Friday, April 26, 2013

Rope, politics, climbers and maps all part of the mix.

April 26, 2013' ROPE POLITICS... Tim and Karsang were making bets today, Tim saying the rope fixing  wouldn't get completed to C3 and Karsang saying it would. Karsung owes Tim 50 rupees. The Sherpas fixing the rope ran into a serac wall that needed to be negotiated, ran out of time and returned to Camp 2. It will be completed tomorrow.

There's quite a bit of politics and planning that go behind the scenes for the fixing of rope up the route from Camp 2 to the summit. Well before the climbing season begins key operators exchange a few emails to figure out, size and kind of rope and who can get the best price and delivery of it. One operator takes this on. Then one operator gets it to base camp.  
The second step is figuring out who will do the work to get it up and fixed on the mountain when it gets to base camp. This is sorted out at the leaders meetings. It's usually the key operators that will kick in with Sherpa power but they also try to get some of the private teams to help out.

The entire process is a team effort, everyone pitching in in some way. It's figured out how many Sherpas are needed between each camp to get the rope fixed. In this mix they'll need Sherpas to carry rope and oxygen for the fixing Sherpas that will be fixing the rope to the route to the summit. The most haggling is "who gets to fix the final summit rope". This of course gives the highest media coverage, this operator and Sherpas will get their names in lights as heroes of the day as they top out. It should not be forgotten about all the other Sherpa climbers and operators who pitched in to make the way for everyone to reach the summit.

Lee and Murad are sleeping peacefully at Camp 1 tonight and tomorrow will move up to Camp 2 and be joined there by the rest of the team.  Tim says it's a beautiful day again on Everest, sunny and warm. This kind of weather sure helps in lifting spirits. 

  Part of being married to a guide like Tim is being required to live with terrain maps as your decorative wall and ceiling paper throughout the house. It's not uncommon to find pins in our bed that fall from the ceiling, red ones for marking goals reached and green for those still on the bucket list. I've been getting spiked by quite a few green ones lately. I think I'm being told something.
When a guide sits down to paper and pencil to sketch out a map, you know something is on the burner. From my perspective this translates into a business plan, laying out all the stuff that needs done like logistics.
So if you’re wondering where I'm going with this, my thoughts today are being prompted by a news cast this last week in Canada when it was announced that Google Street View was mapping the inside of the Parliament Building in Ottawa to offer virtual tours. This turned my focus to check out the Google Street View shot that was recently taken at Everest Base Camp. A quick google search takes me to the shoot of the EBC moraine area that you can rotate around - that's it?...  I felt let down.
 Now if we could only incorporate Tim's map that he did last year for his action plan when the Lhotse face fell apart and things got a little rocky around camp.

To help glue everything together, the map was very helpful to coordinate much needed team communications, especially in light of the large number of teams who showed up, some didn't have radios, or didn't join operators meetings to get important information like radio frequencies for emergencies and so on, if they even had them at all. This map turned out to be a very useful tool never mind the social rewards he enjoyed while getting around and meeting everyone in the making of it. 

 Now just watch, "Google maps the streets of Everest Base Camp".. coming soon.  I understand that Tims map idea has been widely accepted by other leaders to continue with this in the future.

Have a good weekend..... Becky Rippel
Photo: 2012 Everest Base Camp team locations Map: Prepared by Tim Rippel

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