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Brice: Everest is the ‚hidden giant’ of Nepal

Russell Brice

Just now Russell Brice has a lot on his plate. The 60-year-old climber from New Zealand, owner of Himalayan Experience, is leading his 18th commercial expedition to Mount Everest. The most prominent of his ten clients who want to climb the highest mountain of the world is Evelyne Binsack. In 2001 she was the first woman of Switzerland who scaled Everest coming from the Tibetan north side of the mountain. This time Evelyne, aged 45, will try it from the south, for a documentary she also wants to carry her camera to the summit. Russell will stay at the bottom as basecamp manager, also looking after six climbers for Lhotse and four women who want to scale the 7861-metre high Nuptse. German journalist and mountaineer Billi Bierling is a member of this last mentioned team. Although Russell is „quite busy”, as he wrote me, he has taken time to send me his thoughts on occasion of the 60-year-jubilee of the first ascent of Mount Everest.

Hillary „a great leader with much foresight”

„Nepalis an extremely poor country, but fortunately it has the ‚Hidden Giant’ Everest”, Russell writes. „This one notable feature of Nepal has been responsible for practically all of its tourism income, either directly or indirectly.” Sir Edmund Hillary, who climbed Everest first in 1953 together with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, had „proved to be a great leader with much foresight”. He had used his fame to help the local population of Nepal. „We can easily sit outside of Nepal and have great personal ideas about Everest, but it is harder to actually make a meaningful contribution to the local people”, says Russell. „I hope that Everest will continue to be a source of income for the poor people of Nepal in a respectful way.” (You find his full statements on the two Everest-60-pinboards on the right side of the blog.)

Enough routes for all

Brice established Himalayan Experience in 1996

As someone who offers commercial expeditions Russell considers the great number of climbers on the normal routes understandably less critical as others. „Crowding we as operators can deal with between ourselves”, he wrote me in February. Now Brice points out that there were enough routes on Everest, also for mountaineers who want to climb in alpine style or any other style. „But I do not see many teams or individuals actually taking on these challenges. There are still new routes to do on Everest, and some route to be completed in their entirety.”

Russell calls on mountaineers and media to show respect for Mount Everest. He would like to „see those who climb Everest to respect the mountain and their own passions without having to make excuses of being the oldest, youngest, fastest, or whatever, any ascent is still a worthy achievement.” Brice appeals to the media „to respect the mountain rather than making it an excuse to make wild stories for the sale of publications”.


5. April 2013 | 15:13