December 30, 2017

Nepal bans blind people, double amputees, and solo individuals...

... from climbing Mount Everest (The Guardian reports).

The idea is to cut down on all the dying up there, but there are some complaints, e.g., by a soldier who'd lost both his legs in a war.
One veteran climber, Alan Arnette, said the ban on amputee and visually impaired climbers was prejudiced, ignorant and irrational. “If this is about protecting people from their own ambitions, then over half of the annual climbers should be banned each year as they lack the experience to safely climb Everest,” he wrote on his blog. And where does this stop – people with asthma, diabetes, hemophiliacs or cancer? All of these have recently successfully summited Everest with no problems.”

55 comments:

Michael K said...

"No problems" mean the guides hired at very high prices to drag the client to the summit, succeeded. Read "Into Thin Air."

Paco Wové said...

How would the blind know? Just take them up some other peak. Or halfway and back.

n.n said...

Can't see. Can't do. Can't help.

They must be covered by the national medical insurance. State's Choice.

TWW said...

This is a decision made on the basis of supply and demand.

EDH said...

Why not make the exclusionary criteria self-selective?

Anyone who has ever applied for a handicapped parking placard is banned.

If you can't feed a parking meter you can't ascend a mountain.

n.n said...

How would the blind know?

They may be especially sensitive to pressure changes. Oxygen density. Non visual cues of altitude progress.

john said...

Put them in a walk-in freezer, start pumping the air out.

Greg Hlatky said...


"Succeeding" in mountain climbing means getting down alive, not getting up. I assumed most deaths are on the descent.

john said...

I think Nepal is still cringing over last years tourist climbers having to momentarily unhook to get around that frozen Indian chap. Although dead he was still hooked in.

Bad for business too.

Humperdink said...

This will not stand! Nepal is profiling. If only the Big O was Nepal's el Presidente.

ALP said...

Why cut out all the dying? Maybe these folks have a subconscious death wish; who are we to get in the way?

David Begley said...

Bright lines are some times necessary. Sorry.

gspencer said...

". . . said the ban on amputee and visually impaired climbers was prejudiced, ignorant and irrational"

The War on Common Sense continues unabated.

He actually said this policy was irrational. Yikes!

Humperdink said...

I fully expect the UN to tkae up the cause of the disabled. The dying? Not so much.

rhhardin said...

There's no wifi on the peak, so forget online selfies.

Original Mike said...

I guess I agree with the blind. I don't agree with the other two.

The best thing they could do for safety is to significantly reduce the number of permits. The overcrowding is dangerous.

Greg Hlatky said...

who are we to get in the way?

I think the problem is that they get in the way. Though some of the corpses make useful landmarks.

Larry Day said...

“If this is about protecting people from their own ambitions, then over half of the annual climbers should be banned each year as they lack the experience to safely climb Everest,” Now that, I agree with completely. In my younger days, when I worked full-time as a mountain guide, I received an invitation to join an Everest expedition. Turning that opportunity down was probably the easiest major decision of my life. It would be hard to pay me enough to be part of that mess. A million dollars or more? Sure, I could be bought, but not cheaply.

Larry Day said...

I'd go so far as to say "No guided parties allowed." Sure, there would be cheaters, but there are always cheaters. Nepal won't do it, because they want the peak fee, which is enormous.

Etienne said...

I suspect the path is so worn, you can use a wheel chair to get to the top. It's just the getting back down and the lack of good brakes that kills so many.

Original Mike said...

"I'd go so far as to say "No guided parties allowed.""

Yes.

rehajm said...

Modern Everest deaths occur in part by getting stuck in traffic.

Larry Day said...

Not just the peak fee, of course. Everest expeditions spend a lot of money, and that means jobs.

mockturtle said...

I doubt Nepal has the equivalent of the ADA. They can--and should--restrict whomever they wish. I don't understand banning solo climbers, though, unless it's because they don't hire sherpas. Sherpas are big business.

David said...

It's become something grotesque. Sooner or later they will have to clean out all the bodies and the junk the climbers leave behind.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Last time I checked, it was Nepal's mountain. Guess that means they get to make the rules.

Bay Area Guy said...

I love to hike. I really do. I'm talking a few miles, the dog, the wife, maybe one or more of the kids, maybe one of my pals.

There's a great trail in the Berkeley Hills called "Strawberry Canyon", right above the football stadium and below the Lawrence Hall of Science. I'm gonna roust some family members today to do it.

Now, translating that peaceful, easy 3-5 mile hilly walk to the extreme, delusional, yuppified belief that climbing Mt. Everest will achieve a heightened sense of meaning and nirvana is just plain nuts. The Sherpas should immediately double or triple their prices, and have the yuppies sign waivers that no dangerous rescue attempts will be made.

mockturtle said...

The Sherpas should immediately double or triple their prices, and have the yuppies sign waivers that no dangerous rescue attempts will be made.

The Sherpas often do double or triple their fees in the middle of a climb. And I don't know any climber who is seeking nirvana.

JML said...

How would the blind know?

At one time, I ran a demand and respond bus service for disabled and seniors in S. IL. I got a call onc from one of my customers and she informed one of my drivers was speeding way too fast and I needed to talk to him. I said to her, "Forgive me, but I have to ask because if it leads to discipline, the union will argue that you are blind, etc." She said, "Johnny, I'm blind, not stupid. He was going 65 and 70 MPH on Carlisle Ave at approximately 10 after 9." I had recently switched (after a long battle with the union) to GPS enabled phones with tracking. (Do you remember the "Don't agitate the dots commercial?") I pulled up the tracker for his phone at the time she stated. He was going 68.

mockturtle said...

Last time I checked, it was Nepal's mountain.

