Newsletter 15 May 2014
Namaste, Tashi delek!
Tibetan proverb: It is better to live for one day as a tiger than to live for a thousand years as a sheep
Foremost in our thoughts are the families of the 13 Sherpa and 3 other Nepalese high altitude porters who died in the Khumbu icefall on 18 April this year. As most will be aware, three of these men who perished were working with the Adventure Consultants team on our 21st expedition to the mountain. Several of the others had worked and climbed with us over the years and were good friends who I enjoyed meeting and spending time with when we’d cross paths on an expedition somewhere.
These were good hardworking men who were professionals in their industry who could bring a good level of income back to their families and pay for the best education for their children that they could afford. When I have worked with them over scores of expeditions, I have observed that there is a tangible sense of camaraderie amongst them, a little like a tribe that comes together for an annual event where they work hard, yet enjoy the shared objective of climbing the mountain and overcoming its challenges.
It has been very heart-warming to observe their very close friendships and the cohesiveness of kinship when family members work together; beautifully illustrated by the proud smile of a father whose son has come to work alongside him on the mountain. I very much admired the depth and uninhibited closeness of their male-to-male bonding that rarely exists in our western world, where personal space accounts for a more reserved level of contact.
When I first began working on Everest with the Sherpas in 1992 the majority of them did not have refined mountaineering skills. You could tell by watching them that their technical abilities were effective - yet essentially self-taught and often rudimentary.
Oh but how things have changed! Through a combination of training and a new found desire to know the techniques and to be playing a major role in the direction of their profession, the modern climbing Sherpa is a well-dressed athlete with an armoury of skills to back up his physical prowess on the mountain. Decisions that were once made by the foreign expedition leaders are now made by the Sherpas themselves through an accelerated evolutionary process that sees them taking the lead in almost all aspects of expedition climbing. Where their forefathers that I climbed with 20 years ago would unabashedly tell you they only did this for the money, many a modern climbing Sherpa views it as a career path. A few will even go climbing for personal recreation with an aspiration to achieve international guiding qualifications.
It is because of all this that I take offence to some of the diatribe from uninformed sources who would have everyone believe the Sherpas are being exploited. The Sherpas are moving rapidly forward with their own destiny unfolding before them in a very positive way. They are very much in control of that momentum that will see them succeed. Yes the accident on Everest this season was extremely tragic; we who live our lives in the mountains must frequently balance the euphoria of a shared success - with the intensity of tragic loss. Even those of us who are way too experienced at enduring the gripping pain of loss of life cannot produce an appropriate amount of emotional reckoning to balance the loss/gain paradox. That there are people who would use this tragedy to further their own negative agenda and infer that these Sherpas were working in the mountains against their will is disappointing. But Everest creates a platform that can even be used by luddites from which to grandstand their nefarious negativism to which there is little we can do except expend countless hours offering a balanced perspective so the conversation isn’t so one sided.
But it is where to from here that matters. We hope the Nepalese Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation will finally respond to our call to enable changes that would see the Sherpas doing fewer trips through the icefall each season. We anticipate a greater degree of dialogue with the Sherpa community and conditions for the Sherpas to improve over time through a greater understanding by government bodies. But this can only come about as long as the administrators are retained and not moved on every time there is a change of government, an occurrence that happens all too regularly to be confident of that outcome.
I have been extremely impressed and grateful of the support offered and given from across the globe as a result of this event. It seemed everyone `got it’ when the magnitude of the event and the impact it would have right from the outset. The financial contributions to the Sherpa Support fund we have set up for this event will go a long way to help the grieving families of the lost men although we all can recognise the loss will be felt at a much deeper level for their sons and daughters, wives, sisters, brothers, parents, relatives and friends. While none of these people will have replaced what they lost they will have financial stability to ease the burden.
We will continue to support the families of those who are now gone and will set up a fund to offer ongoing assistance for schooling and other important commitments. Some who have contributed to the cause already have requested an opportunity to directly support individual children or families on their educational pathway and we are happy to assist in setting up arrangements directly with schools or families should you want to assist in that way.
Tibetan proverb: If I tell you my dream, you might forget it. If I act on my dream, perhaps you will remember it, but if I involve you, it becomes your dream too.
Guy Cotter and the Adventure Consultants team
From the AC Blog page
Ama Dablam 2017 - Final dispatch
Island Peak 2017 - Last day
Everest 2017 - Wrapping Up
- Mens Health Oct 2015 Peak Performance
It's a razor-thin line between life and death on Everest. After facing his own tragedy on the mountain, Guy Cotter emerged a more capable man. Use his lessons to scale your own heights. By Aaron Scott.
- Guy Cotter talks about the Everest movie to Huffington Post
- Guy Cotter Discusses All Things Everest
July 7, 2015 - Ellis Brigham's blog recounts events on Everest in 1996, the New Everest movie and Everest 2015 with Adventure Consultants CEO Guy Cotter.
- The Schooling
June 17, 2015 - Insights to the world of ski mountaineering from professional freeride skier Lorraine Huber who recently joined Adventure Consultant's Alpine Expedition Course with guide Jono Gillan.
- Explorers Web Interview with Suze Kelly Everest Earthquake Debrief.
June 11, 2015 - Suze Kelly "It was like walking in to the scene from a plane crash"...
- Southland Times - AC Vows to return to Earthquake stricken Nepal
June 8, 2015 - A Wanaka guiding company has vowed to return to Nepal in September and is encouraging adventurers not to turn away from the earthquake-stricken nation and its people.
