Everest 2008: Huge Summit Day Plagued by Death, Rescues, and Crowds - The Adventurist - Mt. Everest to The Poles: Exploring Adventure One Trip At a Time

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Everest 2008: Huge Summit Day Plagued by Death, Rescues, and Crowds

Posted by Jason A. Hendricks on May 23, 2008 |


On a sad note today, a climber has lost his life on Mt. Everest. There are currently ongoing rescue attempts taking place with a few other climbers and much of this is being caused by the sheer number of climbers this season trying to top out before weather sits in. Already reports of some wind and snow are being mentioned. It has been a big two days, with it being reported that perhaps as many as 77 different climbers topped out yesterday, with many more today. Let’s begin..

Uwe Gianni Goltz Has Died On Everest

An experienced Swiss climber has died on Mt. Everest. Uwe Gianni Goltz, who had been attempting Mt. Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen. EverstNews has released his name and also mentions that his family has been notified. Goltz was 44 years old and had quite a bit of previous 8,000 meter experience. He had climbed Gasherbraum II, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Shishapangma before attempting Mt. Everest this season. He was a member of Kari Kobler’s Expedition. Let’s keep our thoughts and prayers on him and his family, friends, teammates and associates tonight.

Jamie McGuinness reported in a new audio post from his Project-Himalaya team that Uwe Gianni Goltz (Jamie didn’t mention his name, as the family had not been notified, as yet) had successfully summited Mt. Everest, but ran in to trouble on the descent. Goltz complained that he was having problems feeling anything. Upon the return to Camp 4, Goltz was given 4 liters of oxygen a minute. That was upped a bit more once he returned to Camp 3. Unfortunately this effort didn’t result in a good ending. He later died.

Jamie also alluded to the fact that a couple more rescue operations had taken place.

One climber became distraught after failing to reach the summit. He was said to be suffering some “psychological” problems over the trauma of failing his goal. Along with the Psychological problems, the climber was also suffering from symptoms of HACE-or high-altitude cerebral edema. This is a swelling of the brain that some climbers often experience due to high altitude. It was mentioned that this climber was a bit unruly, but it could very well be from the HACE. He was forced to camp out above the Balcony last night. This morning someone went to his tent and announced that he was unconscience, another climber went to investigate a bit later and found him awake. He was helped down by the Indian Snowline Team and loks like he is going to make it.

The third climber involved in today’s rescues was a Korean climber who had summited Everest very late in the day. Jamie McGuiness said the climber had been really slow and stubborn on his progression. A Sherpa was helping him back down but ended up leaving him for fear of personal safety in the high altitude. The Indian Snowline Team once again went to work in rescuing the Korean climber.

People like that, as slow as that, should not be on the mountain nor should they be climbing and holding other people up. Also, a Spanish or French group should come in for that criticism. Moving together, Being impossible to pass”

That quote is coming directly from Jamie McGuinness’ audio dispatch released by ExplorersWeb today, in regards to the Korean climber.

The Crowds

It looks like the frustration level has kicked it up a notch over the past day. Many climbers clambering for the summit were forced to take a slower pace by other groups that were moving on the slopes. The crowds going up to the summit were a big concern once the weather window opened up. Some teams had even stood back and waited till a better opportunity arose. Jamie McGuiness’ frustration is evident in his latest dispatch. Three members of his own team-Project Himalaya–topped out yesterday, but Jamie did help in the assistance of at least one of the previously mentioned climbers, while a couple of his team’s Sherpas assisted in another.

Ropes for this season’s summit push were actually expanded from one to two on many parts of the mountain to aid in helping the crowds up and down. It looks like this hasn’t really helped out that much, and may be causing a bit more confusion. Over 400 climbers are trying to top out in a matter of a very few days, those same 400 have to get back down, as well. Slower climbers going up, mean much slower climbers coming down. Teams were hoping that some of the slower groups would step aside and allow the faster climbers up. This is not happening to the full, planned effect. Let’s hope that his can get straightened out.

SUMMITS, SUMMITS, SUMMITS

It is being reported that as many as 77 climbers reached the summit, yesterday alone. EverestNews reports that this could set a new one day record if all of them are confirmed. Jumping over to who has topped out–

Peak Freaks reports that everyone has summited from their team. They ran in to a bit of drama as well. One of their climbers, Sultan, collapsed just below the South Summit. He was eventually helped back down to Camp 4, where team members are confident that he will be OK. I will have to keep an eye on this one over the next 24 hours.

Mountain Madness is reporting that their team members are mostly headed back from Camp 4 to Camp 2 after successful summits. One member, Willie Benegas, will be coming down a bit later. He is currently helping in an ongoing rescue effort.

Eco-Everest Expedition has topped out on Lhotse and Mt. Everest. Apa Sherpa claimed his 18th successful summit on Everest setting a new record for most summits by any climber. I covered this in a previous post found HERE.

IMG has summited six more. This brings their total to 20 summits this season, as a team. You can check out the full list of IMG summits HERE

Weather

Jamie McGuiness reported that some bad weather was moving in. From my latest weather report from EverestWeather:

-24 C winds 24 knots from the southwest with some clouds moving in and out.

Please remember that this is a very basic report, but the climbing expeditions are getting much more detailed reports. From Andrew Brash in regards to weather–

I can’t see the route ahead, we’re in the clouds and it’s snowing. Hopefully the weather will clear out and we will have a routine ascent and descent.

Hopefully there won’t be any drastic changes in store.  There are a ton of climbers and expeditions still high on Everest, and even more planning summits in the next day or two.

In summary, it looks like things have turned a bit bad for many of the climbers.  There are many ongoing rescues still in the process.  Crowds are a big problem and being blamed for most of this.  Many teams and climbers are helping out those in trouble.  Credit needs to go to Jamie McGuiness and his whole Project Himalaya team, as well as the Indian Snowline Expedition in the successful rescue of two of the three climbers that ran in to trouble today.  I am sure many more people are involved, and many details are yet to be released.  Hopefully, between tonight and tomorrow things will get better.  Also, let’s remember to keep Uwe Gianni Goltz and his family, friends, team members, and associates in our thoughts and prayers as they try to make some sense out of today’s horrific news.

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3 Responses to “Everest 2008: Huge Summit Day Plagued by Death, Rescues, and Crowds”

  1. Mark Kalch Says:

    Jason, your Everest posts are truly amazing. I used to be an ExplorersWeb junkie (and still am) but I am swinging past The Adventurist more and more. I cannot get enough! Cheers mate.

  2. Jo Says:

    77 on the summit in one day. Is this just becoming unbelievable? I am sure the guides and sherpas are doing their level best up there, but surely… 77 ?????

    Perhaps today (after the loss of Inaki Ochoa) is not the day for me to be getting carried away about anything, but this number of people on Everest in one day is surely just asking for trouble?

  3. Jason A. Hendricks Says:

    Actually, Jo, many of us have been discussing this situation recently. I am not sure if you remember my post about the recent death and rescues on Everest. Much of this was attributed to these crowds. 77 is a big number, but when you think that there are over 400 climbers on the south side, it puts this in a bigger perspective. Everest is definitely crowded this year–and yes, people are worried about the trouble. Hopefully everyone has the same fears and look at what they are doing to help prevent any further issues.

    Mark-
    Thanks for the kind words. Nice to know you enjoy the posts. I am actually not in the business of trying to take away readers from ExWeb. I highly respect what they do, and EverestNews, as well. I try to offer up a nice medium ground and fill in some of the blanks that others may have missed. I appreciate the comment though, without you, the reader, though, this job just wouldn’t be the same. Thanks for the support!

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