Antezana waving down to us and Big Dorje Sherpa waiting on him
Every year people ask, "why?" Every year, people die on
Everest; Why? The reality is that this is a high risk sport where people die every
year. Some guides will claim deaths only happen on the other teams, look close
and check & you will find they have lost someone on Everest already or they
have not been on Everest very long. Of course, most climbers on Everest do not
have guides at all, as most climbers are now going on what traditionally have been referred to as "low
budget expeditions". Most "commercial expeditions" are unguided on
Everest, contrary to what many believe or what is written.
Last year on Everest was somewhat different. There were no deaths at
base camp, or accident(s) down low resulting in deaths, usually it is a given
that something unforeseen will claim a life at lower altitudes; this being
said seven climbers, 5 men and 2 woman died on Everest last year. Six of the
climbers were coming back from the summit, and one who kept going up until she
died. They all were, it is easy to say now, past "the point" where they should
have turned around. The truth be known, there were another 8-12 climbers who
had crossed "the Rubicon." Some were dragged down the mountain in a technique
used on Everest to save lives that is getting more popular. One super strong
Sherpa pulls a man or woman down, literally. The client is then administrated
drugs/steroids to keep them alive once down lower. But dragging clients down
is another subject for another day. It is keeping the death rate down in
These six climbers were in various stages and conditions when they
summited based on those who claimed knowledge of their conditions.
EverestNews.com has learned to be cautious with "those who claim knowledge".
In many cases, climbers are just giving opinions and in some cases
trying to help, then their words end up as "experts claims". One
case of this in 2004, was in the death of
Mr. Nils Antezana.
Nils Antezana at 69 became the oldest American and second oldest
person to summit Everest. Various people later wrote stories on his death.
When we reviewed those stories, we were surprised. You see some of our
climbers, was up high filming and looking for Mallory artifacts the day he summited.
We viewed our film and in passing, noticed a man in the film waving to our
cameraman from above; He was not waving for help, but clearly just saying Hi
down there! Several climbers were on the summit
with Mr. Nils Antezana, none of them were interviewed for
any of the articles to our knowledge except Nils' guide. All "opinions and
facts" came from climbers who were at
camp 4 and all the way down to base camp, except the 2 Sherpas who were with
Nils. The climbers who were not with Nils
that day offered opinions on what happened
We went back and reviewed the film and yes it was Mr. Nils Antezana
waving. Nils, his "guide" (that is another story), and his 2 Sherpas were the
last ones to summit that day. Some would claim he was exhausted and way too late,
but when he summited, Mr.
Nils Antezana did not appear exhausted and the man we saw in the film was not
fact for a man to wave at our climbers on the north side when he was coming up
the south side; well he appeared stronger than most on the summit. Nils
summited at a little after 11am in the morning Nepal time that day, certainly
slower than many others in the past and certainly faster than many others
in the past! As our
cameras panned the mountain for clues of Mallory, in other frames you can
see, Mr. Nils Antezana, with
his hands high over his head in celebration. His guide did not turn him
around, nor did Nils turn himself around. Nils had summited the world's
highest mountain. He was very happy.
Mr. Nils Antezana
died on the way down. Why?? One can only speculate. The only witnesses were
Sherpas who stayed with him until they almost died. The guide,
like some other guides have done before him, went ahead to break the trail....
Interesting the Sherpas were criticized. While it is clear
Mr. Nils Antezana
asked the Sherpas to stay with him and literally die with him, it is not clear if they could have
dragged him all the way down.
We didn't know Nils and never spoke to
him, but we he don't think he was a man who would have wanted to be literally dragged down.
His family LIKE ANY FAMILY, would have preferred that his life was saved in
any way possible. But his life was not saved, no one came to help as is in the
case many times on Everest and Nils died. Nils went pass "the point" and paid
for it with his life.
So when you read opinions and comments this year, read
close to see who was there and has personal knowledge, who is offering an opinion,
who is repeating rumors, etc. Most were not
actually there, nor do they have personal knowledge of what happened.
Many are just trying to help by offering their opinion. Many don't really
realize people will read their opinions. Some try to promote
that their "service" is better; we don't have any respect for those
that try to use a death for their benefit as some have done in the past.
So why do they die? Climbers die at altitude for many
different reasons; to try to figure out one reason "why" is pointless. Is it
because they push too far, too hard, too fast, because they become ill,
because their body has a bad day, because their budget did not allow them a
safer way, because some run out of oxygen & crash hard, sometimes a storm
moves in, or simply because
accidents happen. The answer to all of this is yes. One could argue that most
die because they push too far these days, but certainly not all die for that
reason. Mountaineering, especially at altitude, is a very high risk sport.
This is a very high risk sport where people die every year. Two other Korean
climbers who were up there with Nils died that same day, they hardly even got
a mention in the western press. One of them
"It is not a question of IF, it is question of who and how
many will die on Everest", EverestNews.com
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