8000 Meter Peaks

Everest
K2
Kangchenjunga
Lhotse
Makalu
Cho Oyu
Dhaulagiri
Manaslu
Nanga Parbat
Annapurna
Gasherbrum
Broad Peak
Shishapangma
Pakistan

Seven Summits

Everest
Aconcagua
Denali
Kilimanjaro
Elbrus
Vinson Massif
Carstensz Pyramid
Mount Kosciusko

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January 1-15th,1999 Daily Reports

For Latest News. For earlier reports: See the Site Index for a list of all the Daily Reports plus many other stories. If you are new to the site you will want to visit the Site Index... along with the homepage... Please visit EverestNews.com Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/15/99 Report

  • Everest climber David Keaton, the youngest person at the time (29 yrs) to complete either version of the Seven Summits at the time. The same year he also became the first person to have attained both the 'Seven Summits' and the 50 US state highpoints. Q&A, Part 1: 

Q.) First thanks for giving us the opportunity to ask you some questions, Why is it a majority of guiding companies don't require prospective clients to pass a test of fitness in order to be selected for a High Altitude Climb? 

A.) Glad to help out.   Many companies do require previous 8000 meter experience or at least a previous climb with that organizer to participate on the higher 8000 meter peaks excepting Cho Oyu.  Others do not.  Why? Some of it is numbers and a few organizers use the mountains rather than pure experience as a natural filter expecting ‘weaker' members to fall out lower on the mountain.  The recent formation of IGO 8000 is an important step for all concerned parties.  Member companies have inaugurated a ‘Recommended Code of Conduct for High Altitude Commercial Expeditions' which also has been approved by the UIAA.  

Q.) Shouldn't guiding companies be looking for people who are the most qualified in order to select them to go on a specific climb?

A.) The pool of potential ‘clients' with the desire, the drive, the dollars, and the ability to climb an 8000er is relatively small.  Most companies would prefer to have the most "qualified" participants in terms of experience, skill and strength.  Because of their experience, professionalism and approach, Adventure Consultants had attracted a number of very qualified climbers to its Everest programs.  Ned Gillette and Veikka Gustaffson are just two.

Q.) How reliant were you on supplemental oxygen on your seven summits?  did you use Oxygen on Aconcagua? at what elevation does one start to use supplemental oxygen or does this depend on the person and their previous climbing history?

A.) On my "Seven Summits" tour I used supplemental oxygen on Everest only - Camp III and above.  One of Rob's Everest benchmarks was that team members had to prove they could reach Camp III  (24,000) and sleep there without Os.   If you passed this mark then you might be allowed to climb higher.  In 1994, our team used 1.5 liters of Os per minute or less on summit day.  From what I have gathered this is competitive to other expeditions with some climbers using 3 liters per minute or more.  We were fortunate to have a good team and everyone summited.   We left around 12:30 from the south col and most summited around 8:30 a.m.  I went without Os for about an hour on top.

The use of supplemental oxygen only received wide attention in the last few years.  Personally,  I have never heard of anyone using supplemental oxygen on any of the Seven Summits except Everest.  If someone required oxygen on Aconcagua or the other "Summits" they might seriously consider whether this is the best sport for them.  On Everest in 1994, I witnessed one climber using oxygen from Camp II (around 21,000) and I thought this was a very risky undertaking.   There are plenty of lower peaks that don't require oxygen and still offer a fine mountain experience.

Q.) Of the 50 highest, knowing that Denali was probably the hardest of them all, which were the harder ones to do that you can remember? Thanks again for your time ! 

A.) Denali is certainly the most difficult of the 50 State highpoints, but each one can provide unique challenges.  This is not the 14 8000 meter peaks, and that's ok.  Highpointers.com  There's a pig trough on the apex of Iowa and pure asphalt atop Delaware, but there are a bunch of real gems as well. Katahdin (ME, northern terminus of the AT) solo in winter conditions was very memorable as was Gannett (WY) and Granite (MT).  Some consider Granite to be the most technical.   Granite sticks out because my climbing partner and I had to hitchhike back to Bozeman in the back of a truck with a dog named Larry.  In general, Denali and Rainier stand out in terms of pure mountaineering endeavour.

Q.) Why do some guides charge 14,000 and others charge 7000 or less  for Cho Oyo ?

A.) Don't know specifically why the difference in fees for Cho Oyu.   Two major costs associated with a traditional siege expedition are oxygen and Sherpa support.  Compare.  As well, many operators demand premium fees based on the experience of their western guides and their success record (safety and summits).

Q.) When did you first meet Rob Hall?  Do you recall your first impression of him? 

A.) I first met Rob Hall in Biak Indonesia on the way to Carstensz Pyramid in 1993.  He was a formidable figure, smart, capable, affable.   This was a difficult time for Rob as his friend and business partner Gary Ball had died a few weeks earlier on Dhaulagiri.  There was some question whether the trip would even go, but as the trip progressed and we neared the mountains his more typical good spirits prevailed.  For a more complete picture of Rob I can highly recommend Colin Monteath's book "Hall & Ball - Kiwi Mountaineers" Amazon....  For an account of Rob's second Carstensz expedition (1994) check out 'Zen Explorations in Remotest New Guinea' by Neville Schulman. Erling Kagge offers a narrative of the 1994 Everest climb in his book ‘Pole to Pole and Beyond'.

