HERE'S MY FULL CONVERSATION with Alan Arnette on YouTube:
There’s Been Loss of Life and Intense Drama on Annapurna and in the Mount Everest and 8000 meter peaks region of the Nepal Himalaya.
A veteran climber is dead, another miraculously rescued, and multiple others are lucky to be alive after a tragic few days in the Himalayas.
As the deadliest of the 8000 meter peaks Annapurna has of late become an object of desire for a wider and larger group of the new era of mountaineers, ticking off peaks on their checklist.
In recent years, guides have supplied high levels of support and supplemental oxygen to make the peak more accessible to less experienced climbers. Of the 395 total summits, 129 (33 percent) have occurred in the past three years.
HERE'S AN INTERVIEW with one of the world’s most respected chroniclers of Mount Everest, Alan Arnette WHO is reporting on this spring’s Everest and Himalayan climbing season for OUTSIDE ONLINE
We’ll talk about the miraculous rescue effort on Annapurna where Indian climber Anurag Maloo was found alive after spending three days inside a crevasse on Annapurna. Angela Benavides of Explorers Web has reported that Maloo was 50 meters in the crevasse, found barely alive by a rescue team led by Adam Bielecki - mind boggling….defying all odds…hope to bring more on that soon.
As well as the loss that sent shockwaves through the himalayan climbing community, the ever popular and 10-time Everest summiter, Noel Hanna of Ireland, 56, died in his tent at Camp 4 after summiting without supplemental oxygen.
We also discuss the summit of Manaslu by Felix Berg, as well as the sherpas expanding role in the world of 8000 meter peak guiding. And Alan has written a book.
YOU CAN FIND ALAN’S BLOG at alanarnette.com
There's been death and drama on Annapurna this week, veteran climber is dead another miraculously rescued, and multiple others are lucky to be alive after a tragic few days in the Himalayas, as the deadliest of the 8000 meter peaks and Aparna has of late become an object of desire for a wider and larger group of the new era of mountaineers ticking off peaks on their checklist, and in recent years guides have supplied high levels of support and supplemental oxygen to make the peak much more accessible to less experienced climbers. There's more happening in the Himalayas right now as the season is in full swing. Today, I have an awesome interview with one of the world's most respected chroniclers of Everest, Alan Arnette, who's reporting on this spring's Everest and Himalayan climbing season for outside online as well as on his blog at l&r. net.com will talk about the miraculous rescue effort on Annapurna where Indian climber on a rock Mulu was found alive after spending three days inside a crevasse on Annapurna three days, Angela benna V days of explorers web reported that Mulu was 50 meters down in the crevasse found barely alive by a rescue team led by Adam be lucky, a mind boggling rescue defying all odds also with Alan will talk about the loss that sent shockwaves through the Himalayan climbing community, the ever popular and 10 time Everest summit are no hana of Ireland, 56 years old, died in his tent and camp for on on Aparna after summiting. Without supplemental oxygen, Alan and I will also cover the summit on Mauna SLU by Felix Berg, the Sherpas expanding role in the world of 8000 meter peak guiding and Alan has also written a book and we will talk about that. So here's my conversation with Alan Arnette, from his home in Colorado, Alan, so congratulations, again, outside has chosen you to be the de facto source for all things Everest and Himalayan peaks. What goes along with that responsibility. And that great gift, if you will,Alan Arnette:
you know, I think to two words come to mind authenticity and accuracy, and maybe integrity along with that. And these are the same values I've applied to my own blog for you know, for years, that I think that people they don't want to hear spin. They don't want to hear conjecture. They want to hear to the best of your ability to tease out whatever's happening out there in on Everest and the other mountains. Like right now, just a few days ago, this, this Indian climber went missing, presumably fell into a crevasse. And now three days later, they found him it. If you believe in miracles, this is it. This is a miracle. Now, he is in critical condition now back in Katmandu, but when I first reported it, I said that he was missing. I didn't say that he was dead. We knew that no Hannah had died that had been confirmed, tragically, just dummy does stunningly. But this individual was still missing. And I think that's what Alside is looking for. You know, they're more of a general publication, as we all know, for outdoor enthusiast, they cover everything from, you know, mountain biking to, you know, how to date on a mountain, you know, everything in between, you know, but I think when it comes to Everest, you know, it's this as I've said before, it's the mountain that we've come to love to hate.Thom Pollard:
