Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lost on Everest

George Leigh Mallory if not the most, is one of the most famous names in Mountaineering. Mallory is famously quoted as having replied to the question "Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?" with the retort: "Because it's there", which has been called "the most famous three words in mountaineering".
On the morning of June 8, Odell started an ascent to make geological studies. The mountain was swept by mists so he could not see the NE Ridge clearly along which Mallory and Irvine intended to climb. At 7900m (26,000-ft) he climbed over a small outcropping. At 12:50, the mists suddenly cleared. Odell noted in his diary that he saw Mallory and Irvine just below the NE Ridge when they reached the foot of the Second Step—and surmounted it (in about 5 minutes). His eyes caught a tiny black dot which moved on a snowy area below the Second Step. A second black dot was moving toward the first one. The first dot reached the crest of the ridge ("broke skyline"). He could not be certain if the second dot also did so.

In 1999, a new search expedition was mounted, founded by German Everest researcher Jochen Hemmleb, and led by Eric Simonson. Simonson had seen some very old oxygen bottles near the First Step during his first summit climb in 1991. One of these bottles was again found in 1999 and was one belonging to Mallory and Irvine, thus proving the two climbed at least as high as shortly below the First Step. Their location also suggests a climbing speed of approximately 275 vert-ft/hr, good time for the altitude and an indication the oxygen systems were working perfectly. The expedition also tried to reproduce Odell's position when he had seen Mallory and Irvine. The mountaineer Andy Politz later reported that they could clearly identify each of the three steps without any problems.

The most remarkable finding was the corpse of George Leigh Mallory at a height of 8,159 metres (26,768 ft). The lack of extreme injuries indicated he had not tumbled very far. His waist showed severe rope-jerk mottling, showing the two had been roped when they fell. Mallory's injuries were such that a walking descent was impossible: his right foot was nearly broken off and there was a golf ball sized puncture wound in his forehead. Even though his unbroken leg was on top of the broken one, as if to protect it, Mass. General Hospital neuro-surgen Dr. Elliot Schwamm believes it not possible that he would have been conscious after the forehead injury. There was no oxygen equipment near the body, but the oxygen bottles would have been empty by this time and discarded at a higher altitude to relinguish the heavy load. Mallory was not wearing snow goggles, although a pair was stored in his vest, which may indicate that he was on the way back by night. However, a contemporary photograph shows he had two sets of goggles when he started his summit climb. The image of his wife Ruth which he intended to put on the summit was not in his vest. He carried the picture throughout the whole expedition—a sign that he might have reached the top. Since his Kodak pocket camera was not found, there is no proof of a successful climb to the summit.

Transcript of radio exchanges when the body of George Leigh Mallory was found.

In these early-morning radio communications, researcher Jochen Hemmleb, an expert on the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine who remains at Base Camp, talks to Dave Hahn, a member of the search party. The search group, which also includes Conrad Anker, Jake Norton, Andy Politz, and Tap Richards, is climbing from the expedition's Camp V at roughly 25,500 feet towards Camp VI. Here they will begin their search for the 1975 Chinese Camp VI, near the spot where one of the Chinese climbers reported seeing an "English dead." Expedition leader Eric Simonson, meanwhile, is at Advance Base Camp.
Jochen on RadioJochen Hemmleb at Base Camp guides the climbers toward the Search Area.
HEMMLEB: Base camp, calling climbing team, do you copy? HAHN: Breaker, Breaker, this is Dave. HEMMLEB: Reading you loud and clear Dave. HAHN: Eric, I'm halfway through the ledge, Jake and Andy about 100 yards ahead, Tap about 200 feet behind. Break. Conrad appears to be going to like the north ridge direct or something, I don't know what the deal is. Sorry Eric. Would like to have given you a more cohesive team together report. It's one of those kind of solo days, wind is kicking us around a little bit. Over. Pretty awkward up here with no snow on these ledges. HEMMLEB: Are you in the sun yet? HAHN: No, it's about 20 feet below our heels. Over. HEMMLEB: Okay. Can you give me a bit of a clue where you are at the moment? Are you in that gully leading up to the old Camp VI site? HAHN: We're just getting into the gully, just getting near the gully. You should be able to start seeing us soon. Over.

