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Everest Letters from 2000

Namaste! (May 19, 2000)

I am sure I am not alone when I tell you that I was absolutely appalled to read Dan Mazur's statement that "most Sherpas live in squalor." Like Mr. Mazur, I have been going to Nepal since 1991, although unlike him I am not a mountaineer but merely a lowly trekker. However, I have had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with the Sherpa, both as a paying guest in teahouses and an invited guest in the homes of friends. I have never found any place I have stayed, including the nun's hut at Thupten Choling, to be "squalid"--indeed, Sherpa villages are the cleanest of any I have seen in Nepal. I think of some of the lovely houses where I have spent time, and I wonder how one defines "squalor"? Remembering these simple, beautiful homes with their well-built stone walls, colorfully painted doors and window frames, clean kitchens and neatly kept gardens, and most of all, the warmth, hospitaIity and peace I have experienced there, I can only wonder where Dan Mazur has been.

One of my best friends is a lama at Taksindhu. When I first went to stay at his home, he informed me proudly, "My house is small, but very beautiful! I build it myself!" It was indeed small, only two rooms, but well-built and very beautiful, and the view from the kitchen windows was dazzling. Dawa is certainly poor by most standards (including his own) but he certainly does not live in squalor. Taksindhu is a monastery--people tend their gardens, carry firewood and water, and go downhill on market day to Salleri. Life is hard, but when there's no work to do, people do nothing! They relax! It's peaceful there, which is probably the reason why Sherpa are happier in their villages than in Kathmandu. In town, Dawa is always holding his nose, because there are so many bad smells, and he's accustomed to pure air. Riding in a car for even a short time, he gets headachy and nauseous. (The 11 hour bus ride from Kathmandu to Jiri is sheer hell for him, but when there's a trekking group to take out, there's no choice--it's a job.)

I don't think it is right to equate poverty with filth. The standard of living in Nepal is certainly a lot lower than what we are accustomed to here--Nepal is a third-world country, and it's unfair to compare the way people live there with life in the States. We've got so many things (like roads, for example) that are lacking there. The Sherpa live simply and work hard in a hard land. Lack of material things is not the same as squalor, which emplies degradation.

Of course most Sherpa want their children to get a good education and become doctors. Why should that be remarkable? My father was a farmer all his life, and he wanted me to go to college, and worked hard to accomplish that. All parents want their children to have better and easier lives than theirs were, and even American parents want their children to grow up to be doctors. Perhaps Dan Mazur's parents did, too.

Suzanne Delaney
New York City

Beck Weathers (May 17, 2000)

To the Editor:

I often think of Beck Weathers and wonder how he is doing. The story of his harrowing experience on Everest in 1996 was an incredible story of survival. Can you give an update on this?

Louise Duncan

Editor's Note:


Beck has undergone reconstructive surgery on his face to repair the frostbite injuries he suffered on Everest. He remains active. He even has a new career in public speaking and recently called in to during our live interview with Ed Viesturs to say hello to Ed, who of course helped him descend from Camp III on Everest.

All the best,
Peter Potterfield
Editor & Publisher

Cool Site (May 12, 2000)

The page with panoramic views is the coolest thing I've seen on the web. Keep it up...this is great!

Ron Cunningham

Thank You! (May 5, 2000)

I'm an armchair climber. I love to read books on Everest. My first was Into Thin Air — now I'm hooked. I have also read The Climb by Anatoli, High Exposure by Breashears and now I'm reading Left For Dead by Beck Weathers.

Also, I have a lot of documentaries. Having said that, Mountain Zone is the best for up to date information on Everest. I love all of the pictures and in-depth info you have to offer. You are No. 1! Now that I'm a junkie on Everest — you supply the fix.

Keep up the great work. Thank you and God Bless!

