Climb Everest in 2016 / 17 / 18 etc with 4 times summiteer Tim Mosedale

Everest Expedition via South Col 2016 / 2017 / 18 / 19 etc

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pitfalls to avoid and why people don't summit on Mt Everest.

What to do to prepare for it and how to
maximise your chances of success
(or 'why people fail')

Giles Ruck at the top of The Geneva Spur en route to The South Col on a pretty windy day. Only by having a prolific mountaineering cv and by being fully acquainted with his gear was Giles able to successfully negotiate his way without encountering any problems en route. On Everest even just losing a glove can rapidly become a life threatening situation.

I've been asked not only for details of the route and itinerary on Everest but also, increasingly, people want to know what are the pitfalls to be aware of and how best to prepare for the expedition. For some folk the expedition top tips will be sufficient, for some they will need to get up to speed with the skills required whereas for others a more tangible approach is to find out the actual problems that people face when they are on Everest and then be able to be prepare themselves (mentally and psychically) accordingly.

There are going to be a lot of generalisations because sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between, say, the person who hasn't acclimatised very well and the person who succumbed to illness part way through the trip. Basically they both may have been successful if they had more time - but there isn't more time. They have flights to catch, jobs and family to get back to and bills to pay.


First off we cannot ignore that, sadly, people die year on year on Everest. Interestingly there is no direct correlation between numbers on the hill and deaths that happen every year - so one cannot come up with a straight %age figure. Partly this will be due to variables (people, their experience, their acclimatisation rotations etc) but also will be due to the variances every year with weather conditions, route conditions and, in particular, how people fare on summit day.

There would appear, however, to be a direct correlation between fatalities and experience (or lack of it) as well as fatalities and cheap operations on the mountain.

More people die as a result of high altitude and / or exhaustion than any other reason. Falls account for the next highest %age closely followed by exposure. In reality falls may well be down to human error and possible a result of either complacency or lack of experience. I'm not entirely sure how exposure can be differentiated from high altitude and exhaustion because, surely, an exhausted climber who sits down and can't move ... will eventually become a cold climber who can't move. So, personally, I'd say that exposure is right up there with the high altitude and exhaustion issue.

Crevasses, heart attacks, avalanche etc are way down there and only account for a very small %age of fatalities in the great scheme of things.

So we have to ask ourselves - why do more people die on summit day than at any other stage of their expedition? Well I'm afraid there would appear to be two reasons and they may well be linked (which I have already alluded to).

Generalisation No 1:

A lot of people who die on summit day would appear to be inexperienced mountaineers. Yes there are some folk up there who are pretty experienced and unfortunately things went wrong - but generally it would appear that the majority of folk who die on Everest summit day are lacking in sufficient experience.

Only by building a mountaineering cv where you are an independent mountaineer in your own right are you going to be able to react automatically to the ever changing weather and conditions. It's all very well having a Climbing Sherpa by your side but he can't tell you that your hands are getting cold and how to deal with it. He can't force you to drink (although our Climbing Sherpas will keep reminding you that you ought to) so he can't tell if you are becoming dehydrated.

To that end when it suddenly becomes apparent that a) you have cold hands and can't operate the karabiners and jumars or b) you collapse because of exhaustion (but added to that you are dehydrated and therefore much more prone to frostbite and hypothermia) there may not be a great deal that he will be able to do for you because you are a liability to yourself and everyone around you. More so if you are with a cheap operator with inexperienced Sherpas, inadequate oxygen supply and no way of mounting a rescue operation.

Generalisation No 2:

When people die year on year the same agency names keep cropping up. Hardly any clients on Everest die with the big operators (who incidentally have good summit success rates to boot) but people die every year with the cheap Kathmandu outfitters and shoddy companies who provide a crap service at a cheap price.

And incidentally they also have very poor success rates for those clients who manage to live through the experience.

What can you do?

Get yourself suitably well trained up and go with a proper professionally led expedition. But therein lies a problem ... how do you compare like for like?

Used cars.

Why is it that people ask more in depth questions about buying a second hand car than they do about what their operator will be providing (or not providing) when they are climbing Everest? People will negotiate the cost for trading in, want a set of mud flaps, ask about the number of previous owners, the service history, how long there is on the MoT etc etc.

