We’ve seen some truly amazing time-lapse videos in recent months but it is difficult to top this one. It was shot on Mt. Everest this spring and delivers a true sense of the scale of that mountain. Many of the images were captured at various campsites along the route up to the summit and feature some stunning shots of the night sky above the tallest mountain in the world. It is a short, but beautiful film that will leave you in awe of our planet.
A controversial plan to install a ladder on Mt. Everest has been met with a less than enthusiastic response from the mountaineering community. The mountain guides behind the proposal say that the ladder will help to alleviate traffic jams near the summit, while purists claim that it will detract from the overall challenge of the climb.
The plan was first made public this past weekend when Dawa Steven Sherpa, a prominent mountain guide and member of the Expedition Operators Association in Nepal, revealed that the organization was considering installing a ladder at the Hillary Step, a crucial point in the climb on Everest’s South Side. Named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first to scale it, the Hillary Step is located at 28,750 feet. The 40-foot rock wall has been the cause of bottlenecks in recent years as climbers attempt to negotiate the tricky route while wearing crampons and other heavy climbing gear. Since only one person can be on the ropes at any given time, others end up standing around watching and waiting for their turn. This can be especially dangerous due to the thin air, cold temperatures and weather conditions that have been known to change abruptly.
According to Dawa, the ladder would only be used by climbers who are descending, which would have little to no impact on the level of challenge related to the climb. It would simply direct the traffic heading down in a slightly different direction, thus eliminating congestion and diminishing traffic jams.But opponents of the plan say that those coming to the mountain should already know how to safely climb a relatively easy technical section such as the Hillary Step. They argue that the ladder will enable even more people to attempt Everest, bring more inexperienced and untested climbers to the mountain. Critics say that it could possibly even lead to further crowding in the future.
It should be noted that ladders are already used on certain sections of Everest. For instance, climbers on the South Side use them to traverse the Khumbu Icefall, a treacherous section that would be nearly impossible to pass through without the aid of a ladder. On the North Side of the mountain, which falls inside China controlled Tibet, there is a permanent ladder installed at a place called the Second Step. That rock face is far more difficult than the Hillary Step however and without the ladder there, almost no one would successfully reach the top along that route.
Personally, I feel that if Nepal truly wants to make the mountain safer they should limit the number of permits that are issued each year. That won’t happen however, as the permits bring in a lot of money to a country that is otherwise extremely poor. Given the alternatives, I’d say adding the ladder is a wise move.
As the first American to climb Everest, Jim Whittaker knows a thing or too about living life to the fullest. He was part of the historic 1963 expedition that broke new ground on the world’s tallest mountain, which would be enough adventure for most people. But even now, at the age of 80, Whittaker continues to be active and pursue his passion for the outdoors and inspire others to do the same.
In the video above, Whittaker shares some advice on how to embrace everything that life has to offer, saying, “If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” Those are words of wisdom for all of us and a good reminder of why we travel. To live life on the edge, experience new things and embrace foreign cultures. We might not all climb Mt. Everest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find adventure in our own way.
Yesterday, 80-year-old mountaineer Yiuchiro Miura successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest, setting a new age record in the process. Miura, who has climbed the mountain on two previous occasions, is now the oldest person to ever stand on top of the tallest mountain on the planet. But just how long he’ll hold that distinction remains to be seen.
There were some concerns about the weather conditions heading to the summit, as the forecasts had called for high winds. Bad weather could have scrubbed Miura’s summit attempt, but fortunately the predicted shift didn’t come. As a result, it was a good day for climbing and although it was cold on the summit, the Japanese alpinist and his son Gota managed to reach the top in a safe and timely fashion. They spent roughly a half-hour on the summit celebrating their accomplishment and calling home to their support team via satellite phone before heading back down.
We told you about Miura’s quest to climb Everest a few weeks back, noting at the time that he was vying for the title of the oldest to achieve that feat with 81-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal. Sherchan has yet to begin his climb as a stomach ailment has kept him in Base Camp in recent days. He says that he is feeling stronger now and hopes to make a summit bid next week. If he is successful, he’ll wrest the title of oldest Everest climber away from his Japanese rival. In 2008, at the age of 76, Sherchan topped out one day ahead of Miura, nabbing the record that has stood for the past five years.
Sherchan will have to have a little luck go his way, however, as the weather forecasts indicate the current summit window will close in the next few days. It is unclear whether or not another window will open before the end of the month, which traditionally sees a shifting of the jet stream that signals the arrival of the seasonal monsoons. When that happens, no one will be able to climb Everest until the fall at the earliest.
Two octogenarians are preparing to go head-to-head to determine who will hold the record for the oldest to summit Mt. Everest; 81-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal and his 80-year-old rival Yuichiro Miura of Japan are both currently in Everest Base Camp on the South Side of the mountain. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the two climbers will set out for the 29,029-foot summit as they both look to fulfill a dream of climbing Everest in their eighth decade. Setting a new mark for the oldest person to accomplish that feat would simply be icing on the cake.
Sherchan is the current record holder, having previously climbed Everest in 2008 at the age of 76. He managed to reach the top of the world’s tallest peak exactly one day before his Japanese counterpart, who was 75 at the time. That was Miura’s second successful summit as he also climbed the mountain in 2003 at the age of 70.
Unsurprisingly, the rivalry between these two climbers is a bit one-sided. Sherchan says that he hasn’t returned to Everest in an effort to keep his record but instead he simply wants to attempt to climb the mountain in his 80s. Miura on the other hand is quoted as saying, “records are meant to be broken.” Clearly he would relish the opportunity to claim this crown for himself. In order to do that, however, he must first reach the summit and then hope that Serchan does not.
The two men will soon get the opportunity to prove that they still have the strength and skill to pull off this difficult climb despite their advancing age. If everything goes as planned, the Sherpa team charged with fixing the ropes up the mountain will complete their work tomorrow. That will clear the way for the commercial climbing squads to begin their ascents once they get a clear weather window that will provide access to the summit. The forecast calls for high winds over the next few days, but things should start to improve early next week. After that, the two men will have their duel on the slopes.
[Photo Credit: Yuichiro Miura]