Now 45 minutes into their search, the five climbers have fanned out over the mountainside looking for the body of Andrew Irvine. The team believes that if they find Irvine, they might also find his Vest Pocket Kodak camera, whose film, if salvagable, would presumably contain photos from the summit if Mallory and/or Irvine had reached it. ANKER: I'm down here at the edge of the cliff band. And there was another climber that had fallen but he had a jumar so he wasn't what we were looking for. But I'm going to go to the edge of the Great Couloir and then go up. And I'm here in these, uh...where there are a lot of rocks where there might be sort of an eddy, so to say, Over. SIMONSON: Conrad, ABC here. We copy. ANKER: I'm down the fall line. Do you guys see where I am? Look where I'm pointing. HEMMLEB: It's very hard to see them. ANKER: I'm going to go investigate this direct fall line. Over. RICHARDS: Conrad and everyone, I'm at the fall line here as well. I've come across two other people. Looks like they definitely have fallen. I don't know. The fall line in relation to that ice axe is the key. Over. HEMMLEB: I could suggest that what we are looking for is lower down, but as I can't see you right now in the telescope, I'm not that sure, so keep on searching. Over.
AnkerConrad Anker recounts his discovery at Base Camp.
RICHARDS: I think we need to just keep poking around. Over. HEMMLEB: You're doing great. ANKER: I'm down below the fall zone now, probably a good distance. HEMMLEB: Conrad, could you tell me who is the one in the upper corner of the snow now? Over. ANKER: I think it's Andy and then Dave is lower and I'm the very lowest. Over. HEMMLEB: Thank you for that, Conrad. ANKER: I'm at the edge of the cliff, so if subsequent avalanches moved the person then they might be here. Over. POLITZ: Base Camp, this is Andy. HEMMLEB: Go ahead Andy. POLITZ: There are a couple of ledges above me. I'm heading up towards them. Do you think it's worth the effort? Over. HEMMLEB: Andy, honestly, I think you are well above any suggested search site, but if you think you will walk up in the fall line, you're pretty close so continue. Over. POLITZ: I've been walking a comfortable angle from the Chinese Camp, and I'm thinking maybe that's uh...I'm trying to get inside somebody's head here. Over. I'll go up another 100 feet and then I'll sweep down. Over. HEMMLEB: Okay. Let me suggest the following, Andy. When you've done your trip up another 100 feet and decide to go down, facing downwards, keep a bit to the left below the huge rock band, that's what I think is the farthest edge of the search area. Over. POLITZ: Roger. I have a good visual for every ledge below me, so I'll just go slow and look hard. Over. HEMMLEB: Great Andy. [Off radio:] That was promising. He says that although it looks from here like a solid snow cover, it's fairly thin. That's Andy who is moving up there.

The following radio transmissions chronicle the very moment climber Conrad Anker comes upon what he thinks is Andrew Irvine's body. To prevent other climbing expeditions then on Everest from hearing his news and communicating it to the outside world, Anker tries his best to break the news to his search companions, along with Simonson and Hemmleb, using code words such as "Snickers" and "tea." ANKER: I've got a thermos of Tang juice and some Snicker bars. Why don't you guys come down and have a little picnic with me? Over. HAHN: Conrad, is that you way at the bottom of the snow there? ANKER: Roger. Roger. HEMMLEB: Conrad, this is Jochen, do you read? ANKER: Hi Jochen, I read you. Over. HEMMLEB: I see you through the telescope and I just wonder—just above you and to the west of you, there is this huge expanse of snow, whether any one of you guys can walk up over there, unless Andy is doing it on the way down. Over.
Listening to radioStruggling to hear past the roaring wind, Jake Norton receives the call for a group meeting.
ANKER: Dave Hahn—got a copy? RICHARDS: This is Tap. Go ahead. ANKER: Make sure Dave gets down here for tea and Snickers. Over. RICHARDS: Yeah, Dave and I are right here together here. We're going to make our way down that direction, I think. Over. POLITZ: Okay, Tap, this is Andy, come in. RICHARDS: Yeah Andy, Conrad is down pretty low, and we'd like to have Snickers and tea down there. Over. ANKER: Group meeting. Mandatory group meeting. Over. RICHARDS: Mandatory group meeting, Andy. Over. POLITZ: Roger. You been in the same location? Over.
SimonsonEric Simonson monitors the team's progress from Advanced Base Camp, 21,300 feet.
RICHARDS: You can see Dave and I are real close together. Watch us and follow us down. Over. POLITZ: Roger. I'm on my way. SIMONSON: Conrad, ABC. ANKER: Go ahead, Eric. SIMONSON: I'm standing by here. Just a quickie. I want you guys to know that there is at least one other expedition on our frequency right now. HEMMLEB: ABC, this is Base Camp, do you read? SIMONSON: Go ahead Base Camp. HEMMLEB: Just a radio check. Over. SIMONSON: Copy that, how is everything going at Base Camp? HEMMLEB: Suspended silence down here. SIMONSON: Copy that.