Yours truly,
Tom Fracasso

Anatoli Boukreev (May 1, 2000)

To the Editor:

This is my first time visiting your site. I am pleased and overwhelmed by the amount of information I could receive regarding Mt. Everest. I have recently read Anatoli's The Climb and have found a lot of respect for a man who can be so well disciplined. I was very sad to hear of his death in '97 and was interested to know if and when his body was recovered. I have read your news stories of his death, but could not locate any follow-up reports. Please let me know if any information has been reported. Thank you for your time.


Editor's Note:


Thanks for your note. Anatoli's body was not recovered, and in fact was never found. His partner on that tragic climb of Annapurna, Simone Moro, is making a bold attempt on Everest and Lhotse now, you can follow his adventure on

All the best,
Peter Potterfield
Editor & Publisher

Everest '96 and Makalu Gau (May 1, 2000)

Makalu Gau had no more business being on Everest than he did being on McKinley. He was a menace to himself (obviously) as well as others on the mountain. Many other climbers commented on his uncooperative attitude and he caused pain and concern to others. He shouldn't have been there in the first place.


Wally Berg's Trek (April 23, 2000)

I'm thrilled that 'Everest Season' is once again here — as exciting a time of year to me as Christmas, Easter or the summer holidays! I would like to know more about guided treks from Lukla to Gorak Shep and on to Base Camp or, for that matter, anywhere around Nepal. I would have loved to be a part of Wally Berg's expedition! It may be a few years down the road yet but it's still high on my list of goals. I have two friends over in Nepal right now and I'm insanely jealous!

Keep up the excellent work! I love your site and visit it year round.

Jill Warland Juryn
North Vancouver, BC

Everest 2000 (April 19, 2000)


What's the deal on the coverage of the Alpine Ascents International expedition to Everest? Why cover, on a site filled with high-quality adventure, a group of people with a load of cash who paid some great climbers to drag them up Everest?

The clients are just a bunch of people who read Into Thin Air and think they can cut it. If you can't handle Everest on your own, then you shouldn't be there in the first place. For real climbing coverage I personally turn to Simone Moro and his partner, Denis Urubko. Now that's the way to do it! Hauling all your own gear, and not using oxygen on top of it. Keep up the good work, Simone and Denis.

Good job at Mountain Zone!


Wally Berg (April 18, 2000)

I just finished reading the last dispatch and I thought since I wrote some slightly negative comments about a part of one dispatch, I should write and congratulate you and Wally on an excellent documentary over the last few weeks.

I really enjoyed reading it and think the idea is great — you should have it going all the time if you don't.

Keep up the good work.

I also read all the other dispatches and although I would love to see more photos, I think they are great.


Wally Berg's Dispatch on the 9th of April (April 18, 2000)

We (my wife and I) find your daily dispatches fascinating and very informative. We are trekking to Base Camp (on our own) and plan to visit the probably empty site for nostalgic interest/reasons and I am a little surprised that, if it was all right for Wally and crew to visit Base Camp, why would it not be all right for us?

Bearing this in mind, I detected an arrogant overtone (I am sure it was unintentional) in Wally's comments about visiting Base Camp and an inference that we (the trekkers) do not understand that the climbers there will probably be resting and focusing and may not like long conversations with us, and most importantly, that we don't appreciate the litter problems that exist in Nepal, including human waste.

Most people I have spoken to that have trekked to Base Camp only get to Kala Pattar and they are happy. There is a passionate minority (like myself) that want to go the site and feel that not visiting Base Camp is like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.

I am happy to have this litter issue refreshed, but to use the terms, " are not welcome..." (when the person saying the words is there at the time doing no more or less than another trekker would do) is an oversight and left me with a confused opinion of Wally.


Why People Might Be Reluctant to Return to Nepal (April 17, 2000)

Great Work!

I really appreciate rifling through the photos in the "Why People Return to Nepal" article.

