May 27, 2019

"A British climber who died on the slopes of Mount Everest had warned of the dangers of huge queues for the summit just hours before his death."

"Robin Haynes Fisher died after reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountain and is believed to be one of at least seven people to have died on the overcrowded slopes in just nine days. The deaths have sparked concerns over the large numbers of people scaling Everest, with images emerging of large queues up to the summit.... Mr Fisher and a sherpa reportedly reached the summit of Everest at around 8.30am on Saturday and had descended 150 metres when he fell unconscious and could not be revived."

Yahoo news reports.

Here's Fisher's Instagrammed warning:

View this post on Instagram

Climbed up to camp 3, 7500m but the jet stream had returned closing the summit after only 2 days so I descended to basecamp. Around 100 climbers did summit in those 2 days with sadly 2 deaths, an Indian man found dead in his tent at camp 4 and an Irish climber lost, assumed fallen, on his descent. A go fund me page has been set up for a rescue bid for the Irish climber but it is a well meaning but futile gesture. Condolences to both their friends and families. Both deaths happened above 8000m in the so called death zone where the majority of deaths of foreign climbers happen. Around 700 more people will be looking to summit from Tuesday the 21st onwards. My revised plan, subject to weather that at the moment looks promising, is to return up the mountain leaving basecamp Tuesday the 21st 0230 and, all being well and a lot of luck, arriving on the summit the morning of Saturday the 25th. I will be climbing with my Sherpa, Jangbu who is third on the all time list with an incredible 19 summits. The other 4 members of our team decided to remain on the mountain and are looking to summit on the 21st. My cough had started to return at altitude so I couldn’t wait with them at altitude for the window to open without the risk of physically deteriorating too much. Furthermore as I had missed due to sickness the earlier camp 3 rotation best practice was for me to descend to allow my body to recover from the new altitude high so I could come back stronger. This was not an easy decision as the 13 hours climbing from basecamp to camp 2 in a day was the hardest physical and mental challenge I had ever done, now I have it all to do again. Finally I am hopeful to avoid the crowds on summit day and it seems like a number of teams are pushing to summit on the 21st. With a single route to the summit delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal so I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people. Unless of course everyone else plays the same waiting game. #everest #everest2019 #lhotseface

A post shared by Robin (@1c0n0clast22) on



From the comments there: "It sounds like you knew what was coming but chose to take the risk for reasons that most of us will never understand I sense the hesitation and concern in your voice and words...I hope your soul feels that it was worth it. #RIP"

140 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

So there's wifi up there?

Fernandinande said...

He who lives by a big pile of rocks dies by a big pile of rocks.

eddie willers said...

As the saying goes: Getting up is optional. Getting down is mandatory.

I'm Full of Soup said...

"No one goes there anymore; it's too crowded". I bet none of us ever thought Yogi Berra's famous quote might one day be said about Everest.

Michael K said...

Altitude sickness can occur at 7,000 feet. A guy I know, is a doc who spends his summers in Colorado, sees cases all the time, some fatal.

My friend the anesthesiologist spent a summer in Nepal studying it. Some of these climber run low on O2 but some do not get acclimatized enough.

robother said...

So, he instagrammed his plan to evade the queue, assuming no other climbers/sherpas were reading instagram? As a Great Yogi put it, "no one goes there anymore, its too crowded."

Rob said...

"So there's wifi up there?" has to be the coldest comment ever from our gracious hostess. A woman after my own heart.

Michael K said...

So there's wifi up there?

satellite phones. A guide who died near the summit called his wife in New Zealand to say good bye.

robother said...

Scooped by Full of Soup as I was proving I wasn't a robot.

whitney said...

Do an image search for "queue Mount Everest". It's shocking it's so crowded. Personally, that's why I don't travel anymore. If it's that crowded at Mount Everest think what it's like at Machu Picchu or even some random beach in Thailand. And you have to deal with the airports and TSA. No thanks! I've seen the pyramids, and Angkor Watt and I've even been to Antarctica I'm good. I'll hang out in the garden and watch the birds at their feeders and when I do feel the travel bug I'll just drive. 4 hours and any direction I'm someplace beautiful. God bless America

Fernandinande said...

I scrambled to the top of the precipice where Nick was waiting.

"That was fun," I said.

"You bet it was," said Nick. "Let's climb higher."

"No," I said. "I think we should be heading back now."

"We have time," Nick insisted. I said we didn't, and Nick said we did.

We argued back and forth like that for about 20 minutes, then finally decided to head back. I didn't say it was an interesting story.
-- Jack Handey

Genetic adaptations for life at high elevations found in residents of the Tibetan plateau likely originated around 30,000 years ago in peoples related to contemporary Sherpa. These genes were passed on to more recent migrants from lower elevations via population mixing, and then amplified by natural selection in the modern Tibetan gene pool, according to a new study by scientists from the University of Chicago and Case Western Reserve University, published in Nature Communications on Feb. 10. -- Not Jack Handey

madAsHell said...

....and do you know how fantastically expensive it is to have this chance at death??

Gives a whole new sense to Adam Smith's invisible hand!!

Clyde said...

Speaking of "dying doing what he loved," I just read an article about a Japanese man who died on a flight from Mexico City and they found that he had ingested 246 bags of cocaine. He was on a flight to Japan and had transferred from a flight from Colombia (shocker, I know!); the flight had to be diverted to Hermosillo for an emergency landing when he started having seizures.

traditionalguy said...

Why not just stick to skydiving? You can start at a higher altitude and get down much faster. Use HALO for the courage test.

rhhardin said...

