Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by WanderingEng

Thanks for sharing. That's insane.

From the Reddit summary:

    They've already done 1,100 meters in barely 4,5 hour!

I had to convert that to feet: 3600. Holy shit. And they were doing this at 6000 m elevation, at night, in the winter. Adam Bielecki and Denis Urubko are climbers who deserve to have their names remembered for this, for doing the humanly impossible to save a life.

3600 feet elevation in 4.5 hours at 6000 m at night in the winter. So that was 800 vertical feet per hour. It isn't comparable in almost every relevant way, but on my Basin hike a month ago I covered 848 vertical feet in 1:56 in the last push to the summit. On an official trail, in the daylight, at 1000 m. Oh, and it was 50 degrees warmer and I still got frostbite. I can't fathom being outside at that elevation in that temperature, and then add to that it's a rescue mission, not an ascent carefully planned for years.

I would really like to see Everest. There are a number of guides that do treks to base camp. I'd like to do that. But there's nothing that could get me to sign up for an 8000 meter summit. The people that do them are just superhuman.




ButterflyEffect  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There are only so many people capable of doing what has been done in the last 48 hours. The fact that this team was on K2 at the same time is a bit miraculous in and of itself.

Devac, is there a general sentiment right now in your part of the world with regards to these events? The news is finally reaching us in the West, despite having been in numerous publications in the East for days now.

Devac  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's discussed quite widely, though the general sentiment varies from person to person. I've heard opinions ranging from "what were those idiots expecting, going there in the middle of Winter" (minority, overheard it while on a train) to more level-headed assessments. When the news got out initially, it was covered everywhere and is still largely out there. It's a bit hard to track because of the amount of coverage it got. If you'd want something specific, I can translate or look around in Polish media. Regardless, it's a loss.

I'm not sure if Janusz Majer's words "He stayed on the mountain that he loved" were carried over, but seem to be an appropriate epitaph for Mackiewicz.

someguyfromcanada  ·  237 days ago  ·  link  ·  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Urubko

> In 2006, he won the Elbrus Speed Climbing competition which he did by setting a new speed record, climbing from Azau station to the summit in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 58 seconds (record beaten in 2010 by Andrzej Bargiel). This climb represents a vertical rise of almost 3,250 metres or more than 10,600 feet and thus a speed of more than 800 vertical metres (2,600 vertical feet) an hour. He summited almost 40 minutes ahead of the next finisher.

He is 44 years old.

kleinbl00  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'd be curious as to your take on Krakauer's book. I was pretty lukewarm on the climbing community before I read it, but after I wanted them all to freeze to death.

WanderingEng  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm curious about ButterflyEffect's opinion, too.

I hadn't thought about it quite like you did. I don't want them all to freeze to death, but I guess I don't feel bad when they do. Anyone getting to that position in life has to know the risks. I think accepting risk while trying to prove one can work past it is a natural side of humanity. A high altitude climber freezing to death is no more tragic than a motorcyclist not wearing a helmet and crashing while avoiding an animal in the road or a long time smoker dying of lung cancer. Each leaves behind loved ones. Each accepted risks. But I think the climber is more heroic; I think they better reflect the human spirit. But it isn't tragic because it was an ultimately pointless endeavor they did simply because they wanted to.

Maybe the thing I most took away from Krakauer is that amateur climbing is a personal thing, even Everest. Even if they reflect the human spirit, it's still just them doing it for their reasons.

ButterflyEffect  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There's some interesting discussion going on right now about what it means to be a responsible mountaineer. If you are partaking in these kind of expeditions (for any of the eight-thounsanders), is it reckless to do so without having rescue money set aside? Contingency planning involves beacons, satellite communication devices, and gear, but not evacuation funding as a last-ditch resort.

In this case I would hope (to kleinbl00's point about the Nepalese army) that it is common knowledge for those attempting routes in Pakistan that funding is a requirement before a helicopter will be scrambled. It's a reasonable response from the private company operating the helicopter, it is a dangerous enough thing to send one into these areas with how fast the weather and winds can change.