Yeah, it is. Everest has become very polarizing, and there are a lot of people who have significantly strong opinions about the garbage what to do with the bodies up there, the human waste and the suppose it but I believe the tide has changed greatly over the decades is people believe that the Sherpa are being completely exploited on Mount Everest and in the Himalayan peaks. And I think that those are some clarification talks that may be that might be for another day. However, all that said, with three Sherpa having been killed in the Khumbu ice about a week ago. I you know, I have a small but growing YouTube channel and there's a lot of people commenting saying they're exploited, they're exploited those people shouldn't be there and granted, I do believe their incredible strength and kindness and stick intuitiveness, if you will, is taken for granted by many people. I feel like the they've kind of shifted the tide. They're kind of almost driving the industry saying, No, we're taking over here. This is our mountain. I'm not sure if I went too far with that. But can you comment on that just a little bit?Alan Arnette:
You know, this is kind of the third rail of mountaineering is what is the role of the Sherpa community and supporting? You know, would I go back and reflect on the evolution of commercial mountaineering on Everest? Let's say 2010. So 13 years ago, which is not that long ago. 80% of the people who summited Everest were guided by a commercial outfit, like International Mountain guys, adventure consultants, Himalayan experienced high Max Russell Bryce's outfit, Alpine ascents, and only 20% were guided by a purely owned Nepali Company. Today is completely the opposite. 80% of the summit's it across all the 8000 meter mountains, including in Pakistan, including Ketu. And non DEP and the rest are their clients are guided by Nepali owned companies like seven summits treks and AK expeditions and imagine, Paul. So I think it is valid to say that the Nepalese are now driving high altitude mountaineering. And I don't have a problem with that, you know, you look at every single country in the world from Switzerland, Italy, France, Argentina, and article. I don't know if you'd call it the country, but and the United States that every single country monetizes is natural resources, including tourism. So that's all that Nepal is doing. They're monetizing Mount Everest. You know, it's the only mountain that's that high in the world. So they've got a corner on the market, you know, so I think the Sherpas are driving driving it now. And they in so when people say that the Sherpas are exploited? I'm not sure they're looking at it in the context of the evolution. So and I'm not sure I should even go here, but I'm gonna say this, that first off, Nobody forces a Sherpa to climb Mount Everest. Nobody forces anybody to be a porter, or to be a climbing Sherpa. Or to be a personal Sherpa. They it is a job they are they do it voluntarily and they are paid for it. Are they paid enough relative to the risk? You can you can argue that all day long. And I'm not sure what the right answer for that is, you could argue that a construction or construction worker building a bridge across a river is not paid enough because they might fall off and die. Okay, so but the Sherpas are doing this on their own their own volition.Thom Pollard:
Yeah, thank you for that. That's because I think it's such an important conversation and I endeavor to find somebody representative of that community to talk to someday and we'll expand upon that, or maybe a forum or something. But, but given this being the beginning, the early stages of the Everest in the free monsoon Himalayan climbing season, we do have some news. So Annapurna sounded like it could have been an amazing disaster now granted live, at least one life was lost, and then the three Sherpa and the baseball. So without trying to be a harbinger of like, you know, what might happen in the future. It was a tough beginning to the 1000 meter peak season. And, you know, what, what might we kind of keep an eye on right now,Alan Arnette:
I don't want 2023 to be a repeat of 2019 When 19 people died across multiple 8000 meter mountains, the common denominator in 2019. First off, it was predominantly Indian nationals who died. There was a vast disparity in experience of the people who died, some were very experienced, some were not experienced at all and should not have been there. Again, just due to like we just talked about the the Nepali companies were the predominant companies that were their logistics operators, and they have a different attitude about guiding them, let's say a guy Kotter with adventure consultants, I've done many podcasts with a guy and he says his responsibility is to take is to get a person back home alive and safe. It's not to get them to the summit. And whereas the Nepali companies typically feel like that, and this this is a generalization doesn't apply to everybody. But a lot of them feel like their job is to get the person to the mountain and then give them the opportunity to decline. And that's what a lot of people want. So as a result, you end up having people with various degrees of experience on the mountain, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. So I'll We tell people to, you know, it's buyer beat us climber beware, you have to know what you're doing and don't assume because this company has Sherpas have summited Everest 10 or 20 times that they're gonna save you if you make a mistake. The people that are on Annapurna here recently to the dog got rescued several of them were by themselves high on the mountain if you're qualified, you know, like a Reinhold Messner was that's fine. If this is your first 1000 meter Mountain is not okay to be by yourself. So again, you have to have personal responsibility. So looking forward in the season, we've had three deaths, which is three to many on Everest already