Submit Your questions to everestnews2004@adelphia.net !

For all the information on David including his article "Everest Misguided", please check the David Keaton Page. Coming soon David thoughts on Into Thin Air...

Daily News: 1/14/99 Report

  • The Pascal Debrouwer & Joao Garcia page has been updated, with some pictures from Joao's 1998 Everest North Side climb ! Nice pictures ! This page will take some time to load if you have a slow computer, but we think you will like them ! Thanks Joao !
  • Our Sources in Nepal in telling EverestNews.com that Nepal is going Cellular !
  • One Question that was left unanswered in a recent Q&A was who has the most summits of 8000 meter summits. Well our friend Peter Green responded he thinks Ang Rita Sherpa has 30 total (10 Everest, nearly all carrying oxygen only for others, and including a winter ascent in a year when no one made it in spring or fall ! Ang Rita Sherpa and Young Ho Heo of the Korean Winter Expedition as the only summits of 1987. Both believed to be winter ascents (summits) of Everest ! Thanks Peter !
  • David Keaton (Everest  94 with Rob Hall) and the youngest person at the time (29 yrs) to complete either version of the Seven Summits. (Rob Hall previously held the record.) The same year he also became the first person to have attained both the 'Seven Summits' and the 50 US state highpoints.  Below on 1/11/99 News is his article " Everest Misguided ? ",  David will be taking questions from You, our readers of EverestNews.com, please submit your questions to everestnews2004@adelphia.net. Below is a brief bio on 1/13/99 News.
  • EverestNews.com feature books are: Into Thin Air; The Illustrated Edition  Jon Krakauer / Hardcover / Published 1998 and Postcards from the Ledge : Collected Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child Greg Child, Joe Simpson / Hardcover / Published 1998 and World Mountaineering: The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers -- Audrey Salkeld (Editor), Chris Bonington; Hardcover.  For Amazon UK, see our Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/13/99 Report

  • David Keaton (Everest  94 with Rob Hall) and the youngest person at the time (29 yrs) to complete either version of the Seven Summits. (Rob Hall previously held the record.) The same year he also became the first person to have attained both the 'Seven Summits' and the 50 US state highpoints.  Below on 1/11/99 is his article " Everest Misguided ? ",  David will be taking questions from You, our readers of EverestNews.com, please submit your questions to everestnews2004@adelphia.net. Below is a brief bio:

David D. Keaton is a professional photographer and freelance writer.  In 1995, he became the youngest person (29) to complete either version of the ‘Seven Summits' and the first person to finish both the ‘Seven Summits' and the ‘Fifty State Highpoints' (www.Highpointers.com).

Working as a National Account Executive for AT&T he became interested in mountaineering which also re-sparked his interest in photography. Following a stint in graduate school he launched wholeheartedly into the ‘Seven Summits' and the ‘Fifty US State Highpoints.'  At the time, only a handful of people had tackled the continental highpoints. 

David participated in five expeditions with the well-known New Zealand climber Rob Hall including an ascent of Everest in the spring of 1994. This commercial expedition set a number of records including the first to place all its members on the summit and return them safely.   Norwegian team member, Erling Kagge, became the first person on foot to attain the ‘three poles' (Everest, South and North poles), and the German climber Helmut Seitzel became the second oldest man (56) to summit. Additionally, Rob Hall became the first westerner to scale Everest four times.   This would be the last time he would return safely from the summit.

Another major Everest precedent was established during this season.   An American ‘Environmental' expedition (including Scott Fischer) in conjunction with Hall's Sherpa team made substantial progress in clearing oxygen tanks and other refuse from the mountain.  It had been Hall's idea to pay Sherpas a bounty for each O2 bottle that was removed from the mountain, and this approach method proved to be successful in 1994 and in subsequent years.

More recently, David participated in an expedition to the remote East Pamir mountains of Tajikistan this past summer.  The international team completed several climbs including the first ascent of the "White Pyramid" (c6060m). When not writing or shooting, David often lends a hand to the Russian climbing website Risk (www.risk.ru). 

Submit your questions to everestnews2004@adelphia.net !

  • EverestNews.com is in the middle of another ice storm... so look for the e-mail response to be slow from us.
  • Breaking News from Aconcagua, again,   "A French climber was brought from the mountain with a severe pulmonary edema and we have had more than 10 climbers evacuated for the same reason, be careful !!!", " Another climber was found dead yesterday near the summit of Mount Aconcagua. The Information was provided yesterday by the park ranger Pablo Perello and it does not give details about the name of the climber but we know that is an Asian climber. This climber would be the 3rd victim this season. The name of the French climber with pulmonary edema, his name is Marc Grasse. " Source, mariano, www.aconcagua.net/index.html, the Official Home Page of Mt Aconcagua.  Update  "I've got additional info about the accident. Seems like the body was found near la La Canaleta , at 6700 mts. His last name would be Hito, 67 years old, from Japan.", Source, mariano
  • The EverestNews.com Sponsor Page has been updated with several new additions, please support EverestNews.com by purchasing your items through the EverestNews.com links.