I was a hippie living in Nepal in 1969, 1970, and 1971. I studied with a lama who built a school for Sherpas in Tami (Solu). I was in the habit of recruiting customers for my next Base Camp trek by combing the hash bars for kids who were getting bored with the scene. I promised them an adventure they could share with their family (unlike the hash den experiences).

We took a bus to Okhaldunga and walked the rest of the way. Made a nice leisurely trip, ate and slept with the beaten path. Rice, a luxury egg, and higher up, tsampa and butter tea. That would be it.

Usually I kept my boots in my pack (I used the forehead strap and a carries more weight, lets you lean into the hill, and keeps you focused on the four feet of ground in front of your feet. No other pack frame feels so good when you set it down!) My feet were tough as shoe leather. Usually I unpacked the boots to enter Namche...a fashion statement, and kept them on for the moraine up to Base Camp, or for the Sunday bazaar in Junbesi, but other than a little ice at the top of a rise, my feet never needed them in over 30 Kathmandu to Base Camp round trips.

I was 23, totally acclimated, hiked solo by moonlight, the trail was so familiar — and, I might add, completely unadorned with any trace of trash — that you would just keep going and going. I think I made it to Namche from Okhaldunga in five days a couple of times, hiking alone, with a light load, going into the moonlight.

The plane was a Swiss Pilatus Porter that came to Lukla once, maybe twice a week. I'll never forget the exhilaration of dropping like a stone into the gorge — it was such familiar ground. I literally wept when landing in Kathmandu. It was a transition that had been compressed to so little time, the impact of being back in the city was overwhelming. I had always dissed the air-trekkers as slicks — I never felt like blowing off the walk again.

When I see the pictures from the verandah of the Everest View Hotel etc. I wonder if I am better off with my memories of an essentially tourism-free Solu Khumbu. When we were portering 80 pound baskets of window glass to build the Sherpa school in Tami, we were on a mission to prepare the next generation to learn English and tap into the coming tourist economy, a replacement for the loss of trans-Himalayan trading as a livelihood.

We got what we started out to do, but I never envisioned all the softy trappings of country-club trekking that would become core to that economy. Geez, what a mess!

Mr. Editor, a return to Nepal would be a shock to these pristine memories, I am told. I confess that I am open for the impetus to return to Nepal. I really really loved the place — thought I would never leave. I was deported four times. (The most expedient way to renew your visa in the old days.)

Very truly,

Terry Lilly
StillCrazy Studio
Hollywood, CA

Thank You (April 15, 2000)

Dear Mountain Zone,

Thank you so much for your sight. Because of Rheumatoid Arthritis, I will never climb Everest, but thanks to you, I am able to be there in spirit. I particularly enjoy listening to the daily dispatches.

Yours truly,
Karen Bloom
Bothell, Washington

Simone Moro (April 13, 2000)

Next time you talk to Simone Moro, let him know we are following him — thanks to Mountain Zone.

Silvio Calvi
Club Alpino Italiano
Bergamo Italy

Himalaya (April 9, 2000)


Just wanted to let you guys know that I really enjoy your coverage, each year, of the Everest climbs. I appreciate even more that you give the credit that is due to the wonderful Sherpa people of Nepal. I spent a month in the Khumbu region of Nepal and found the Sherpa people to be some of the most lovely people I've met around the globe. They are friendly and very hospitable, often inviting you into their homes for tea and a snack. It's a lot of fun for me to browse your photos and see many of the same places I stayed and photographed while I was there. Thanks for the great coverage and the interesting stories. I'm looking forward to my next Nepal trip with anticipation.

New York

Smelling the Roses (April 7, 2000)


Just wanted to let you know how refreshing it was to read today's dispatch from AAI's Willi Prittie. Not being a climber myself, there is often a disconnect for me when reading about the Everest expeditions, simply because I can't very well put myself in their shoes if I've never been above 6000 feet or been to the Himalaya. But when Willi listed off the birds they had seen on their hike for the day, during acclimatization, everything seemed a lot more real and near to the heart. When I go hiking, I've always got an eye and ear out for the birds — having been an ornithology teacher's assistant in college. The fact that Prittie had his radar on for the wildlife around him really helped me feel what it was like to be there that day. I say, go Willi!

