Today is International Mountain Day 2014

International Mountain Day 2014

International Mountain Day is an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains and highlands

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Nepal Mountaineering Association working on Himalayan issues

Report to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) shows efforts and hard work to make mountaineering a great sport and occupation

Ang Tshering Sherpa has filed a report with the UIAA with updates on the work the association is doing. The association has been around for years, however the avalanche on Mt. Everest this spring has prompted this new round of action on behalf of the association.

This is a very comprehensive report showing work on dozens of topics.

See Nepal Himalaya issues being addressed by the Nepal Mountaineering Association

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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New Group formed to promote Freedom in Mountaineering. Fear that attorneys and media will close the mountains based on fear and failure to understand forced the formation of Italian Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering

Liberty in Mountaineering to resist attempts by national or local authorities to constrain freedom of access and risk taking in mountaineering and climbing

Italian Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering

Ice climbing

Ice climbing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Motivation and purposes.

The “Osservatorio per la Libertà in Alpinismo” (Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering) is a Free Association, recognized by the Italian Alpine Club. Its purpose is the defense of liberty in the various mountaineering practices against the increasing tendency to restrain it. This tendency is typical of advanced societies, where the broad detachment from natural life generates an obsession against dangers in general.  This feature of the “société sécuritaire” is fostered by social tensions and by the wide diffusion of information.

The social rejection of the forms of liberty that imply dangers is particularly reactive to accidents in mountaineering, ski-mountaineering and climbing.   Out of it comes the restrictive interpretation of laws and the plan of oppressive ones.  Local authorities often set constraints to the access to mountain areas which are not justified by environmental concern.

The reaction to all this led the Italian Mountaineers to create the Observatory.  Its main purpose is to gather information about the threats to liberty and to react against attempts to constrain the freedom in mountaineering practices.  One of its main tasks is to deepen the understanding of the general public opinion and to let the public understand the values of the adventure in mountaineering and of the principles of liberty.

Obviously, liberty cannot reach as far as creating damages to anyone; the Italian Alpine Club runs powerful mountaineering and climbing schools all over the Country and steadily invites its members to have a sound approach to mountaineering.  But the Observatory does not accept critical arguments such as “dangers for the rescue teams” and “costs for the national health service”. No space here for details.

The negative vision of mountaineering can lead to constraints on access to adventure terrains, far beyond those that may be justified by environmental concern. This is a field of action for the Observatory, but even more important is the fight for freedom to take risks, which is an inherent feature of mountaineering.  Its importance is enhanced by the increasing tendency of advanced societies to infringe the right to risk taking in other fields of human activity.

This brief note is obviously confined to a few essential features of the menace to liberty, but an important point must still be mentioned, since it was recognized during the “Assises  de l’Alpinisme” that were held on 2011  in Grenoble and Chamonix:  the problem is international,  therefore it deserves attention by all Countries of UIAA.

Motivation and purposes.

Schitour am Hochkönig (Österreich)

Schitour am Hochkönig (Österreich) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “Osservatorio per la Libertà in Alpinismo” (Observatory for Liberty in Mountaineering) is a Free Association, recognized by the Italian Alpine Club. Its purpose is the defense of liberty in the various mountaineering practices against the increasing tendency to restrain it. This tendency is typical of advanced societies, where the broad detachment from natural life generates an obsession against dangers in general.  This feature of the “société sécuritaire” is fostered by social tensions and by the wide diffusion of information.

The social rejection of the forms of liberty that imply dangers is particularly reactive to accidents in mountaineering, ski-mountaineering and climbing.   Out of it comes the restrictive interpretation of laws and the plan of oppressive ones.  Local authorities often set constraints to the access to mountain areas which are not justified by environmental concern.

The reaction to all this led the Italian Mountaineers to create the Observatory.  Its main purpose is to gather information about the threats to liberty and to react against attempts to constrain the freedom in mountaineering practices.  One of its main tasks is to deepen the understanding of the general public opinion and to let the public understand the values of the adventure in mountaineering and of the principles of liberty.

Obviously, liberty cannot reach as far as creating damages to anyone; the Italian Alpine Club runs powerful mountaineering and climbing schools all over the Country and steadily invites its members to have a sound approach to mountaineering.  But the Observatory does not accept critical arguments such as “dangers for the rescue teams” and “costs for the National Health Service”. No space here for details.

The negative vision of mountaineering can lead to constraints on access to adventure terrains, far beyond those that may be justified by environmental concern. This is a field of action for the Observatory, but even more important is the fight for freedom to take risks, which is an inherent feature of mountaineering.  Its importance is enhanced by the increasing tendency of advanced societies to infringe the right to risk taking in other fields of human activity.

This brief note is obviously confined to a few essential features of the menace to liberty, but an important point must still be mentioned, since it was recognized during the “Assises  de l’Alpinisme” that were held on 2011  in Grenoble and Chamonix:  the problem is international,  therefore it deserves attention by all Countries of UIAA.