But that same person will not ask about the experience of the Climbing Sherpas and whether they have a command of English (or any other language), what is the policy regarding Climbing Sherpas and clients on summit day (1:1 is the only option), how much oxygen is available, is there spare oxygen, are there spare masks and regulators, what contingencies are in place for problems to be dealt with, what (if any) medication is carried on summit day, who is sorting the logistics on the hill, what weather forecasting do they have, are there any high altitude porters etc etc. Some folk even manage to end up paying MORE than they would with a professional outfit because they hadn't realised that oxygen and Climbing Sherpas were not included in the price!!!

I think 'WTF?!?' springs to mind.


Regardless of all that (and I could go on so don't get me started) there are other issues that people will come across that are very often quite personal to them as an individual. Other than having a tragic accident, what other reasons are there for people not summiting Everest? Generally speaking most people who fail have probably underestimated the mountain and overestimated their own ability.

There are a few cases of shear bad luck (illness at exactly the wrong time in the expedition (is there a right time to be ill?)) - but most are probably due to lack of personal preparation and attention to detail and, with better training and planning before the trip, the clients may well have fared better with a successful summit under their belt.

Know your gear.

A classic case where inadequate preparation starts to manifest itself in other ways is when people don't know their gear. It all sounds very anal but you need to know the subtleties about how your gear works, if there are any drawbacks that you have discovered along the way and what, if anything, you can do about it. You may not have noticed in the comfort of the shop that it is difficult to grab hold of a zipper on your down suit because you hadn't popped a pair of mitts on and discovered that it was an issue. But it can be.

Or that you are unable to go to the loo for a No2 wearing your suit because the zipper on the thigh is useless, the position makes it a very awkward proposition and you now realise why you should have bought a suit with a rainbow drop seat or an up and under arrangement (see the down suit review).

Or that you can't fit your mittened hand in your jumar without squashing that precious down that results in less warmth being available to the compromised circulation in your hands.

These small innocuous sounding examples suddenly take on a whole different and, at times, life threatening meaning. You suddenly realise that perhaps more time being acquainted with your gear would have been invaluable and this can put you in to a psychologically bad place. Being in tune with your clothing and equipment, and having discovered any drawbacks before the trip, will allow you to either adapt the way you operate or, better still, replace the item in question.

It is too late when you are departing C3 to go on your summit bid via the South Col that you find it a bit claustrophobic wearing the oxygen mask. It is too late when you are popping your crampons on at the beginning of The Khumbu Icefall to discover that they aren't long enough for your oversized boots and that you need extension bars (and incidentally what have you been doing for the past week whilst sat acclimatising at Base Camp dickhead?).

Prior preparation is absolutely key to being in a better frame of mind and able to deal with the real issues around you.

Other concerns people may have.

In no particular order I have also come across the following situations :

1. 'It was colder than I thought it would be.'

Okay folks - I don't want to be too harsh here because there are some extenuating circumstances - but this is Everest. What did you expect? Yes, some seasons are slightly colder than others, but in the general scheme of things there isn't that much in it really. So, what can you do to prepare for the cold nights and the cold summit day?

Well first off a good grounding in Scottish winter mountaineering, where you are out in all conditions, will stand you in extremely good stead. Not just the nice blue sky days (not that there are many of those anyway) but out in all weathers, come snow or shine regardless of how windy it is (without compromising safety of course) and for decent quality hill days. Don't kid yourself that trekking in to Sneacdha and out again, or mooching to the CIC hut and back down, is a quality day. If you have had a lie in and / or are back in time for lunch you are not building a significant mountaineering cv and you are kidding yourself that you are a seasoned Scottish winter mountaineer. Long arduous days on the hill, in a whole variety of conditions, over a number of seasons, will stand you in extremely good stead. It's arguably some of the best training that you can do for any expedition.