The mp3 40wpm morse code on the way bicycling back from the store this morning, from Levinas's Totality and Infinity, included

"One does not know when death will come. What will come? With what does death threaten me? With nothingness or with recommencement? I do not know. In this impossibility of knowing the after my death resides the essence of the last moment. I can absolutely not apprehend the moment of my death; it is "out of reach," as Montaigne would say. Ultima latet--contrary to all the instants of my life, which are spread out between my birth and my death, and which can be recalled or anticipated. My death comes from an instant upon which I can in no way exercise my power. I do not run up against an obstacle which at least I touch in that collision, which, in surmounting or in enduring it, I integrate into my life, suspending its alterity. Death is a menace that approaches me as a mystery; its secrecy determines it--it approaches without being able to be assumed, such that the time that separates me from my death dwindles and dwindles without end, involves a sort of last interval which my consciousness cannot traverse, and where a leap will somehow be produced from death to me. The last part of the route will be crossed without me; the time of death flows upstream; the I in its projection toward the future is overturned by a movement of imminence, pure menace, which comes to me from an absolute alterity."

That wasn't written about Everest climbers.

Gahrie said...

In the past these men were also adventurers. They sailed with Columbus. They crossed the Bering land bridge. They settled Iceland and Greenland. Their descendants will colonize the Moon, Mars and space.

rhhardin said...

Their descendants will colonize the Moon, Mars and space.

Great tobacco farms will be formed on the moon.

MayBee said...

I wonder if the long queue pressured people in a weird way to go ahead and join the queue. Because you can't dream that's how it is going to look if you ever scale Mt Everest. But then you get there, it seems like a bad idea....but everyone else is still doing it. It must be worth it, right? Are you going to tell people you were the one guy who decided *not* to do it after all that time and money?

Kalli Davis said...

Then why didn't he turn around and save his life?

Michael said...

The pictures from the mountain showing the long line to the summit are appalling. I suppose those of us who love the mountains and have watched the increasing number of outfitters on Everest saw this coming but I never imagined a line like the one shown in numerous press outlets. Disturbing.

Michael said...

Michael K
Altitude sickness, like sea sickness, is difficult to predict. People climb and go to sea for years with no trouble until it arrives. My wife and I on numerous trips to Aspen went from 1,000 feet in Atlanta to the top of Buckskin pass at 12,400 in the span of 24 hours. Good idea until it wasn't and she spent a few hours in the Aspen hospital emergency room taking in liter after liter of fluids. Took another day for her to lose the headache.She ignored symptoms the last hour of the hike. Bad idea.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Mountain climbing (IMO) is one of the dumbest things to do. Doing it in a traffic jam of other idiots, doing this pointless activity, is double stupid.

Don't bother trying to change my mind.

rcocean said...

These Everest climbers are walking around at altitudes that require pilots to be on oxygen. And altitude sickness can hit anyone. Marathon runners have gotten, so have people with numerous high-altitude climbs. There's also freezing to death, and falling off the path/trail and being unable to get back.

Now, that thousands have climbed Mt. Everest, what's the point? But then I'm not into bungee jumping, petting Grizzly Bears, living in disease ridden places, swimming with sharks, etc. and generally playing Russian roulette with my life.

Some people get a big thrill out of it. But myself, I'll just watch it on Youtube.

gilbar said...

"Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?"
"because i just REALLY DIG CROWDS!"
"i REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY like waiting in Line to do something hundreds of others have just done"

And here i thought people were stupid, for dying while taking a selfie at Horseshoe Bend.

You know WHY i go into the woods? to Get AWAY From people (and to catch trouts); doesn't sound like Mt Everest is for me

rcocean said...

I had a friend who went to East Africa every other year and after about 8 climbs without a problem had to Med-evactuated off Mt. Kenya due to temporary blindness and altitude sickness. He stopped climbing mountains after that. Now he just goes on Safari.

Michael K said...

Then why didn't he turn around and save his life?

Quite a few deaths have been on the way down. Too long at altitude and maybe O2 ran out.

RK said...

Go in the winter when the crowds are thinner. That's what I alway do.

rcocean said...

Everyone's number comes up. We all gotta go sometime. Why make it sooner than it has to be. I suppose dying Mt. Everest is better than dying because you snorted some bad cocaine or had a heart attack from eating too many tacos - but still.

rcocean said...

Judgment fails when your Oxygen runs low or you get altitude sickness. SO you make bad decision and push on, when you should have turned back.

rcocean said...

"Go in the winter when the crowds are thinner. That's what I alway do."

I wait for the manager's special.

whitney said...

Check out this movie, touching the void, about 2 mountain climbers in Peru who go through a series of disasters. My boyfriend at the time and I watched it with mouths agape and then when we were leaving we both just look at each other and said "why would anyone want to do that?" But it's a great movie!

Diogenes of Sinope said...

You have to be mentally ill to attempt to climb Everest. I think it's that simple. It's a Darwin award thing.

gilbar said...

Seriously, if i wanted crowds, i'd trout fish in Missouri

Which succinctly explains WHY i don't trout fish in Missouri

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Some of us have been talking about the "Free Solo" movie, and the climber Alex Honnold. This presents a world of highly disciplined, hard working athletes who specialize in doing something that, no matter how carefully they prepare, is likely to kill them. I think most of us think "kind of crazy" yet "noble." There isn't a stampede of people doing what they do, although of course it makes work and grief for parks staff when falls happen. Sooner or later you'll have imitators who are mostly idiots, and even the pros may not stop trying until they die trying. The new Everest phenomenon is something different: "ordinary" people, not necessarily in the greatest shape, doing what really only Sherpas should be doing--they have the genes for it. They want to go from ordinary life to almost super-human in one expedition. Of course there is environmental damage, etc.