Thanks for the great coverage!

Bert Hogan
Seattle, WA

Ramblings on Berg (April 6, 2000)


When I was a child spending summers in the Adirondacks and hiking with a little group called the ATIS (Adirondack Trail Improvement Society), we had as our counselor one summer, a young, Yale Divinity School graduate named Kent Keller, who regaled us with tales of Mallory and Irvine and taught us to yell, "BERG HEIL" (Hail to the Mountain) as we arrived on the summits of our little peaks.

Having realized my dream of going to the Himalaya (four times so far), I want to say, "Berg Heil" again to Wally. If ever a man was appropriately named, surely it is he! And it delights me to hear him talk about Kathmandu with such love, instead of condemning it as a dirty polluted dump. It may be dirty, but it's so much more! My heart's home and I adore it, dirt and all.

I can't go back to Nepal until next year, and I plan to kiss that dirt when I land on it! (Gosh, hope I don't catch anything...)

What would I do without you and Wally, the next best thing to being there?

Pheri Betaaulaa,

Who's Who on Everest (March 21, 2000)

I enjoyed your Everest 2000 site very much but as I looked over the Who's Who on Everest, I failed to see one of the world's premier climbers, Krzysztof Wielicki, who made the first winter ascent of Everest on February 15, 1980 with Leszek Cichy. Incidentally, Krzysztof was one of the first to bag the Magic Fourteen.

Al Buckelew

High Praise (March 17, 2000)

I just wanted to let you know that your web site is one of my favorites. Your awesome Everest information is what keeps me coming back. As a matter of fact, I recently attended a lecture by Andy Politz (1999 Mallory discovery). He did mention your sponsorship in his lecture. I had printed up the expedition team members from your Everest '99 site and he autographed it.

Thanks again for interesting surfing.

Doug Turner

Beating a Dead Horse (March 8, 2000)

A preliminary caveat; I might as well come clean from the start and admit that this one's against my better judgment.

I've been reading for upward of five years now, the highly opinionated -- and in many cases ignorant -- screeds that everyone and their grandmother feels authorized to deliver with regard to the '96 debacle on Everest. As many intelligent people have observed, the entire incident has, unfortunately, degenerated into a finger-pointing farce that does little credit to the human beings involved, and does nothing to help heal the wounds of the survivors.

Pursuant to this, I think that it's relevant to make clear something that, to my mind, has not received proper consideration.

Here it is: Krakauer was the only member of his group that was there as a professional journalist. While this point may mean little or nothing to those who have never acted in a journalistic capacity, to those of us who have, for whatever reason and by whatever means, been held accountable, in print, for what we have witnessed, this is a telling point. In a sense that is unlike that experienced by any other individual on the mountain, Krakauer was there to record what he witnessed. It was his professional obligation, what he was there for, no more, and no less.

Should it happen then, that we take umbrage with Krakauer's version of events, it is my argument that we should find fault not in the man himself, but rather, in his journalistic abilities.

As Krakauer is quick to admit in Into Thin Air, and as is reinforced time and time again in the accounts of such climbers as Greg Child, Reinhold Messner, and Bonington himself, accounts of a high altitude climb are, more than likely, going to vary, to such an extent in fact, that one would not be unjustified in believing them to be of separate and unrelated climbs.

And I write this not in defense of Krakauer, but rather in an appeal for equinamity.

After all, Everest isn't your mother's laundry or your father's lawn. No, it's a hell of a lot more than that. It's a mountain where people go, of their own free choice, to learn the exact measure of their body and soul. It's a trophy. There's no reason to deny it, and any climber who attempts it knows, at least in part, the finality of what they are attempting.