Daily News: 1/12/99 Report

  • Ed Douglas, Author of  Chomolungma Sings the Blues, Q&A, Part 2. Several have requested information on how to order Ed Douglas's new book.  That information has been added to the 1/7/98 News and also on the Ed Douglas Page.

    Q&A, Part 2. Questions from readers of EverestNews.com :

    Q.) I am somewhat confused by your comments in your book, about Everest 96. You say Krakauer did not mention Boukreev going back up to attempt to save Fischer. You do not refer to Into Thin Air, but you refer to Krakauer as working for Outside. Please explain.

    A.) When I wrote Chomolungma, Into Thin Air had not been published and I was working off the Outside article for Jon's views. The book did come out just as the book was being prepared for publication. Obviously, Jon has added considerably to that original account, but I still feel that Boukreev's physical achievements, leaving aside whether he behaved correctly on summit day, have not received due credit.

    Q.) Ed, I agree, Krakauer briefly mentioned Boukreev efforts on Everest 96. Why do you think he did not talk more about Boukreev efforts in the Outside article or ITA ?

    A.) I think Jon, for all kinds of reasons, wanted to make sense of what had happened. I think it is the nature of the American psyche to ascribe blame when things go wrong. I have no doubt that Boukreev made mistakes, but a Russian would argue that mistakes happen, it's human nature. You can argue that you learn by your mistakes and should operate best practice at all times. I would suggest that this is impossible above 8,000 meters with or without oxygen. Sooner or later, something will go wrong. If you're not prepared to accept this, then don't go, and if you do go, don't complain when things go wrong. (This philosophy, which I was brought up with as a climber, is hamstrung by commercialism. As soon as money changes hands, then the dynamic changes. I would also suggest that nationalism does something similar, and that the mediocre but ambitious amateur who finds himself out of his league will also play by different rules.) As to why Jon didn't concentrate on Krakauer's later efforts, it seems likely that he was angry at Boukreev for not behaving correctly. I've spoken with other -- American -- guides who were on the mountain that day who agree that Anatoli made a mistakes. Whether or not these things should be in print is another matter.

    Q.) Are you saying Krakauer forgot what he went to write about ?

    A.) I do that all the time, but I'm not sure I understand the gist of your question. I would say that any preconceptions Krakauer had were blown away by events.

    Q.) Mr. Douglas has you read the salon articles on the internet concerning the Krakauer/Boukreev debate? I think Krakauer proves himself right and Boukreev wrong in this debate. What do you think ??

    A.) I glanced at the Salon piece. And as for there being a right answer and a wrong answer, then I refer you to my earlier comments. It is a western response to believe in absolute right and wrong. A Russian, or an Indian for that matter, would see things differently.

    Q.) Can clients be guided on Everest ?

    A.) To an extent, Lord Copper.

    Q.) Where would you place Boukreev in the H.A. climbers class ? I read he reached the 21 or  more summits of the 14 8000 meter peaks, but did not complete the "14", as you know. Any idea what the record is for most 8000 meter peaks by a single climber ?

    A.) The 14 8K list is no judge of ability as far as I'm concerned. It so happens that those who have completed it are/were very, very strong, but plenty of more average climbers are getting close. I never climbed with Boukreev and feel reluctant to say how good he was. He was clearly very
    strong, as strong as top American climbers, if not stronger. He'd spent a long time -- hours -- on the summit of Everest the previous year, having reached the top without an ice axe or bottled oxygen. That's pretty strong.

    Q.) I think Krakauer should be credited for this new interest in climbing in American, but many guides seems not to like him. Is this because people now know what questions to ask?

    A.) I'm concerned about the sudden rush of interest in climbing, although it's made my job a lot easier! Climbing is dangerous, and people should think hard before getting involved. There are great commercial pressure wanting to capitalize on this new interest, selling novices gear, telling them to go for it. Paradoxically, Jon's book of doom and tragedy is bringing in people who may never have gone climbing at all. As for guides feeling twitchy, I have mixed feelings. Litigation is on the increase, and I'm not sure that a civil court is the best place to resolve disputes about mountaineering. When I've done a story about these issues, I've usually had no trouble in finding an "expert" who can argue the exact opposite of another "expert". What chance does a jury have? Having said that, guides should be under the microscope. They do tend to run a closed shop.

    Q.) I think writers and climbers did not like Boukreev because he was better than many of them. Do you think this was a factor in the apparent dislike of him by some of climbers?