A good grounding on other expeditions will obviously serve you well and is a definite pre requisite for Everest. Regardless of your previous experience you are still venturing in to the unknown. So remember to bear in mind that as you go higher, and there is less oxygen so, in turn, your circulation may well be compromised. To that end if you are a cold person you will inevitably feel colder at altitude. Regardless of that make sure that you bring decent quality clothing and equipment (don't settle for 2nd best) that you are well acquainted with (see above), have good quality spare mitts (and use them before your hands get cold), use foot and hand warm up pads on summit day as a default, don't have snug boots or you will get cold feet and remain hydrated. Knowing instinctively when to layer up, when to keep moving because you are in the shade and the sun is just over there, realising the importance of concurrent activity and remembering that the best way to not get cold hands is to not let them get cold in the first place are all the sorts of things that should have been learnt over the course of an extensive number of years out in the hills.

As long as you understand the importance of, say, not losing a glove and the implications that can have on Everest then you are focusing in the right direction. In The Lakes if you lose a glove you can just pop your hand in your pocket. In Scotland, in winter, if a glove blows away then you probably have a spare one in your rucksack.

On Everest however ... if you put a glove or mitt between your knees or pop it in your mouth, and then drop it, you have suddenly enterred a life threatening situation. By the time you get your rucksack off and untangled yourself from your oxygen set your hand will be cold. Circulation is already compromised to the extremities because of the lack of oxygen available and so vaso constriction will be almost instantaneous in the wrist. By the time you get your spare mitt (if you were carrying one in the first place) your hand will be so cold that even popping the best mitt on will serve no purpose. It is not a 'warm mitt' it just has the potential to be a warm mitt. But that is reliant on warmth being available to be trapped in the mitt - but there isn't any warmth being geneated and so your cold hand becomes inoperative. It's difficult trying to operate the gear and manage stance changes with only one hand. You become slower, the situation becomes more drastic, you become colder and before you know it you are looking down the barrel ... and all because of a lost glove.

2. 'It was a bit harder than I thought.'

This is a difficult one because unless you have been there you don't know what to expect. Or do you? By building a comprehensive climbing and mountaineering cv you can start to prepare yourself for most eventualities and turns of events. As long as you are happy in the vertical environment and able to look after and manage yourself in the ever changing mountain conditions then you will stand a good chance of summit success. But this is only possible by digging deep and a lot of it comes down to whether you have the inclination, drive, stamina, mental tenacity and a positive mental attitude - a lot of which comes with a prolific amount of experience (see note above re Scottish winter!).

3. 'How can I climb THAT when I feel like THIS down here?'

Well, unless you have a go you'll never know. People forget that when they first arrived at BC (circa 5,200m) they felt awful, everything was a chore and they weren't sleeping particularly well (altitude is great isn't it?). But after a visit to C1 at 6,000m (where they felt awful, everything was a chore and they weren't sleeping particularly well) when they returned to Base Camp it was suddenly a much better place to be.
And then when they had had a couple of nights at C2 at 6,400m (guess what - they felt awful, everything was a chore and they weren't sleeping particularly well) Base Camp, by comparison, was a very +ve place to be, rest was forthcoming and they had the best night's sleep of the trip thus far.

So when you hearken back to how you initially felt at BC and compare it with the BC experience 7 or 8 days later you then need to have the self belief that a similar process will happen for your experiences at C1 and C2. A positive mental attitude (and a certain faith in the words of your illustrious expedition leader) will go a long way.

4. 'I'm missing my wife / husband / girlfriend / dog / children.' (not necessarily in that order).

You need to put your life on hold for at least a month before the trip (you will still physically be at home but mentally you'll be away with the fairies), as well as for the 8 weeks' that you are away and then for another fortnight or so when you get back (post trip high). If you don't have the support of your friends and family then it is difficult to be away. And if you have what I call 'emotional baggage' you will find it very difficult to make upward progress.

I'm not suggesting that you be a heartless soul and just forget about your family ... but you do need to be able to concentrate on the job in hand because it's a risky venture and you can't be having distractions whilst on the hill.

5. 'It's slow going at altitude ... I thought I was fit.'

Yes it is slow. And whenever I see people going what they think is slow I have to tell them that they should be going slower. Invariably it is a case of the hare and the tortoise - those who power ahead will stop every 10 to 15 minutes whilst the slower people (usually me) will catch up and cruise past without breaking a sweat.

