experienced mountaineer, he’d been on Everest many times, but failed to summit. The last time, he took until dusk to reach the top. He would have known that this far too late to descend safely and had to bivi about 30M below the Summit. He died sometime during the following day, having not been able to descend much further.

    He would have known the risks involved, and probably realised during the afternoon on the way to the summit that he was unlikely to return safely. I’m sure he knew that rescue was unlikely, and that he would not want anyone to risk their own safety to remove his body.

    Removing the bodies from most of the mountain is virtually impossible, and, in my view, not worth the huge risk in trying to do so.

    Walking past another climber who is clearly struggling is unforgivable, but I can see how a combination of someone who is focused on the climb, lack of oxygen and severe tiredness can lead them to make the bizarre decisions of not helping another human being in need.

    natrix
    Member

    To be certain of rescue you need to be on the hill with a Royal Marines team.

    There again, they might just shoot you (and video it as well)………

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    we’re all just in armchairs speculating, we say what we think we’d do in that situation, but none of us know for sure. If you think you do, then youre kidding yourself.

    /end thread

    I couldn’t walk past someone in big trouble on the way up on summit day.

    But I can see how you make the decision not to stop and try to help someone in big trouble when you are on the way down, and yourself on the ragged edge of your endurance, with no spare oxygen, clothing or energy.

    avdave2
    Member

    I couldn’t walk past someone in big trouble on the way up on summit day.

    But you can happily spend enough money to save any number of lives on a toy to play in the woods?

    That’s not a personal criticism – we all do it every day, people are dying for a lack of clean water which we could pretty easily fix given the will and the money.
    When you climb Everest you do it in the full knowledge that the death rate is around 10% and that the chances of being helped if you get in trouble are pretty low. The reality is that if people did try to help the death rate might well increase.

    ti_pin_man – Member
    So much armchair speculation as always…

    …we’re all just in armchairs speculating, we say what we think we’d do in that situation, but none of us know for sure. If you think you do, then youre kidding yourself.

    /end thread

    Two pretty categorical posts that seem to be saying, STFU because you haven’t been there and you don’t know. An interesting logic. Does that mean that as a climber who has not gone beyond 15,000ft I cannot comment on mountaineering ethics beyond 20,000ft or perhaps a judge/lawmaker should not pass judgment or make rules regarding murder unless they have experience of murder (murederer or victim) themselves.

    We would have v few laws and a very limited body of philosophy and ethics is we all followed your reasoning. Thank goodness that we dont!

    Or is “/end thread” the polite way of saying, “I’m right, you’re wrong, STFU the lot of you.”?

    True – and if I’m setting out on summit day on Everest, you can assume I’ve already spunked many thousands getting there and getting kitted up. Obviously the whole exercise, like buying a bling bike, can’t be justified at all in those terms. Very little leisure activity can be.

    However, people buy cars, bikes, wine, beer, go on foreign holidays, install Sky TV, while people die nasty, preventable deaths all over the world.

    So, once we’re reconciled that pretty much all people in developed countries are inherently selfish with money, you then deal with the immediacy of seeing someone dying in front of you while you’re out adventuring, and how you respond.

    I understand that stepping over a dying climber so I can realise my hypothetical dream of climbing Everest is on a fundamental level no worse than any number of deaths I could have already prevented during my comfortable lifetime, but it still requires a response there and then.

    So I’d stop on the way up, on the grounds that a life could be saved without necessarily imperilling mine, and possibly not on the way down, on the grounds that an attempt to save a striken climber would most likely end up with two deaths, not one.

    Irrational creatures, aren’t we?

    klumpy
    Member

    For most (or even ‘all’) people wanting to summit Everest it’s about bragging rights – and in that sense it’s a no-brainer. Tell your sherpa you want to follow a big party full of tourists, wait for one to get in trouble, then bind them in ropes and roll them to the bottom.

    Bragging rights in a bar, rescuing someone off Everest puts you in a far more exclusive group than being towed to the top like Homer up the Murderhorn.

    And when I’m 99, rich, and weeks from death I’m gonna pay to go up, climb til I can’t climb any more, strip down, stand up, face the path, and freeze in place waving my tackle and ‘flipping the bird’.

    (And I think that that bloke who left a 4×4 on Snowdon should sneak one up Everest and park it on the summit so no-one else can get there without the keys.)

    avdave2
    Member

    So I’d stop on the way up, on the grounds that a life could be saved without necessarily imperilling mine, and possibly not on the way down, on the grounds that an attempt to save a striken climber would most likely end up with two deaths, not one.

    Irrational creatures, aren’t we?