I'm fine with it, ultimately. $50,000, $100,000, a handful of times of year in rescue attempts pales in financial comparison to many, many other things. Crowdfunded or not. You and I agree that this is the pursuit and reflection of the human spirit that keeps these things going. Hopefully not in a conquest against nature, but in an exploration of what it has to offer. Caves shouldn't be closed, nor should mountain, nor should our national parks.

kleinbl00  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Caves shouldn't be closed, nor should mountain, nor should our national parks.

What a fucking cheap shot. Would you care to continue your argument without pathetic attempts at false equivalency and whataboutism?

ButterflyEffect  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

How is that a cheap shot? I honestly don't think either should be closed. They're incredibly different things, you're right, but should one or the other be closed? No, is my opinion.

kleinbl00  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

How is it not a cheap shot? We're discussing things that are inherently dangerous, like caves that eat boy scouts or mountains called "killer mountain" and here you are all drawing fucking national parks into the equation.

ButterflyEffect  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That had no relation to whatever argument this is nor was it a (intended) cheap shot. Nature should be open and the topic was on my mind considering other countries are adding national parks while we're subtracting.

kleinbl00  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Then why bring it up? It's like discussing whether or not chefs should be allowed to cook blowfish sushi and then saying "and also I think everyone should be allowed to eat salmon, even though the President hates it."

Nobody here is discussing closing national parks. You're leading with "responsible mountaineer" and including within that solution space "keep national parks open." My beef is that, as always, someone not quite prepared enough doesn't get rescued by a bunch of people who have to risk their lives in pursuit of picking up everyone else's slack and you gotta paint me with Bears Ears Bullshit?

If "nature should be open" then leave your fuckin' transponder at home, sporto. "Open" doesn't mean "the whole community drops everything to try and keep your ass from freezing to death because you thought the Himalayas in winter would be invigorating.

ButterflyEffect  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    If "nature should be open" then leave your fuckin' transponder at home, sporto. "Open" doesn't mean "the whole community drops everything to try and keep your ass from freezing to death because you thought the Himalayas in winter would be invigorating.

    false equivalency

This is going in a mean-spirited direction, I think it's best I drop it at this point.

kleinbl00  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Interesting. See, I ride motorcycles. And if something goes wrong, the cops that are on patrol and the ambulances that are on call will deal with me. That's what they're there for. But more than that, I'm engaged in "risky" behavior that, depending on time of day and conditions, is between 6 and 35 times as dangerous as driving around in a Volvo. Everest? Roll 1d20. Get a 1, be dead.

I found myself watching Jeb Corliss videos today. I looked up BASE jumpers once; the ones you don't hear about anymore are all dead. As a sport, its long-term mortality rate approaches 100%. But even then, you've got the guy's buddies, some folx with cameras, and maybe he paid an ambulance to stick around 'cuz, you know.

There's none of this "if shit goes wrong the Nepalese army will bail my ass out."

I've got a few friends on Search & Rescue. Good on 'em. They're out there looking for hikers that didn't prepare, for people who read the weather wrong, for people who underestimated the danger they could find an hour's drive away. They aren't attempting to be the second team ascent of "killer mountain." They aren't crowdfunding this shit so they can go try to not die for a month.

"These are the choices we make." And now we all get to read about your nobility in the Washington Post.

Caves that kill people? Those we close. Mountains that kill people? Those we crowdfund.

WanderingEng  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The search and rescue aspect is more interesting when it's the weekend hiker than when it's an 8000 m summit.

On the big ones, I think everyone knows they might die and that even if they got a message out that the answer might be "there's nothing we can do." When I read the article here that the Pakistanis wouldn't fly without the cash, it didn't bother me at all.

I'm kind of even ok with crowd funding the big stuff. It's removing financial barriers to someone achieving their dream.