307 climbers have died on Everest since 1922; incredibly, 11 including Fisher, have died in 2019 alone. There were 19 deaths in 2017.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Their judgment failed well before their Oxygen ran low and before they got altitude sickness. Their ego, narcissism or what ever psychosis lead then all to make bad decisions and actually climb the mountain. Bragging rights?

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Like attempted suicide, climbing Everest is a cry for help. And if the lines are too long it doesn't cost enough. Raise the price to climb Everest and save lives.

Bay Area Guy said...

I feel bad for the guy, obviously.

But.

Unless he's a professional hiker, he oughta just hike local easy, fun stuff. I suspect a lotta Mt. Everest types are curiousity-seekers who are unprepared and clueless.

Could be wrong.

Birches said...

Spouse and I were discussing these deaths this morning and he said My. Everest traffic jams are further proof that today's middle class behaves like yesteryear's millionaires.

Michael K said...

Some of us have been talking about the "Free Solo" movie,

We saw it, too. Weird all the photos of dead friends he had.

Birches said...

Free Solo was amazing. But boy that romance is doomed.

stevew said...

"Go in the winter when the crowds are thinner. That's what I always do."

Nah, not me, I just don't go. Crowds and me aren't on speaking terms.

walter said...

Hopefully he had no dependents.
If you feel risking your life is embracing life, there are ways to play that out while serving a greater good.

Yancey Ward said...

The highest I have ever been was on the top of Mauna Kea- 4200 meters. I could definitely tell the difference in the O2 level, but I was only on the summit for about 90 minutes.

chickelit said...

This is truly a first world problem imposed on a third one. It should be uncool to scale Everest, especially with the hypocrisy of using sherpas to do the heavy lifting. You'd never catch me dead on Everest.

Tank said...

We were on Mauna Kea at night and that was definitely the most stars I’ve ever seen. Really awe inspiring. We had no ill effects.

Francisco D said...

Why not just stick to skydiving? You can start at a higher altitude and get down much faster.

I did that about 10 years ago. Of course, the goal was to get down in an orderly way, not too fast.

I had an endorphin rush for about an hour afterwards - better than sex, drugs or rock 'n roll.

Thrill seeking is a personality trait that sometimes overcomes common sense. It makes our lives interesting.

chickelit said...

Diogenes of Sinope said...
Their judgment failed well before their Oxygen ran low and before they got altitude sickness. Their ego, narcissism or what ever psychosis lead then all to make bad decisions and actually climb the mountain. Bragging rights?

It's the same mentality that makes people seek out exotic travel locations and then FaceBook the stupid photos. I know people like that.

Swede said...

That mountain is littered, literally, with idiots.
And their trash.

Yancey Ward said...

We had leave before sunset, but we stopped about 500 meters below the summit and did some stargazing- it was astonishing.

Earnest Prole said...

The climber warned of crowds and then died after reaching the summit, but the article offers no evidence of a causal relationship between those two facts. The cock crows and the sun rises, but only a fool believes the former causes the latter.

Rob said...

Is "Free Solo" a new Star Wars movie?

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Chicklit @ 4:25.

100%.

chickelit said...

Birches said...Spouse and I were discussing these deaths this morning and he said My. Everest traffic jams are further proof that today's middle class behaves like yesteryear's millionaires.

We need a modern day Thorstein Veblen to call it what it is: "Conspicuous consumption of O2."

wholelottasplainin' said...

Swede said...
That mountain is littered, literally, with idiots.
And their trash.
**********************

I was there, forty years ago. Virtually no people, aside from a small Yugoslavian expedition and its crew of pack animals and their handlers.

But even then we were advised not to go to Base Camp, as it already a notorious trash heap.

So we went up the side of Pumori, its base beside the elbow of the Khumbu glacier that tumbles off Everest. I got high enough (about 18,500 ft) to catch just a partial glimpse of the South Col on Everest.

The views were glorious. The air was so thin that sounds didn't carry; we could see silent avalanches tumbling off Nupse. Rocks you thought were car-sized and a hundred yards off were actually as big as houses and much farther away.

I'm glad I went there before it was possible to fly in to Lukla and be within a few days walk to Base Camp. In my case I trekked about 250 miles over the course of five weeks, carrying my own stuff and living with the locals.

It remains the greatest adventure of my life.

chickelit said...

If the Titanic were more accessible, but only using disposable air tanks, the surrounding sea floor would be littered by debris from assholes ticking off their bucket lists.

Fen said...

I've seen this same phenom when I was younger. My father took us every year to Hawaii, and every year the "new flavor" beach got discovered by tourist trash (not us! we're special! LOL) and we had to find a new secret hideway. 1970s-1980s. First it was Hawaii, then on to Maui and then Kauai. Same thing happened to Bermuda.

Makes me sad. The Wife didn't have my privileged childhood, and she works too hard these days. I want to take her somewhere special but I fear everything I know has become a Disney Theme Park experience, like Mt Everest.

Michael K said...

Thrill seeking is a personality trait that sometimes overcomes common sense. It makes our lives interesting.

My equivalent thrill seeking was racing to Hawaii on my boat.

It took a crew of six, one of whom was my son, but I would not trade the experience if I could have the money back.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

How about an expedition of weenies and greenies to clean up the trash heap and mess up there?

Come on Leo, get crackin'.

Michael K said...

If the Titanic were more accessible, but only using disposable air tanks, the surrounding sea floor would be littered by debris from assholes ticking off their bucket lists.

The Titanic is being devoured by Archea that eat steel. It is being eaten.

the boat will not be large for much longer, as it is being consumed by metal-munching bacteria. The stalactite-like structures that the bacteria leave behind, called “rusticles,” have been observed since the wreck’s first exploration in 1986.