Perseverance will go a long way as will managing yourself along the route. Adjusting zippers, hats, gloves, applying lip salve, drinking etc can all be managed on the move and concurrent activity at stops will also help to save a lot of time. You also need to realise the importance of looking after yourself on arrival at the next camp. Rather than sitting down and recovering on arrival at C1 or C3 (we have a cook at C2) what about popping a cooker on the go to melt some snow ... and then recovering? Once recovered 'Hey Presto!' you have a drink. And remember, drink is more important than food and food more important than sleep. You can go in to deficit when you are on the hill for a few days and then when you get back down to BC it's time to rest, rehydrate and recuperate before the next foray.

6. 'No pain, no gain.'

Well actually it's a case of the first person to get to camp is often the first to get a headache. Go slowly (see above), drink plenty, take photos and enjoy the trip. It's a shame to have come all this way and not to actually see anything because you are so intent on proving something to the others around you. All that you will prove is that you are stubborn and not looking after yourself appropriately.

7. 'I can't sleep at night.'

Some people really struggle with sleep apnoea (chain stokes breathing) which is a by product of going to altitude. It's to do with pH imbalances in the blood and how our brain adjusts our breathing when asleep. It basically involves periods where you aren't breathing and then, when there is the right level of CO2 in the blood, the brain tells you to start breathing again - which means you wake with a start and a gasp. All a bit unsettling but if you remember that a) it is normal b) it's happening to most of the other people on the trip and c) you were doing it at BC when you first arrived and now you aren't (see 3 above) then you will hopefully become accustomed to it.

You will feel that you haven't slept but in fact you have just spent 12 hours or so in your bag and are, despite everything, probably well rested. Have faith.

8. 'I am ill / don't seem to be acclimatising / am struggling with the altitude.'

Again a certain amount of faith that you will get better / feel better / adjust to the environment may well will see you through. You know what it's like at home when you have a bout of flu - how will I ever go back to work feeling like this? And 3 days later you are out of bed and within a week you are running, jumping, laughing, working, socialising.

You have to accept that fact that illness often takes longer to recover from at altitude but, fear not, you'll get there. The itinerary is generous enough that you aren't out of the loop and I have various tricks up my sleeve to maintain as much flexibility to allow for individual ascent profiles right up until the day we are trekking out.
Plus I have the biggest bag of medication you have ever seen.

9. Anxiety

Like the situation of 'how can I climb THAT whilst feeling like THIS down here' some folk can be very anxious because of the stories they hear from other climbers. It isn't necessarily scare mongering ... just excited summiteers coming down to recount the tale of their 'ordeal'. Just because they lost a glove, their crampon came off, they had a piece of ice whizz down past them doesn't mean that the same will happen to you.

Probably best not to listen to their stories in the first place. So don't read more in to it than there is and, if anything, learn from their errors and experiences.

10. 'I thought there would be better logistical support on the hill.'

Well … you should have signed up with me then! I'm not suggesting that what I provide is absolutely perfect - but it's not far off it.

Have a look at this blog entry for further details about what level we go to to make sure that people are suitably looked after on the hill and the level of support that we provide. It's what we see as a standard belt and braces approach that is the minimum requirement. Other expeditions aspire to fulfil the same levels of service and fall far short.

My belief is that the expedition should not only be safe and fun but should be run as a tight ship with a perfect handle on logistics. This should be done in conjunction with a proficient Base Camp crew and experienced, competent and trustworthy Climbing Sherpas. This then needs to be underpinned by a Western leader who understands acclimatisation and has a grasp of Wilderness First Aid who works alongside an experienced Sirdar. And lastly the expedition needs the safety net of having one of the best agents in KTM who can organise helicopter rescue at the drop of a hat and who can then deal with an evacuation and look after clients and their needs accordingly.

You get all that, and more, with my trip.

So there you have it - a variety of reasons why people don't summit this magnificent mountain. Yes there will always be the unfortunate cases where people literally will never acclimatise (a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage by the way), and there will also be the bouts of illness or injury where folk just don't make an adequate recovery.

There are a whole load of things that I can do to help with getting camps established, having some loads carried and assigning Climbing Sherpa support where necessary, but at the end of the day it is down to you to make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared.

It's all very well sending me a comprehensive mountaineering cv and getting accepted on to the trip - but unless you follow that up with some vigorous training (hill training is far better than gym training and outdoor climbing more tangible than indoor) leading up to the trip you may well be in for a short sharp shock.