    A.) Possibly. In my experience, most nations overestimate the ability of their athletes and climbing is no exception. There are plenty of Brits who still think we're top nation when we haven't been, with a few exceptions, since the nineteenth century. I think it's also true of some Americans, who have
    a cultural reflex on meeting Russians that whatever they do will be inferior. The truth is that there are few American mountaineers who can hold a candle to the best of the Russians at high altitude. It's a different story elsewhere, plenty of fine American alpinists and rock climbers. Maybe Viesturs, Pete Athans, Roskelley in his prime, a few others. But Boukreev really did go well. (I'm sure its got something to do with an impoverished background. Most western climbers are just too decadent.)

    Q.) There's been no slowdown in numbers of climbers on the South Col since '96--are the companies/expeditions making progress in cleaning up the place?   

    A.) I'm told they are, but I haven't been back since 1996. It is certainly in their interests to keep the place tidy, since they are the ones who go there. And they have a moral responsibility to do so as well.

    Q.) Looks like a record number of trekkers in the Khumbu this year. Shouldn't the environmental focus be on their impact, instead of the climbers?  Can trekkers act in a responsible way, or do you advocate that they should just stay home?

    A.) Yes, yes, no. That's the short answer. The whole point of my book was to suggest this. To my mind, the real environmental problems not just in Nepal but in the Himalayas generally are to do with over-population, political unrest and exploitation of resources. Tourism is a pinprick in comparison.

    We should concentrate on not wrecking the place, as Sheridan Anderson would say, and leave it at that. Climbers stare at their navels about this one, but as you say, trekkers are more numerous and affect areas where there is a local population. Climbers live above the snowline where nobody sees. We can and should act in a responsible way, and I certainly don't think people should stay at home. Most of those living in developed countries with mature democracies have no idea how most of humanity lives. I think they should be educated, not by ticking off a place on their list like it was an acquisition, but going somewhere and trying to make a leap of the imagination in understanding what it's like to live there.

    Thank You, Ed !

  • EverestNews.com feature books are: Into Thin Air; The Illustrated Edition  Jon Krakauer / Hardcover / Published 1998 and World Mountaineering : The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers -- Audrey Salkeld (Editor), Chris Bonington; Hardcover. Check out our Bookstore site today ! For Amazon UK, see our Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/11/99 Report

  • David Keaton (Everest  94 with Rob Hall) and the youngest person at the time (29 yrs) to complete either version of the Seven Summits. (Rob Hall previously held the record.) The same year he also became the first person to have attained both the 'Seven Summits' and the 50 US state highpoints.  David will be taking questions from You , our readers of EverestNews.com, please submit your questions to everestnews2004@adelphia.net.
  • The EverestNews.com Sponsor Page has been updated with several new additions, please support EverestNews.com by purchasing your items through the EverestNews.com links.

Daily News: 1/10/99 Report

  • EverestNews.com Seven Summits Page has been updated ! Two list of climbers who we believe have reached the summits of the "Seven Summits". There are two lists because some feel Kosciusko (or Kosciuszko), the highest point on the Australian continent should be included. Actually a point of debate. Some feel that Australia is really not a continent, but that Australasia is, and therefore Carstensz should be included... Climbers who have climbed both Kosciusko and Carstensz and therefore appear on both lists are indicated with a  * . Send additions and/or corrections to everestnews2004@adelphia.net.
  • We think You will find these lists very interesting. Some climbers from the old  Eastern block are probably missing.
  • On Monday, ideas on guiding from David Keaton (Everest  94 with Rob Hall) and the youngest person at the time (29 yrs) to complete either version of the Seven Summits. (Rob Hall previously held the record.) The same year he also became the first person to have attained both the 'Seven Summits' and the 50 US state highpoints.  Followed by a Q&A... get those questions really ! everestnews2004@adelphia.net, you are going to like David !
  • EverestNews.com feature books are: Into Thin Air; The Illustrated Edition  Jon Krakauer / Hardcover / Published 1998 and World Mountaineering : The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers -- Audrey Salkeld (Editor), Chris Bonington; Hardcover. Check out our Bookstore site today ! For Amazon UK, see our Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/9/99 Report

  • Victor Koulbatchenko, reached the Summit of Everest on May 18, 1998. He is listed as number 17 on the EverestNews.com Summit list (Note this list in not necessarily in order, in general, except for date). We have received several questions on Victor, in the last few weeks since a major climbing publication stated He was the first up on Everest North Side in 1998. This is false. Guess that should be clear enough ! Let us explain.
  • Surendra Chavan (35) of India was first up in 1998, followed by his four Sherpa from Asian-Trekking. This group fixed much of the final route along the way. Following them were some Japanese climbers followed by some Russians climbers and then Victor with others following him, and somewhere those Chinese ! (See the EverestNews.com 98 Summit List for details on names, etc.) Victor Kulbachenko was the first Belorus (the citizen of Belorusia Republic) to climb Everest. It should be stated that he did not say he was first (been pretty hard when there is like more than ten climbers in front of you !!!). We have no idea where the information for this report came from. But our sources from Japanese, India, Russian and Nepal are in agreement ! 
  • Editorial Comment: This bring up another somewhat difficult topic. We hear things said about how there is much mis-information on the internet. EverestNews.com (You our readers in most cases !!!) are finding many Everest reporting errors in some of these main stream publications.  Too many in our opinion, these errors are taking much of the EverestNews.com staff's time to check out... On the internet on the other hand, frankly we have found most of the sites to be correct much more of the time, in the last year. True there are errors in some reports and we all make errors. But, frankly some of these publications lately appear to be have several errors. Very concerning.... Where sites like risk www.risk.ru are about as error free, as one can get. On chat sites, which we think is what "they" refer to when they talk about mis-information on the Net, one should know that these sites are people exchanging ideas, and are not meant to be factual all the time, but hopefully people seeking some information and exchanging ideas. Frankly, EverestNews.com feels the internet is moving ahead based on what we have seen in the past year ! Hope you agree, please point out errors, and also please write to the editors of where you see differences and tell them to check their facts....We will be happy too also, but wish there was were fewer errors to check... You need to keep us all in line !!!, Thank you !