However, these bacteria aren’t working alone. Instead, they have formed a massive colony that functions like a single organism. From The Daily Galaxy:

These live mats and rusticles form a communicating super-organism funneling iron-rich fluids, sulfur, and electrical charges through the collective of archea, fungi, and bacteria that thrives in the icy dark, low oxygen waters. Using DNA technology, researchers discovered that the rusticles were formed by a combination of 27 different strains of bacteria.

Fen said...

but I would not trade the experience if I could have the money back.

Oh I envy you. What an experience that must have been.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Dying due to "Huge Queues"

madAsHell said...

Using DNA technology, researchers discovered that the rusticles were formed by a combination of 27 different strains of bacteria.

I haven't studied human anatomy since high school, but doesn't the gut have a like a sub-net nervous system.....and can't some people squint, and call it a symbiotic relationship between the gut, and the rest of me??

More succinctly, does evolution have both a spatial, and temporal element??

....or do I just need to tune mahhh tin foil hat???

OMG!!...a geriatric pronoun.

David Begley said...

This guy wrote that at very high altitudes they can’t get the bodies down so they just pitch them into crevices.

richlb said...

You describe the death zone. And then you enter it. I respect your courage, but the outcome was predetermined.

stever said...

Its nice when you are happy - anywhere - including at home with one or more loved ones. This sounds very 19th century, get the natives to do the work.

Big Mike said...

Jon Krakauer’s into Thin Air described the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest, when a sudden blizzard combined with traffic jams at two bottlenecks on the route to the top to kill 8 climbers, including two professional guides, in one day. 23 years later the numbers of climbers keep going up, but there are no new routes so the bottlenecks are only worse.

It’s not as Nepal has any motivation to restrict the number of climbers. It is not a wealthy country, and the climbers pay their exorbitant fees up front.

gspencer said...

"I'm so happy to have spent tens of 000s to get here, disrupted my life, selfishly disrupted the lives of my family, and even though I didn't get a T-shirt, I did wind up on top of the world. If events have turned out differently, this definitively would have gone on my resume."

Not my cup of tea, but to each his own.

Francisco D said...

The Titanic is being devoured by Archea that eat steel. It is being eaten.

Thanks. That is fascinating.

Mother Nature seems well equipped to take care of herself. I guess we do not need the Green New Deal. It's probably best if we try to act responsibly and make marginal improvements to the human footprint we create.

Of course, the watermelons have a different agenda.

donald said...

Can you die from too many tacos? That’s not good!

D 2 said...

I am explicitly unwilling to subscribe to the totalitarian impulse that says there are too many of us and it's too crowded etc.

We will be ten billion (likely) before it slows down. And then we will settle back down to who knows what. But it is slowing down by all reasonable accounts. Baby making isn't for the po'moderns.

Let me remember that Every mans death diminishes me etc. So yes it is quite ridiculous to think that there's more people on Everest waiting in a line than there is at your hardware store on a Tuesday. And yes there's no way you'd catch me in that sort of predicament. But I guess when you gots 7 billion, you're going to get a lot of people wanting to do a lot of stuff you might think: what the hell? Why?

But it ain't why why why why it just is.

If you can't abide your fellow man (at a distance...) and you think this world is way too overpopulated .... maybe there's a line you can join from which you can help the rest of us out.

I believe some Frenchman once said Hell is other people. And wasn't he a communist?

traditionalguy said...

The HALO record is a balloon jump from 128,100 feet. The jumper reached MACH 1.25 before slowing when reaching the atmosphere. He had more excitement and saw more stars from up there than a climber at a piddly 29,000 foot Mt Everest.

A HALO jump is the military acronym for clandestine paratroop insertions: High Altitude Low Opening.

Browndog said...

Have you seen the line, a good mile long, waiting to reach the peak?

It reminded me of the lines outside the women's bathroom at Joe Lois Arena during the '90's.

Only difference is there is no exit line. If there were, you'd fall and die. And, you die in line. And, there is no quality play-off hockey on the big screen while you wait.

Other than that, it's sorta the same.

William said...

In this day and age, why haven't they installed escalators. Pressurized elevators would be ideal, but that would rob the event of its glamour and excitement. Perhaps they could install stairs on the lower reaches. This would weed out the less physically fit and maintain the exclusivity of the achievement.....I'm surprised snow leopards haven't migrated to the Himalyas. Lots of easy pickings for them there.

Browndog said...

National parks are over crowded and destroying the parks. Here is Michigan, you need a reservation, in some cases 6-8 months in advance for a camp site.

I'd like to see some actual research as to why this is.

Two-eyed Jack said...

You wouldn't think that someone would be thinking "I don't like crowds" as they summited the tallest peak in the world but, well, there you are.

Howard said...

On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, 1996

Paul McKaskle said...

As a 10 year old I climbed Longs Peak (14255 feet) in Colorado and recall no ill effects (but I'd been camping at about 6 or 7,000 feet for several weeks). Going through Navy Flight Training we were put in a low pressure tank and the pressure was reduced to the equivalent of 30,000 feet. I was selected to take off my mask and write out my signature. After about seven or eight signatures my writing became very wobbly and indecipherable. The instructor put my oxygen mask back on before I completely passed out. I don't remember any ill effects, though.

stephen cooper said...

Howard - apparently you and little Chuck have not read the Bible.

Ezekiel rode to Heaven on a flaming chariot.

Elijah too never died,

And Mary the Mother of God never died, how could she, how could you be the Mother of God, sinless, and die?

Anyway, tell Chuck, the next time you see him, that people are talking about him.

JaimeRoberto said...

A few years ago I climbed Angels Landing in 100 degree heat without enough water. I thought it was enough when I started out, but I was fooling myself. I made it ok, but on the way down we encountered a woman suffering from heat stroke. It made me think of the traffic jams on Everest.

stephen cooper said...

