Skip to comments.German doctor dies on Everest clean-up
Posted on 05/21/2012 5:18:41 AM PDT by King_Corey
A German man died on Mount Everest where he was helping clear the world's highest peak of rubbish, Nepalese tourism officials announced. His death brings the season's toll to five.
The 61-year-old doctor, Eberhard Schaaf, died on Saturday of extreme altitude sickness while descending the south side of the mountain, Ang Tshering Sherpa of the Kathmandu-based Asian Trekking adventure agency said.
"Climbers spend their energy on the ascent and they are exhausted and fatigued on the descent," Tshering explained.
Daily newspaper Bild said Schaaf, a passionate mountaineer from Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, was taking part in the "Eco Everest Expedition", a clean-up operation that since 2008 has cleared over 13 tonnes of rubbish from the mountain.
But severe altitude sickness caused Schaaf to develop swelling in the brain, which killed him.
"After assessing the symptoms, the medical staff at the Himalayan Rescue Association believe the cause of death to be High Altitude Cerebral Edema," a press release from Asain Trekking said.
"Our thoughts go out to the family of the deceased at this moment and we offer any assistance at this difficult time."
The mountain, which lies in the Himalayas, Nepal, also claimed the lives of a South Korean woman and a Nepali-born Canadian woman over the weekend. A Chinese climber and Nepali mountain guide are still missing.
Sherpa said South Korean Song Won-Bin, who had been missing since Saturday, died at "The Balcony", an area near the top of the 8,848-metre (29,029-feet) peak.
Does your heart pound 24/7 at high altitudes? Last time I went to New Mexico I thought I was going to die. I could not sleep at night because of the pounding heart.
I was in Central Park late afternoon yesterday and witnessed the aftermath of the “AIDS Walk.” The Mall/Bethesda Terrace was utterly trashed. Empty yogurt cups and banana peels by the hundreds dropped on the ground everywhere. The high-minded libs left a greasy, sticky, slippery mess for others to clean up. Can’t say I was surprised.
The most discusting thing I saw was the greedy nature of these people who are more concerned about reaching the top rather than saving someone who is dying as they walk by.
Only in some backwards 3rd world hell whole is this accepted.
The normal route on Everest is a series of ascents punctuated by flats that are used as staging area’s for further climbing.
First you climb the Khumbu icefall from 18k to 20k.. then the long trek across the western cwm at about 20k to the Lhoste face.. then you climb the 5,000ft Lhotse with one camp inbetween to the South Col at around 26k which is were most of the crap is left.
Its the final camp before the summit assault and the refuge for returning summiteers so you get loads of spent oxygen bottles.. trashed tents.. human waste.. stove fuel cannisters.. sleeping mats etc.
It was treated as a dumping ground for years until people decided it was starting to look like a county tip.
The bodies are higher up, on the dicey sections of the climb. Not impossible to retrieve but hardly worth the risk.
Reinhold Messner was the first to propose a simple but effective solution: ban the use of bottled oxygen and sherpa support above 20,000ft.
90% of the “climbers” would never show up under such conditions and most of those who did would have to quit well short of the summit.
Messner climbed the north face of Everest solo, in winter, without oxygen, sherpas, or any support beyond his girlfriend waiting anxiously in a tent below and the pack on his back, so his word carries some weight in these matters.
With so many people who have made the climb, it shouldn’t rank up there on the top 10 big deals anymore. With all the garbage, it’s hardly the pristine paradise it once was. No thanks, I’d rather not use a dead body as a foot hold.
I watched some docu about some climbers taking on K2 and if I remember there is a 25% chance you will DIE.
Wonder if he's anywhere near "Green Boots?"
A high altitude helicopter is available that can climb to 30,000 feet,( i am sure it takes a while) so am told. The mountain should be cleaned by trained aircrews who could fly up collect the crap and bodies and fly down to the base camp.
Actually, I have read it costs $65K to get your shot at going to the top with one of the best guides. Keep in mind the reason it is so crowded is because May is the best month for weather. The rest of the year is almost immpossible to get above 20,000 feet. Also, 90% as the climbers go up the south face in Nepal. It is much more diificult to get the permit to go up the north face in Tibet since China took over the country. Also the north face is a much more difficult route.
Keep in mind that the people who make their living providing the guide service make most of their income for the year in a 1-2 month period. As somebody already suggested, it would eliminate 90% of the climbers if you were not allowed to use oxygen. However, it is up to Nepal and China to make that decision. The mountain is in their country. It brings a huge amount of revenue into that part of the world. After all it is all about the money.
Why go up there to clean?
Wait long enough and it will all roll down to the bottom eventually.
Fishtail Air out of Katmandu has a several Eurocopter AS350 B3’s. These helicopters have a max rescue altitude of 23, 000 feet and they accomplish that by flying with minimum fuel (8 gallons which permits 20 minutes of flying time). They charge $2500 per hour of operation. Trash pickup would cost a fortune.
I feel very sorry for this gentleman (doctor); but anybody who climes Everest is nuts.
One can stay home and climb one’s stair a jillion times a day. No problema.
Just put the air-conditioning down to minus 0 degrees, wrap up, and pretend one is climbing the Mt.
stair = stairs.
At one time there was a fair amount of trash on Everest. The vast majority was O2 bottles at the South Col. Now there is a recycle program for the bottles and they’ve been cleaned up for over 10 years. The Sherpa make extra money this way by bringing the bottles down instead of empty packs as they cache high camps early in the season. There was never a great deal of other trash. Most has always been packed out. Even human waste is now packed out. As far as bodies are concerned they aren’t all over the place but they are there. If someone dies directly on the route they are moved off to the side and either arranged respectfully or covered with rocks. Most die further down the mountain while attempting to get to lower altitude. Those persons are removed.
The idea that Everest is a trash heap is simply not true. Everest is one of the great clean up success stories.
Dying for Everest
Probably a lot longer. Mallory's was found after 75 years.
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