 

  • Several have requested information on how to order Ed Douglas's new book.  That information has been added to the 1/7/98 News below and also on the Ed Douglas Page.
  • The Site Index is no longer on this page but on its own page. This Site Index is being updated significantly... you can still find the Site Index's link at the top and end of this page...
  • One More for Today ! We are waking up that some Net users, don't know what hyperlinks and the such are. Therefore, if You see more basic information sometimes, we are trying to help those who are NEW to the Net. We have also added an Internet Help Page to our to do list (which is long....very long...). If you have questions, just ask... everestnews2004@adelphia.net. The staff will try to help.
  • EverestNews.com feature books are: Into Thin Air; The Illustrated Edition  Jon Krakauer / Hardcover / Published 1998 and World Mountaineering : The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers -- Audrey Salkeld (Editor), Chris Bonington; Hardcover. Check out our Bookstore site today ! For Amazon UK, see our Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/8/99 Report

  • Alpine Ascents International, one of America's leading mountain climbing guide services has been approved by the Denali National Park Service to take over a mountain guiding concession on Denali (Mt. McKinley). Alpine Ascents acquired the concession from Fantasy Ridge Alpinism, operated by Michael Covington. Alpine Ascents and Fantasy Ridge have been working together on Denali expeditions for the past three years.

    Alpine Ascents leads international expeditions to the highest mountain on every continent, including Mt. Everest, Alpine Ascents operates a mountaineering school in the North Cascades and climbs on Mt. Rainier. Denali Preparation Courses are also  available for aspiring climbers.

    Alpine Ascents plans to lead 6 climbs via the West Buttress route. Guides for these climbs will include Wally Berg (4 summits of Everest), Vernon Tejas (20+ ascents of Denali including the legendary 1st solo winter ascent), Willi Prittie (Director of Alpine Ascents' North Cascades Mountaineering School with over 30 summits of Aconcagua) and Everest Guide Todd Burleson (President of Alpine Ascents).

    Gordon Janow, Program Director, added, ``We are extremely exited to add Denali programs to our repertoire, as it is such a natural extension of what we already do. We will be offering expeditions with a maximum of six climbers (and two guides) which will present a unique opportunity for those interested in climbing Denali as part of a small team.',  "We will run small groups of 6, 6 trips this year, with Wally Berg (4 summits of Everest) and Vernon Tejas (20+ ascents of Denali including the legendary 1st solo winter ascent) kicking off the first two climbs."

    "As for Everest, we are locked in for 2000 and Peter Athans will be climbing this year with a North Face team continuing Brad's research. This is also tied into a Nat'l Geo film project and Todd may join the team as well.  Peter is currently leading our Vinson team with Wally Berg. It will be via the South Col." Gordon Janow, Program Director, added

    Do you have guys down in Aconcagua right now ?? Looks like the weather took a turn for the worst.   " On Aconcagua: We have 2 teams and another 4 to follow....watching closely." Gordon Janow Director of Programs , Alpine Ascents International 

  • Coming Soon the List of all (?) the climbers who reached the 7 Summits ! More from Ed Douglas (see 1/7/99 news below) and ideas on guiding from David Keaton (Everest  94 with Rob Hall) and the youngest person (29 yrs) to complete either version of the Seven Summits. (Rob Hall previously held the record.) The same year he also became the first person to have attained both the 'Seven Summits' and the 50 US state highpoints.  Followed by a Q&A... get those questions really ! everestnews2004@adelphia.net, you are going to like David !

Daily News: 1/7/99 Report

  • Ed Douglas, Chomolungma Sings the Blues, Q&A, Part 1, after the introduction.

    Ed Douglas interview Part 1 follows.... on him and his new book Chomolungma Sings the Blues, which could very well become a classic.  Note, Chomolungma Sings the Blues, is not published in the United States ! However, this was one of the reasons for adding Amazon UK to our sponsor list, along with requests from our UK readers of EverestNews.com !

    Ed Douglas, Introduction:

    The writer, traveler and mountaineer Ed Douglas, 32, has been climbing for seventeen years, starting on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire while still at school. He studied English at Manchester University and in his final year there launched the British rock climbing magazine On The Edge. 
     
