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Drugs, Money and Corruption on Everest

June 8 2001 at 10:10 AM
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The London Sunday Times has article entitled "Drugs and Money Conquer Everest."

Among the items mentioned:

* There is increasing use of performance enhancing steroids by climbers particularly Americans. In one case an American claimed he climbed the South Col in six hours -- faster than his sherpas and then collapsed near death when he descended.

* Even the ascent of blind climber Erik Weihenmeyer is criticised because of risks taken to accomodate a slow climber and cost (he was assisted by 11 sherpas and 12 other climbers at a cost of nearly $2 Million)

* Costs were criticized. The minimum expedition package (not including air is $27,600). Some guides are charging nearly $100,000.

* Groups donated new ropes to the Russians to build ladders. The Russians in turn used the ropes for their own approach and left tattered ropes on the approaches used by other groups.

* A mini war broke among groups at base camp after the Indian Army built a helicopter pad.

* Because the late season snows considerably shortened the window of opportunity groups were criticized for pushing sherpas to take dangerous risks in route finding.

There's even more:

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Trekking Companies Avoid Nepal Following Royal Massacre

June 8 2001, 11:21 AM 

June 5, 200 At least two U.S. trekking companies say they will keep their tours out of Nepal due to instability in the country following the deaths of King Birendra and eight other royal family members.

The companies, Geographic Expeditions and Mountain Travel-Sobek, have either canceled trips or rerouted around Nepal, Reuters reports. They cited uncertainty of travel and safety as concerns.


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No Fall Everest Attempts from Nepal

September 6 2001, 8:35 AM 

According to, this will be the first time in 28 years that climbers have skipped the fall season on Everest entirely. Several teams will reportedly launch attempts on the peak from Tibet.

Nepal has seen tourism slump in recent months following the June 1 massacre of the royal family and subsequent inflammation of violence by Maoist insurgents. Tourist arrivals to the country in August were down over 26 percent compared to last August.


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Red Sox Beat Bambino Curse With Everest Summit?

June 20 2001, 11:51 PM 

Here's an amusing story from the Boston Globe attributing the Boston Red Sox current good fortune to Paul Giorgio who followed the advice of a Tibetan Holy Man and carried a Red Sox cap to the summit to break the "curse of the Bambino" that makes the Sox the heartbreak kids.

Here's a quote from the story:

''At base camp, every team gets its gear blessed by the lama,'' he says. ''Ice axes. Helmets. Personal artifacts. So I brought out the hats and asked the lama how I might break the Curse of the Bambino. I explained that it had to do with an American baseball team that hadn't won a championship since 1918. And the lama smiled and seemed to nod as if he understood what I was talking about. Although who knows?
''It may sound silly,'' Giorgio continues, ''but I know climbers who've been told what kind of child they were going to have, boy or girl, before they left base camp. And these guys hadn't even been told by their wives that they were pregnant. So climbers take this stuff pretty seriously.''
According to Giorgio, the lama instructed him to place the Sox cap next to the chorten, a stone altar where each team burns juniper branches as an offering to the gods. Then Giorgio was told to carry the Sox cap to the summit and plant it there, at 29,028 feet, to reverse the curse.

Of course since I live in New York and am required to find a major error in anything that happens in Boston, the article also includes this paragraph:

Giorgio and his team accomplished another historic feat, too, by finding the remains of Sir Edmund Hillary's highest camp from his 1953 ascent. To elite climbers, the discovery is not unlike locating the remains of the Titanic. In sum, Giorgio is not just some rich guy out on a high-altitude lark.

[Presumably the article should have referred to the discovery of the Mallory high camp]

Still the Yanks are 3 1/2 out now.

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Hillary high camp

June 21 2001, 10:44 AM 

It could have been the Hillary camp above Camp 4. Hillary and Norgway (sp?) camped around 27,500' IIRC and went to the summit from there. I don't know if that camp was ever found or even looked for.

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This does not appear to be working...

