This is an excellent article on some of the dangers associated with climbing the word’s highest mountain.
Mid May usually marks the start of the climbing window for Everest, and this year the government of Nepal has issued climbing permits to 373 climbers, the most since 1953 in a single season.
I especially like the government’s suggestions to solve some of the traffic issues on the mountain (yes, even on Everest there are traffic jams!), save lives, and boost the mountaineering industry of the country as a whole by weeding out inexperienced climbers. The suggestion to make it mandatory for climbers to ascend either two 6,000 meter summits or one 7,000 meter summit in Nepal before initiating an Everest climb seems entirely sensible to me.
Find the full article here, and best of luck to all 800 climbers, including Sherpas, who are currently siting at BC waiting for the window to climb Everest.
You have probably guessed by now that I am a bit of a Mallory nut.
Mallory needs no introduction, but yesterday I found a spectacularly detailed article about his Borgel wristwatch… whatever makes you tick I guess.
The watch was found on Mallory’s body when it was discovered in 1999. It was missing its crystal and hands, and was found in a pocket of Mallory’s clothing. There has been speculation that the watch lost its crystal and stopped during a climbing manoeuvre, an arm jamb in a rock fissure while ascending the second step, and that the position of the hands could indicate the time at which the arm jamb took place. However the author of the article argues convincingly that there were “no signs that the watch has even been scratched lightly against a rock, let alone crushed against or between rocks during a hand jam. When the watch was examined it was found that the balance staff pivots are unbroken and the movement is in good working order. Watches of this age do not have shock protection for the balance staff pivots, which are very delicate and can be easily broken if the watch is knocked sharply against a hard object. The fact that the balance staff pivots are not broken shows that the watch did not sustain any such damage. It was reported that when the rusted stumps of the hands were removed the movement started ticking.” I love the idea that the time between Mallory and the modern age had literally been frozen! The watch is now in the keeping of the Royal Geographical Society in London. You can read much more about David’s thoughts and professional comments on the watch here, and also see his designs for vintage watch straps here. (He also holds the copyright to the photo below).
“The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ and my answer must at once be, ‘It is no use.’ There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”