It's the little nature areas an hour away where the really stupid stuff happens. There was a rescue in New York this summer where the rangers were called out to the same group twice. They had some stupid issue (dehydration or something avoidable), got assistance, continued, and then had more related problems (heat exhaustion or something). There was a winter one a year ago where two people were lost for two days. They remained stationary the whole time. It's easy to armchair quarterback, but at what point should they have said "shit, the summit is up, and the trail crosses the summit. We're freezing to death here, so lets go up and then down a different way." Even more, when should they have said "looking behind me, I'm losing the trail. We need to turn back."

Those are the ones that piss me off. They were 100% avoidable with some planning and awareness.

kleinbl00  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    "shit, the summit is up, and the trail crosses the summit. We're freezing to death here, so lets go up and then down a different way."

Having been that guy, I'm totally cool with it. "My car is probably a mile up that road and the world is probably eight miles down, but its already freezing, I'm wearing shorts, I've already fallen in rivers up to my head twice, down it is."

Thing of it is? Goofuses such as myself who set out in a Honda Civic station wagon and find the world ready to eat them are what S&R is for. It's easy for the world to surprise you when every bit of advertising and common knowledge is that the world has no surprises locally.

It's the rich mutherfuckers with their daring-do that drive me up the goddamn wall. Yeah, fine. Be an adventurer. Yeah, fine. Blow $100k summiting Everest for the umpteenth time. But don't for a minute try and convince me that you're noble, that you're doing something for humanity, that you're capturing the spirit of esprit or some shit. You're a selfish ass. Period.

WanderingEng  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'd say search and rescue is for the weekend hiker who does everything right but has something go wrong. One misstep can be all it takes to take a bad fall. The people who set out under prepared take advantage of a search and rescue that will go after anyone.

Unfortunately it's like the pornography/art debate; it's only possible to discriminate between doing everything right but having something go wrong and being underprepared when we see the situation. Experienced hikers die, and inexperienced ones return home without incident.

    It's the rich mutherfuckers with their daring-do that drive me up the goddamn wall. Yeah, fine. Be an adventurer. Yeah, fine. Blow $100k summiting Everest for the umpteenth time. But don't for a minute try and convince me that you're noble, that you're doing something for humanity, that you're capturing the spirit of esprit or some shit. You're a selfish ass. Period.

I agree with this to the extent it's someone paying a guide. That was one thing in Into Thin Air that didn't appeal to me, the sherpas and guides are racing up and down the mountain to move gear and get things situated for clients. But that isn't what was going on on Nanga Parbat last week.

Were they glory-seekers? Sure. But is that so wrong?

oyster  ·  236 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Were they glory-seekers? Sure. But is that so wrong?

I think for the people who want to see how far they can push themselves in the same way it’s an exciting thing to see somebody else do it. We’re all on the pursuit of something that makes us feel alive and we will resonate with others on a similar path. Whether that’s hiking, climbing, sports, driving fast, music, writing, building, creating of any kind or any number of things that remind us our hearts are beating not everybody will understand the great lengths we take things too. Maybe it’s climbing ridiculous mountains, maybe it’s studying music despite all the naysayers telling them it’s a useless waste of money, people who don’t get the same feeling from it might not understand why we do it.

Fun fact, in Lake Louise a bunch of rich people were the first to summit mountains because the Swiss guide’s would stop near the top and tell the rich person to continue to the summit so they would technically be first. I’m all for hiring a guide when you don’t know enough but something bugs me about just wanting the glory over putting in the hard work. Then again, it’s the actual acitivity and learning that makes me feel alive, not just having people know my name. It seems superficial at that point. Kind of like voluntourism, they build crappy building the locals fix anyways for a little shot of the feeling. It’s not the same as really working to actually accomplish something though.

Those of us who feel alive from low risk activities should count themselves lucky.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's not the risk that bugs me, it's the collateral damage.

