What is an official Everest Summit? The Truth? There is no "official
Everest Summit" list! There has never been one and there probably never will be. With all
the misinformation being spread around on the internet and other media sources this year, we thought we should do a brief over
view of this subject. Again, this is a brief overview.
Yes, Elizabeth Hawley, fondly referred to as the queen bee of mountain
records, has her lists. While Eliz has done a remarkable, job over the years. Eliz has clearly
in some cases in her records in our opinion over the years. (sorry Liz!).
In Nepal, the Ministry of Tourism has a list of Everest Summiters on Everest
from the Nepal side with some years the Chinese side added, but other years,
they do not include the Chinese side at all. While one could argue that is an
"official list for the Nepal side"; they have several errors in their list... How do you get on
this list? Let's talk today's world, not the world of 10 years ago. Today the
Liaison Officer either
calls or helps to send an e-mail to the
Ministry of Tourism. Now sometimes, names are forgotten, or every once in
awhile a name included by mistake. Overall, there list is probably 95% or more
"right" for Everest Nepal side of the mountain. Not bad!
An example e-mail from this year:
Base Camp Thursday, 2 June 2005
Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation
be informed that the following team members of 2005 XXXXXXXXXXXXXX has
successfully reached the summit of Mr. Everest on 02 June 2005 at XXXXXX am
Nepal standard time.
XXXXXXXXX Sherpa (Khumjung 8, Pangboche, Solukhumbu)
When sending these e-mails, does the
Liaison Officer and the
Expedition Sardar/BC Manager know for sure these people have summited?
"Personal knowledge", probably not. Some summits are never called
or e-mailed in, therefore they never show up on the
Ministry of Tourism list.
Ministry of Tourism
list is right 98%
or more of the time in recent year. The system actually works very well in
Spelling? Let's not go there...
Other Lists: EverestNews.com has a list. Our list like
Eliz's needs to be kept in pencil, which we will explain later. Messner, has
always said that he keeps a list which he published in one of his books a few
years ago, not sure if he still does today... Others keep lists, and some
people seem to claim Elizabeth Hawley's list as theirs...
Now. Let's look at the Chinese side, sometimes referred to as the Wild Wild
West these days...
Some on the North side (Chinese side) pick up a "Summit Certificate" from the
TMA official. Does this person(s) know for
sure, "have personal" knowledge of these summits? Of course not.
Sometimes they have been known to ask the 20 questions... At least one
trekking agent in Nepal has a book of these "Summit Certificates" in the
office in Kathmandu. A few "Summit Certificates" have been issued for people
who did not summit Everest. Neither the TMA nor the CMA keep any official
lists at all.
SO? Does what does all of this mean?? The "standard", in general for a
"summit" is a person's word. In Elizabeth Hawley's case, she asks the
expedition leader to fill out a form, listing the summits. Liz also assumes,
as we understand it,
that the climbers are telling the truth, unless contrary information surfaces
which causes her to further investigate. Liz's system is heavy based on what
the expedition leader tells her. EverestNews.com does something similar, however, we try to get pictures
if there is a dispute and we have many sources, rather than
just the expedition leader. EverestNews.com, makes a "call" in most cases. In 99%
of the cases, we go with the climbers word. In some cases, we have chosen not
to list climbers, who we believe based on evidence from others or from
themselves, that they did not summit. If there is no evidence against a
Summit, then the climber's word is taken. Climbers are listed on our list and
Ms Hawley's list who we believe have not summited Everest, however, without evidence
against them the standard of the climber's word wins out.
Climbers who dispute summits, while in base camp, while the summit was taking
place at the summit are not given much weight by EverestNews.com. Basically
uses the the same process when deaths occur;
for example when Nils Antezana died last year, many offered
opinions from base camp, these in many cases might be "experts opinions",
they were not on the summit with Nil, and thereofre did not *know* what
happened, they simply offered an opinion. Therefore we try to go to those who
were on the summit and get as much information as possible. It is a long
unrewarding task and many times you never know for sure.
This year we have recorded 2 disputes of Everest summits
from the North so far! We would not be surprised if there is more to follow. When can
a decision be expected? In several months... Maybe!