Using a hand-held digital video camera, Dave Hahn recorded the following conversation between the search party members as they examined what they initially think is Andrew Irvine's body. Then, to everyone's surprise, the team discovers irrefutable evidence that the body belongs, in fact, to George Mallory. NORTON: We've got to flip him over to try to find that camera. ANKER: I think we should bury him. NORTON: Just a few rocks so he's not quite as obvious.
Scratching a tombstoneJake Norton etches a memorial epitaph for the fallen climber, whom he believed to be Andrew Irvine.
HAHN: You can see his hands. You can see his blonde hair. His body appears to be mummified. There's rope around his waist, coming down his legs. ANKER: His right leg ... is the end of the tibia. HAHN: Still some socks. You can see a boot. Second boot appears to be on his foot. You can see the metal cops—bottom of his boot. That boot, that leg is an angulated fracture, so first guess is that he took a fall. Again, you can see rope around his body. Hands out to either side, almost in a self-arrest position. And his blonde hair. There are the remains of clothing—from this angle, we can't see yet whether it's button clothing or zipper clothing. ANKER: Andy, do you recall what part of the body they wanted for the DNA sample? POLITZ: Femur. NORTON: Yeah, right here, you can see the fold in the skin from pressure by the rope, and also a black and blue that is still in the skin. That kind of indicates that he was either tied to something or someone when the pull came. POLITZ: He probably had several wraps of rope around him, as a harness.
Group around MalloryThe search team reflects on their discovery of George Mallory.
NORTON: Well, that's a good indication that he and Mallory might still have been tied to each other. HAHN: Okay Andy, tell me what you're finding. POLITZ: He's got a fine cotton layer. Might act as a shell. Hard to tell what kind of a cuff it's got. No, it's double layer. It's got a liner that we can see here. It's kind of a stripe pattern with a light pattern, and then a thicker one. This would be the lining of the shell gear. And then he's got—I tell you, I had a shirt like this—one of these old logger shirts. It's cotton, but it would give you some insulation. It's probably a button wrist, I'll bet, if it's anything like the one I had. So you've got a cut here. This was here before he started. I see a full-on thumb—his thumb split just exactly where mine is. HAHN: Okay, so we've got some kind of cap? He's wearing some kind of cap. He's got a snap. NORTON: Look at this abrasion here, too. He fell on his shoulder blade at some point. HAHN: Over on this side, you can see his layers, his wool sweater, long underwear, cotton. POLITZ: Another layer of cotton. NORTON: From Junior Stores. That's about all I can read. HAHN: Okay, these are... the collar... and the—Here, move your mitt.
Reading PsalmAndy Politz, Tap Richards, and Conrad Anker perform a Church of England committal service for George Mallory.
NORTON: Wait, this is George Mallory. HAHN: Really? NORTON: This is George Mallory. HAHN: Oh my God! Oh my God! NORTON: See that? George Mallory. HAHN: Oh my God! Okay, somebody tell me good and loud what we're looking at here. NORTON: Right now we're going through the clothes on this body's back and we see a tag here that says W. F. Payne, and below that is a name tag. If you can't see it, it says G. Mallory. Now Mallory and Irvine were climbing together, it could be either one of them, but at least it identifies that it's one of the pair. HAHN: What's up, Andy? POLITZ: We expected that this is Andrew, fallen ten stories below the ice axe, Andrew Irvine's ice axe. However, we just found a shirt with a George Mallory tag on it. And I'll tell you, it blows you away. Now that doesn't mean this is George. Maybe Andrew is borrowing one of his shirts. Still, it places it in the right period, and it's the real thing here—blew me away. HAHN: So, there's a button on his clothing. It was one of the things we were told to look for to identify the type of clothing. NORTON: You want to point that out? HAHN: Yeah. NORTON: You can see there is a deformation here, indicating a huge fall and that his rack...is everything on the line.... RICHARDS: After all, he has broken ribs or something.
Dave HahnDave Hahn calls down from Camp V, 25,600 feet.
ANKER: We're cutting his sleeves off and exposing his arms. We're not finding any jewelry or wearing a wristwatch on either wrist. We're also finding lacerations and something that looks like this other elbow really looks deformed, again indicating a fall, trauma ... I can't emphasize enough that the ribs here where it looks like the rope really took a hit on the ribs and this whole torso area. I wonder if he was carrying a rucksack at the time, and what happened to the rucksack. HAHN: Burying George Mallory. We didn't find the camera. We looked fairly hard. POLITZ: We're not worthy for this. We do this out of respect for this man. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Slow to anger and of great goodness. As a father is tender towards his children, so is the Lord tender to those that fear, for he knows of what we are made. He remembers that we are made of barefoot dust. He flourishes like a flower of the field. When the wind goes over it, it's gone.