Only you can put one foot in front of the other - it can't be done for you.

Time to get out on the hill.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Everest photos No2

Okey dokey, whilst I'm on a roll and have 5 mins to spare here's the 2nd of my expedition photos that I'd like to think says more than the picture shows.

I know that on the face of it it looks like a bunch of people sitting in a tent with boxes of chocolates (and indeed I am suitably chuffed that I managed to get said boxes from the UK all the way out to Everest Base Camp without them being completely trashed).

This was the day after we had arrived at EBC and it was Easter Sunday and, well, like someone said to me last week, you can't buy smiles like that.

This is a group of people who look to me like they are not only pleased to have received that little bit extra, but also they look like they are genuinely enjoying the environment and pleased to be there.

Enjoying a tiny bit of luxury at Everest Base Camp

I can categorically say that no one else at Everest Base Camp was enjoying Hello Kitty and Toy Story selection boxes.

I wonder what I'll be taking along next year?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Everest photos explained.

I've been asked a few times about why certain photos are in the videos and uploads I have made or the slide shows that I give. So I thought I'd put pen to paper and explain why certain images from Everest 2011 mean so much to me.

Setting camp in a snow storm
The photo above is a classic example of one that could do with a justification. We'd been trekking in The Khumbu for around 2 weeks by now as part of my 3 week trekking itinerary. My thinking here is that there seems to be little point, if any, in trekking to Everest Base Camp in a mere 8 or 9 days to then sit around with a headache for 5 or 6 days. Our aim was to trek in, taking our time and crossing 3 passes which got progressively higher and to take in the ascent of Pokalde, a peak at around 19,000ft. That meant that we arrived at EBC having already slept higher and that when it came to our first rotation on the hill we were able to go straight through The Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1 and sleep there - thereby cutting down the number of journeys through the icefall. 

Whilst trekking not only was the aim to take time acclimatising but also for the team to get to know each other, to stay healthy by avoiding the pestilent hoards, to get accustomed to the fact that we were in for an 8 or 9 week period of being away and do some last minute sessions to discuss tactics for the expedition including the likes of radio procedures / oxygen protocols / HACE & HAPE / avoidance of frostbite etc etc.

I'd already been careful to cherry pick people who I thought had the right amount of experience, the right approach to expeditioning, be able to get the time off work, have the drive and ambition tempered with due caution and respect for the environment as well as having the right demeanour. All these characteristics together are really important - there's little point being driven if it isn't with due regard for the ever changing conditions. It's all very well being experienced but if you aren't going to get along with people then it's going to be hard work for everyone. If you can get the time off work but haven't got the ability to remain focused on the job at hand then, gradually, you will lose impetus.

And given that the job at hand was attempting Everest then remaining focused, being driven, respecting and adapting to the ever changing conditions, getting along with the rest of the team etc etc all count for quite a bit.

I've seen people in other groups who don't converse in the mess tent! I've seen people from other teams eyeing each other up wondering if the other person is going to compromise their summit bid. I've seen people  on other expeditions alter their ascent profile and push ahead (or drop behind) just to avoid being with another member of the group whom they don't trust or don't get along with. It gets to be dog eat dog and completely undermines not only the enjoyment but also the safety of the entire group.

I obviously can't force people to like each other - but you can usually get a good idea about how the group are going to interact and, generally, people opting for an expedition with the right credentials and mountaineering cv have probably got something about them.

So ... back to my trusty team. We were 2 weeks in to the trip and were trekking from Dingboche to Dingogma before making our way to the Kongma La and our ascent of Pokalde. It started snowing and, whilst this could have been an issue with, say, a group of trekkers, or with a group of clients from a different expedition, it certainly wasn't the case with my lot. It was like water (or snow) off a duck's back.

Generally with, say, a trekking group, the clients would arrive at the next camp in varying states and all pile in to the mess tent. The cook crew would typically be busy getting a brew on and preparing the evening meal and the rest of the staff would busy themselves getting the camp ready. I and some of the Sherpas would typically be making sure that the porters were ok and we'd be helping get the tents up.

