Ethics of Ambition, 2013
Posted by sibylle in books, films, photography, skiing, ice, women, Switzerland, Europe (Tuesday October 29, 2013 at 11:25 am)

Why would a climber speak to a class on the Ethics of Ambition?  Does climbing pose ethical dilemmas? It may - if you’re a sponsored climber and under pressure by sponsors to perform. Or if you have a very ambitious goal.

Mt. Everest

I’ll describe recent scenarios  of climbers around the world that involve decisions made by climbers, guides, and Sherpas.

First, ambition requires a great deal of egotism and selfishness, as I’ve discussed before in previous year’s classes.

Once our ambition drives us to set goals such as climbing the world’s highest mountain, or being the fastest person to climb El Capitan, then these goals require much time spent training, and in the case of Mt. Everest, a very large sum of money - about $65,000 to $100,000 (per person) for a guided climb.

Today, many of the rich and would-be famous sign on with a guide to climb Mt. Everest, some inspired by the book, Seven Summits, by Dick Bass and Frank Wells.  In the book review, it states that, “For their third and final attempt on Mt. Everest, Wells had to choose between the summit try and his family.”

Driven and ambitious climbers, after paying $65,000 or more for their chance at the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, have walked right by dying men and left them on the side of the trail alone, to die.

In 2006,   German climber, Thomas Weber,  collapsed and died, less than 20 yards from the trail. A British climber, David Sharp,  became seriously ill and died. IN 2006, 40 climbers, intent on the summit, refused to help. Climbers often pass dying climbers on the mountain without stopping to help - either, because they lack the strength and skills … or, because they are intent on reaching the summit.

In 2012, the Guardian posted a blog about “the ethical dilemmas facing climbers” as they describe how one climber found many bodies attached to the fixed lines and had to walk around them. In conclusion, they ask, “has human life come to count for less than the fulfillment of a personal ambition?”

In 2013, Sherpas attacked Swiss climber Ueli Steck and two of his friends  and threatened to kill them.  Steck says that after passing the Sherpas on the climb, when they returned to camp they were met by “a mob of 100 people hitting us with rocks and they threatened to kill us.”

Swiss info asked Steck what his sponsors said, and Steck replied, “they understand but on the other hand … we don’t get anything for free. The sponsors want to benefit from me. And now, all three of us have to deal with financial disaster. We spent a lot of money…  the world keeps on spinning and I have to keep going.”  Steck said he would not return to Everest after this threat on their lives.
In Oct. of 2013, Steck returned to the Himalayas to solo climb the south face of Annapurna, and said that, though he’ll not forget what happened on Everest, that “I think I’m beginning to find the fun in life once again!”

Büchel and Deutsche Welle looks at the dark side of extreme sports and sponsorship in “the Dark Side of Red Bull - the Perils of Extreme Sports.”

In 2009,  three athletes died while doing (paid) stunts for Red Bull: skier Shane McConkey, parachuter Eli Thompson and basejumper Ueli Gegenschatz - who was  filmed when he was killed.

The press asked “who is responsible for deadly maneuvers?”

Büchel said that McConkey was under tremendous pressure: “In order to stay in business, McConkey perceived himself as challenged to perform ever-more reckless acts - like combining extreme skiing and base-jumping.”

Robb Gaffney, a medical doctor,  described Red Bull marketing as unethical.

And last, but not least,  what about kids climbing? In July 2013, 12-year old Tito Traversa was killed in a fall to the ground when his incorrectly-assembled equipment failed. The Italian prosecutors filed manslaughter charges against five people - the gear manufacturer, the store selling the gear, and the manager and instructor of the club the organized the trip on which Tito was killed.

But who’s really responsible? In my opinion, not the store or manufacturer, if the quick draws are sold unassembled, but whoever put the draws together incorrectly. And whoever checked (or failed to) check them.

