Mountaineering. For example, recent Everest ascent 14 days door-to-door

  • A big topic.

    I've seen recent media coverage of an ascent, with serious pre-acclimatization, in just 12 days from home, and then 2 days racing to fly back home. Mighty speedy.

    But it strikes me some Sherpas have already probably been faster, home-to-home. Maybe even without any transportation assistance -- if they are based relatively close-by in the Khumbu.

    The base-camp to summit records (North, South, South without supplemental bottled oxygen) are all under 24 hours. Allowing 18 hours for descent, a couple of helicopter rides could trim the outing to a short weekend -- if one's home is close.

  • Anyone who's been climbing at altitude who actually belongs there knows such speed attempts are folly. Your body will react differently, the conditions are highly variable, and with crowding such as there is now you add another host of social variables that can't be controlled.

    But really the whole thing seems to have collapsed into something so silly so why not speed climb it.?

  • One of my favorite Everest stories was that of Tim Macartney-Snape. In case anyone hasn't heard of it, after climbing it without oxygen in 1984, he did it again in 1990. But this time he started at sea level and got to the summit completely under his own power.

    He started in the Bay of Bengal in India, walked 700 miles across India and Nepal. There was no bridge over the two mile-wide Ganges so he swam it. The Nepalese border he was planning on crossing was closed and he was behind schedule, so he RAN the last 200 miles in five days to the next closest border crossing (40 miles/day average).

    He spent a month acclimatizing at BC and then started up. He climbed it entirely solo. Apparently, he was going to climb the West Ridge but there was too much snowfall so he went up via the South Col route. To date, his feat is unrepeated. And imagine if he had done the West Ridge...

    He and a friend later started the company Sea to Summit. Not sure how they came up with that name. 😉

  • @himalayaguy , hey there, say... wow, and oh my! say, is there an article about it, any where...wheww... say, thanks for sharing, 🙂 if i don't post soon, i am on a busy week, this week... might not get back to see stuff, until later... but, sure appreciate the story... wow...

  • @himalayaguy

    Cool to recount this one. I was familiar because I have a bit of their over priced gear 😜

    Quite the accomplishment, indeed.

  • Oddly enough, there are a lot of snippets of it on the web but I didn't find one that described the trip in detail. He does have a website (he's a motivational speaker, no surprise there!) and while it mentions the trip, it doesn't go in great detail. Wikipedia has a good bio on him:

    He did write a book ("Everest: Sea to Summit") that's available on Amazon for $60 and up for a used copy. I've thought about getting it before because it's really a one of a kind journey. One of these days I'll splurge and get it.

    This also might suffice:

    It's a short video, with footage shot by him on the climb (he lugged a movie camera with him). He had a small team with him for the overland portion and there is footage in the video shot by them, presumably from BC with telephoto lenses. I'm pretty sure you can see him in some of those shots on the summit ridge, like at 1:35 in the lower right of the screen.

  • @himalayaguy

    Thanks for posting up the details of a truly extraordinary adventure, the likes of which I suspect few can compare in modern times. I used to dream of mountaineering adventures as a kid, only to find that I did not do well at altitude (e.g. starting at 12-13K), regardless of acclimation (a month living at 10K). Used to dream of climbing frozen waterfalls too, drooling over pics in Climbing Ice until a friend of a friend had a chunk of ice slice his nose off (yes, he was wearing a helmet, wh/is why it did not split his skull open). I just didn't have enough brass for that. Probably more blessing than curse because I then focused on rock climbing, which became a lifestyle.

    But I digress. I kind of started to grok wtf Everest was about ($$$$ buy your way to your fame and glory story) when the book Seven Summits came out. A good read at the time but I also always felt like these dude were 'cheating' a bit. Maybe even more than a bit, depending on how honest they were being in the retelling.

    Fast forward a few years and the same started happening in Yosemite on the famous big walls, El Capitan and Half Dome. Next thing you know we've got massive additional competition for limited resources. Well, how's the government going to "manage" that? By a permit system, of course, which, like regressive taxation, tends to favor the affluent over the less affluent (a.k.a. regular dirtbags). Half Dome was my one and only big wall. But I did it with another regular climber (John L if you're still out there please PM me) who was fairly experienced with walls. He schooled me on the realities and mechanics of big wall climbing - get the haul bag to the top - and handled the 'tricky' parts of that, e.g. traverse, while I, being the better free climber, led the 'harder' pitches. It was a great adventure. I cannot imagine it being anywhere near as fulfilling had I simply paid somebody $3,000 to drag my ass to the top. Yet for some, the bragging rights seem to be more rewarding than the deed itself. Pretty shallow and hollow in my view, but to each their own.

    Hmmmm.... this prompts me to start a new thread. 😎

  • @toby

    Excellent new thread.

    Certainly the Sea to Summit approach is wonderful -- make the adventure bigger, not as-fast-as-possible.

    I've had a few 'big' trips start at remarkably low elevation before aiming pretty high; it really added to the experience.

    And the time factor means a lot, too. I love day outings to escape the desk and city, but being in the mountains long enough to feel like it is 'home' for a while, ahhh.


  • @pggreen said in Mountaineering. For example, recent Everest ascent 14 days door-to-door:


    And the time factor means a lot, too. I love day outings to escape the desk and city, but being in the mountains long enough to feel like it is 'home' for a while, ahhh.


    Amen to that, brutha!! 🙌

  • These days you would have to be incredibly stupid to attempt the South Col or the North Ridge. You would be totally at the mercy of all of the gumbies blocking the way.

    People who want to claim an Everest ascent at the water cooler but don't even know how to put on crampons, sheesh!

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