Not so my trusty group of potential Everest summiteers. Without my asking they naturally took it upon themselves to start looking out for the porters and lending gloves where necessary. Then once they arrived at camp the clients sent the porters and Sherpas in to the kitchen tent and started putting tents up. Basically they had all diagnosed that there were things that needed to be done and that they were better clothed and equipped to be stood around in the snow erecting tents.

This for me was a pivotal moment where my aim of getting the team bonding was being well and truly achieved. This then later led on to the group helping each other and going the extra mile on the mountain.

What often happens with other groups is that on arriving at, say, Camp 1 a client will sort their own gear out and then have a doze - to then be woken by the their tent partner arriving and trying to get in to the tent and sort their gear out. And then at some stage they may consider getting the stove on. This creates a certain amount of upheaval for both parties and is in no way an efficient approach to managing time. Or when one person has, say, a headache and is feeling a bit off then the other person is not likely to stay up for 45 minutes making a brew for them because the other person had done nothing a few days before.

With my lot we had none of that. The first person just took it upon themselves to sort out their own and their tent partners gear having already got the stove going. To that end there was then less upheaval when the second person arrived and, importantly, they had a brew already on the go and were maintaining their hydration. This then meant that the other person was probably going to be willing to get the cooker on in the morning for breakfast. Not that anyone started counting or keeping a tally ... because that would be utterly divisive.

So there you have it - why this photo means so much to me and the message it portrays.

If you want to find out more about my Everest expeditions then click away.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Busy busy. Ama Dablam and Everest looming on the horizon

As ever we are now busy with the summer season at the B&B with guests a plenty coming and going as well as running various rock climbing and outdoor related courses, putting the finishing touches to the next Ama Dablam expedition (it's full folks - but there's availability for autumn 2013 if you are interested) and starting to put together the next expedition to Everest next Spring (with a new website to boot).

The Ama Dablam group are really well qualified by experience and, having met quite a few of the group now, I have very high hopes that we will not only have a safe, fun trip but that we will have plenty of summit successes as well. Obviously there's a few things that are unknown at this stage but, in reality, the group is made up of people with some very impressive climbing and mountaineering resumes. It's going to be good.

Talking of which I'm busily recruiting the next folk to make up the expedition to Everest next Spring. Thankfully there are no daft phone calls like the one I had last year from people who are not qualified by experience who want to just give it a go. Unbelievably there are people out there who give more thought and ask more questions about the make and model of car they are going to buy than about which side of Everest to climb and which operator to go with.

I'm in talks with people who have excellent mountaineering pedigrees as well as a whole host of other skills and activities that they are involved in - from pro cycling to skiing to the North and South Poles, from prolific climbing and expedition experience to the first female Macedonian (who breezed up Ama Dablam on my trip last autumn). It has the makings of another excellent group with a brilliant pedigree and another superb trip.

Meanwhile I was also lucky enough to receive 6 down suits which I reviewed for their suitability to be used in harsh ever changing conditions and I was somewhat surprised by some of the results. I personally use a Mountain Hardwear jacket and salopette combination which I had been lucky enough for free when I went to Everest in 2005. No two ways about it - it's not because it was free that I am still using it but because it does the job.

So it was with great interest that I was able to compare and contrast the latest suits from Rab, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, PHD, Marmot and Mountain Equipment. And to my utter amazement there is some gear out there that, if things go pear shaped, will not work and will potentially jeopardise peoples' ability to operate when the going gets real tough with windy, icy, challenging conditions. Have a wee peek at the review to see what I thought.

Meanwhile I have been chatting with folks about our forthcoming trip and, in the process of trying to find some stats for one chap, I stumbled across this very informative page on Alan Arnette's site. It's long been known that The North side of Everest is the harder side (more technical, colder, higher camps respectively, higher mortality rate and much lower success rate) but it was good to see some facts and figures.

Meanwhile what a great Olympic week, eh? Fantastic efforts and results all round and great to see a successful operation of what is a very complex few weeks. And what a fantastic day yesterday with inspirational performances from the ladies at the Velodrome and Innis in the 800m (to name but a few). They just nailed it like it belonged to them. Superb.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Everest - did they do it?

From the title of this update you may well think I'm referring to the Mallory / Irvine 1924 expedition - but in actual fact this is to do with the most recent season. I have been contacted by a chap in Bangladesh asking about the validity of some summit video.