It's the guys dragooned into risking their lives so they can decide if someone else is going to die or not.

It's the helicopter pilots putting their entire teams on the line for $50k that they don't even get to keep.

I can think of no adventure sport as selfish as extreme mountain climbing.

oyster  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I hardly see how somebody stumbles into a job such as a search and rescue helicopter pilot/ first responder. That person made a choice as well likely because of there desire to have an extreme job.

It’s not like we are putting some pour minimum wage cashiers life on the line who had no other choice but to get the crappy job. This was pursued

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Got a friend. Used to code. Lost all his money in '99 when the dotcom bubble popped.

Went to Kauai. Learned to fly helicopters. Flew tours up and down the Na Pali coast. Got downsized in the recession.

Flies rescue helicopters in Nepal now.

It's interesting to me how when you see "risky job" you see "all the risk he can handle" as opposed to "maybe we shouldn't assume he wants to risk his life all the time."

Gary Powers was a hell of a pilot. Did truly dangerous shit - like flying spy missions over the Soviet Union. Got shot down, in fact. Got out, lived his life, settled down to a nice boring job flying news choppers for KNBC.

Still died in a helicopter crash.

oyster  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I imagine this job wouldn’t be very in demand if nobody was climbing the mountains so if there wasn’t an opening what job would he get ? I don’t think he would be out of a job, I doubt there isn’t a single other job he could find. Does it suck not being able to do something that resembles the job you want ? Sure, but in that scenario the reason he can’t do that job is because of recession, not because of the climbers.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We were talking about risk. Do you have anything to say about risk?

oyster  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think there’s a difference between calculated risk and being stupidly risky. I’m going to the hill tomorrow, I’m not riding in the trees because I don’t have enough control to not completely wreck myself. My friends on the other hand will because they are good enough. There will be a lot of fluffy snow as well so I will feel more comfortable going faster because falling won’t hurt as much. I wear wrist guards because it’s the #1 season ruining injury and I don’t like to talk about how expensive a season pass is here. Also broken bones are lame.

Somebody who doesn’t wear a helmet is saying they feel that the likelihood of them hitting their head is small enough that they don’t need to bother. Considering you only have to hit your head badly once to ruin your life it makes sense to just wear the damn helmet.

First time I went ice climbing I was belaying a bit of an idiot. He wanted to go fast up a semi flat part so even though my forearms were burning from trying to keep up he had a ton of slack. That was his choice but it involved me and I was pissed. I accepted a certain amount of risk doing something like that but there’s an understanding between us that he won’t put himself in unnecessary danger while his well being is in somebody else’s hands. That’s the thing, going on a day hike unprepared is meh and you aren’t really putting anybody else in huge danger. Going on some insane hike is not meh but when you go prepared you enter into an agreement with the people saving you where they understand what you are doing and that you might need help. Going on that same hike unprepared because you’re a dumb ass little shit is not fair.

WanderingEng  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It's the guys dragooned into risking their lives so they can decide if someone else is going to die or not.

I see that as tit-for-tat. Climbers who knew other climbers would be their only rescue helped rescue other climbers. And it isn't demanded of them, it's requested. They could say no.

    It's the helicopter pilots putting their entire teams on the line for $50k that they don't even get to keep.

If they don't want to pilot a helicopter into a dangerous situation, maybe they shouldn't be a helicopter pilot for an organization that goes into dangerous situations.

Driving on a slippery road is more selfish than high altitude climbing because everyone expects police and EMS to go save drivers even at the risk of their own safety, but "conditions are too dangerous" is a perfectly acceptable reason to let a person freeze to death at altitude. As we saw last week.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No. I disagree completely. If the slippery road is open, it has been vouchsafed for by the organizations in charge of determining road safety. If someone is injured on that road due to conditions, that organization faces repercussions.