Also, let's leave those mountains alone for a while.

I guarantee you that the beautiful mountains of the majestic Himilayas are not saying among themselves --- hey let's hope that lots of conflicted modern people use us a prop for their lack of faith and treat us as some kind of ersatz goal in their confused Godless lives ---

Seriously I wish that 90 percent of those mountaineers who want to brag about their CONQUESTS would just simply adopt a cat or a dog or FFS just head down to the Old Folk's Home and gamely play along at bingo or pound out a few chords on the piano

CONQUESTS are meaningless
anyone can climb Mount Everest
not everyone can be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world

stephen cooper said...

adopt a sad little dog or cat and give up on your selfish dream of seeing yourself on top of Mount Everest, Mount Everest is not waiting with trembling anticipation for you to climb to the summit, to the contrary

Cor ad cor loquitur

anyone can "succeed" in this world

but not everyone can be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world


adopt a dog, adopt a cat, it is cheaper and better than climbing mountains

Big Mike said...

This guy wrote that at very high altitudes they can’t get the bodies down so they just pitch them into crevices.

Not really. The bodies are left where they fell — it takes too much precious energy to do anything else — and some, like “green boots” (a corpse with lime green hiking boots) are treated these days as landmarks on your way to the summit. Any bodies in crevasses (note spelling) are there because the climber took a wrong turn or was flat unlucky.

gilbar said...

Ezekiel rode to Heaven on a flaming chariot.
Elijah too never died

Don't forget Enoch;
Enoch lived 365 years before he was taken by God (to become, either GOD's CPA or CFO

And, IF you believe the legend, Mohammad... But to believe That, you have to be pretty gullible

Bill Peschel said...

I don't have the energy or interest in judging what total strangers do with their time.

I will only observe (as the fisherman link shows you) that people fall into a grouping pattern which leads to extensive crowding in one area.

This results in wide open spaces elsewhere.

For example, on Everest, there's the "yak trail." That's what the locals call it, because it's easy to climb. That's what all those people are taking.

There are other trails up that are far more challenging, and climbing Everest that way makes it a real accomplishment.

This same 80/20 (I'd say 90/10) rule applies even in the most mundane circumstances. One evening, I was driving down to the Hershey Theatre to catch a show (Hal Holbrook in 'Mark Twain Tonight'). The traffic down the main road through town was jammed for probably a half-mile. Every car was there to turn into the parking lot in front of the theatre.

Fortunately, the village was laid out on a grid pattern, and no doubt you know exactly what I did. Boxed the square, and I blew in far ahead of all those people.

There was also a study the state did on hunters. They attached tracking devices on them and let them lose during hunting season. They learned that the vast majority of hunters did not travel more than a mile into the game lands.

If you travel two miles in, you'd be alone except for the animals. It would be a bitch if you were deer hunting, but you stood less chance of getting caught in a traffic jam.

stephen cooper said...

I may have mixed up Enoch and Ezekiel.

There are people alive today who may be alive at the moment which Saint Paul, who has seen much of Heaven, described in his letter to the Thessalonians: the moment when this sad old earth will be changed to a different world, a world with great and divine hopes to be a beautiful and supremely improved version of the earth we now know.

(That being said, I would short Tesla stock) (Just saying, I could be wrong)

CWJ said...

"If the Titanic were more accessible, but only using disposable air tanks, the surrounding sea floor would be littered by debris from assholes ticking off their bucket lists."

And yet James Cameron claims to have gone back down to the wreck so nothing like thirty times! Assholes will be assholes.

CWJ said...

Something not so nothing.

tim maguire said...

100 climbers in 2 days!? Granted, I have no interest in scaling Mount Everest, but I these days I can’t understand why anybody would bother.

With so many people completing the climb, what’s special about it?

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gg6 said...

I suppose I 'should' feel bad at feeling no compassion or empathy at all for this man? But I feel neither. It strikes me as something like the report of an avid Facebook/Twitter follower dieing of excessive typing.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Sagarmatha

Limited Perspective said...

With all the climbing on Everest, do we know all the "firsts?" The first all transgender crowd to reach the summit? The first all female? The first all pool sharks? The first group of transphobes? Forget those who come and go and die, we want to hear about the firsts.

Browndog said...

I know it's cute to mock them, but people (12 so far?) are dying, while waiting to fulfill a life-long dream of accomplishment.

Howard said...

One guy was a lawyer, so that's a positive note.

stephen cooper said...

maybe all of us need to consider what our life-long dreams are.

we are all going to die while waiting for someone to keep us from dying. almost all of us, anyway, and probably all of us.

there are thousands of dogs and cats who are euthanized every month because people had better things to do than be a friend to a cat or a dog who would die without someone stepping up and being a friend to them. not to mention the more important issue of foster children, many of whom live in sad little trailer parks with loser foster parents who are just fostering kids for the government checks, while the people who would have been good foster parents are off "CONQUERING EVEREST", the poor fools ,,,, but hey this is just a comment section, why should anyone say something real and true?

Don't ever tell me I am cute for pointing that out --- unless you are willing to say hey climb that mountain and abandon those poor little creatures. Don't bully me for saying what needs to be said

stephen cooper said...

Browndog - it is not "cute" to want people to spend their lives taking care of other people, rather than chasing after silly goals.

If you think it is, you are wrong.

Michael K said...

What an experience that must have been.

I was cook and navigator. One other people's boats , I was usually the helmsman in critical maneuvers.

