Everest 2008: Updates From The Weekend

It was another interesting and eventful weekend on Everest, despite the fact that the communications blackout is in effect. Perhaps the biggest story is the report from both EverestNews.com and The Adventurist that the Olympic Torch has reached Everest BC on the North Side.

Rumor has it that the expedition to take it to the summit could begin as early as today, although recent high winds and bad weather have reportedly put a damper on fixing lines at the higher sections of the mountain. At this point though, we’re going purely on conjecture, as there is no news coming from the North Side at all for the most part. You can rest assured however, that as soon as the Torch reaches the top, the entire world will know about it.

In a more troubling story, it seems that David Tait has had to leave Everest following a series of health issues. The Adventurist has more on the story here, and you can read David’s own dispatch here. You may recall that I posted some time back about David having to return to Kathmanu thanks to a severe toothache. After having a dentist remove the tooth, he made the long trek back to Base Camp, in an accelerated fashion no less, only to discover that another tooth was causing him pain.

He elected to use pain killers to get it all under control, but those pain killers ate away the lining of his stomach and caused severe pain, discomfort, and bleeding. For his own safety, he decided to give up on his Everest climb, which was to be sans-oxygen this year. Last year, Tait completed a traverse of the mountain, starting from the North Side and ending on the South as part of the Himex team and he was featured on Discovery Channel‘s Everest: Beyond The Limit.

Over at the Everest Is Ours Blog we can learn a bit more about William Brant Holland, the American climber who was booted off the mountain last week when it was discovered that he was carrying a Tibetan flag and a “Free Tibet” sign in his gear. According to the rules of Everest this season, such paraphernalia is banned.

Apparently, Brant Holland was hoping to unfurl the flag on the higher portions of the mountain to get some pictures for to “show I was there” and that it was not his intention to try to embarrass the Chinese Torch Team. Some reports suggest that he was actually seen between C1 and C2 unfurling the flag for pictures, but this is unconfirmed at this point. Perhaps he was trying to score points with ExWeb? Regardless of his reasons, he put his the climbing permit under which he was climbing in jeopardy by his actions, and I think there are smarter ways to “show you were there” this season.

Speaking of ExWeb they’re reporting today that a BBC journalist has also been banned from the mountain, also on the South Side, as the Nepali government seems determined to keep any real news from getting out. There are also reports that the use of radios on the mountain are strictly forbidden at the moment, which seems like it could cause some issues with safety.

On the North Side, reporters are said to be nearing BC to cover the Torch at long last. There are 11 international and 19 Chinese journalists bound for BC to get the scoop on the Torch run which has caused all the chaos this season.

Personally, I can’t wait for the silence to break. I’m very much looking forward to not only getting regular and real reports from the mountain, but also finally hearing from some direct sources about what has been going on there. Once the season is completely over, we should certainly be hearing some interesting tales.

Kraig Becker

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