“The couple, who are both police officers in India, first came under suspicion when a fellow Everest climber noticed a few pictures the couple posted to their social media looked eerily similar to his own from his successful summit ascent. He alerted authorities and after an investigation it was determined the couple did not summit Everest and had doctored the photos.
Nepalese authorities have imposed a 10 year ban on the couple for attempting to climb Everest. There has been a country wide outcry of shame from their fellow Indians and from Indian police specifically. The police commissioner in Pune, India had this to say about the couples behavior:
“They have tarnished the image not only of police force but of the whole country.”
The couple, both 30 years old, have disappeared after giving an initial interview. The two sherpas tasked with accompanying the couple on Everest have also disappeared.”
So I agree with your general sentiment about where that particular part of the sport has gone. But there are a small minority of legit guys doing it without Sherpas and minimizing gear that still get the respect.
Yvon Chouinard that founded Patagonia is a legitimate mountaineer and pioneer of the sport in his own right and said it best:
“_Taking a trip for six months, you get in the rhythm of it. It feels like you can go on forever doing that. Climbing Everest is the ultimate and the opposite of that. Because you get these high-powered plastic surgeons and CEOs, and you know, they pay $80,000 and have Sherpas put the ladders in place and 8,000 feet of fixed ropes and you get to the camp and you don’t even have to lay out your sleeping bag. It’s already laid out with a chocolate mint on the top. The whole purpose of planning something like Everest is to effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain and if you compromise the process, you’re an assh0le when you start out and you’re an assh0le when you get back. _”
What is the meaning of “compromise the process”? I’m sure this guy would not protest when I wear a nice high tech Patagonia suit and machined lightweight boots to climb the mountain, when original climbers didn’t have access to this sort of technology. I saw Seven Years in Tibet, so I know what I am talking about. Also, BD Wong, that guy was a douche.
So just as a point of comparison, because I don’t do much alpine/ice climbing (which is what this would be), in rock climbing, there are a couple of different categories. There is top rope climbing, which means setting an anchor at the top of something you climb. This is the safest and it happens a lot in gyms.
Then there’s lead climbing, which means you go on to a rock face and you use quick draws to clip in to bolts that are already in the rock face, as you go up the rock face (so you wouldn’t be clipped in until you get to the first bolt, which could be 10 or 15 feet up, and you wouldn’t wanna fall before the third one because you there’s slack in the line from the person who is below you who is belaying you. That’s more like this second pic:
Then there’s trad climbing, where there may or may not be bolts in the place you’re climbing, but you’re making your own anchors by placing your own gear like nuts or hexes. This has the least impact on the rock face, because of there not being bolts drilled in to the face, and it’s considered harder and more technically demanding. Its also the type of climbing commonly done by alpine/ice climbers, as they have to drill their own holes and put bolts in the ice they’re climbing in.
There’s also aid climbing. This is the easiest form of climbing. You can basically just bring these ladder type things up the cliff face, put them in the quick draws, and go up the cliff like you’re climbing a ladder.
The objection is that people think you should be doing the more traditional styles, being more self sufficient, and that the aid climbing is too easy and pre packaged etc. And ya, the gear does make things easier… but its the degree.
The guys being criticized here would be doing something similar to climbing up the ladder, but it’s ropes that are pre placed.
The boots you wear for this aren’t really lightweight. But anyhow, if the meaning of the phrase should be self evident from his quote and general application of common sense. To elaborate a bit, it’s a process of self-reliance planning and commitment. He’s simply saying that if you approach this with the goal of finding personal or spiritual change but cheat the fundamental aspects of the process, you will not realize the change you sought. Taking it one step further he’s logically asserting that these egomaniacs simply pursuing the summit with a checkbook and outsourcing the work are assholes. Based on his pre-established assumption, they’re therefore assholes when they leave as well.
It’s a basic concept akin to a fitness expert saying if you cheat the workout or do half reps in favor of showing off larger weights, you’ll cheat yourself out of the fundamental change you’re pursuing.
Since you’re asking what his thoughts would be, another quote of his answers it well, “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
“You perfect a sport when you can do all of these things with less stuff. The most impressive ascent of Everest was by the Swedish guy who bicycled from Stockholm to Kathmandu and then soloed Everest and bicycled back to Stockholm. That is cool, as opposed to this huge multinational guided thing with computers and internet cafes at the base of Everest.”
Also in line with birdman’s point, Patagonia was one of the pioneers of trad climbing gear and the first to turn away from bolts after leading the field there as well. They have a long history of pursuing environmental causes over profit (privately held) and giving away large sums of money to causes. They also don’t really make Everest type mountaineering equipment as a side note.
To reiterate it’s a point based on a matter of degree and sound personal judgment. Both are pretty central to the sport.
That’s a very interesting point, I’d never really thought about it like that, and it makes a lot of sense.
The way I heard one guy describe alpine climbing in new areas was that the benefit of having a guide was that the guide may know a certain area really well, be able to judge a certain places ice conditions, upcoming weather, the potential for routes, and that by having a good guide, you’d be able to potentially complement your own skills, and take overall more “risky” positions, that you’d not be able to take on your own, but which you can take with the guide because they have the experience in that area (and can thus help you find a good route up an otherwise inaccessible or dangerous to an unfamiliar person sort of mountain side).
What I also think is a cool perspective is alex honnolds, that by doing free soloing, you’re doing the best climbing, you know you can do the route because you’ve probably already done it before a few times and youre not going near your max level, and then you’re just going at it and climbing without having to do all the stuff with anchoring and safety.