won on Annapurna. The people are now moving over to dollar Giri and Michael Luo Man is Lou, we just had a summit today with a German by himself, Felix, you know, he summited completely independent but this guy is incredibly qualified. So that was not irresponsible, his part at all. You know, if you want to forecast as they say, if you're going to forecast you're going to predict the future do it often and do it early. So I have no idea what's going to happen historically on Everest is 468 People lose their life every season. Statistically, so I don't think is being a harbinger of death to suggest that we might see more fatalities as we go into the season. Also this year has been the weather has been crazy. Last year. It was phenomenally Great. This year is phenomenally snowy, so lots of avalanches, lots of heavy snow that's good for keeping the rocks rockfall, but it's bad for potential avalanches and just increasing the degree of difficulty in climbing the mountain.Thom Pollard:
Yeah, so Alan, without going off in too many tangents and kind of bring it back to the center of what I was hoping to ask you also earlier was two part question one, do you have any idea of how many permits there will be forever just and and what the estimate is for that number, because people are still arriving in Basecamp. And then to China, the Tibet side of Everest, and then also Shishapangma. And any chole. You if you will on that side? How is how are we looking there?Alan Arnette:
Yeah. As of I think yesterday, the Ministry of Tourism Jobs said they have issued right at 400 permits to foreigners. And China is leading the pack at roughly 90 with the US the second at around 60 or 70, something like that. And then India is third into the 40s. So, you know, I think we'll see something that could be a record. The record was 409 permits issued a couple of years ago. So I think we'll break that record this year. And it's primarily driven by the return of the Chinese after their COVID lockdowns and the reemergence of the Indians after their COVID issues and also economic issues. So I think you're gonna see China, India and the US being the top three countries on Everest again, probably we could we could get really close to 500 permits issued. And then you take the ratio of one to 1.5 Sherpas per client. Now you're talking, you know, let's say it's 500. That's another 750 Sherpas, you could have over 1000 people that are attempting the mountain this year. So ever since the big mountain, that's not a problem. If you spread it out over three weeks. You spread it out over three days is a disaster like we saw in 2019. That's why that line was there. It wasn't too many people. It was not enough. Not enough summit days when the winds are under 30 miles an hour. You know China did reopen the entire country to tourist visas, but they did it too late for the operators to run Everest expeditions this year. So they are now gearing up to go to Choi U and Shishapangma. In in the autumn. You know many companies now we're marketing that heavily. There are a couple of people heading over they are right now that are on shish trying to tag all the 14 Kristian Harloff from Norway. She's over there. There she's trying to get all 14 in a record time was six months. So you know, yeah, if you get if you if you really try hard enough you can go into Tibet right now, but it's few and far between.Thom Pollard:
Amazing. Yeah, so good. Thank you for the clarification. That would also explain why so many of the Chinese are on the Nepal side endeavoring to climb the mountain. And yeah, so whatAlan Arnette:
what one more little nuance on that is that if you're a Chinese if you're a Chinese national, in other words, a Chinese citizen and you apply to go climb Everest, you have to have attempted and probably summited at 8000 meter mountain before China will give you a permit to go climb on the Tibet side. Nepal has zero qualifications. It always amuses me. You know, we just got finished with the Boston Marathon that you got to qualify to run the Boston Marathon. You don't have to qualify decline Mount Everest in Nepal. So that's the reason that you see a lot of Chinese come over and climb from the Nepal side.Thom Pollard:
It's just so soon we'll have 30,000 people attempting Mount Everest in one season.Alan Arnette:
Absolutely. And probably the Kenyan will win. Yeah, yeah.Thom Pollard:
Yeah, good to kind of spread the love around.Alan Arnette:
Yeah, I think that it's always it always comes down to the weather. You know, if we've got if finally the snows relent, you know, everything kind of calms down on the upper mountain, and we've got the normal may 5 to May 25. Whether window we're about three weeks. I'm not anticipating any out of the ordinary problems this year. But but, you know, again, you never know, I think we have seen what I find interesting is I'm finding the the overall Everest scene is if I can use this word maturing, that we're starting to see let fewer deaths you know, statistically Everest is at of the 14 1000 meter mountains is number 12. When it comes to the death rate, so it's relatively low. And that's because that the operators are using the same route tents in the same place. Heavy Sherpa support. Many operators now are using more supplemental oxygen starting at lower altitudes. So the formula is in place just like it is on Denali, or on knocking cogwa That, you know, there's a formulas a formula climb. So they've taken all the unknowns out, what they haven't taken out are the things they can't control. And obviously, that's mainly the weather. So if we have good weather, it should be a relatively good season, probably with record Summit. If it continues to be a bad weather year, then you know, Katie bar the door, I don't know what's gonna happen.Thom Pollard:
