Blog archive for May 2013

Everest - lawlessness and the expedition industry

5 May 2013
Everest from the air

Climbers Ueli Steck, Simone Moro and Jonathan Griffith were attacked high on the slopes of Everest last month by a mob of Sherpas, following a minor dispute with a Sherpa team. They were beaten, threatened with death and run off the mountain.

Actor Brian Blessed tweeted in response: "Just one word to say on the Everest fiasco - SHERPA! Wonderful people who save a lot of lives."

But conflict in the Himalaya won't be solved with just one word. It really doesn't help to cage the word "Sherpa" in a gilded phrase that recalls a century of romanticism, colonialism and manipulation. Sherpas are not St Bernards.

Piolets d'Or row - response from jury President Stephen Venables

12 May 2013
Piolets d'Or

The decision of this year's Piolet's d'Or jury to give the mountaineering prize to all 6 of the teams nominated for it aroused controversy and caused the editors of two French climbing magazines to resign from the Piolet's d'Or organising committee.

All 6 of the winning climbs were in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges.

Stephen Venables, the British climber who presided over the Piolet's d'Or jury, has issued a robust response to the criticism, which he describes as "wild".

The editors of the magazines have refrained from further comment on the jury's decision. Perhaps peace has broken out and the magazines will continue to support the Piolets d'Or.

The full response from Stephen Venables appears below, along with messages from Doug Scott and Kurt Diemberger in support of the jury's decision.