Getting better slowly at long last – More on Everest

I managed a wander along the beach yesterday and a batter at the golf today with the Seniors of Hopeman feeling my age, it was great to be out. The sun was out and the colours brilliant, the yellow hammers were out and busy enjoying the weather and the gorse a  bright yellow and smelling so great. I hope I will get the blog going again when feeling up to it!  Many thanks for all the kind comments.

The news is full of so many tragedy’s with the still missing plane in the Indian Ocean , the tragic ferry disaster and then the Everest disaster, it is good to get away from the papers and bad news. It will be interesting to see what happens on Everest as there may be plans of closing the mountain in respect of those who died.  I hope all those who are on the mountain now and are part of it make the right decision for all concerned.  I have put my limited views on the matter but to be involved in deaths in this scale to me in would be an easy decision. To go home. The main reason we went from the North Side Tibet in 2001 was to stay clear of the Ice – fall Dangers from Nepal a few of my friends had been this way before and did not enjoy the dangers involved!

Russell Brice - far right in Tibet - Everest 2001.

Russell Brice – far right in Tibet – Everest 2001.

It can can cost $30000 – $60000 or more for a trip of your dreams to Everest. You get what you pay for. For many years, the most lucrative commercial guiding operation on Mt. Everest has been a company called Himalayan Experience, or Himex, which is owned by a New Zealand mountaineer named Russell Brice. In the spring of 2012, more than a month into the climbing season, he became increasingly worried about a bulge of glacial ice three hundred yards wide that was frozen tenuously to Everest’s West Shoulder, hanging like a massive sword of Damocles directly over the main route up the Nepal side of the mountain. Brice’s clients, (See my blog in May 2012 on this)  Western guides, and Sherpas repeatedly had to climb beneath the threatening ice bulge as they moved up and down the mountain to acclimatize and establish a series of higher camps necessary for their summit assault. One day, Brice timed how long it took his head guide, Adrian Ballinger (“who is incredibly fast,” he wrote in the blog post excerpted below), to climb through the most hazardous terrain:

“It took him 22 min from the beginning to the end of the danger zone. For the Sherpas carrying a heavy load it took 30 min and most of our members took between 45 min and one hour to walk underneath this dangerous cliff. In my opinion, this is far too long to be exposed to such a danger and when I see around 50 people moving underneath the cliff at one time, it scares me.”

Russel Brice

Adding to Brice’s concern, some of his most experienced Sherpas, ordinarily exceedingly stoical men, approached him to say that the conditions on the mountain made them fear for their lives. One of them actually broke down in tears as he confessed this. So on May 7, 2012, Brice made an announcement that shocked most of the thousand people camped at the base of Everest: he was pulling all his guides, members, and Sherpas off the mountain, packing up their tents and equipment, and heading home. He was widely criticized for this decision in 2012, and not just by clients who were forced to abandon their dreams of climbing the world’s highest mountain without receiving a refund for the forty-three thousand euros they had paid him in advance. Many of the other expedition leaders also thought Brice was wildly overreacting. The reputation of Himex took a major hit.

Part of this piece was from
Sherpas, Death, and Anger on Everest


I wrote about this in 2012 in my Blog and said at the time that knowing Russel very well on our 2001 Everest Trip, he had made a huge decision at massive financial cost to his business and credibility but to me the correct one.  He was the one man I admired at Everest Base Camp amongst al others, a very hard man but who spoke so much sense.

This is from Russel Brice latest blog ” The Daily Moraine”

Sorry for the late news, I have been a bit busy these last few days.

On the day of the avalanche we had 19 Sherpas carrying loads to C2. On their descent they established our rescue tent at C1 with oxygen, sleeping bags and other rescue equipment. The fact that they were busy doing this meant that none of our staff were actually in the ice fall at the time of the accident, so all are safe. As each Sherpa has a radio we were very quickly able to ascertain where everyone was. Our Sherpas also all have avalanche transceivers so they were able to do a transceiver search as they descended back to BC, but as very few people actually use transceivers on Everest they never found any signals.

At that time all our members were at Lobuche BC or acclimatising on the slopes of Lobuche, and only now are they returning to Everest BC.

At this stage we do not know if we will be continuing with our expedition or not.




About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Friends, Himalayas/ Everest, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

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