    Maybe not that irrational at all – having saved a life might well be a much more rewarding experience than having got to the top of a mountain. If you said to me what would I rather achieve then it’s a no brainer but Everest is a different environment and everyone goes into it knowing that. Your attitude would probably mean never actually getting to the top as you’d almost always encounter someone who at least appeared to be facing death if you didn’t help. And based on that you are never likely to try and climb it. So the end result is that it doesn’t attract people who can’t pass someone needing help without helping them.

    hora
    Member

    We dont ‘get it’ as we arent the sort to even attempt such a harsh and very dangerous trip.

    Therefore we cant cast judgement. Sorry.

    olddog
    Member

    Interesting discussion.

    Is there anything published about likely success of rescue from death zone, resources needed, state of person being rescued etc? Is there any empirical basis for either viewpoint? I’m guessing, perhaps not given the extreme nature of the circumstances.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Member

    Your attitude would probably mean never actually getting to the top as you’d almost always encounter someone who at least appeared to be facing death if you didn’t help. And based on that you are never likely to try and climb it. So the end result is that it doesn’t attract people who can’t pass someone needing help without helping them.

    Kind of the point I was making up there regarding spending 10s of thousands to go and rescue somebody.

    Maybe not that irrational at all – having saved a life might well be a much more rewarding experience than having got to the top of a mountain. If you said to me what would I rather achieve then it’s a no brainer but Everest is a different environment and everyone goes into it knowing that. Your attitude would probably mean never actually getting to the top as you’d almost always encounter someone who at least appeared to be facing death if you didn’t help. And based on that you are never likely to try and climb it. So the end result is that it doesn’t attract people who can’t pass someone needing help without helping them.

    I think that’s it in a nutshell. Mountaineering means something completely different to me. TBH as I’ve got older, most stuff with significant objective dangers is out anyhow. Everest-attempters are a self-selecting group as you say.

    avdave2
    Member

    Everest-attempters are a self-selecting group as you say.

    “People who know the price of everything and the value of nothing” to borrow the words of Oscar Wilde.

    jambourgie
    Member

    I guess it’s just an example of how we’re supposed to get along as a society. Get to the top/get rich, look after you and yours, and f*ck the rest. The guy freezing to death on the mountain/in the underpass has simply failed at life and should’ve concentrated harder at school/bought better gear.

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Subscriber

    I am very interested in this, two excellent reads: Annapurna South Face by Chris Bonnington gives a real insight into just how bloody hard it is to operate at altitude and made me think there is no way I would ever want to try.

    Into Thin Air gives a great insight into why things go wrong on Everest and makes the point about high acheiver type people who are used to calling the shots and getting their own way and have a sense of entitlement because they have paid lots of money, and the clash with the more timid Sherpa’s who may say “you are going too slow you should turn around” but get ignored or don’t feel able to be more assertive. Also the numbing effect of altitude and exhaustion upon the mind and ability to make rational decisions.

    Either way – you wouldn’t catch me going up Everest.

    Steelfreak
    Member

    Just out of interest, is there an aircraft out there that’s capable of reliably landing on the summit of Everest?

    piemonster
    Member

    Just out of interest, is there an aircraft out there that’s capable of reliably landing on the summit of Everest?

    Not reliably.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/adventure/0509/whats_new/helicopter_everest.html

    Is there anything published about likely success of rescue from death zone, resources needed, state of person being rescued etc? Is there any empirical basis for either viewpoint? I’m guessing, perhaps not given the extreme nature of the circumstances.

    Anatoli Boukreev’s book The Climb (probably best read after Into Thin Air) at least shows that it can be done, from which you might say ‘It’s at least worth a try’. I appreciate that can be done and worth a try are not generally considered as statistically accurate! In fact I don’t think this really helps, but it’s a good read nonetheless.

    nealglover
    Member

    I guess it’s just an example of how we’re supposed to get along as a society. Get to the top/get rich, look after you and yours, and f*ck the rest. The guy freezing to death on the mountain/in the underpass has simply failed at life and should’ve concentrated harder at school/bought better gear.

    I don’t think its like that really.

    But opinions differ.

    Premier Icon ddmonkey
    Subscriber

    In terms of rescues – Touching the Void shows how it can and can’t be done all at the same time I think.

    And one guy who was left for dead for hours and hours was then rescued in Into Thin Air.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    That’s interesting… So you can fly helicopters, presumably given the conditions that’s impractical in bad conditions which will rule out a lot of rescues but surely it opens up recoveries, cleanups etc? You don’t need to carry everyone or everything out, and you don’t need to land the chopper.

    Course, that’s a slippery slope, if you can lift stuff out then how long before people start wanting supply caches dropped in? All in the name of safety of course.

    jambourgie
    Member

    Is it still an achievement to “climb” Everest? Genuine interest. I always imagine Sherpa’s pushing fat, rich westerners up in wheelchairs or up ladders. Are there any shops at the top?

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