Y'all have this blind spot where "things that everyone interacts with" became conflated with "things corner-case lunatics had to kickstart so they could spend a month trying to get there" and it's fucking insane. This is where ButterflyEffect argues that "national parks" and "a killer mountain in Pakistan" have anything whatsoever to do with each other, where you argue that some adrenaline junkie stuck on K2 has anything to do with someone trying to get to grandma's house on a road declared free and safe to travel by the highway patrol, where you argue that if a helicopter pilot doesn't want to fly into a blizzard maybe he shouldn't be a helicopter pilot.

IT'S BULLSHIT.

Y'all are acting like nobody has any obligation to save the life of someone else, even when that someone else has willfully, deliberately put themselves in harm's way, as if y'all wouldn't come down like a ten-ton shithammer on a team of climbers that said "fuck those guys, they knew the risks." 'cuz there was that team. In Krakauer's book. And everyone came down on them like a shithammer.

Do you know any helicopter pilots? I've known a few. They're risk-averse. But they're also human. And humans, when given a choice to risk our lives to save someone certainly doomed otherwise, will endanger our lives for the herd. It's what we do. It's the obligation that makes the world go round. It's that thing that makes you give money to tsunami funds, that thing that makes you pick up the phone at the March of Dimes telethon - it's empathy, pure and simple.

And alpine climbing, alone among adventure sports, presupposes that empathy as a lifeline and alpine climbing, alone among adventure sports, assumes it's entitled to it so much so that its practitioners bluntly say bullshit like "maybe they shouldn't be a helicopter pilot."

WanderingEng  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    If the slippery road is open, it has been vouchsafed for by the organizations in charge of determining road safety.

Is that a thing in some places? It definitely isn't here. They'll put out bulletins that roads are slippery and ask people to limit travel, but we didn't close the interstate even when it was impassable due to 12" of snow and 2000 trapped motorists.

    And alpine climbing, alone among adventure sports, presupposes that empathy as a lifeline

Where are you getting that presupposition from? The article here pointed out the request for help knew there may be none.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thus the false equivalency rolls on. How many died? 2000 cars trapped for 12 hours is a traffic jam, not a threat to life. You telling me they don't close passes where you are? Live right now: traction tires advised, oversized vehicles prohibited. The road to Winthrop has been closed for two months.

Let's review: 2000 motorists were delayed for 12 hours on an interstate freeway suffering zero injuries and zero loss of life. How, exactly, is that equivalent to a couple scaling the Himalayas for a month in winter?

As to the empathy, listen to your words: "The article here pointed out the request for help knew there may be none." But there probably would be, and if there wasn't, it would be due to weather conditions, not the fact that the rest of humanity decided they deserved to die for putting their lives at risk.

For the record: I'm not arguing anyone deserves to die. I'm arguing that those who put their lives at risk don't deserve admiration for doing so... because they impact a giant web of lives around theirs simply by making that choice.

WanderingEng  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    How, exactly, is that equivalent to a couple scaling the Himalayas for a month in winter?

The equivalency is both carried risks with death a possible outcome. You're welcome to keep calling it false equivalency, though.

    "The article here pointed out the request for help knew there may be none." But there probably would be

You're welcome to assume that, but the facts don't support you.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There's no equivalency there. "Carried risk?" if the highway patrol has kept the road open, there are assumed to be minimal risk. If, on the other hand, the climber is attempting to set a record never attempted in a space known for fatality, there is assumed to be maximal risk. What would you call a false equivalency?

As for facts, find me one (1) instance where a request for help was made and there was no attempt. The ARA San Juan went down November 15th. We just stopped looking for it last week. Helping is what humans do.

WanderingEng  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    if the highway patrol has kept the road open, there are assumed to be minimal risk.

Clearly there wasn't minimal risk as traffic backed up for miles. Lack of injury and death was due to assistance from rescuers.

Where on the scale of "poor winter roads" to "month on the side of a Himalayan mountain" does it change from a reasonable risk where the risk to rescuers is acceptable to it being unacceptable? I argue that scale is very gray, and the grayness is why the two can be compared.

    find me one (1) instance where a request for help was made and there was no attempt

What's considered as no attempt? The rescue last week never looked for the second climber.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"Clearly there wasn't minimal risk?" You're kidding, right?