So what I'm getting at here, what the point of this screed is, is that it doesn't do anyone any good to condemn the actions of another who has sought to conquer this beast. As far as I am concerned, everyone who was there on that fateful day did the best that they could. There is no wanting or second guessing about it. If one man writes an account with which others do not agree, then it should be taken as just that...Leave your condemnations at the door, we can't use them here...That way lies unholy vindication, madness, and ignorant stupidity. Save it for the judge, we're not interested here.

"I notice too, that when a fly crawls over his hand he simply lets it crawl; perhaps he never even feels it. That's how a man should be where flies are concerned."

-Knut Hamsun, "Under the Autumn Star"


John Krakauer (March 5, 2000)

Regarding the Into Thin Air letters, which I was surprised to see still coming in. Krakauer left out the significant facts that Anatoli told both groups they didn't have enough oxygen nor acclimatization to safely attempt the summit, the night before the tragedy, which Jon admitted to me he was aware of. Nor the fact that Anatoli climbed Everest twice before without oxygen, both of which counter his insinuation that Anatoli was primarily acting out of personal ambition. As to the accusation of abandoning clients, Anatoli left with clients who had been waiting on top over an hour, leaving others in the company of five of the top Everest guides in the world, not to mention Sherpas. Beidelman and Groom left clients with NO guides, but no one says they abandoned clients? Sounds like a double standard to me.

In both cases, it was a difficult and valid judgement call, and Krakauer's version is Monday morning quarterbacking of the worst kind. If everyone had to wait with the slowest member, then everyone would still be on top with Hall and Hansen. If Hall left Hansen, perhaps he'd have saved Namba, just to show how absurd and cruel second guessing can become. (Did anyone notice that Lopsang came right down to camp IV from Scott Fisher long AFTER Beidelman and Groom got their group lost, which was the cause of their difficulties?)

Final observations - Lene's nice book was not among the first, it WAS the first of the books published, even before Thin Air, but in Danish. This week's obituary of Guy Waterman points out that Krakauer's reports of a falling out between Waterman and his sons in Into the Wild, were also disputed as false by the Watermans, and Simone Moro has reported six major errors in Krakauer's addendum to Into Thin Air regarding his final climb with Anatoli, for which Krakauer failed to interview him. Currently this is only in Italian, but it will be translated soon.

Keep up the great site!
Bob Palais

Shocking Death (February 20, 2000)

I've just finished reading Into Thin Air for about the 10th time. Reading the many defenses here of Anatoli Boukreev, I'm surprised, for I don't think Krakauer's book villainized him in the least. He clearly pointed out the cultural differences between Boukreev and Scott Fischer, and how the Russian guide saw his role differently than the American's.

The fact that Boukreev wrote a rebuttal book shows he was stung, nonetheless. Too bad. No one can possibly judge the actions of desperate people, in desperate physical straits, like those at Camp IV in 1996.

Someone in the book said, "above 8,000 meters, you can't afford morality." For someone like me, who gets antsy climbing a tree, it's difficult to fathom. But on a human level, I think I understand.

I was truly shocked to hear of Anatoli's death, and sorry. I hope he's at peace.

Lisa S., Miami

Everest '96 (February 20, 2000)

I have just read Into Thin Air and the pictures provided by your web site really helped me get a good idea of the magnitude of the quests attempted.

I can also say that other people who read the book and other books of that event certainly have their opinions of what could have and should have been done. All I have to say for that, and not to stick up for Krakauer, but you guys weren't there. Who is to say that any other person in those conditions could do anything different not for say, to make it that high to begin with. Also, I have to believe that when a person attempts such a feat that they have to consider the worst possible scenarios and are accepting lifes ultimate gambles. Though the loss of life was horrible, it is the people who lived through it that must live with these nightmares. It seems to me that many people think that it is just another quest for the rich, but I feel that the people who died up there died doing what they ultimately wanted to accomplish and therefore they should not be remembered in vein.