This time, I let the kids run the boat and planned our course. That was before GPS and SAT NAV was only on big boats. It was sextant and dead reckoning all the away. We hit right on Makapuu Point at dawn. During the last but one night, a spinnaker block at the masthead chaffed through in heavy wind and we flew the "Chicken Chute," a heavy duty smaller spinnaker, until dawn. We were second by 9 minutes in 11 days, 20 hours and the kids were sure that was the margin.

The boat builder and the designer of the boat that beat us met us at the dock at 6 AM. Champagne for all.

High point of my life but don't tell my wife.

DanTheMan said...

>>I know it's cute to mock them, but people (12 so far?) are dying, while waiting to fulfill a life-long dream of accomplishment.

I don't think others are mocking their life-long dream, but rather the "accomplishment" of standing in a mile long line to do something thousands of others do every year.

Bruce Hayden said...
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wholelottasplainin' said...

stephen cooper said...

anyone can "succeed" in this world

but not everyone can be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world

adopt a dog, adopt a cat, it is cheaper and better than climbing mountains

************

Yeah, FUCK people and their crazy dreams!!

Snort

wholelottasplainin' said...

@stephen cooper:

Are you one of those people Drudge regularly reports about?

You know, "A thousand cats and the stench of feline feces everywhere"

Is that YOU, stephen??

Bruce Hayden said...


Altitude sickness can occur at 7,000 feet. A guy I know, is a doc who spends his summers in Colorado, sees cases all the time, some fatal.

My friend the anesthesiologist spent a summer in Nepal studying it. Some of these climber run low on O2 but some do not get acclimatized enough.

Altitude sickness, like sea sickness, is difficult to predict. People climb and go to sea for years with no trouble until it arrives. My wife and I on numerous trips to Aspen went from 1,000 feet in Atlanta to the top of Buckskin pass at 12,400 in the span of 24 hours. Good idea until it wasn't and she spent a few hours in the Aspen hospital emergency room taking in liter after liter of fluids. Took another day for her to lose the headache.She ignored symptoms the last hour of the hike. Bad idea.


Two different things. Altitude sickness is relatively benign. High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema are the real killers. The magic line for them is roughly 8.5-9k, so is seen frequently in Breckenridge, but much less often in Aspen, Vail, or Steamboat. It appears to be mostly about the altitude you sleep at that is important, and the really critical night seems to be the second night at least at the higher CO altitudes. And heavy exertion seems to also play a part.

Third brother almost died almost 50 years ago. He had been summiting multiple peaks in the Never Summer range and camping about 12k. Barely got out to Grand Lake, and didn’t recover until in the hospital in Denver. Then about 30 years ago, I had an episode. We skied into one of the 10th Mtn huts (about 12k ft), skied hard the next day, hiking up and skiing down,and that night seemed to have come down with double bronchitis. Skied out the next day to the car at 9k and felt fine, but skipped going back in. Spent the night at that elevation, and it reoccurred. Went into the clinic in Frisco CO, and they almost laughed at the diagnosis made by the three docs in the party (all from MN). O2 meter showed maybe 85%. Lung X-ray showed HAPE. A couple nights in Denver, and I was fine. Next couple years, I wouldn’t push myself the first two days, and it’s onset was pretty mild. Just a little lung congestion. Could start hitting it hard on the 3rd day.

When my brother got HAPE, even the docs in Denver mostly didn’t recognize it. Found a guy doing research at CU Med school. He put my brothers in an atmospheric chamber and the results suggest a genetic predisposition. Part of it appears to be a low drive to breathe, which is good in some sports, but ca be fatal in the higher mountains.

stephen cooper said...

wholelottasplainin' ....

no, I am simply a person who thinks kindness is important.

Think about that.

God loves you, and God wants you to be a friend to one or two cats, or to a dog or two, if you can, in addition to being kind to the humans in your life.

You need to rethink what it is in your heart that makes you want to say mean-spirited things to people you do not know.

Seriously. What you said was motivated by some weird hatred that I simply cannot understand, I am just trying to be helpful.

Maybe you have been traumatized by critical people in the past? Well, God loves you, and those people were sinful, Forgive them, and seek to avoid bullying others.

Browndog said...
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Tomcc said...

Tragic outcome. Evidently you can push yourself beyond human limits without realizing it. I'm with those who would lose my enthusiasm for the pursuit when I saw the others lined up with the same goal (and path) in mind. But, I hate crowds.

Bruce Hayden said...

Some more. Knew a guy from camp by Estes Park (maybe 7.5k). He was one of the climbers there, who climbed pretty much every peak in Rocky Mtn Nat Park over the years, many of them over 13k, and Longs, of course, over 14k. They have some altitude sickness, but never HAPE or HACE. He ended up dying, snowed into a snow cave on McKinley. My parents sat with the parents of his girl friend, who was snowed in with him, until she managed to get out.

Another aspect is that HAPE and HACE tend to affect people in the best shape the worst, presumably because they push themselves the hardest. The clinics in Summit County, CO (county seat is Breckenridge) see it a lot in out-of-state ski racers. Most of the lodging there is 9k or higher, and the ski areas go up to maybe 13k. Most of the rest of the ski areas in the country are at lower altitudes.

stephen cooper said...

Browndog:

you seem like someone with much passion in your soul.

I did not have dinner tonight because I am dying from multiple tumors, and did not have much hunger.

Please think harder next time you curse somebody.

God does not want us to curse each other, my friend!

Bruce Hayden said...


Some more. Knew a guy from camp by Estes Park (maybe 7.5k). He was one of the climbers there, who climbed pretty much every peak in Rocky Mtn Nat Park over the years, many of them over 13k, and Longs, of course, over 14k. They have some altitude sickness, but never HAPE or HACE. He ended up dying of HACE, snowed into a snow cave most of the way up on McKinley. My parents sat with the parents of his girl friend, who was snowed in with him, until she managed to get out.

