OPINION: Everest and COVID-19: What's going on and should they still be climbing?

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Mountaineer and author Mark Horrell tackles the complicated situation on Mount Everest, where expedition teams are battling more than just altitude sickness as Nepal and India struggle to control a particularly violent COVID-19 wave. 

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 profitofdoom 10 May 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Oh that's just great, using a huge load of oxygen bottles on Everest this Spring

Because the oxygen is not needed in Nepal, or India, or anything, the hospitals have just loads of spare oxygen, and Covid-19 is under firm and sure control under the Nepal health care system

 Michael Gordon 10 May 2021
In reply to profitofdoom:

> Oh that's just great, using a huge load of oxygen bottles on Everest this Spring> 

I'm not sure if the article mentioned that as I just skimmed through, but that's a great point which really brings it home. The image of people breathing deeply for their own selfish glory is quite sickening really. 

"I hope I'll never see the day when there's nothing on the planet left to save, and oxygen is the designer crusade, as we all fight to breathe" (Edwin McCain) 

 Red Rover 10 May 2021
In reply to profitofdoom:

Is the gas you use on everest the same as you would give to a patient? I don't know anything about either. If mountaineering canisters could help in a hospital then that's a travesty.

 toad 10 May 2021
 waitout 11 May 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

There's so many issues with the whole 8000m industry that this is no real surprise. The oxygen matter is a can of worms with not much right about it. Affluent foreigners juicing while people are desperate low country is not right - but looking where the money goes from an 8000m trip, the bulk is into the hands of the government which has minimal trickle down - are they buying oxygen with it? With the China side barely running there should be a glut of the stuff about too.

The oxygen stuff is only one part of this though. I think the annual migration of lowland porters is going to see it's full effect later as they return home. On a few dollars a day, they're not getting helicoptered to Kathmandu if they get sick, let alone diagnosed.

All looks rosy on instagram though.

 waitout 11 May 2021
In reply to profitofdoom:

Superficial research indicates it's the same stuff as hospitals use , the respirator will be different (the latest climbing sets have flow rates far higher than even a few years ago) and the bottles are different (for a long time climbing stuff was specially made by a Russian company and shipped at significant expense by land across Asia where as cheap oxyviva sets have been available for decades).

I don't excuse the climbers on this, but as it will all be overseen by a corrupt industry and government (with no real distinction between the two) the lack of the stuff in public use is more than a climber problem.

Every year millions of dollars go from Tribhuvan airport up the Khumbu - the trail could be escalator made of gold - but sweet fcuk all of it ever seems to end up making a difference along the way, with some obvious exceptions.

 Will_he_fall 11 May 2021

I have no interest in climbing Everest, but I think there's some things to remember here before jumping on the bandwagon to criticise people climbing there this year:

1, They followed the advice from the Nepalese government in travelling to climb.

2, They had to take multiple tests and quarantine on the way 

3, for just about everyone working there  from porters through to western outfitters, the season happening is the difference between financially staying afloat and not after a super difficult year.

 rudedude 14 May 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Further proof if any be needed that Everest tourism has become the indulgence of wealthy, vain, vacuous, kudos seeking idiots, who clearly have no comprehension of anything other than  their immediate need to inflate  overblown egos, regardless of the potential cost to others. Totally inane and unjustifiable. Sadly, poverty and corruption in Nepal will continue to prevail and the circus will continue.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles: Thanks Mark. I suppose permits were issued late last year or Jan latest and clients had already paid. The current COVID upsurge started in March? in India and Nepal in April so really caught people by surprise. Did anyone even predict the current scale of problem even in January/February? I was there end year to mid Jan 2021 and with the pre arrival PCR tests, quarantine in KTM and another test before flying to Lukla was certainly an acceptable risk and the situation was stable. Agreed that’s changed now (I pulled out of another trip due now in April-May) but I can imagine few clients wanting to lose large Everest payments by pulling out at the last minute unless their operators had a good refund policy for late cancellations which I doubt is the case and curtailed trip insurance unlikely to cover it either. 


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