Forum Index > Trail Talk > Traffic jam, deaths at the top of Everest
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JimmyBob
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PostFri May 24, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
I dont believe that picture is real for a minute.

What about this one then?

https://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2013/06/01/mount-everest-traffic
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Tom
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PostFri May 24, 2019 5:08 pm 
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Here is the FB page for the photo.  I don't think it's photoshopped.

https://www.facebook.com/NimsPurja/photos/pcb.2155658111155524/2155658064488862/
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Eric Hansen
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PostFri May 24, 2019 8:08 pm 
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Guardian article notes that Alan Arnette chronicles each Everest season in his blog, called the traffic jams, delays this year as insane.

"“In 2019, we are hearing horror stories of summit pushes from the South Col to the summit taking 10, 12, even 14 hours. And due to the jams, the return to the Col is taking up to another six hours, making for 20 hour pushes – that’s insane.”

His blog:  http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2019/05/23/everest-2019-3-new-deaths-now-6-on-everest-15-overall/

Scrolling down there is a picture of Everest's Southeast Ridge (from Lhotse) that gives context to the narrative.

Further down is a comments section, notable for reactions that mirror many of ours. Disbelief that the Hillary Step traffic jam photo is real. Horror at what Everest has become. Grief.
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Anne Elk
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PostFri May 24, 2019 8:27 pm 
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I thought the first photo surely was photo-shopped until I saw the one in the link that Jimmy Bob posted.  Besides the sheer numbers, the bottleneck has to be worsened by all the selfies.  shakehead.gif  Managing the trash and s*** up there must be a real nightmare now. Ugh.

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostFri May 24, 2019 9:14 pm 
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So...absolutely nothing was learned following the disaster that was chronicled in "Into Thin Air."  In fact it's way worse now.  So it's only a matter of time and the wrong conditions until there's an even worse disaster.
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Eric Hansen
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PostFri May 24, 2019 9:29 pm 
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"Bottom line: Look for Everest to become more crowded in Nepal, more expensive in Tibet and for six to eight people to lose their lives each year – more on the south side due to more people climbing that side."

From Arnette's blog, under section titled "How much does it cost to climb Everest?"

http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2018/12/17/how-much-does-it-cost-to-climb-mount-everest-2019-edition/
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Eric Hansen
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PostSun May 26, 2019 12:22 pm 
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"Why I won't be joining the queue on Everest"

"A startling picture of overcrowding near the summit shows the peril of turning the mountain into a form of adventure tourism"

A worthwhile commentary

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/26/i-wont-be-joining-queue-everest-overcrowding-summit
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Doppelganger
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PostTue May 28, 2019 8:45 am 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
..."Into Thin Air."  In fact it's way worse now.  So it's only a matter of time and the wrong conditions until there's an even worse disaster.

Pictures from the '96 event show some early manifestations of today's lines. I wonder what those lines will look like in another twenty years.

Eric Hansen wrote:
"A startling picture of overcrowding near the summit shows the peril of turning the mountain into a form of adventure tourism"

It's described as an important part of the local economy now unfortunately, how best to scrub clean the mountain of the physical, economical and symbolic garbage that's been piled upon it? It's been well monetized now, human greed(need?) will not allow this to be reversed imo.
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drm
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PostTue May 28, 2019 9:20 am 
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You have to wonder if stories like these will undermine the entire scenario. Will people continue to be willing to pay big bucks for this kind of experience?

The backstory of course starts with the arrival of commercial guiding. But in recent years there was conflict, even violence, between western guiding companies and Sherpas. You might try looking up the movie Sherpa as it goes into it, available on some streaming services. It really is a fascinating exploration of the western guide-Sherpa conflict. There was even a strike one year and all Sherpas left the mountain, leaving paying customers sitting in camp.

All this has resulted in the guiding service and income significantly shifting to the Sherpas. They keep a lot more of the money now and that has made it even harder to set rules to limit numbers since more money is staying local. The Nepalese government probably doesn't care that much and just wants their cut.

So practically the Sherpas are the only ones who can bring order to this situation, but they have their divisions too.
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thunderhead
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PostTue May 28, 2019 12:07 pm 
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As the season wraps up, it looks like ~11 people died and >800 reached the top safely(which I believe is an all-time record), which is near the recent trend of a ~1% death rate.

So while the overcrowding is certainly an issue it does not look like it had a major impact on death rate this year.  Keep in mind more people on the route will also be able to offer greater ability to bring down an ailing climber, so it is not all bad.
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slabbyd
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PostTue May 28, 2019 3:05 pm 
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The NYTimes article states that "150 are clipped into the same fixed line".   You would have to have a total lack of self-preservation and/or situational awareness to directly connect yourself  to a 149 other hypoxic and frequently inexperienced persons up there.

I'm not sure if their just running a carabiner over the rope or using a mechanical ascender, ultimately I guess it doesn't matter.   Even if the ropes are replaced every season I would really question the quality of anchors those ropes are connected to.

You could just image the domino effect of an anchor pulling, sending one off-balance climber tumbling into another, penduluming down across the SE face, anchors popping as they go, the ridgeline being swept clean of everyone attached.   Until they all tumble off the end, like a broken bead necklace.......
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Eric Hansen
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PostTue May 28, 2019 5:42 pm 
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https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/how-mount-everests-popularity-turned-fatal/2019/05/27/eea7d2b4-806c-11e9-9a67-a687ca99fb3d_story.html?utm_term=.6c42e1a9824e

"Some of those descending from the summit pleaded desperately with those ascending to clear a way for them to pass since they had run out of oxygen. “That sent chills down my spine,” said Tamang, 45, a mountaineering guide who lives in Russia. He fears that if no action is taken, the crowds next year could be worse, with potentially fatal consequences."

Even more descriptions are coming out, and they are not pretty. Jostling on the summit for best position for a selfie. Flat area of the summit described as the size of two ping pong tables.

I'm starting to wonder how much of an impact the bad press will have on the inflow of customers/climbers. Will it be seen as a tainted accomplishment, people wondering how many cries for help were ignored, how many bodies stepped over on the way up and down?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/28/walking-over-bodies-mountaineers-describe-the-carnage-at-the-top-of-mount-everest

"“I cannot believe what I saw up there,” Saikaly said of the last hours of his climb in a post on Instagram. “Death. Carnage. Chaos. Lineups. Dead bodies on the route and in tents at camp 4. People who I tried to turn back who ended up dying. People being dragged down. Walking over bodies."
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xrp
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PostTue May 28, 2019 6:09 pm 
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Charge higher prices to squeeze out some of the excess demand.
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RandyHiker
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PostWed May 29, 2019 6:14 am 
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xrp wrote:
Charge higher prices to squeeze out some of the excess demand.

It seems you have no idea about the current rates or the type of people pursuing the summit in the last decades.  If anything doubling the fees would increase demand.
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed May 29, 2019 7:29 am 
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The problem as always is greed. huh.gif

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Forum Index > Trail Talk > Traffic jam, deaths at the top of Everest
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