Hours after the discovery, the exhausted search party returns to Camp V. Again, in these radio conversations, no member of the expedition lets on as to exactly what they've found. But it's clear that Simonson and Hemmleb, thousands of feet below, understand clearly what Anker stumbled upon.
ANKER: Roger, Roger. I think everyone is pretty tired. This is our fourth day in a row, and today was a 12-hour day from five to five. So it's a long day. Over. SIMONSON: Yeah, I hear you on that for sure. And it's probably better rather than pushing it and risking a misfortune. Then you better just hole up there and sleep on the O's and come down tomorrow maybe. ANKER: Yeah, come right down to ABC in the morning, that might be the option. I'll tune up at 6 o'clock, and Dave will probably be on the radio then too, and we'll know how far out he is. Over. SIMONSON: Okay. Sounds great. We'll just keep standing by. HAHN: Yeah, we got back to the ridge and the wind is blowing hard on the ridge here. I know that's the right course for me and Andy, and most likely—those other guys can pull off some miracle, but they'll probably be comfortable. Conrad, you on? NORTON: We're not moving an inch. Over. SIMONSON: Way to go there Jake. NORTON: Thanks Eric. It was Conrad with the big day, but we all had a good one up there. Over. SIMONSON: Hey, I'm really proud of you guys. Way to hang in there, and yeah, treat yourself to a nice juicy flow tonight and feel good in the morning. NORTON: Roger that. HEMMLEB (off radio): That's it....yes, yes, yes! HAHN: Right Eric. Nothing more from up here really.
SIMONSON: Okay, we'll let you guys go. Get something to drink and have a pleasant night. Talk to you at seven in the morning. ABC standing by. HEMMLEB: Camp Five. This is Jochen. You guys are splendid. Congratulations. Have a good night. Have a safe way down tomorrow. That's all I have to say. Over. HAHN: Thanks Jochen. You're going to be a happy man. Talk to you in a couple of days.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