August 22 2001, 12:07 PM 

The Red Sox are four games behind the Yankees in the AL East Division standings as of this morning, and three games behind the A's for the AL Wild Card. The BoSox recently fired manager Jimy Williams and replaced him with Joe Kerrigan. Their best pitcher and best pitcher in the league, Pedro Martinez, had been on the disabled list since July 27. Their two best everyday players are Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra, but Nomar has played only 17 games this season due to injury, and Ramirez is out of the lineup right now may go on the disabled list soon due to a strained right hamstring. The placement of the Red Sox cap on the summit of Everest may be having the opposite effect to its original intent.

Ken Akerman

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In a chaotic world of constant change...

August 22 2001, 12:17 PM 

It is comforting to know that there some things in this world that you can count on. Water flows downhill, the sun always rises in the East ...and the Red Sox will always be losers !

Machimoodus (a life-long Yankee fan ... well since '77 at least)

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Dave C
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Hmmmm.... this explains a lot of things.......

August 22 2001, 4:05 PM 

I knew 'ole Machy always rubbed me the wrong way....

DC - lifelong BoSox fan, currently enjoying watching everyone beat up on the Rockies (if you can't have everything in life, i.e. a Sox Series champ, might as well roll your hobby (HP'ing) into your passion (baseball), and watch people hit check-swing homers at a mile high altitude!)

I predict the Sox will be Series winners in my lifetime, if I live to be 100!

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(Login KenAkerman)

The 86-year drought ends: Red Sox win the World Series

October 28 2004, 9:37 AM 

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The 88-year drought ends: White Sox win the World Series

October 27 2005, 12:37 AM 

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The three-year drought ends: Red Sox win the World Series

October 29 2007, 12:29 AM 

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Not Who You Think It Is
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Second three year drought ends

October 29 2007, 7:18 AM 

And a second three year drought also ends as Ackerman once again reprieves a three year old thread on an item originally posted six years ago rather than posting a brand new item.

The streak lives!!!

Ken, do you have a personal best for how old a thread you have managed to dredge up from the dusty vaults of history? Six years is a long time, but it can't be a record.

Curious Minds Wonder

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India Criticized for Giving "Gallantry Medals" to Everest Climbers

August 21 2001, 12:19 PM 

In the you just can't win department check out this report in India Express:

IS climbing Mount Everest in the year 2001 an act of gallantry? Or exemplary bravery beyond the call of duty? Many in the Army are asking this question after Shaurya Chakras were awarded this Independence Day to 12 soldiers who, as a team, scaled Everest on May 21, 2001. Ironically, in the same week in which a 14-year-old boy and a 64-year-old man scaled the peak.

The sidebar notes:

What should they get?
Scaling Mt Everest now is considered significant only in ‘‘special cases’’:
* Youngest person: Temba Tsheri, 15 years: May 22, 2001
* Oldest Person: Sherman Bull, 64 years, May, 25,2001
* First Legally Blind Person - Erik Weihenmeyer, May, 25, 2001
* Most Ascents: Appa Sherpa, on May 24, 2000, became the first person to climb Everest 11 times
* First person to hike from sea level to summit without oxygen - Tim Macartney-Snape, 11th May 1990
* The oldest woman: 52-year-old Anna Czerwinska, May 22, 2000

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"World's Highest Porta-potty" on Everest

August 29 2001, 10:14 AM 

The end for the highs and loos
Andrew Murray-Watson
The Scotman Online

A GLASGOW firm which built the world’s highest portable loo for use on Mount Everest has been sold.

Scientists working 19,000 ft on the slopes of the world’s highest mountain had every reason to be grateful to Bridgeton-based company Associated Metal when it constructed a stainless steel portable toilet which Sherpas could carry up the mountain.

The Everest toilet was specially designed by Associated Metal for the British Mount Everest Medical Expedition back in 1994 for scientists who needed to spend a penny when conducting research into high altitude related illness.

Until its arrival at base camp, at the edge of the ice layer, visiting the toilet was a numbing experience.

To survive the gales and blizzards which lash the mountain the loo and its cubicle had to be anchored to the ice face by stainless steel guy ropes attached to ice-picks.

The custom-built cubicle, specially created to resist extreme temperatures and storms, was flown to Nepal where Sherpas carried it up the world’s highest mountain.

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