Do SomethingUIAA Safety Label logo color1

Do you believe this is becoming a problem? I believe it is a very real problem. If you are a mountaineer you expect death. Yet the park service tried to yank a Denali permit from a commercial outfitter when they had one death. The permitee was given a non-preferential review even though the outfitter had a stellar record prior to the fatality. (See Top National Park Service Officials Reverse Decision Tied To Fatal Climbing Accident.)

I had a lady call me once about a zip line. The zip line was going in down the road from her and she did not want it.  I asked her why figuring she would say something about traffic on the road or the type of people zip lines attract and she said because they hurt and kill so many people.

See Jon Heshka and the Right of the Individual to Die Doing What We Love

It is our right to experience the world anyway we want. If that is sitting on a couch watching football, fine. If that is testing yourself against a mountain, the cold, testing yourself against yourself, then I believe it is fantastic. I understand I may die. I don’t believe I will die, but I understand the risks. I have looked at the risks and made the decision to live life rather than wait for death.

For more information about this organization see Italian observatory set to lobby for freedom in the mountains

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Why did Everest Get Its Name

John Boyle presentation July 23, 2013

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Explore Mt Everest – Online with the American Alpine Club

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Ever wonder what treasures are hiding in the AAC archives? Well, wonder no more! Today we launch Explore, and our first-ever online exhibit: Everest 1963: The American Odyssey. Visit this new resource to see special photos, videos, and documents that tell one of the greatest stories in mountaineering history. Explore also features a supplemental Everest gallery with over 200 images from the 1963 expedition. Many of these photos have never been available to the public until now. Please have a look, and let us know what you think.

Four of the seven living members of the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition are reuniting later this month at the AAC’s 2013 Annual Benefit Dinner in San Francisco. This event marks the first time in decades that Jim Whittaker, Tom Hornbein, Norman Dyhrenfurth, and David Dingman will be together on the same stage, recounting the stories that forever shaped the future of American climbing. Time is running out to buy tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime event—registration closes on February 15. We hope you will join us for this extraordinary evening.


Article attempts to describe people dying on Everest as part psychological trap

Probably, the article is right; however, the article misses one major issue; a lot of people climbing Everest are there because they can afford it, not because they know what they are doing.

This past 2012 Everest season garnered a lot of press. A month of slow news days put Everest back in the spotlight. When four people died in one

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

day, it made everyone’s news radar. This article, Everest’s Psychological Trap: How the tallest mountain warps climbers’ minds attempts to describe how people believe they can get beyond their turnaround time and still survive.

I believe the article is right.

The article describes the phenomenon as a mind trap. There are several different variations to the mind trap, one which the author calls the red lining. Red lining is having a turnaround time, a drop-dead time as I call you. (If you don’t turn around, then, you will drop dead.)

The author then explains that once you pass your turnaround time, there is nothing to stop you or make you think. There are no more deadlines. When you are sleeping and you hit the snooze button, you still have to be at work by 8:00 AM. On Everest once you pass your turn-around time; you still have the rest of your life, which you may be counting in hours rather than in a year.

The problem is that once we go over the red line, there are no more boundaries. Nothing calling you back to the safe side. And in a brutally tough environment like Everest, once Mother Nature’s jaws slam shut, there may be no one to help you.

The article does miss that last sentence which to this day is miss understood by everyone who has not been above tree line and a lot of people on Everest. By help, the only thing that can be done is to yell at you. There is no one above the South Col that can drag you down from there. That can assist you in getting down. It is physically impossible. Once you hit the snow, you are going to lay there until you die or until you regain enough to stand up again and walk back. However, this last thing has only been accomplished by two climbers on Everest that I know about.

One of the four victims supposedly asked for help as her last words. There is no help at 28000’. See ‘Save me’: last words of Mount Everest climber.

I also believe the article applies to people who are attempting to the highest mountain on the Earth the cheapest way possible. A guide can’t save your life once you hit the ground. A guide can tell you to turn around when you hit your time deadline and keep yelling and pulling on you until you do turn around.

If you have the money to hire a better company, you get a better guide to climber ratio. You get someone who by the summit day knows you, understands you a little and can continuously pester you into turning around rather than running off to check on several other people. Someone who can get in your face and turn you around physically and mentally.

Do Something

Climbers who did not hire guides got to Everest by turning around a lot. If you did not learn your body and did not learn to turn around, you did not live long enough to get to Everest. Even so, Everest is littered with bodies of guides and successful mountaineers, who did not understand, chose to ignore or just could only see the summit.

Read the article, it is interesting, whether you are going to Nepal or just watching a Discovery Channel special on Everest.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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PR piece with great information on building to climbing a big mountain

International Mountain Guides, LLC
February 2012
What’s Your Game Plan For 2012?