In short, I liked Krakauer's book Into Thin Air and feel bad for him that his childhood dream has turned into such a nightmare. I once said this a bout a hot stripper I used to date, "Sometimes wanting is better than having."

Into Thin Air (February 19, 2000)

I'm not a climber, not an outdoor person at all - an avid reader. I usually read fiction, but just finished Into Thin Air. It has affected me deeply - never mind the debate about exactly which oxygen-deprived person did what - the story is one of personal and public tragedy, told with the insight possessed only by one who has experienced the events first hand. I was unaware of the climbing community and its fixation with Everest, aside from the occasional Discovery Channel or PBS documentary. But after reading Mr. Krakauer's book, all the members of the May 1996 ascent will live in my memory, my heart breaks for those left behind to deal with their losses.

Jennifer Guill

Climbing High Refreshing (February 14, 2000)

I just finished reading Lene Gamelgaard's book Climbing High. Her book is a somewhat different account of the tragic events that occurred in May 1996, as told in Into Thin Air. I found her style of writing refreshing and from the heart. I enjoyed reading a woman's perspective of the climb, especially from a physically and mentally strong woman. I'm sure she will overcome the effects of post traumatic stress disorder she is experiencing.

Put it to Rest (February 9, 2000)

I believe that the events of May 1996 on Mount Everest should be laid to rest. Those that were not on the mountain can never fully understand the conditions these people were put under. It does not matter who said or did what, all people have a different perception of the story. What we must remember is that people died and people will always die on Everest, that is a fact. We should remember those that died with fondness. I would also like to applaud the IMAX team with their rescue attempts, without them others may have perished also. So can we please stop all the bickering?


Jon Krakauer Should be Ashamed (January 28, 2000)

I am utterly disgusted with the way Jon Krakauer portrayed Anatoli Boukreev, of Mountain Madness. Anatoli's actions saved lives on that tragic day. I first read Into Thin Air, and I thought it was great...then I read The Climb, by Anatoli. I didn't see Jon going out into the blizzard to try to save anyone! Here Mr. Krakauer is criticizing Anatoli for going down to Camp IV, to rest himself, in case of emergency, and from this action Anatoli is able to save lives. Before Mr. Krakauer writes anything for the public to see, I hope he gets his facts straight and speaks the truth. He should be ashamed by his down playing of the heroic efforts of Anatoli Boukreev. Mr. Boukreev deserves more credit...he really is a hero.

Matt Allen

The '96 Huddle (January 18, 2000)

It seems that there are those who are made to feel powerful by judging, in armchair-athlete style, the actions of the climbing team perched precariously on the brink of death and the edge of the world (literally). Mr. Calhoun may have known Fisher personally in high school, but he was hardly THERE, experiencing the night of "the huddle." As one who also knows personally, two survivors of this climbing team and who has visited with them on several occasions since the ordeal, I read with great amusement the strong opinions of people like Mr. Calhoun who prefer to live vicariously through others and to second-guess the decisions that were made through hypoxia, hypothermia, and physical and mental exhaustion. Lene knows what others in that huddle know, that Klev did indeed identify the correct path to safety. Klev just hasn't written a book to argue the point before an ignorant public.

Janice Tower

Let the Ghosts of '96 Rest (January 10, 2000)

It's interesting how Lene Gammelgaard is the only person still making a buck off the 96' Everest tragedy. Her book ( which came out very late after the fact) seemed a little bit forced and now I see her in media everywhere. It seems as though most other climbers involved have moved on, but she seems to be capitalizing on the fact she can still sell the story.

I think the climbing community has to move on from Everest '96. There will be more triumphs and more tragedies to come. I often wonder if I would feel inclined to profit out of such a horrible situation, if only to justify the suffering, to take something back. It makes a lot less critical to think of myself in a situation where I am the survivor whose words are laced with tragedy. I pray I am never in that situation.