    After running OTE for three years, he worked in Istanbul on the English language daily the Turkish Times ­ arriving as an Editorial Assistant and leaving after a year as Managing Editor ­ before returning to work as a freelance journalist specializing in adventure, mountain areas and their people, and environmental issues.
     
    In the last seven years he has written features and news for The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and the Independent on Sunday and a range of national and specialist magazines both in Britain and abroad, including Men's Health, Arena, New Scientist and Focus.

    In 1993 he launched the international mountaineering journal Mountain Review and ghosted Leo Dickinson's account of his ballooning trip over Everest, published by Jonathan Cape. He has interviewed many well-known adventurers around the world and won the 1994 Outdoor Writer's Guild Award for his profile of top rock climber Ron Fawcett.

    Currently Associate Editor of Climber magazine and Editor of the Alpine Journal, he is a member of the Alpine Club and Climbers' Club, and continues to climb to a reasonable standard, in 1995 reaching the summit of Shivling, a 21,500ft mountain in India close to the source of the Ganges. Other recent ascents include the North Face of Les Droites in winter and the Gervasutti Pillar on Mont Blanc du Tacul. In 1997 he climbed on La Main de Fatma, the sandstone towers of Mali, on the fringes of the Sahara. In the last year he has traveled to Austria to interview Heinrich Harrer and to New York to interview David Breashears, both for The Guardian. His most recent assignments were traveling in Kazakstan for The Observer and interviewing the Dalai Lama in India for The Guardian.

    Ed Douglas was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship in 1995 to travel around Everest in Nepal and Tibet and his account of that journey, Chomolungma Sings The Blues, was published in November 1997 by Constable. Widely praised in the national and specialist press, Katherine Whitehorn in The Observer called Douglas "a sparkling writer with a great turn of phrase." In the Literary Review, David Craig described him as a "first-class journalist whose interest in the Himalaya and its people enable him to get in close." His biography of the mountaineer Alison Hargreaves, co-authored with David Rose, will be published by Granta next year.

    Ed Douglas lives in Sheffield with his wife, Katie, a science journalist, and their two children, Rosa, 4, and Joe, 1.
     

    Part 1

    Ed Douglas Q&A, questions from the EverestNews.com staff and readers of EverestNews.com.

    Q.) In your New Book, Chomolungma Sings the Blues, you tell the reader little about yourself unlike so many authors that seem to like to "tell all" (many times a little too much). Frankly, we liked the focus on the experience versus the writer, but tell the readers of EverestNews.com a little more about who Ed Douglas really is. 

    A.) It is not natural for the English to talk about themselves. You can call it false modesty if you like, but I was brought up to believe, as a journalist, that I am not the story. Part of the point of Chomolungma was to illustrate that so often the real story behind the headlines of doom or heroics on the mountain was more interesting and more positive. If I'd put more of myself into the story, that would have detracted from the purpose. EverestNews.com, I think, has already provided enough information on me.

    Q.) At 32, you are moving up the ladder in Himalayan writing. How did you pull it off?

    A.) I'm not conscious of there being any kind of hierarchy in mountain writing and I certainly don't see it as a career path, not one that will make you a decent living! I have ideas about mountains and what they mean to us as human beings and I feel compelled to write about that. End of story.

    Q.) In Chomolungma Sings the Blues  you talk a little about KEEP. You seem to have a high respect for them. Tell us more about them.

    A.) I have respect for KEEP's ideals but not, alas, for the difference they will make. I see KEEP as one of those organizations that is full of good intentions but will ultimately ease the liberal guilt of a few westerners and little more. They are simply too small to turn back the tide of mass tourism's typical attitudes. But at least they are trying. So many tourists in the developing world are simply not interested in the people and cultures they are visiting and any effort to change that has to be applauded.

    Q.) We have made friends with climbers we know one day will not come back. Frankly, we find this somewhat difficult. Many of the climbers seem to feel it won't happen to them because they don't take the risks. I am sure you have heard this...line. What do you think ! 

    A.) It is difficult. Several of my closest friends have been killed over the years and as a journalist I know dozens and dozens of men and women who haven't come back. By and large, they all knew what they were letting themselves in for, but to be honest, many of them didn't concentrate too hard on that. And then there have been plenty of people for whom
    climbing was a laid-back hobby who still got killed. All I can say is that life will end, and to reflect on that every day of your life, without getting depressed about it, is the only way to make sure that every day of your life is wrung dry for everything you can take and give and feel. I've met a lot of climbers who have got that art down pretty well, which says something about the sport. But then I've never been convinced that its worth the risk. Ultimately, its down to the individual. I hope I'm still liberal enough to allow that.

    Q.) You talk in Chomolungma Sings the Blues about lodges being built by various individuals around Everest. What is the status of these. Do you think they will be a positive or the  negative ?

    A.) The lodges are being built by local people and are a very good way of locking the money they earn as climbers or trek leaders into the local economy. Personally, I don't find them too intrusive, but if development continued at the same rate for the next few decades then some kind of limit would have to be set.