- The Daily Mail - Sam Worthington scales new heights in chilling movie Everest
June 5, 2015 - He is known for intense roles, having portrayed paralysed renegade Marine veteran Jake Sully in Avatar...The British-born star, 38, plays New Zealand climbing expert Guy Cotter...
- TV3 News Campbell Llive - Video - Guy Cotter speaks out after Nepal Earthquake
April 28, 2015 - An interview with Guy Cotter following the Earthquake at Everest Base Camp.
- The Snows of Aoraki
April 2015 Issue - Dan Slater of Climb Magazine (UK) tells his story about a 10-day alpine climbing course with renowned Wanaka-based company Adventure
- The Climber - How the Other Half Lives
Issue 90 Summer 2014/15 - Nic Learmonth - Self proclaimed rock rat, enters the world of mountaineering on Adventure Consultants Mountaineering Introduction Course to see what all the hype is about...
- Wanaka Mountaineer Mixing with Stars
14 Nov 2014 - The Otago Daily Times shares a little about the upcoming Universal Pictures 3-D film recounting Everest 1996 where Avatar's Sam Worthington plays Guy Cotter.
- Outer Edge - My Own Private Glacier
Oct 2014 - A great blog from Jonathan Moody who recently joined us for our Alpine Expedition Course
- AG Outdoor Magazine - Aspiring to Greatness
Oct 2014 - Brendon Hill from www.agoutdoor.com joined us for a Mount Aspiring Course and Ascent...here's his story.
- Great Walks - Climbing Mont Blanc for Brain Injury Awareness
Sep 2014 - A great story about an AC Charity Climb of Mont Blanc
- Queenstown Life - Adventure Consultants
Aug 2014 - Queenstown life captures the inner workings of Adventure Consultants and shares a bit of our history with their readers.
- An Introduction...The Southern Alps
Zack Wasson describes his backcountry skiing trip with us..."What a trip it was, our first introduction to the Southern Alps. Needless to say, our tickets are booked again for this August. Let it Snow!"
- Mining Life and Living, Issue 4 - Frozen Playground
Christie Prior shares her experience on an AC Mountaineering Instruction Course.
- The Optimum Layering System?
Guy Cotter gives us his thoughts on the matter...
- Radio New Zealand - Break on Everest Climbs May Allow for Better Planning
May 2014 - Interview with AC Director Guy Cotter
- National Geographic Daily News - Climbing Finished for Season on Everest after Deadly Avalanche?
May 2014 - Mark Jenkins interviews AC Director Guy Cotter.
- Great Walks - The Only Way is Up
April/May 2014 - Great Walks goes from the horizontal to the vertical while attending AC's Alpine Climbing Course in NZ's South Island.
- Outdoor Fitness - Mountains Made Easy
Can you go from armchair alpinist to 4,000-metre summiteer in under a week? Or is that too much of a climb? Damian Hall joined us last September for the Mont Blanc Course and Ascent. Check out his article which appeared in the June 2013 Issue of Outdoor Fitness
- 60 Minutes - Everest ER
17 June, 2013 - Join Michael Usher 5500 metres above sea level at Everest Base Camp where mountaineers launch their quest for the summit.
- Huffington Post - Watching the Sun Rise on the Summit of Mt Everest
10 June, 2013 - AC 2013 Everest Expedition member, Cason Crane, blogs about his reasons for climbing Everest and the world's Seven Summits.
- Polygon - Dean Hall on the Roof of the World: How Illness Persuaded the Creator of Dayz to Climb Mt Everest
7 June 2013 - Great article by Dave Tach about AC Everest 2013 team member Dean Hall and what led him to his goal of climbing the world's highest mountain.
- TVONE Breakfast - Summit Ladder a Step Too Far
29 May, 2013 - TVOne's Breakfast featured an interview of AC's Guy Cotter to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Hillary's summit of Everest and to get his views on the proposed ladder on the Hillary Step.
- TV3 - 60 Years on, New Zealander's Still Climbing Everest
27 May, 2013 - TV3 News interviews AC CEO Guy Cotter from Namche, Nepal while on his way back to Kathmandu from Everest/Lhotse.
- New Zealand Herald - Record Breaking Glory on Mt Everest
22 May 2013 - AC Lead Everest Guide, Dean Staples', reached the summit of the world's highest peak for the ninth time this May, a record number of ascents for a kiwi.
- Otago Daily Times - Meeting with Famous Climber
21 May, 2013 - Wanaka climber and Adventure Consultants director Guy Cotter was on a high before he even left Everest Base Camp last week after meeting one of his idols, Reinhold Messner, who is considered by many to be the greatest climber in history...
- Otago Daily Times - Father-Son Everest Trip
28 April, 2013 - Hall is one of eight people from around the globe making the ascent as part of the Adventure Consultants expedition from Wanaka. His father, Otago Regional Council emergency management co-ordinator Graeme Hall, travelled with him as far as Base Camp and returned to Dunedin this week after seeing his son off on his perilous trek...
- Otago Daily Times - Wanaka-Hawea Climbers on Top of Everest
5 January, 2013 - 6 AC guides profiled as the highest number of Everest ascents outside of Nepal concentrated in one town, per capita!
- Wilderness Magazine - View from the Top
Kiwi climber Peter Cammell writes of his experience climbing Everest in 2012 with Adventure Consultants
- Utah Adventure Journal - Guy Cotter, A Life of Climbing