Screw shoes for hiking and running on snow or ice
Posted by sibylle in ice, Germany, Switzerland, Europe, Colorado, Idaho, Canada and PNW (Thursday February 24, 2011 at 11:14 am)


My running shoes with screws added for traction

Two years ago, my son made me  “screw shoes” for Christmas (when he asked what I wanted, I said that I wanted  “screw shoes”). I hike in these even in snow, by using gaiters over the show and a vapor barrier inside the shoe. This can be a fancy vapor barrier liner sock, as made by several suppliers, or as simple as a plastic bag. I use grocery bags over my socks, which keeps my feet dry and warm down to zero degrees.

You can also turn hiking boots into screw shoes, and simply remove the screws in spring. I like running on snowy trails, so I use running shoes.

I’ve had the above pair of screw shoes for two years now, and they’ve held up well. Use a relatively new running shoe, with a thick sole, and make sure the screws are short (about 3/8 inch), so as to not feel them

Other outdoor hikers prefer the Yaktrax,  or the Kahtoola MICROspikes work with a heavier hiking boot, but I like traveling light and fast.

Matt Carpenter, 17-time winner of Pikes Peak ascents and marathons,  describes how to make a screw shoe on his website.

Cold winter- Lake Dillon freezes over
Posted by sibylle in skiing, ice, Colorado (Thursday January 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm)

Lk dillon tenmile.jpg

Dec. 24 -Steam still rising from Lake Dillon

Lsunrise 12:30 2.jpg

sunrise Dec. 30 - Lake Dillon is partly frozen

Lake Dillon generally freezes over between Christmas and New Years, and is a few days behind schedule this year.  Apparently, this is the latest freeze in 10 years.
sunrs 1:5.jpg

Jan. 5 - Lake frozen and ice covered with snow

However, the arctic temperatures we endured the end of December made quick work of any remaining water, and by early January a coat of ice fully covered the the lake.

It’ll be a few more days before it’s safe for ice boating, ice fishing, and other recreation on the lake’s surface.

However, the lake in Georgetown freezes earlier (it’s smaller and not as deep), and is open not only to ice fishing, but to ice racing – that’s racing jeeps and other vehicles — on the lake ice.

The next races will take place in Georgetown on January 15th & 16th.

Papert strikes again
Posted by sibylle in ice, women, Germany (Thursday March 9, 2006 at 2:24 pm)

Ines Papert
Ines Papert strikes again

Once again, this German climber beat the competition to win the Ice Climbing World Cup held in Hemsedal, Norway March 3 – 5, 2006.

UIAA 2006 Ice World Cup Final results

Difficulty women
1. Ines Papert (Ger)
2. Maureau Stiphanie (Fra)
3. Jenny Lavarda (Ita)
4. Ksenya Stobnikova (Russ)
5. Anna Torretta (Ita)

How short are our memories!

A year ago, at the 2005 Ouray Ice Festival, she ran up the 165-foot wall so fast that she beat the winner of the men’s event by almost three minutes, becoming the overall winner in the difficulty event.

2005 Difficulty

1. Ines Papert (GER)
2. Will Gadd (CAN)
3. Harry Berger (AUT)
4. Sean Isaac (CAN)
5. Rob Owens (CAN)

Here’s a quote:

Ines’s result is really unique.

The Chief of Black Diamond European branch said: “Ines is very cool. I do not know any woman in athletic sports in which a girl could become better, than the best man!”

It was only a little over 10 years ago that Lynn Hill became the first woman to free El Capitan - a record which held for many years.

Of course, in this same story they also state:
The tenth annual festival “Events in Ouary” (Salt Lake City, Utha), so perhaps we shouldn’t hold it against them that they can’t remember events from 1993.

Papert, despite being the best woman ice climber in the world, and in some years the best overall, considers the most important event of her life the birth, in 2000, of her son Emanuel.

The 31-year old mother plans to retire from cometition so that she can climb big frozen waterfalls. Reminds me of another world cup competitor who went the same route - Lynn Hill, who retired from competition to concentrate on big granite walls. Let’s hope we see similar spectacular results from Ines on the ice!

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