    Q.) Some think the Sherpa will "take control" of the icefall and "guiding Everest" in the near future. Some would argue they already have taken control of Everest, but few know about it. Other think they will always need the western leaders. What do you think?

    A.) Sherpas have more expertise and are more professional than in the past, but to suggest that they have control of Everest is misinformed. Yes, they put ropes through the icefall, but if western leaders didn't bring clients there wouldn't be anyone to pay them for doing it. As for guiding Everest, I still have profound doubts about whether that is possible. The parallel to be drawn is with the French and Swiss guides of a century ago who were beginning to organize themselves into an industry. The Sherpas are roughly at the same point. Perhaps when there has been a cadre of strong Sherpa guides for a few years they will take more interest in the sport for its own sake, just as European guides did. Until then, they will be reliant on climbers from abroad and that means strong links with western experts.

    Q.) You discuss much about the environmental condition in Nepal in your book. How would you compare the conditions to India ?

    A.) Everything in India is bigger; population, problems, industry, growth, corruption and so forth. The problem Nepal faces is principally that it doesn't have the same prospects for development that India has and the faster its population grows, the worse that problem will be. Nepal cannot feed itself already, while India has worked hard to do exactly that. As I suggest in my book, I think the only way Nepal will change the situation is by weaning itself off aid. Everybody, or nearly everybody, should just go home and let them sort it out.

    Q.) You also discuss the resentment of the attention given to Sherpa in Nepal in your book.

    A.) I don't want to overstate this. There are tensions in any country and it is inevitable that a successful population will earn the resentment of those who are not achieving as much.

    Q.) You mention Ang Phurba, who few probably know. EverestNews.com reports on all climbers as we know you do. But much of mainstream media disregard the Sherpa climbers. Feel free to tell our readers more about Ang Phurba and your views on the Sherpa climbers.

    A.) I don't want to pretend that Sherpas have somehow been shortchanged because I don't believe it. They are guns for hire, and they do it for money not fame. If a western climber wants to pretend to him or herself that they climbed Everest fare and square when someone was carrying their gear or short-roping them, they lose, no one else. With Ang Phurba, what I wanted to show was how serious the day-to-day lives of Sherpas are. That doesn't mean they are serious people because they are not; like Tibetans, they have a great facility for laughing even in the midst of adversity. I was really drawing a contrast with the vanity of western mountaineers. But then, if we didn't come then they'd be out of a job. I think it was a plea not to take this stuff not too seriously, because the really important stuff goes on at home.

    Q.) Do you find it odd that Eric Escoffier's death received so little attention?

    A.) Not really. Escoffier's death got lots of coverage in France but as far as the world was concerned, he hadn't done much in the last ten years. He was a great climber, but great climbers  die all the time and don't make the obituary pages of Climbing or Rock and Ice. I feel more aggrieved that the Poles, Slovenians and Russians haven't got the credit they deserve. There are only half a dozen American mountaineers in history who compete with the best of the eastern Europeans.

    More follow-up Q&A from Ed soon !!!

    Many has requested on how to order his Book, just use the hyperlink (click on the name of the book), this will take you to the Amazon UK page . (It is not published in the United States). You will also find some of the books you have been requesting on this page. They will accept your credit card and will ship just about anywhere !

    Chomolungma Sings the Blues ~ Dispatched in 2-3 days

    Ed Douglas / Hardcover / Published 1997  Our Price: £15.16 ~ You Save: £3.79 (20%)
  • News from http://www.iridium-icetrek.org/index.htm, sounds like the boys are going to try to make it and then fly home. Check there site for the latest. Conditions very bad.
  • Breaking News from Aconcagua:  "A climber from Korea was found dead yesterday. He had been lost since 2 days ago and finally the body was recovered. I will post details as soon as I receive them. Another climber, this one from Japan was evacuated from the Mountain with injuries. " Aconcagua's second victim this season, the first being a marine died over the normal route, he felt and died. Source, mariano, www.aconcagua.net/index.html, the Official Home Page of Mt Aconcagua.
  • EverestNews.com feature books are: Into Thin Air; The Illustrated Edition  Jon Krakauer / Hardcover / Published 1998 and World Mountaineering : The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers -- Audrey Salkeld (Editor), Chris Bonington; Hardcover. Check out our Bookstore site today ! For Amazon UK, see our Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/6/99 Report