"rescuers?"

    Food and other supplies were brought to stranded motorists while county crews worked to pull semis out of the mess. But the main problem was communication.

But wait! There's more!

    "I want to apologize to all the stranded motorists who were stranded on the interstate that day," says Wisconsin State Patrol superintendent, David Collins. "The interstate should have been closed on February 6th."

This is the hill you want to die on? two thousand cars south of Madison with their heaters on, stuck in a traffic jam for twelve hours while volunteers bring them coffee and donuts? You're gonna draw an equivalency between this and a mountain rescue in a Himalayan winter? A traffic jam that the highway patrol accepts responsibility for and says "yeah, we should have closed the freeway oops?"

Goddamn right it's a gray area. But the thing about gray areas? They have gradations between black and white. Buncha motorists on a road that everyone agrees should have been closed? White. Not even in the gray. Shall we go gray? James Kim was gray. Whipped out his map, saw a road, didn't check the conditions, found themselves on this in winter. The map said "Not all Roads Advisable, Check Weather Conditions" and they probably shouldn't have been able to turn onto a forest road and he's dead, and that sucks, and there was ample blame to go 'round but at the end of the day, mistakes were made (easy mistakes, anybody-could-make-them mistakes) and while S&R might consider the Kims to be foolhardy, they wouldn't be considered adrenaline junkies.

Nobody looking for you after your rescuers have already mounted an attempt that shall go down as legendary? After it has been determined that you have ventured beyond the limits of human and mechanical endurance? Black. That color is black.

My beef? By going that black, you drag people from the light into the shadows and it's bullshit that we celebrate those who do it rather than condemn them.

WanderingEng  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    My beef? By going that black, you drag people from the light into the shadows and it's bullshit that we celebrate those who do it rather than condemn them.

This might be where I see it differently. The way I see this scenario is the people pulled in are already in the shadows. Different shadows, neighboring shadows, but they're already well out of the light.

And it's why I compare it to a winter storm. The county crews hauling supplies out to stranded motorists had to go a bit beyond their normal role, but it was seen as a reasonable request given the circumstances. Similarly, asking nearby elite climbers to help rescue other climbers was a bit beyond the norm, but I say it wasn't outlandish. Asking a helicopter pilot skilled at flying in the mountains in winter to fly them in was again uncommon but again not a major stretch. I trust those people, the rescuers, know their limitations and will say "no" when they need to. I think that trust is necessary across the spectrum of victims and rescuers.

I do agree the celebration is bullshit in at least one way, though. That celebration is part of what drives these people to be there in the first place. It drives them too far.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

One of the things they teach you when you learn to ride motorcycles is that it isn't one big mistake that causes an accident. It's lots of little ones. You're fine riding in the rain. You're fine riding angry. You're fine riding with a back tire a little flat. But riding in the rain with a flabby rear tire angry? You're shiny side down. It's like the lawyer's maxim for young subversives: break one law at a time because once you've been caught once, you're guilty of everything.

When somebody gets stranded up the side of a mountain in peril of freezing to death, they've already made a long list of mistakes. That's on them. But when they need to be rescued, they've made those same mistakes for their rescuers.

    I had to convert that to feet: 3600. Holy shit. And they were doing this at 6000 m elevation, at night, in the winter. Adam Bielecki and Denis Urubko are climbers who deserve to have their names remembered for this, for doing the humanly impossible to save a life.

    3600 feet elevation in 4.5 hours at 6000 m at night in the winter. So that was 800 vertical feet per hour. It isn't comparable in almost every relevant way, but on my Basin hike a month ago I covered 848 vertical feet in 1:56 in the last push to the summit. On an official trail, in the daylight, at 1000 m. Oh, and it was 50 degrees warmer and I still got frostbite. I can't fathom being outside at that elevation in that temperature, and then add to that it's a rescue mission, not an ascent carefully planned for years.

