Sunday, 8 November 2009

Its all about the style

What's the definition of a god style on an alpine accent?

Is it reaching the summit? Not using O2? No Sherpas? No Fixed rope? Alpine style? Doing some thing harder and faster than last time? Is it done in winter? Is it off the beaten track? Are you trying to establish new lines? Are you bringing the style of accent that works at home to high mountains?

What ever style might be I would argue there is a superior style witch one can and shall use when conducting alpine climbing. To day no one would dream of landing on a glacier in Chamonix with a plane and spend the next 20 days fixing the entire North Face of Grand Jourasses. Why? Because its been done in far better style. Still siege style is applied in modern Himalaya climbing. On almost all peaks above 8000 meters this is standard practice in order to make sure as many paying clients as possible can summit. Expedition style or siege style accents are done in order to claim an accent way exceeding what the team can manage with in there own capacity.

In climbing circles this kind of abuse of virgin lines almost always receive severe criticism, still its used to make first accents mainly by teams from Korea, Japan and Russia. I think its a no brainer that futuristic lines should be saved for future generations to explore. And who can argue against that?

Still this kind of "trash and rape" is totally accepted when it comes to bring paying clients up 8000 meter peaks. Who can explain that? Why do we accept that a route on a 8000 meter peak is done in a style far from its best practice? Why is the 8000 meter tourism allowed to destroy the pleasure of being in the mountains for the rest of us? This hole game of making the Himalayas a play ground for who ever can afford it is crazy and destructive. The commercial expeditions contribute with less than zero to the development of Himalaya climbing. The clients on this kind of expeditions don't understand the difference between being dragged up like a rag doll or doing the same effort with style.

Few including media can appreciate the difference between styles and the sad outcome is that great achievements simply get diluted. To the world an Everest summit is a Everest summit. No matter if one was achieved as a client and the other post monsoon in alpine style up the Hornbine couloire. The pure efforts achieved in the Himalayas drown at the cost of adventure tourists with dubious summits claims. The environmental issues are getting bigger by the year due to the increased accessibility to the greater ranges. Ok in short terms its good for the local economy and a few great guys likeMortenson and Hillary contribute massively to the local communities that have showed so much hospitality to them, but the wast majority of the visitors just pollute in all senses of the word.

Price the posers out of the Himalayas

Regulations wont happen as these poor countries desperately need the tourism. How ever at some point a massive accident will happen and all sorts of calls for change will be brought up. One way of dealing with this hole mess would be to price the "posers" out of the market. Price permits for non Alpine Style Expeditions ten times higher than Alpine Style attempts.