Dear Tim 

first of all takes my salute as you are a Everest Summiter it's a great honor to write to you too.. 

i want to ask a favor by watching a video. recently few of Bangladeshi boys and girl climbed Everest and some people was very critically denying their victory. 

if u have some to spend on my request and watch this 29sec video  made by one of our woman and tell that its really the Summit of Everest? 

thanks for your time to read this email and it would be great if you give some of your time to watch this clip and give your opinion. 

ps- im asking because lots of people in our country and blog are trying to make their claim as fals by comparing the video above with your 360D video on you tube.. 

Best wishes to you , Have a nice day...

with regards
-- Rasal--

***The Greatest Thing You Will Ever Learn, Is Just to love, and Be Loved in Return***
Proud to be a Bangladeshi---------------------------------------- 

So I replied as follows:

Dear Rasal,

Many thanks for your e mail about your team mates and their ascent of Everest.

I’ve watched the clip a few times and I would be happy to say that it certainly looks to me like the summit of Everest. I know that it isn’t a long video, it is a little bit wobbly and taken at an angle but when you are that high it is sometimes difficult for people to be able to use their cameras with a steady hand especially if it is windy. Anyway, for me the key indicators are at 2 to 3 seconds there is a view looking to the North approach of the summit showing the top of the Kangchung face with the summit in the foreground, at 9 onwards seconds there is a good view of Makalu in the background (it is very distinctive), and then at 26 to 29 there is a shot across to Lhotse and across to Nuptse (again very distinctive looking terrain). It all certainly looks to me like the summit. The only thing I can’t vouch for, of course, is the identities of the people in the video.

I hope that this helps.

My congratulations to them.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Mosedale

Of course the next thing I get is another e mail from another chap who, I think from his tone, is disputing the fact:

Dear Tim,

I am from Bangladesh, recently we are going through a hot debate that whether the Nishat, the first official Everest conquer has really done the summit or not.
On the 26 second it is clearly visible that the LhoTse is much higher than the camera level. And only the lower part of Lhotse is visible there, not the top. Usually all summit vidio shows the LhoTse top as it is the closest and  the most  notable 8000er near Everest.
Those who reject Nishat's climb, claim her video is taken from just above the south col, near the camp 4. 180' view, not the 360'been taken. Because from near the south col when you take 360' view it will clearly show that you are not on the summit.

Nishat’s  video link

So here's my reply along with some screen grabs I've annotated:

Dear Mufti,

I have had a look again at the summit video and I have compared it with both of my summit videos. Obviously the quality of the claimed summit video is a little bit lacking in clarity but I think that I have managed to make enough comparisons with key features that are only visible from the summit (in particular looking in to Tibet at Lhakpa Ri and the evidence of prayer flags – which are not found anywhere else between the South Col and the summit). The features I have picked out are all recognisable from the summit and I have annotated them accordingly.

Also the fact that Lhotse does not appear in full stature may appear confusing. But if you go out with your own video camera and point it at an angle towards the ground and make a panorama then the resulting video may appear to show things that are lower than you disappear off the top of the screen. I have just tried it in my garden and a section of wall that I am taller than is out of frame giving the illusion that it is taller than me. Tilt the camera to an angle and the result is even more confusing.

I hope that this helps. I also hope that this puts the case to rest but if you have any further questions then please get back in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Mosedale

(the screen grabs below show my two summit panorama videos on the left stopped at similar moments to the claimed video which is on the right. Click each one to see full size)

But my question is, what do YOU think? Have a look at the clip and tell me what's your opinion. You can compare with my 2005 video and my 2011 video

Makes me chuffed with the quality of my panoramas I must say. Looking to do bigger and better next year when I'll be back with the makings of a very strong team indeed.

Hear from you soon,


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Climbing and stuff

What a fabulous couple of weeks we've had. Great weather, lots of hill days and rock climbing courses, plenty of folk through the B&B, a few more clients for Ama Dablam 2012, some more enquiries for Ama 2013 and another 3 folk added to the mailing list for Everest 2014. Possibly another 8,000er in 2014 as well as some filming work coming up imminently. Busy busy.