  • Everest Spring 99: Enrique Guallart-Furio, in his Everest web http://ww2.encis.es/avent/ever/ever.htm has added three different live information: 1.- Everest temperatures, weather forecast for 5 days, satellites photos, etc. (left) 2.- Good color picture from satellite looking Himalaya range (up right) 3.- Everest view from a camera connect to Internet in Syangboche (up Namche Bazar) (down right). Enrique tells us he is training hard in Spain running, making muscles and making climbs. For example next Friday he will go north of Spain to the Pyrenees Range to make a winter climb to the highest point of Pyrenees, the Aneto peak. Before start the trek to Everest base camp, he will make an acclimatization trek during near three weeks to Gokyo area, climbing the Gokyo peak (5.400 meters). He tells us " he choose this area for three reasons: 1) very good picture of Everest from the top 2) only one day up 5.000 meters" (He says up ± 5.300 meters you start to loose the muscles). Enrique says, " I trained so much the muscles for Everest and I cannot loose it " 3) " not difficult climb, I don't wish to have an accident before start Everest climb ".
  • News from Aconcagua: Our New  friend, mariano, webmaster at  www.aconcagua.net/index.html (the Official Home Page of Mt Aconcagua), tells us that Jon Tinker Group (OTT Expeditions, who is going to have a huge expedition on Everest spring 99 South Side), " I have spoken with Fernando Grajales and he told me that Jon Tinker expedition OTT is ok, they took the polish route and as far as he knows everything is going well." With mariano's help we will be keeping an eye on the Everest climbers on Aconcagua. The Mt Aconcagua web site is excellent, please check it out !
  • EverestNews.com feature books are: Into Thin Air; The Illustrated Edition  Jon Krakauer / Hardcover / Published 1998 and World Mountaineering : The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers -- Audrey Salkeld (Editor), Chris Bonington; Hardcover. Check out our Bookstore site today ! For Amazon UK, see our Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/5/99 Report

  • Everest Spring 99: EverestNews.com plans on adding "Individual Pages" per expedition and/or climber for Everest Spring 99 as discussed earlier. EverestNews.com plan and mission is unchanged. We plan to cover Everest, all teams, all climbers as best as we can with the resources we have. We hope to show major progress from our 1998 reports. EverestNews.com is not allied with any expedition, nor do we recommend any expedition, as those who have asked know. Our Mission is the NEWS. With that said, the "Individuals Pages" will be built from information we know and find on the expeditions and climbers from various sources, including who is on the permits from Nepal. Some information will be supplied by the various expedition, and we expect the pages will look very different depending what is supplied by the expedition. These pages will be built in the next few months leading up to Everest Spring 99. The links to the page will be on the 99 Everest Expedition links pages.
  • Update on Matthew Randall: Just wanted to get you all up to date on what is happening with Matthew's flag. As you already know, his flag has been up Mt. Rainier (thanks Xavier!), Mt. Whitney (twice...thanks Rick!), almost to the summit of Mt. Aconcagua (thanks Kenny!), and up Mt. Everest (thanks Craig!). All the climbers have signed the back of the flag and it has become one of the most treasured items in our household!

    Craig John, the same man who took Matthew's flag up Mt. Everest in May is currently taking Matthew's flag up Mt. Kilimanjaro which is the tallest mountain in Africa and lies between the borders of Tanzania and Kenya. This mountain is just over 19,000 feet  and Craig considers it a day hike compared to Mt. Everest! He says that once they start climbing it will take 6 days to reach the summit. He has climbed this mountain twice before but is proud to be taking Matthew's flag with him this time!

    Please help us in praying for Craig John's safe return back home to Washington. We will post pictures of Craig on the summit of Kilimanjaro with Matthew's flag on the Web when they are ready. In the meantime, if you want to see pictures of Craig with Matthew's flag when he went up Everest or read about Matthew's fight with cancer, go to www.seacandlelighters.org then click on "Candles" on the left side then click on "Matthew Randall".

    Meanwhile Matthew is still sick, he has had every bug and virus known to mankind (OK, so that's a little bit of an exaggeration!) since he has been off treatment. We will be taking him to the pediatrician tomorrow because he has had tummy aches and fevers for three days and probably has an ear infection and sinus infection too. Take care, Laura Randall (aka Matthew's Mom)
  • EverestNews.com feature books are: Into Thin Air; The Illustrated Edition  Jon Krakauer / Hardcover / Published 1998 and World Mountaineering : The World's Great Mountains by the World's Great Mountaineers -- Audrey Salkeld (Editor), Chris Bonington; Hardcover. Check out our Bookstore site today ! For Amazon UK, see our Sponsor page !

Daily News: 1/4/99 Report

  • 1999 brings us an exciting expedition by the Americans ! Shishapangma : The 1999 American Ski Expedition  http://www.bdel.com/Shishapangma/SPIntro.htm Their objective is to climb and ski Shishapangma via the 1990 Swiss/Polish route. High altitude skiing represents the ultimate challenge in ski mountaineering. To successfully ski the southwest face of Shishapangma would be an outstanding measure of success in ski mountaineering. This elite group of climbers includes some of American's best. Check out their site ! Source: Andrew McLean, The 1999 American Ski Expedition  http://www.bdel.com/Shishapangma/SPIntro.htm is our web site of the week !
  • Our friends at Risk www.risk.ru are also back after a little R&R, they will be updating their site soon with new updates including a Bhagirathi III ascent.
  • Look for some exciting interviews coming up on EverestNews.com for You soon.
  • The EverestNews.com Sponsor Page has been updated with several new additions, please support EverestNews.com by purchasing your items through the EverestNews.com links.

Daily News: 1/1/99

Happy New Year from The Staff at EverestNews.com !!!

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