Some expeditions and independent climbers are asking when
the job of fixing the ropes will be finished. This year, most expeditions and independent
climbers have paid into a fund that was to pay for the rope and the Sherpas
needed to fix the ropes. This has been done several times in the past, with varying results
from good to bad, depending on your point of view. This year the ropes were
guaranteed to be fixed up to the Second Step, according to those who paid the
fee. This has not been done yet according to some. Several have told us the
ropes are only fixed to 8300 meters. One climber told us yesterday, "I know
that fixed ropes are only to 8300 meters". It is unclear if the money will be returned or what will happen if
the rope fixing is not completed. There is also concern that some old rope was
removed that could of have been used. With the herd of climbers who surely
will attempt the summit in the very narrow window that is hoped for
after the wind, some climbers believe these ropes should of have been left in
place for greater safely. Early summits could have occurred this year if the
ropes were in, but again this year, the ropes are being fixed late, pushing
all the summits together.
The Himex commercial group lead by Brice is said to be
receiving almost all of the money from the fund, reportedly some $30,000
dollars. The money this year was paid to the CTMA, which then paid Brice. The CTMA
is said to be close to Brice. A respected commercial leader, told us the TMA nor the CMA in China had any knowledge of this deal. A
commercial expedition told everestnews.com they believed the potential liability with fixing the
ropes for a paid fee was too high and that their insurance company would not
agree to cover fixing ropes. Accepting money for a job, changes the risk and
Some expeditions and independent climbers want Brice to go first on Everest this year. While Brice has claimed to have
installed all the ropes in the past, his expeditions always seem to follow the
herd after the trail is broken and according to many, after others have
installed the ropes up high. Installing the ropes up high is the dangerous
part of rope fixing on Everest compared to installing the ropes to the camps.
None of these climbers really believe Brice will leave the way. "He never does
on Everest, he always follows everyone else," one climber stated.
Many issues on Everest are complex but in some ways
simple. The rope fixing issue on the North side falls into this area. The
ropes up to high camp have been fixed by various teams over the last several
years, with Simonson's 2001 doing most of the work in any one year, then again
they needed the ropes to get up high to search for Sandy Irvine. They arrived
early and fixed the rope to high camp in order to work. They also fixed the
1st, 2nd, and 3rd step and had unguided clients summit with Sherpas first that
year. Some contributed to
the cost, others did not.
The issue of payment to others for rope fixing is often a
hot one on Everest. There was the year the Russians put in much of the rope up
Everest and then were asked for money. We did NOT post the translation of what
the Russians told those who asked them for money. (It was not PG-13 rated.)
Some expedition leaders are clearly intimidated by Brice, other stand up to
him, some just try to get by.
Brice has been involved in the rope fixing on Everest for
several years, to what degree depends on who you believe. Below is a table
showing Brice's expeditions from 1981-2003 on Everest showing number of
climbers and number of non-sherpa summits. Some climbers might be included who
were just "on his permit", and the guides summits are included also. Our 2004
numbers are not yet complete.
||Non Sherpa Summits*
|1988 With Strokes
|1991 with Taylor
|Totals before 2004
* Summits include the expeditions guides
Brice likes to control the North side of Everest, some would
say that is the understatement of the century. Russ's interaction with many of
the various teams and climbers in recent years has been "tense" and has ranged
to the level some would call "dangerous".
What will happen in 2005? Stay Tuned! We have
the real work ahead...
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