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Chulu Peak Base Camp in Nepal

You’ve had a month…how are the New Year’s Resolutions going? If you’re like most of the world the first couple weeks of January were filled with workouts and diets, the tricky part is making sure that February and March follow with the same passion! There’s no better way to do that than to set a goal and work towards that goal. Better yet, sign-up for a climb this summer, give us a few bucks and watch your motivation level skyrocket (money tends to do that). Below are a few tips that might peak your motivation or at least get your brain focused on whatever your next goal might be.

Start Small (Relatively Speaking) 

For beginner climbers it’s important to set yourself up for success. Remember you can’t eat an elephant in one bite. We get a lot of “I want to climb Everest….what should I do?” And the answer is always the same: Have you climbed Mt. Rainier? Mt. Baker? Something in the North Cascades?

If the answer is no, then we know where we need to start. Unfortunately a lot of folks try to run in crampons before they know how to walk in them. Let’s see if you even like climbing before we get you to the South Col on Everest!

Are your knees shot? No excuses…try a trek. Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, or even Kilimanjaro! We’ll take care of the weight on your back and the logistics – you just put one foot in front of the other.

________________________________________

 Ok, I’ve Climbed A Few Things – Now What?

 

We hear this a lot: “Last summer I climbed Mt. Rainier and had a blast! The summer before that my wife and I climbed Shuksan and it was super fun. This year we want another challenge – what do you recommend?” 

This is a great question and one that is fun to answer. Once you’ve got a couple climbs under your belt the world starts opening up. Climbs in Mexico, Ecuador, and Bolivia, or climbs like Mt. Bona, Mt. Whitney, and Chulu Peak, are popular ‘next steps’ after a first or second climb. Many of these programs feature cultural aspects to them, so be sure look at the non-climbing days on the itinerary to see what else you’d enjoy on the program.     

  ________________________________________

 Bolivia Was Fun, Now Can I Climb Everest? 

Ok, so you’ve climbed a few things and you’ve got you eyes on one of the big guys! It’s important to keep in mind that every mountain is different and can have its own prerequisites. Take Denali for example, success on Rainier in the summer and a high five on the summit of Aconcagua often isn’t enough. A Denali Prep Course on Rainier is needed to get you qualified for Denali. The same goes for Everest, a summit of Rainier and success at altitude in Mexico just doesn’t cut it, whereas going to Cho Oyuto test your lungs at 8000m is often the route of choice for our Everest climbers.The point being, there is no tried and true recipe to the top of the world. Some people just let the cards fall where they may and climb as their vacation, families, and resources allow. Others set long term goals and map out a 5-year plan.

Regardless of what type of climber you are or what your goals may be: if you’re having fun, you’re doing it right.

  ________________________________________

 From A Guide’s Perspective: Staying In Shape

By Jess Culver

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Lets face it, it’s hard to stay in shape between seasons. It starts when the Halloween candy comes out, gets even worse come Thanksgiving and hits its peak somewhere between Christmas and New Years. Then, the 1st of the year rolls around and you’re a few pounds guiltier and several pounds heavier. Finding the motivation to shed this weight can be tough. Here are some tips I use between seasons.

For me, I know I have to be in good shape when the Rainier season opens, which is probably in the back of a lot of your minds as well. With that in mind, I’ve found that setting small goals between big goals really makes the time go by a lot quicker than the alternative: 4-5 days a week on the hamster wheel. I like to sign up for a few running races in the winter and spring.  I’ll start small, maybe a 5k, then work up to a 10k and eventually a half-marathon and then the full 26.2. There are countless programs out there that will set you up for success at these races. They work if you’re honest with yourself and stick to the program.  And don’t be intimidated by the people that run these races, they are all smiles and are super supportive to all shapes, sizes and speeds. Trust me, you’ll have a blast. (Read more)

 

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 Medical Minutes by Adventure Medical Kits  

  

Q: What should you do if you find yourself in the mountains without adequate eye protection?  

 A: Improvise 

It is possible to improvise a pair of “sunglasses” that will help protect eyes from ultraviolet light, especially in snow and at elevations above 2500m (8000 feet). Cut small slits in a piece of cardboard (e.g., use one side of a cracker or cereal box) or in a piece of duct tape folded back over onto itself (Fig. 25). The slits should be just wide enough to see through, and no larger than the diameter of the eye. Tape or tie these “sunglasses” around the head to minimize the amount of light hitting the eyes.   
 

Snow Blindness

If you remember from a previous newsletter snow blindness is a sunburn to the eye that results in a corneal abrasion. It results from exposure to intense ultraviolet radiation at high altitude or while traveling in the snow. At higher elevations, more ultraviolet light is easily reflected off snow. Because signs and symptoms of snow blindness are delayed by about 4 to 6 hours from the time of exposure to the light, victims are unaware that the injury is occurring until it is too late to prevent it. Wearing adequate eye protection (100 percent UV-blocking sunglasses with side protectors) can prevent snow blindness. (read more)

Nepal 2001. Mount Everest is the peak with the...

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