So when's your next blog post coming out? You're gonna hit that. I think you just had one two days ago, or?Alan Arnette:
Yeah, I did a couple of days ago talking about no Hannah and his tragic death. You know, that also just speaks to the randomness of altitude. You know, he summited Everest 10 times he summoned to K to highly experienced, highly respected, highly loved person, just just a ball of joy. But it speaks to the randomness of altitude that you can do great one year and the next year you can you can die. And no one knows you know what the cause of death was done on his wife Lynn went to Katmandu she arrived a couple of days ago and to bring his body back to Ireland. I'm sure they'll they might do an autopsy, I don't know. But they might have done it in Katmandu, but the cause of death, but I suspect it will be altitude related, something like that. And, you know, so that's another thing that goes to the to the experience, you can be the most experienced climber in the world, and still altitude can get you. And that's the bargain that we make we go climb these big mountains, you know, but again, you know, it's, it's a trade off, it's the joy that we get, it's the personal growth is dissatisfaction. And, by all I talk a lot about, you know, the why, why do you go do this? And? And the answer is irrelevant? The answer is unique and personal to you as to why you go climb a mountain, you can do it for fame and glory, you can do it for personal growth, you can do it just a tick a box, you know, whatever your answer is, is the right answer for you. You're not climbing for somebody else. Most people, of course, there are professional climbers are doing it for a job, but 99% of the people are doing it for themselves and whatever their unique and personal reason is, and you know, we all get something out of it. Otherwise you wouldn't put yourself through such suffering to go and do it. And also, in a very serious note, you wouldn't take the risk, because there is a real risk of losing your life on these big mountains is real.Thom Pollard:
Allen so you have a manuscript of a book that you wrote, and you're shopping for someone to take the reins, so the world can read your writing.Alan Arnette:
Yeah, this is a an overnight project, which started 10 years ago. As I said, you know, when my mother died from Alzheimer's when it died from Alzheimer's in 2009. After going through that journey with her, I thought that I should write a book. And then when I submitted Kay to at age 58, and had a very difficult experience, I thought I should write a book. So here it is, in 2023. I now have a 63 60,000 word manuscript. And Tom is basically about as an intersection of what I call my passion and purpose. My passion being mountain climbing my purpose now being an Alzheimer's advocate, and it talks about it starts off with talking about my experience on K two, and then it goes back in history and it's a memoir. So it talks about, you know, I talked about my life growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, and of all places to go off and climb all these big mountains. And then I've lightly touch on some of the adventures I've had from Patagonia to New Zealand to attempting ever three times. And finally summiting. I talk a lot about my relationship with my mom and my dad. And then I bring it back around to talking about the experience, okay, too. So it's time we've interweave the Alzheimer's story with, with my mountain climbing, cause they're there. They're completely tightly linked in my life, it really defines my life and who I am. So I've got this done. Now I got the manuscript is, I think it's I think it's good. I think it's worthy of a publisher, taking it and publishing it as a real book done, as I shouldn't say as a real book compared to a self published, but I really would like to have a, you know, what are the top five publishers, so I'm looking for an agent, I'm now sending out what are called query letters. To try to find an agent that's interested, we'll see where it goes, you know, these kind of send these letters off to the agents and hope that it will, somebody will like what you wrote, they only read the first sentence as I understand, so I really try hard to get that first sentence powerful.Thom Pollard:
You can find l&r nets blog at Alan arnette.com, or check outside online for his Everest, and Himalayan peak reports. Either place you can keep up to date on his Everest reporting. But most importantly, Alan's heart is with Alzheimer's advocacy in tribute to his mom, Ida. I'll provide links in the notes to this episode. If you've enjoyed what you've seen today on Everest mystery, I hope you'll consider hitting that subscribe button. But even more importantly, let us know what you think in the comments. And I hope you'll let us know where you are today. And lastly, if you stick around, I'm gonna put a video up on the screen that might be of interest to you. Stay positive, guard your thoughts, be generous and kind. Do a good deed say something kind to someone today. We are all in this together. I appreciate you being here on Everest mystery. Thanks very much. Have a great day. Peace out