It’s Earth Day. A day we humans set aside to celebrate our little, blue ball as it hurtles through the heavens, a unique sphere orbiting an equally unique star of a unique solar system in an endless universe. This earth, this miniscule ball of water and stone, but a grain of sand in the immeasurable vastness of space, has given …Read More
Nature’s celebration of the 4th of July – always better than fireworks, always inspiring. Gazing out over this stunning scene and open terrain, I’m reminded of how fortunate we are in this country to have our vast network of public lands to enjoy, to relax and recreate in, to provide a place to dream, gain inspiration, and to give a home to our wildlife. It’s one of the many things that have made our country great for decades. May it not be further eroded. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #protectourpubliclands #shotbypixel @googlepixelRead More
Despite what you see on the news and in the papers, Everest isn’t all, or always, a traffic jam. Here, @sid_pattison finds some solitude off the beaten track on the Northeast Ridge.
Like most popular mountains, it’s vogue to apply blanket labels, be them good or bad. Everest is neither. It’s a mountain. It’s a place where dreams are realized, and where they’re crushed. Lives are fulfilled here, and they’re extinguished. It is a place of beauty and sorrow and spinelessness and heroism and all the shades and adjectives reflected in humanity. Everest defies definition, and likewise evades simplistic descriptions of its good and bad aspects.
I’m hopeful that people can stop trying to cast it in one color or another, to throw a blanket of good or bad atop it and declare simplistic solutions to a complex problem. It’s never that simple, and it always misses the point – and the solution. Everest needs changes, but those won’t come without real dialogue and tough decisions.
#liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest2019 #Everest #shotbypixel @googlepixel
As the dust settles on another Everest season, and our team makes its way across the Tibetan Plateau, I’m haunted both by what I saw on the mountain and by what I’m reading and hearing in the press. Sadly, none of it is new per se; it’s feelings and sight and sounds and reactions I’ve encountered and felt on all 8 of my expeditions.
Everest is the proverbial 800 pound gorilla, easy to beat on but difficult to understand. No one who knows it would disagree there are problems on the hill, issues of regulation and responsibility, actions and accountability. Does that mean the mountain is an awful, pathetic, despicable (insert your pejorative adjective) place? Does that mean the those who climb it – guide or client, climber or high altitude worker – are equally deranged? Certainly not. Like anything, Everest is a place of nuance, but nuance does not lend itself well to pundits who seek to color only in black and white.
The Everest I know has forever been a place of triumph and tragedy, where beauty and horror comingle in the subtle hues of its very landscape. Sadly, the drama usually outshines the normal, and the tragedy of death or poor decisions outplays the successes and the beauty and the human spirit that is on the mountain daily. If anything, Everest is a dramatic microcosm of humanity.
Yup, there are problems. Those problems need to be addressed so history does not continue to repeat itself. But if you look deeper, past the headlines and the hyperbole, Everest has a lot more to offer, always has and always will.
#liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest2019
“I glanced up at the mighty summit above me, which ever and anon deigned to reveal its cloud-wreathed features. It seemed to look down with cold indifference on me, mere puny man, and howl derision in wind-gusts at my petition to yield up its secret – this mystery of my friends. What right had we to venture thus far into the holy presence of the Supreme Goddess, or, much more, sling at her our blasphemous challenges to ‘sting her very nose-tip’? If it were indeed the sacred ground of Chomolungma – Goddess Mother of the Mountain Snows, had we violated it – was I now violating it? Had we approached her with due reverence and singleness of heart and purpose? “And yet as I gazed again another mood appeared to creep over her haunting features. There seemed to be something alluring in that towering presence. I was almost fascinated. I realised that no mere mountaineer alone could but be fascinated, that he who approaches close must ever be led on, and oblivious of all obstacles seek to reach that most sacred and highest place of all. It seemed that my friends must have been thus enchanted also: for why else should they tarry?”
– Noel Odell, June 9, 1924
#liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest2019 #NoelOdell
Sunset just now from 8300m on the north face of Everest. It’s our third night here, and the quiet camp we moved into is now anything but, with a small city of tents and humans to fill them. I find I’m definitely pining a bit for a couple decades ago when I shared this camp with scant few others. Times have changed, but the beauty of sunset high in the Himalaya has not. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest2019 #Everest #shotbypixelRead More
Seems like perhaps Mother Nature is giving us some better options finally. Our team of 6 made it in great time and style today to 8300m Camp VI (aka Camp 3). I don’t think there’s a more beautiful camp in the world, higher than all but 5 mountains, and perched high on the north face. To the west, it’s a true top of the world view looking at Cho Oyu, Gyanchung Kang, Pumori, Lingtren, Melungtse, Shishapangma, and so many more. Spinning around, you see the view in this photo: captivating, engrossing, stunning, and more than a bit intimidating. This photo shows the First, Second, and Third steps along the Northeast Ridge and the Summit Pyramid.
