Monday, February 06, 2023


As part of my experience with Scouting and the outdoors, I have become fascinated with accounts of high adventure disasters.  I take the opportunity to read books, articles, etc. that help me learn more about crisis situations and how people deal with them.  Even activities that I will almost certainly not be part of are useful.  One of those activities is climbing Mt. Everest.  Perhaps the most infamous Everest disaster happened during the 1996 season.  The incident was turned into several books and movies.  I read a few books and watched a couple of movies and recently came across Jon Krakauer’s response to another account of events, The Climb by Antoli Boukreev (and G. Weston Dewalt).  After going through all this, I still have the following questions about the event:

  • Should Rob Hall have abandoned Doug Hansen earlier in their descent?  When in charge of a group, the hardest decision to make is to sacrifice part to same to save yourself and/or others.
  • Why did Scott Fischer and Rob Hall die when Beck Weathers survived?  Did Fischer wear himself out going up and down the mountain managing clients as detailed The Climb; was it solely due to HACE or did some other illness contribute?  Both of them were hundreds of feet above Weathers, was the cold and wind so much more severe there?
  •  According to Krakauer (and others, according to him) have blamed Boukreev for not staying with clients, but what about other issues that seemed to be the fault of the sherpas.  Mainly, why were fixed ropes not present on the Hillary Step and why was oxygen not available at the South Summit?

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