Another aspect is that HAPE and HACE tend to affect people in the best shape the worst, presumably because they push themselves the hardest. The clinics in Summit County, CO (county seat is Breckenridge) see it a lot in out-of-state ski racers. Most of the lodging there is 9k or higher, and the ski areas go up to maybe 13k. Most of the rest of the ski areas in the country are at lower altitudes.

Finally, my next brother is the one who used to get altitude sickness when we would climb 14ers as a teenager with our father. Back then, I got some summits that he didn’t, because of it. He lives at 7.5k, and spends his weekends at 9k in Summit County. He climbs a lot in the summer, and is over half way through the 52 or so 14k peaks in CO. Never a whiff of HAPE. Third brother and I had HAPE, but never altitude sickness, but part of that may have been growing up at 6k or so.

Big Mike said...

@stephen cooper, it’s not your business to tell others what to do with their time and money. You may, as a Christian, bear witness to the joys of rescuing an animal or befriending a disabled child, but telling others what to do is not your job here on earth. True Christians are known for their big heart and good deeds, not for their big mouths.

I am s septuagenarian, and I have met many people in my time. And of the most evil people whom I have met face to face, numbers 1, 2, and 4 were people who loudly proclaimed their Christianity.

Just. Like. You.

JPS said...

Tomcc,

"Evidently you can push yourself beyond human limits without realizing it."

Or, as Jon Krakauer put it in Into Thin Air,

"Unfortunately, the sort of individual who is programmed to ignore personal distress and keep pushing for the top is frequently programmed to disregard signs of grave and imminent danger as well....[I]n order to succeed you must be exceedingly driven, but if you're too driven you're likely to die."

stephen cooper, I hear you, but - we can do both, no? I have been a friend to animals adopted from terrible circumstances, and I went on a climb in the West where the only people I saw for five days were colorful specks against the snow thousands of feet below me. It's a mountain an awful lot of people have climbed, just never many at a time. I had no business soloing it, given my modest experience, and if I had died and made the news, commenters would have called me a fool and asked who could have seen that coming [eye roll] - and they'd have had a point.

I will never climb Everest because I am too old and too busy to ever reach a level of expertise where I would be anything but a passenger on such a climb, and that's a deal-breaker for me. But I look at that video Althouse posted, and even knowing the guy died, a small part of me wishes to be up there just once. Not because the mountain will miss me if I don't, but because I'd like to see it firsthand; because I'm not getting off this earth alive anyway.

...and, I just saw your 10:20, and am tempted to delete that last but for better or worse I won't. Ah gosh. Words fail - but I appreciate your perspective and am glad you're here.

Michael K said...

The clinics in Summit County, CO (county seat is Breckenridge) see it a lot in out-of-state ski racers.

The doc I know said they are usually people who do not acclimate. Elk hunters and the like.

stephen cooper said...
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stephen cooper said...

Big Mike - I understand your point of view.

God bless you.

I disagree, but God bless you.

Browndog said...
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stephen cooper said...

JPS: That was very eloquent.

I agree with every word you said.

Of course people should pursue their dreams, and have fun in life.

I am just in a bad mood maybe because I went to a funeral last week for someone much more popular than me and I know in my heart that one month after I am dead nobody will visit my gravesite, even if I have a very witty choice of Bible verse on the tombstone.

And I know that the dogs and cats I have been so kind to - not to mention the humans I have been kind to - will not be happy about that. When I criticize people who climb Mount Everest for the ten thousandth time, I think of all the cats and dogs they could have cared for, all the kids who needed foster parents. all that sort of thing, When you are old and have bad medical news, sometimes you get a little cranky, I guess.

stephen cooper said...

Browndog: don't worry, I have been called much much worse things by other people than you called me, and I like you, because I think your heart is in the right place. I do not always express myself well, and the last thing I would think of is to think that I am necessarily right!

The funny thing is that I really feel like I am much much older than you.

And I can't get mad at anyone who is only in their 70s. Not that I am older than you but it seems like I have lived so much longer than I really have lived, I have known so many bad people and have been so concerned about that, It really ages you, trust me.

Browndog said...
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stephen cooper said...

To be fair, Browndog, one of the people who criticized me on these comment threads who criticized me said he was not sure if I was an old man or in my 20s, they said I did not understand life.

That made me laugh, how could anyone think I was in my 20s?

God loves you. Seriously, God loves you, for saying what you said, with passion and love for what you see as the truth. Of course I meant what I said, but who cares about disagreements, we are all children of God, although for the record I am not loud or evil, but if you don't know that, it does not really matter, and if you know that, well God bless you anyway for saying what you said, with passion and love for what you see as the truth.


TickTock said...

Climbing Longs at the age of 14 and crossing knife ridge to Meeker. One of my best memories.

Browndog said...
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stephen cooper said...

Browndog - in the best light, maybe I just like to make people think.

Maybe you do not need my advice ---- for God's sake, I hope you don't!

Please do not be angry.

We are just trying, you and me, to make people remember that dogs and cats need homes: Everest will be there next year, but in the meantime quite a few dogs and cats will be euthanized for failure to find a home.

Seriously, Browndog, don't take me seriously. Nobody does, trust me, on the internet,

That being said, If on a rainy day at Quantico, 10 years from now, you want to stop by my gravesite :assuming that the predictions that Saint Paul relayed in Thesallonians have not yet taken place: feel free to think that here,at Stephen Cooper's grave, in 2029, you are among friends.

Of course I was once a fake and a phony, and of course nobody took me seriously.

We are just sad people, most of us, waiting for God to answer our prayer that we be better someday.

By the way, the multiple tumor thing was not phony, no big deal, lots of people my age have worse medical conditions.