Some more climbing coming up soon as well as supporting on Leg 3 of the Bob Graham Round on Saturday morning (4a.m.) carrying water (possibly as much as 7 litres!).

But before that it's the 7th anniversary of our fantastic Everest ascent tomorrow - how time flies. Obviously Everest has been a hot topic just recently (as it is every year) and it is very very sad that the friends and relatives of the deceased have to endure the annual bickerings of the press over whether people should be allowed to go, how did they die, how can others walk past dead bodies etc etc - usually stirred up by people who have never ever been there. Yes it is absolutely tragic, and I'm not going to try and justify the rights and wrongs or try and propose a solution (there probably isn't one) but, as ever, I advocate that climbers and mountaineers attempting Everest should be totally competent and independent in their own right before considering going on the hill.

As an ABSOLUTE minimum I suggest the following - I'd be interested to hear what people think and would gratefully receive any additional information and thoughts, as that can only be of benefit to anyone researching the mountain who may come across my pages. Even if they decide not to go with me, it would be nice to know that they have heeded some of my advice. I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime I hope that you enjoy this

Friday, 25 May 2012

Live on the telly

Well of all the years not to be on Everest, 2012 seems to have been the worst season for some time (since we were there in 2005 on The North side no less). A difficult season with challenging conditions which made for some pretty busy summit days as lots of groups got squeezed in to narrow weather windows.

As a result of some folk sadly perishing on Everest Al Jazeera Live asked me to comment on the situation on telly. Having expressed beforehand that I would be happy to comment, but not about the deceased, the first question that was posed to me was about ... the people who had died. Anyway I tried to field that question in the best and most tactful way. Thankfully the guy didn't press that issue and went towards asking what experience is required. You can see the interview here.

Coincidentally I had just updated my site with this very information about skill levels which is available for you to see on my Everest site.

As it happens I'm out this weekend with a chap who has asked exactly that question. He's approaching the whole experience in a pragmatic and responsible way so that he will know what he needs to do between now and then to give him a better chance of not only summiting the mountain safely but also perhaps enjoying the experience as well. As I always point out to people if you are a liability to yourself then you are also a liability to everyone around you. Not only that but you have to ask yourself what you would do if, for some reason, your summit Climbing Sherpa became incapacitated or perhaps he had to go to the aid of another climber. I'm afraid that most people wouldn't know what to do and they, in turn, pose a very real threat to the safety of those around them. Also the Climbing Sherpas can obviously help in many ways, but they can't eat and drink for you, they can't put one foot in front of the other for you, and they can't have the mental determination that will keep you going.

Our approach to, in particular, summit day is a belt and braces approach. Where some companies quote a 1:1 ratio they don't tell people that they and their Climbing Sherpa may be at different places on the mountain on summit day! So, yes, 1 to 1 ratio but hardly any use to the client. With our approach the Climbing Sherpas do lots of preparatory work earlier on in the expedition getting camps established, supplies up the hill and they have some rest days when possible. This is when we, as a group, are able to be moving lower down on the hill independently going to C1 and C2 (hardly the kind of terrain where a Sherpa is required on a 1:1 basis for everyone in the group). However from C2 to C3 and C3 to The South Col the ratio becomes 1:1. In particular on summit day, from The South Col, the client has a Climbing Sherpa by their side. He is constantly checking oxygen levels, the pace, the awareness of the client and encouraging them to eat and, in particular, drink where possible. They are relaying all the necessary information down to Base Camp about oxygen levels and progress so that the team can be monitored. The Climbing Sherpa is also carrying spare oxygen for their client and then there is more spare oxygen besides (as well as a spare mask and regulator amongst the group as well). Not only do they stay with their client all the way back to the South Col but they then escort them down to C2 and then down to BC as well. This isn't hand holding. It isn't being namby pandy - it is a conscientious approach to safely operating an expedition on Everest.

If you are interested in Everest then please don't hesitate to get in touch and I can advise accordingly.

And if you are interested in Ama Dablam, by the way, you'd better hurry as there are only a couple of places left - the 2012 trip is virtually fully subscribed.

In the meantime I sent a clipping in to The News Quiz on Radio 4 which was read out by Jeremy Hardy - I hope that you enjoy it.