China owns part of it, too.

Darrell said...

If "anybody" can do it, is it still a big deal?

Larry Day said...

Alpine Ascents charges $65,000 for a guided climb of Everest. Very, very few real climbers have that kind of money to blow on something so meaningless. The Sherpas establish fixed lines over every difficult section of the climb. Clients simply clip their ascenders to the lines and keep pushing them upward. The challenge for the guide is to keep their clients and themselves alive long enough to reach the summit and return to base camp. It's not really climbing at all. The clients do it for the status, bragging rights on the cocktail circuit. Apparently, that's worth a lot to some people.

eddie willers said...

Though some of the corpses make useful landmarks.

Green Boots agrees.

ALP said...

Leave the corpses. It speaks to the truth of Nature and we need to be reminded of it. And we need a 2018 Corpses of Everett Wall Calendar too.

ALP said...

I meant 2018 Corpses of Mt. Everett Wall Calendar.

Sorry, been looking at houses on Redfin - Everett, WA.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I think that anyone with a disability should be ashamed of him or her self if they have not climbed Everest!

Lewis Wetzel said...

Just to drive CNN & WaPo battier, I think Trump should put on twitter that he climbed to the top of Everest on Christmas day, carrying a whole family of Sherpa's on his back.

rcocean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

"And where does this stop – people with asthma, diabetes, hemophiliacs or cancer? "

There is no equivalence between these things and being blind or a double amputee.

From what I understand, there's quite a waiting list to go up Everest. This is just a way to cut back on the list. Its hard enough to guide a healthy person to the top and back without turning them into a corpse.

320Busdriver said...

What still amazes me is that there are climbers, probably all guides, who are able to summit without supplemental O2.

Without acclimating, time of useful conscienceness at 30,000 feet is 1-2 minutes. If you are exerting yourself or if an explosive decompression it might be just seconds.

The Godfather said...

I see that one of the recents fatalities on Everest was 84 years old. An age limit wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Original Mike said...

"I see that one of the recents fatalities on Everest was 84 years old. An age limit wouldn’t be a bad idea."

He died doing what he loved ...

mockturtle said...

I see that one of the recents fatalities on Everest was 84 years old. An age limit wouldn’t be a bad idea.

He was only 34 when he started the climb but he had to wait in line at the Hillary Step.

The Godfather said...

@Mockturtle: I say you win the thread!

@Original Mike: If I die doing what I love it is unlikely I'll be on a mountain.

Big Mike said...

If the rumors are true then Nelson Rockefeller died doing who he loved. I mean what he loved.

Amexpat said...

One of the absurdities with the Everest circus is the quest for all the "firsts". Each country has their own first male and female to summit. And then to create new "firsts", you have all the various handicaps. Such as the first one armed asthmatic female Bolivian to summit. And then you have all the youngest and oldest from each country as well.

Etienne said...

If I die doing what I love, it will dozed-off in my stratolounger, and not thinking about snowy mountains.

indiana118 said...

Climbing Everest has to me become a symbol of selfishness and narcissism.

Selfish people putting the guides' lives at risk & not caring that nobody wants to drag their unfit dead body out of the path.

JPS said...

JML, 12:57: Hat's off to your client. That is a great story.

I'm split on this. Of course Nepal can set the rules (and the frustrated will seek permits to climb the Chinese side). I feel for those turned away for the new rules. If they won't let their disability stop them, I understand not wanting to let The Rules do it instead.

I'm remembering the time I stopped in at a USFS ranger station to get a permit to solo Mount Rainier. I knew the risks, I would have signed any waiver they wanted, still they said no. I could have waived anything I wanted, they still would have tried to save my dumb ass if I'd gotten in trouble. I was young, the ranger was younger. He said with refreshing candor, Look, we don't own the mountain, and it's not my problem you're crazy. If it were up to me I'd give you the permit. It's not.

For various reasons I wanted more personal responsibility than on the guided trips he encouraged, where I just had to be moderately fit and to do as I was told. Eventually the ranger found me a two-man team who needed a third for their rope.

Big Mike,

"If the rumors are true then Nelson Rockefeller died doing who he loved. I mean what he loved."

Ever read Dave Barry on the subject?

"In the interest of common decency I am not going to name names, but this is apparently what happened to a billionaire who was Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford and whose name rhymes with "Pelson Pockefeller." He was allegedly working late one night on a book with a "research assistant," and all of a sudden, probably right in the middle of an important footnote, bang, so to speak, old Pelson was gone.

Man in PA said...

Perhaps they should ban vegans, too.
http://time.com/4344556/mount-everest-death-climbing-vegan/

Larry Day said...

One's body tends to waste away at extreme altitudes. The Russians I've met in the high mountains were friendly but tough sons-of-guns who stressed the importance of eating plenty of meat in order to maintain one's strength. Perhaps they were right.

Lucien said...

Michael K nails it on the first post. There's no glory in an experienced guide with a team of Sherpas carrying you up a mountain.

If the blind and amputee climbers really feel slighted by the Everest decision, they can always just suck it up and climb K2 or Annapurna instead. Except, of course, they couldn't - because there is no "haul your ass up the mountain" service on those peaks, and the blind and the amputees who tried would either fail, or die, or both.

Bay Area Guy said...

'Cause baby, there ain't no mountain high enough
Ain't no valley low enough
Ain't no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you, babe


Ain't No Mountain High Enough (1967), Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

Zach said...

And where does this stop – people with asthma, diabetes, hemophiliacs or cancer? All of these have recently successfully summited Everest with no problems.”

Yes, but it's the ones who had problems that Nepal is worried about. People win at Russian Roulette five times out of six, after all.

mockturtle said...
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