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mit Stefan Nestler

Miss Hawley: No circus antics on Everest

Perhaps I have exaggerated. Following my request to send her comments on Mount Everest 60 years after the first ascent Elizabeth Hawley replied: „Your questions seem to anthropomorphize Everest, and I don’t see it that way at all.” The world’s preeminent chronicler of Himalayan mountaineering is already 89 years old. For more than half a century the Amercian, living in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, has been documenting expeditions to high Himalayan mountains. It’s an unwritten law that you haven’t been on the summit until Miss Hawley has confirmed that you really have been on the top.

Only an enormous mass of rock

Miss Hawley (and Ralf Dujmovits)

Prior to and after expeditions she or one of her assistants visits the climbers at their hotel and asks them about their plans and afterwards about what happened. Although she herself has never climbed a high mountain the Chicago born journalist knows about so many details of the 8000ers that she is able to expose any liar. That way Miss Hawley has also been playing an important role in Everest history. Nevertheless she only sees Mount Everest „as an enormous mass of rock shaped roughly like a pyramid with numerous features that are treacherous for mountaineers. (e.g., cornices, crevasses) and possible sudden change in the weather, all at extremely high altitudes”. (You can read Miss Hawley’s complete statements on both Everest-60-pinboards on the right side of the blog.)

Ultimate challenge Horseshoe route

Miss Hawley doesn’t wish anything for the mountain itself, because „it is sufficiently formidable that no humans can harm it”. But the chronicler of Himalayan mountaineering calls for more sporting spirit. She would „wish much better vetting of the people who attempt to climb it, thus eliminating the many incompetent men and women”. Miss Hawley condemns „circus antics such as standing at the summit for six minutes with no clothing above the waist or playing a stringed instrument at the top or hitting a golf ball off the summit”. Instead, climbers should have a try at unsolved problems on Everest, e.g. climbing new routes on the vast east face or “by the ultimate challenge of a continuous traverse via the Horseshoe Route along only ridges”: up the west ridge of Nuptse then over Lhotse and South col to the summit of Everest and finally down the west ridge back to the starting point, „all at very high altitudes without the crutch of any bottled oxygen”. Miss Hawley “would also like to see many women pioneers”. Women had been catching up with men, but “it’s time for them to do something new and different that men have not yet done”.


20. März 2013 | 17:10