over the TOP

Since the days I started my research about the Himalayas and actually started trekking, I have noticed a lot of expeditions made by various groups to various peaks. Though I encourage such expeditions by all these groups, but I want to take the opportunity to warn a lot of people against a grave misadventure into such treks and expeditions. I was witness to such a tragedy some years back when I made my first attempt at a serious trek in the Himalayas. Two seasoned women trekkers(Vijaya Mate Age 52 from Parel.Native place Ahmednagar and Rita Shah Age 43 from Goregaon) lost their lives at Diskari(Biskari) camp in a blizzard on 5th May, just a day before I started climbing on the same route. I did not face the circumstances which the women faced, but even in my group we had enough people who were physically not fit enough to complete a trek of that magnitude. coming back to the topic at hand. I am just noting down some treks which I have come across this year and I thought are a bit over the top. Basically because they are advertising them as something everyone can do. My reason for calling it a bit over the top is not only about the nature of the trek, but also the fact that such an endeavor involves with it the need for a client to obey, follow and do as the guide would expect him to. Secondly, the physical fitness aspect of the client and also about how the client would react in situations when mother nature leaves even the guide helpless. Like it is in mountaineering jargon, "Its not about going up, its also about coming down safe" I will not be mentioning the names of the agency which is offering such treks but you are welcome to google for it :) 1> Himalayan Five Peak Challenge
Starting from the Solang Nullah valley, which is well known for its adventure sports the 5 peak challenge is something, which on face value would really attract a lot of people. I will not deny but it attracted me too, but I really know when to hit the 'control your hormones button'
Peaks that will be attempted:
  • Shitidhar (5150m/17100 ft)
  • Ladakhi (5345m/18200 ft)
  • Manali (5640m/18900 ft)
  • Friendship (5289 m/ 17348 ft)
  • Hanuman Tibba (5984m/ 19633 ft)
I would say this is a not so human challenge for the people who are really willing to shell out that kind of money to really complete this expedition. And if you are really think 2 months of jogging and climbing up to Matheran for a weekend is going to help you up that mountain, I think you should try Everest next.
Its not always just about these peaks being easy, its all about the ever changing climate.Considering myself very good at reading the skies I would not think twice before saying that I have very rarely seen even locals who can really predict climatic changes at that height, I have failed too. lets get to our second trek
2>Stok Kangri Expedition
Stok Kangri (elevation 6,137 m (20,135 feet) is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of northwest India. The peak is located in Hemis National Park, 12 km southwest of the trailhead at 3,610 m (11,845 feet) in the village of Stok and 24 km. southwest of the Ladakhi capital ofLeh.
Though considered safe to climb I have only one suggestion for people who really want to climb the particular peak to test themselves before.
Secondly do not fly into Leh. I would suggest taking a bus Delhi-Manali-Leh. Gives you more time at high altitude before getting into Leh and acclimatisation becomes a lot more easier than just flying in from such a height. If you are up for it, try renting a cycle in Leh and try cycling 50 kilometers. If you can come back to your hotel, change clothes and eat food without falling off your feet, you could think of a twofer :)
3>Sar Pass Trek
I know its very cheap and a million people have done it. Yes, and its only Rs.3,000/- everything covered. Trust me when you stand at base camp and look up at Pin Parvati, you will seriously wet your pants. Secondly beware of what you eat and what they feed. Its edible and its tasty, but when you start going higher and higher everything starts jamming up with the extra ghee in food.
***These comments are purely mine. I do not intend to be critical of people climbing but my real intention on this post is to warn against misadventure.
If one of you really makes it to the top of the 5 peaks, do call me up. I will honor you with a page on my blog.
  • Remember that anywhere over 5000ft people do die. Its not a phenomenon restricted to the big ones.
  • Its not always about going up, you've got to come back down as well.
  • The peak will always be there, you've got to stay alive to climb it.

K2- The Ultimate High

One of the first mountaineering movies that I saw. Its goes along the usual plot with two friends, one is a family man, the other a sort of playboy and they make a great team. Wonderful movie once they start climbing K2. It bores you a bit in between but the part about the trek to base camp is necessary to really show what an expedition is all about. It all begins with getting to the base camp and them taking one step at a time from there. Some sequences are really mind blowing. The one scene where he is running up the stairs of his office and then working out in his office while working shows how mountaineers really have to prepare to get in shape to be able to climb so high.
The Plot Taylor Brooks (Michael Biehn) and Harold Jameson (Matt Craven) are white-collar professionals by weekday, and accomplished mountain climbers on weekends. Though they share a love for scaling mountains, the two friends are somewhat opposites in their personal lives. Taylor is a thrill-seeking attorney and womanizer, while Harold is a married, level-headed scientist. On a climb, the pair encounter billionaire Phillip Claiborne (Raymond J. Barry), who is accompanied by a team of fellow climbers. They explain they are testing equipment for a major Himalyan expedition but don't reveal the peak. Brooks meets a climber he remembers from law school, Dallas. That night, two of Claiborne's team ignore Harold's warnings of an impending avalanche and are killed when snow careens down the mountain. Claiborne and the other survivors are rescued only thanks to the quick action of Taylor and Harold. With a hole left in his climbing crew, Taylor begs Claiborne to take him and Harold to join him on his next climb - K2, the second highest peak in the world. Claiborne finally relents and allows the two to join his team. The entire team heads to the Karakoram and starts the climb successfully, though Taylor butts heads with Dallas while Harold has guilt over leaving his wife to participate. As the ascent continues, the team runs into trouble when their Balti porters strike (mirroring the real-world experiences of several expeditions in the 1970s) and Claiborne becomes ill with altitude sickness. A four-man team (Taylor, Harold, Dallas and Japanese climber Takane) continue the summit with minimal gear. They are stopped when Claiborne makes the decision (talking via radio) to only allow two men to make the final summit, while two wait behind at the high camp. Dallas chooses Takane as the second man to go, and they leave, amidst protest from Taylor and Harold. Later, Takane returns to the tents after a bad fall, in severe hypothermia, dying soon after.
Taylor and Harold decide to try for the summit themselves. After a grueling journey, the pair finish the climb and celebrate. Their happiness is short-lived, however, as Harold slips on the descent and badly breaks his leg. The pain is unbearable and he cannot be moved. Luckily, Taylor soon comes cross Dallas' frozen body, as well as his supply of epinephrine (adrenaline) kept on hand. Taylor injects Harold with morphine and then begins to lower his friend to safety, several dozen feet at a time. Despite Harold's pleas, Taylor refuses to abandon him and continue alone. They continue to descend until they reach a ridge, where a helicopter comes into view. The men are saved and celebrate.
Director: Franc Roddam Writers: Patrick Meyers (play), Patrick Meyers(screenplay), and 1 more credit » Stars: Michael Biehn, Matt Craven and Annie Grindlay
You can watch the whole movie below