That was a choice made for somebody else. Yeah, they didn't have to. Nobody held a gun to their heads. But empathy made 'em do it.

ButterflyEffect  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm really trying to stay out of this one at this point, but there is one thing I would like to say, since it's being assumed about me:

    Y'all are acting like nobody has any obligation to save the life of someone else, even when that someone else has willfully, deliberately put themselves in harm's way, as if y'all wouldn't come down like a ten-ton shithammer on a team of climbers that said "fuck those guys, they knew the risks." 'cuz there was that team. In Krakauer's book. And everyone came down on them like a shithammer.

If somebody made that decision, such as in Krakauer's book, or in theory the recent events on Nanga Parbat, I would not come down on them at all. That is a more than reasonable decision to make, and something that people should be aware of heading into climbs like this.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So if you were stuck on the side of a mountain, probably going to die, with a fully-charged satellite phone in your backpack, would you use it? Why or why not?

ButterflyEffect  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Would I use it? Absolutely. You have the phone for a reason, and to say that I wouldn't act in the interest of self preservation would be a lie. However, if the conditions were too dangerous, funding not available for a rescue, or there's not a team on K2 at the right time, then fine. I die. It's nothing to hold against anybody else. Maybe by using the phone someone will be able to find my body in the future. I could say whatever I want here but when you're in the moment it would go out the window.

I don't fault people for using the phone, nor would I fault people for not engaging in a rescue mission in dangerous situations like this.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    nor would I fault people for not engaging in a rescue mission in dangerous situations like this.

Would your parents?

Would your friends?

Would your employer?

What is "too dangerous?" What risk of life by rescuers is acceptable to you for your own? For the group above? Where is this "funding" coming from? Did you provide it? Or are you gonna hope your friends can GoFundMe a lifeflight? That team on K2 - what are they doing there? What are their plans? How much is your situation impacting theirs?

Here's my point: You can make a decision for yourself. You can't make it for anybody else. Everyone else has different feelings about the risks they'll take and why, and those people all have family and friends with their own feelings about risk and the climbing community is all about "you are not the boss of me it's my life to live leave me alone mom."

But you'd fuckin' call. "I want to live. Who can I obligate into helping me?"

I suspect it's because y'all are willfully ignoring the obligation by acting as if it doesn't exist.

    nor would I fault people for not engaging in a rescue mission in dangerous situations like this.

It's not about you. It's about everyone touched by that phone call. And my whole argument is that mountaineers - particularly the celebrated ones - presume an awful lot while pretending they don't.

ButterflyEffect  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What would be your opinion of Rescue Insurance? This is a company which apparently handles rescue missions in places such as Nepal, Mount Everest, etc., with the following clause:

    a. Company reserves the right to determine, in its sole discretion (i) whether a Traveling Member’s condition is sufficiently serious to warrant Medical Transport Services, and (ii) the mode of transport. Company shall not be under any obligation to provide more than two (2) such transports to any Member in any twelve (12) month period (for Family memberships, the number of transports are limited to (1) transport each for a common accident or two (2) transports in the aggregate). Company shall not be under any obligation to provide Medical Transport Services if, in Company’s sole discretion: (i) the Traveling Member is not reasonably accessible and cannot be transported safely or is located in a region that is not safely accessible (Traveling Members who become ill on cruise ships must disembark at an accessible medical facility or port prior to transport).;

Just learned that this is a thing. If a climber ends up a situation needing rescue, and has this kind of insurance policy, does that change your opinion at all?

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Most places? It's required. As I recall, Krakauer couldn't climb without Outside Magazine paying his. The National Park service requires it of outfitters and the NPS itself has talked about requiring it of all climbers since 1993. Pretty much any park with a "climbing fee" (Denali, Rainier, Yosemite, etc) has the recovery insurance rolled up in it:

    Where does the money from the climbing fee go?