As a fellow climber, I am tired to hearing of the tragedy of FOUR years ago. So much has happened in that time, perhaps not as media-intensive, but still very interesting. With the huge loss of Alex Lowe, the climbing community needs to focus on the positive and although I understand Ms. Gammelgaard's story is as much one of healing as of suffering, it is not what we need right now.

On another note, it is good to hear she is still maintaining a lifestyle in the outdoors. As much as her story is compelling, we need to let the ghosts of '96 rest.

James Dziezynski
CSR Planetoutdoors.Com

Editor's Note: For the sake of accuracy, it should be noted that Gammelgaard's book was actually among the first to be published about the '96 tragedy on Everest; Climbing High was published in Denmark in 1997, and released in the U.S. in 1999.

Trashing Beidleman (January 10, 2000)

Dear Editors,
When I read the comments by Lene Gammelgaard in this week's Mountain Zone news I couldn't contain myself any longer. The World watched with horror as the events on Everest unfolded in May of '96. I went to the same high school as Scott Fischer and thus followed the expedition with interest. I was dismayed by the tragic outcome. I continue to feel badly for those involved in the tragedy — and their family members as well.

I am sure, as Ms. Gammelgaard has shared, that this event has been a difficult and life-changing one. I can't help but notice, though, Ms. Gammelgaard's seemingly misplaced fixation on the fact that it was Klev Schoening, and not Neil Beidleman, who was able able to shake off the crippling hypoxia and point the way to the tents. I have not read a single account in the last three years that misrepresents these facts. It seems petty and unnecessary for her to continually bring up this fact.

I am not sure what "misconception" she keeps referring to regarding the actions of those lost out on the South Col on that terrible night. I was very impressed by Ms. Gammelgaard's and Mr. Schoening's stamina during that fateful climb. It was Mr. Beidleman, however, who helped fix ropes high on the mountain, and who had to alternately drag Sandy Hill Pittman and Yasuko Namba down from the south east ridge. It was Beidleman who pointed out the clearing sky and the big dipper. Why does she find it necessary, then, to harp on this relatively minor detail? Each time she has done this I have been left with the assumption that she does so because she has an ax to grind. Her book tour, and integrity, would be better served if she stopped sharing this undisputed, yet trivial, fact each time she gets near a microphone.

Dan Calhoun

Ban Americans from Everest (January 10, 2000)

When are the professional climbers ever going to understand that this sport that kills one out of four participants should be stopped forever. If we lost 15 pro football players out of 60 in the Seattle Kingdome, football would be stopped. We do not have the right to allow our young men and women to commit suicide in climbing over 24,000 feet, as you say it is the 'death zone.' The US Government should ban Americans from Everest!!

Jack Murray
Hailey Idaho

Selfish Actions (January 9, 2000)

It seems that Lene Gammelgaard is another climber from the storm of '96 that after saving herself, defends her selfish actions, with a statement about being all used up and not having anything left to help others. Maybe guides and clients should think before they undertake future ventures to the world's highest mountains.


Thanks to Lene Gammelgaard (January 7, 2000)

Having read the piece on the website regarding Lene Gammelgaard, I think she needs to understand something. As someone who read Into Thin Air and just recently finished Ghosts of Everest, I say, Ms. Gammelgaard, keep writing. What you say matters.

People who love natural places are always going to want to understand what it is about a place that moves them. Sometimes all of us can't go to those places. Like it or not, we live through those of you who attempt it.

The group will always be a part of natural history. We're all going to go to that place not through pictures of the landscape, but through those of you who survived it. The fact is, from the words your wrote, the sentence that comes through with the most conviction says "those are some strong, spirited humans."

It's understandable that living through something like that changes you. I wonder if it's possible for you guys to understand that what's coming out changes us in some ways. Good ways. Thanks for sharing.

Ron Buckland

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