No, nobody takes me seriously, except insofar as I quote the Bible here or there, but millions of people do that. Maybe a few decades ago I could have succeeded at being taken seriously, but now -----

Nah. I would not want to be taken seriously anyway, except insofar as I quote cool verses from the Bible.

Proverbs 8 scares me a little, it is so good.

0_0 said...

Who thinks there are 'thousands' climbing each year?
It's usually less than a thousand on it.
Everest is climbable at all for about a week all year. Read up on it; it's interesting.

0_0 said...

Most Everest climbers would make poor pet owners.

stephen cooper said...

"I know what you are Cooper"

I appreciate that you are suspicious.

I get no benefit from posting here.

I have no coterie, there are no groups of commenters who rush to my defense, and I am happy about that.

I just try to connect with people once in a while.

And when someone says I am wrong about something, I say, well, maybe I am !

Let's reread Proverbs 8, and let's agree, there is wisdom in this world, and let's agree, that wisdom is worth seeking after!

Forget about me, I am not important, I was talking to someone who was not you, and you overheard .....



stephen cooper said...

"Most Everest climbers would make poor pet owners"

I had not thought about that.
That is sad,

wwww said...
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NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

People climb Everest partly because there is a chance of dying. If no one ever died, no one would go for the summit.

Hey Skipper said...

Makes me sad. The Wife didn't have my privileged childhood, and she works too hard these days. I want to take her somewhere special but I fear everything I know has become a Disney Theme Park experience, like Mt Everest.

Give the Balkans a try. Beautiful, and outside a few places (e.g., Dubrovnik) nothing like crowded.

And much of it with the frisson of shooting recently, and not necessarily indefinitely, concluded.

Laslo Spatula said...

Chickelit hit the point that always comes to me: the Sherpas make it possible.

You want to climb Everest? Then do it alone. No Sherpa, no one to carry your luggage.

Then you can say YOU climbed Everest. Rather than that you accompanied your human mule.

I am Laslo.

MadisonMan said...

And if the lines are too long it doesn't cost enough

Agreed. A COLA increase, so to speak, of 10% per year. I suppose that might make people flood in to beat the increase however.

JAORE said...

Some of these comments seem to say if a few hundred people per year can do it, it's no big deal.

Screw that. What percent of the population has reached the summit? A fraction of a fraction of a fraction?

I might question the wisdom/sanity of the climber, but not their accomplishment.

FWIW I was in the Pamplona running of the bulls at 65 and my hobby is long distance motorcycle riding, Iron Butt Association - look it up. Zip lining in Costa Rica was fun, and a few other adrenaline rushes are planned by the group I travel with. None is a "first" among humans. But they gives me a satisfaction that, while my clockworks are not wound tight, there are a few coils still to unwind.

I still plan to die in my sleep, but the things I do that MIGHT kill me are not even close to the worse way to go.

blnelson2 said...

Ooh - better outlaw climbing to the summit - it's just not safe...

Rusty said...

gilbar said...
"Seriously, if i wanted crowds, i'd trout fish in Missouri

Which succinctly explains WHY i don't trout fish in Missouri"
Or some of the more famous rivers in Montana or Michigan. The PereMarquette is like the Dan Ryan on the weekends yet my brother loves it. My taste in trout water tends to the remote. But as I age Im finding it harder to get to the water I used work. Brooks tend to be in the tougher to reach water.

Gospace said...

JAORE said...
Some of these comments seem to say if a few hundred people per year can do it, it's no big deal.

Screw that. What percent of the population has reached the summit? A fraction of a fraction of a fraction?

I might question the wisdom/sanity of the climber, but not their accomplishment.


Accomplishment? They walked up a hill. That's been walked up a few thousand times before.

I ran in- and finished- a 50 mile race once. To most of the world, it's a big "So what?" It can, however, be accomplished with a lot less monetary expenditure and is something most people haven't done.

You want a mountain climbing accomplishment that shows your commitment? Become a 46er. http://www.adk46er.org/ All done in the the USA.

mockturtle said...

Why anyone would want to climb Everest today is beyond me. The crowds have destroyed any hope of getting on and off the mountain without the threat of deadly delay. And tripping over bodies of past victims has to spoil the fun, too. I support climbing but not on Everest. Not now.

mockturtle said...

Chickelit opinesThis is truly a first world problem imposed on a third one.

True, but with a caveat. The Sherpa economy is dependent on the climbing industry now. It's not as though they are forced into this position. But I also agree with Laslo that it's more sporting to climb without an entourage. And many do.

L Day said...

Everest was once a place where only the big boys and girls played. A place where elite climbers had great, bold adventures. Then some of those elite climbers realized they could avoid growing up and getting a real job by offering to guide rich novice climbers to the summit of Everest. These novices aren't really even climbing. They clip their ascenders onto the fixed ropes their guides have rigged on the mountain from bottom to top and slowly slog their way up. More and more die there. Those who don't die get to brag of their accomplishment at fancy cocktail parties. I used to guide the two highest mountains in the western hemisphere, but never thought that mountain guides should be plying their trade into the death zone (above 26,000'). Money ruined Everest.

L Day said...

I once, quite by accident, impressed someone I met while ice climbing near Telluride. Turns out he had a permit to climb Everest (back in the mid '80s) and he invited me to joint the expedition. I was a dirtbag who lived for climbing, but turning down that invitation was the easiest thing I've ever done.

Kirk Parker said...

Michael K,

You did TransPac with a crew of only 6? That seems small; 8 is a great size for us racing a J-109 and we use every single person during a spinnaker drop. Granted, that's doing short and mid-length daytime races, especially buoy racing where the spinnaker is up and down a lot; but on the other hand there's no nighttime watch-standing, either.

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