    The funds generated from Mount Rainier Climbing Pass sales are used to run the Mount Rainier Climbing Program. Funds are used to:

    Protect the mountain's delicate and unique alpine environment

    Staff the mountain's high camps with climbing rangers

    Staff ranger stations with climbing rangers and other personnel to assist climbers in registration

    Maintain a clean and healthful upper mountain free of human waste

    Fly human waste off the mountain from collection points and dispose of it properly

    Provide rangers who can rapidly respond to incidents on the mountain

Nanga Parbat? No climbing fee. Everest? $11,000 permit alone.

Tomek Mackiewicz raised 3200 euros to spend a month on Nanga Parbat. Divide that by the number of people and it's almost cheaper than getting sherpa'd up Rainier. You can barely get up Kilimanjaro that cheaply. But here this guy is, leaving his wife and two kids behind and staking about a week's worth at Club Med to hang it all out off of "killer mountain."

Thank you for exposing why this bugs me more than it should: it combines the "my friends are my life insurance policy" ethic of the irresponsible adventurer with the "pay me for my vacation" ethos of those fucks that always hit me up to "sponsor" their trek up Rainier.

It's two different ways to avoid paying your own way.

WanderingEng  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I carry a satellite messenger. I would use it. Anywhere I've gone, they would come looking for me regardless. Being able to provide a location and condition report helps both me and rescuers.

Do you think I should use it in an emergency? Why or why not?

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think that by carrying that beacon, you are extending your risky behavior to the rest of humanity. You are obligating those members of search and rescue who may wish to do something different with their evenings to help you.

I further think that with the type of climbing you do, in the conditions you attempt them, and with the equipment you carry, those emergency personnel engaged to help you would not begrudge you in the slightest. Additionally, I believe that any advocate of the outdoors - including myself - would encourage you to carry that beacon and use it in an emergency. The odds of you getting yourself into dire trouble that is likely to endanger the health and welfare of a rescue party is minimal and while risk can be minimized, it cannot be eliminated.

I have no problems whatsoever with that rescue link you posted. That was a bad situation gone right. It's a long fuckin' walk, however, between "three miles from freeway to peak" and "crowdfunding a month on the side of a Pakistani peak in Winter" and the amount of risk incurred by the climbers is positively dwarfed by the risks assumed by any party necessary to mount a rescue.

snoodog  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Ihave no problems whatsoever with that rescue link you posted. That was a bad situation gone right. It's a long fuckin' walk, however, between "three miles from freeway to peak" and "crowdfunding a month on the side of a Pakistani peak in Winter" and the amount of risk incurred by the climbers is positively dwarfed by the risks assumed by any party necessary to mount a rescue.

The party doing the rescue were on their own crazy higher risk adventure ride. Think about it all the high mountains have already been claimed and climbed the only thing more extreme than that is these crazy rescue missions. Every big shot climber can claim an Everest summit but how many can claim a rescue like this in -50 weather and pitch black against a ticking clock to save a life, it doesn’t get more extreme adventure than that. Yeah someone has to provide the heli ride and the funds but everyone here is a willing participant. Now family and friends of the extreme risk takers... that sucks to get dragged on a roller coaster every time the risk taker engages in the behavior, no argument there, very similar to having a suicidal friend/family.

WanderingEng  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I agree with all of this!

You make a really good point about using guides to help inexperienced people learn. That's a great use of guides, and at some point I'll probably pay someone for exactly that. If I ever do the Everest base camp trek, I think they have pack animals carry your overnight gear.

Having a guide carry all your stuff isn't condemnable, but it's different from being part of an expedition.

It's almost like the difference between a big through hike (like the Appalachian Trail) and doing the same hike a section at a time. Both are impressive, both deserve recognition, but everyone knows they aren't quite the same thing. Both cover the same distance, the same trails, but one had to work harder.