Thursday, May 5, 2011

North Face and Toni Kurz

There have been numerous documentaries and movies on Toni Kurz. I am posting two of the prominent ones here. I am giving some background on Toni and his friend Andreas Hinterstoisser following which I will give you links to videos and the movie itself.
Toni Kurz (January 13, 1913 in Berchtesgaden, Germany – July 22, 1936) was a German mountain climber of the early 20th century who had many first ascents with his childhood friend Andreas Hinterstoisser. Both died in tragic circumstances in 1936 as one of the four-man team making a second attempt to scale the North Face of the Eiger.

During the ascent, his companion, Willy Angerer, was injured by falling rocks loosened by the warmth of the rising sun as they crossed the first ice field. As a result of Willy Angerer's worsening condition and their slow progress across the second ice field, they abandoned the attempt on the Eiger and decided to descend. A further challenge arose when Kurz and his comrades failed to retrace their route across the area now known as the Hinterstoisser Traverse and had to climb downwards. As the result of another avalanche, Hinterstoisser himself became disconnected, plummeted down the mountain, and perished. Later, Willy Angerer, now climbing below Kurz, was smashed against the wall, dying instantly. Edi Rainer, the climber who had been securing the other two, was pulled against the wall and died minutes later of asphyxiation. Kurz alone now remained, uninjured.

Later that day, amid worsening weather, a rescue team attempted to reach Kurz from below, ascending by means of the railway tunnel that ran through the mountain, the Jungfraybahn. They could not reach Kurz due to the severity of the storm and were forced to leave him dangling unprotected and exposed to the elements for the entire night. The next day, the team again attempted to effect a rescue; Kurz himself made the effort, despite a frozen hand due to losing a glove, to abseil down the face of the mountain and reach the team. To accomplish this, he first had to cut loose the dead body of his comrade hanging below him, then climb up and cut loose his other dead comrade. To increase the length of his rope, he unraveled it and tied it together again. This entire process took five grueling hours. He then lowered the rope to the waiting rescuers, who attached their own rope.

The mountain guides only had one long rope – 60 meters – with them. Hans Schlunegger just put it between his back and his rucksack (not into his rucksack) to save some time. This was not an unusual practice for them. Unfortunately when he made a sudden movement the rope dropped and fell down to the foot of the wall. As a result the team combined two shorter ropes to reach the required length; however the combined ropes still fell short. Kurz pulled up their rope, fixed it, and began his abseiling descent. He was stopped a mere couple of meters above his rescuers by the knot. To abseil any further he would have had to raise himself enough to release the pressure on the knot and let it pass though his gear. Desperately, Kurz tried to move himself past the knot, but in vain. Facing the futility of his situation, he said only "Ich kann nicht mehr" ("I can't [go on] anymore") and died.

His body was later recovered by a German team.

The movie North Face (2010) is one of the most wonderful movies about climbing I have seen. I would rate it to be better than movies like K2- the ultimate dream and Vertical limit. Toni and Hinterstoisser are really likable characters and I love the way the movie has been filmed.


Philipp Stölzl

The Beckoning Silence

Its a documentary which was made for TV. It is a documentary comparing one extraordinary escape by Joe Simpson after falling into a crevasse while descending Siula Grande(Peru) and the tragedy on the North Face of Eiger which involved Toni Kurz and Andreas Hinterstoisser.

Joe Simpson who talks about the whole incident and about his own fight for survival has himself made 6 unsuccessful attempts on the North Face of the Eiger which Toni and Hinterstoisser had set out to climb with equipment half as good but determination that would probably be a lot more than Joe.