I can never not imagine what this view must have looked like 95 years ago when George Mallory and Andrew Irvine saw it. I’d hazard to guess a combination of enthralling and abjectly terrifying. Which way would they go? Follow the Ridge as Mallory indicated, taking chances with the Second Step? Or try the route Norton and Somervell attempted 4 days before, below the Step to the Norton Couloir? If it were me, I’d take my chances with the Step, as the terrain beyond the Couloir has never looked anything but atrocious.
Regardless of where they went and how high they got, the simply fact that they were here – in wool and tweed and hobnails – is nothing short of amazing. I’m cold in a down suit, and I’ve climbed much of their possible route with no fixed lines but modern gear, and still got quite nervous at times. My hat is permanently off for all the pre-World War II climbers. #respect @liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #malloryandirvine
I’ve certainly had better days moving up the North Ridge, but I’ve certainly also had worse. Our team made a big move today from ABC to Camp 2 in a push, trying to make the most of this possible weather window. Lots of vertical, lots of wind, but some sun and calm too. Fingers crossed that the wind dissipates overnight. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #Everest2019 @adrianballinger @davidcmorton @sid_pattisonRead More
A simple piece of wire. Looks like trash, and in many ways it is, mere jettsom from days past. But, it is much more, with a story. In 1933, the 4th British Mount Everest Expedition ran telephone wire some 14 miles from Basecamp up to Camp IV at the North Col to enable better communications for the team. Bits and pieces of this wire artifact have been popping out along the route for the 20 years I’ve been climbing here. Trash, yes, but also a story, a connection to the past, a reminder of those quo came before.
I worry that, as the years pass, we lose touch with our mountain history, and the lessons and ethics the pioneers can teach. When we forget our history – or simply fail to engage with it – we not only run the risk of repeating mistakes made long ago, but we inevitably diminish the richness of the endeavor by ignoring the fabric of those who came first.
That little bit of wire carried the voices of legends 86 years ago. Whispers of Wager and Wyn-Harris, Frank Smythe and Eric Shipton can still be heard if you listen close enough, connecting our present to their climbs above 28,000 feet without oxygen in knickers and tweeds.
I wonder how many here on the mountain this year have given thought and pause to those who led the way, pioneered the paths we now tread or Sent the routes we only gaze at and shudder. High above me now, towering over ABC, the Pinnacles are raked with fierce, jet stream winds, the final resting place on this day in 1982 of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker. Is anyone else looking up there now, remembering their story, their sad passing, and the path they paved both in the mountains and in mountain literature?
Bits of wire poking out of the rubble. Meaningless trash, yet a physical tether to our collective, inspiring past. I left this bit on an obvious rock… Hopefully someone will notice and dig out its past, it’s story… And ours.
#mountainsofhistory #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #boardmanandtasker #Everest2019 #Everest1933Read More
It’s Mother’s Day here in Tibet, so taking a moment before heading up to the North Col to recognize the amazing mothers in my life. To my amazing wife, @wendebvalentine, who not only puts up with my antics, but is the voice of reason and logic in raising our great kids (the great is thanks to her, too!). To my mom, Alice, who’s given me nothing but love and support in spades for 45 years, allowing me to be who I am, but still helping guide a better course when necessary. To my stepmother, Susan, who’s always been there with a listening and loving ear, a vote of support, and a swift kick in the butt as needed (and it’s been needed a lot!). To my mother-in-law, Lynne, who has always been anything but the stereotypical mother-in-law, instead offering love, support, and inclusion day in and out. And, to my sister, Dolly, who lives life with conviction and purpose, raising 2 awesome kids on her own and always doing it in style. I can’t imagine where I’d be without these amazing women who are shining lights to follow, learn from, and emulate. Thank you, mothers, and tashi delek from Tibet. #mothersday #liveyouradventure @eddiebauerRead More
We all made the long journey to ABC today with a less-than-pleasant looking Chomolungma staring down at us. The jet stream is right on us – up high, not down low – making for beautiful lenticulars and a huge vapor plume off the summit. Probably blowing well over 100mph up there. A good time not to be above 8000 meters. #Everest2019 #liveyouradventure @eddiebauerRead More