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with Stefan Nestler

Russell Brice: “At last”

Russell Brice

Russell Brice

Russell Brice breathes out. “At last”, the 62-year-old New Zealander, head of the expedition operator Himalayan Experience, replies to my question on what he thinks about the planned new route through the Khumbu Icefall on Mount Everest. “We have been asking the SPCC (Note: The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Comitee is responsible for the route through the icefall.) to put the route more central since 2012. Now at last they have listened to the foreign operators instead of the local Sherpas who asked for the route to be moved so as they could travel faster … but not so safely.” Brice doesn’t expect that the new route will take the clients as much time as SPCC president Ang Dorjee Sherpa estimates: “It will take only about one hour longer, not three to four hours. You see there are not many people around these days who have been this way. But I have.”

Old wounds

It seems that I touched a sore spot when I confronted Russell with Adrian Ballinger’s tweet about the new route through the Khumbu Icefall (“The Everest Icefall ‘route change’ announced by Nepal is not a solution. It’s an excuse to maintain the status quo.“). Until 2012, Ballinger was the lead Everest guide for Himex. After that season they went their separate ways, obviously not in agreement. “What would Adrian Ballinger know, is this the same person who used to work for me and was told not to come through the icefall in the afternoon, but disagreed with me, and did come, and was almost killed when the Popcorn (Note: A section with a high risk of falling ice) moved, and then had to return to Camp 1 because the ropes had all been buried?”, Russell writes to me. “His opinion is not worth anything.”

Wait and see

Tim Mosedale, expedition leader from the UK, recommends waiting until the new route through the Khumbu Icefall is established. “Never mind what any government or ministry officials say!”, Tim writes to me. “It will go where it goes and that will be decided by the guys who put it in place.”


20. February 2015 | 11:37