I am posting the first part of the movie here. Once you are done you will get related links to watch the whole movie from there onwards.

Reinhold Messner and Nanga Parbat

Reinhold Messner (born September 17, 1944) is an Italian mountaineer and explorer from South Tyrol "whose astonishing feats on Everest and on peaks throughout the world have earned him the status of the greatest climber in history."[1] He is renowned for making the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen and for being the first climber to ascend all fourteen "eight-thousanders" (peaks over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) above sea level). He is the author of at least 63 books (in German, 1970–2006), many of which have been translated into other languages. Background of the movie In May and June 1970 Reinhold Messner took part in the Nanga Parbat South Face expedition led by Karl Herrligkoffer, the objective of which was to conquer the as yet unclimbed Rupal Face, the highest rock face in the world. His brother, Günther, was also a member of the team. On the morning of 27 June, Reinhold Messner was of the view that the weather would deteriorate rapidly, and set off alone from the last high-altitude camp. Surprisingly his brother climbed after him and caught him up before the summit. By late afternoon, both had reached the summit of the mountain and had to pitch an emergency bivouac without tent, sleeping bags and stoves because darkness was closing in. The events that followed have been the subject of years of legal actions and disputes between former expedition members, and have still not been finally resolved. What is known is that Reinhold Messner descended the Diamir Face, thereby achieving the first crossing of Nanga Parbat (and second crossing of an eight-thousander after Mount Everest in 1963). He arrived in the valley six days later with severe frostbite, but survived. His brother, Günther, however died on the Diamir Face - according to Reinhold Messner on the same descent, during which they became further and further separated from each other. As a result, the time, place and exact cause of death is unknown. Messner claimed his brother had been swept away by an avalanche. In the early years immediately after the expedition there were disputes and lawsuits between Reinhold Messner and the expedition leader, Karl-Maria Herrligkoffer. After a quarter-century of peace, the dispute flared up again in October 2001, when Reinhold Messner raised surprising allegations against the other members of the team for failing to come to their aid. The rest of the team consistently maintained that Reinhold Messner had told them of his idea for crossing the mountain before setting off for the summit. Messner himself asserts, however, that he made a spontaneous decision to descend the Diamir Face together with his brother for reasons of safety. A number of new books (Max von Kienlin, Hans Saler, Ralf-Peter Märtin, Reinhold Messner) stoked the dispute (with assumptions and personal attacks) and led to further court proceedings. In June 2005 after an unusual heat wave on the mountain, the body of his brother was recovered on the Diamir Face, which tended to confirm Messner's account of events Director: Joseph Vilsmaier Writers: Reinhard Klooss, Sven Severin Stars: Florian Stetter, Andreas Tobias and Karl Markovics The shooting in the mountain area was filmed with two 35mm cameras and one 70mm camera. See here for the Novamov link for the movie:-

George Mallory and the Wildest Dream

“Summit fever” is a term which has sprung to prominence especially when we talk about Mount Everest. Members of the public and establishment minded mountaineers take a dim view of the irrational and sometimes maddening drive to get to the summit of a mountain when the chances of a safe return are virtually nil. A prominent Australian mountaineer said Alison Hargreaves’ death on K2 was due to summit fever. When Michael Rhineberger reached the “third step” at 8,700 m on Everest’s North ridge at 4.00 p.m., his decision to carry on to the top surely cost him his life. in 1996 Doug Hansen, though sick kept on pushing to the summit reaching it as late as 4pm and on the return did not have the energy to push lower than the Hillary step. Just days later Bruce Herrod made the same mistake and did not return to the summit camp. Out of all these stories, the story of George Mallory is one which will live on until people talk about Tenzing and Hillary. Did Mallory and Irvine climb the mountain years before Tenzing and Hillary even made it to South Col camp? Mallory is famously quoted as having replied to the question “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” with the retort: “Because it’s there”, which has been called “the most famous three words in mountaineering” The documentary The Wildest dream recreates his story. Using similar equipment and climbing the same route that those two brave men took to recreate the last few moments of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine.

What is Summit Fever?

Summit Fever is the heightened anticipation to reach the peak of a mountain. No matter if you are tired, thirsty and hungry, and know that difference between life and death is wrong step; yet still you are excited about the time when you can finally set your foot on the top. Summit fever can be blamed for the loss of more lives in mountaineering than the terrain and the weather itself