BREAKING NEWS: British man arrested for Photoshopping pictures of Mount Everest’s Hillary Step

KATHMANDU: News is reaching us that a 42-year-old expedition leader from Cumbria has been arrested in Nepal for allegedly doctoring images of Mount Everest’s legendary Hillary Step, and posting them on Facebook.

Tom Moosedale from Homebrewdale has had his passport confiscated and is facing a $22,000 fine. He claims that he has not committed a crime and was only describing what he saw.

The Hillary Step, a 12-metre-high cliff on Everest’s south-east ridge is considered a sacred site to the Nepalese, protected by anti-blasphemy laws which prevent anyone suggesting that it might have changed shape.

Mr Moosedale’s photograph of the Hillary Step has been shared widely on social media websites and multimedia apps. It appears to show clearly that the once-mighty precipice high up in the Death Zone on Mount Everest’s fearsome slopes, has become nothing more than a gentle slide you can find in any children’s adventure playground.

The infamous photograph by Tom Moosedale that suggests the Hillary Step may have changed shape. The Nepalese authorities are claiming that Mr Moosedale manipulated the picture using Photoshop (Photo: Moosedale Expeditions)
The infamous photograph by Tom Moosedale that suggests the Hillary Step may have changed shape. The Nepalese authorities are claiming that Mr Moosedale manipulated the picture using Photoshop (Photo: Moosedale Expeditions)

Mr Moosedale claims that the cliff face collapsed in an earthquake two years ago, and has since been eroded to the smoothness of polished marble by the “human snake” of tourists that are dragged up it by Sherpa Guides every year, hoping to tick off the summit of Mount Everest for their bucket lists.

“There is not the slightest possibility that an earthquake could have altered the shape of the Hillary Step,” said Angst Ridden Sherpa, a spokesperson for Nepal’s Ministry of Funny Announcements. “Do not believe these lies. The Hillary Step is an important part of Nepal’s economy. Thousands of people come to climb it every year, and there is no way we would let it fall down in an earthquake. If it did then we would rebuild it.”

“I know Mr Moosedale’s photograph, and other copycat photographs like it, make it look like the Hillary Step has changed shape,” he rabbited on, “but the only explanation is that these photographs have been manipulated using computer software. It is an insult to Nepal. We take these things very seriously. We will do everything possible to ensure that the people responsible for such fake news are punished.”

We spoke to Mr Moosedale from his prison cell in Kathmandu.

“It’s horrible here,” he told us. “I’ve eaten nothing but dal bhat [a popular dish of rice and lentils] for three days and now the room is starting to smell. I’m exhausted from doing interviews with every English-language newspaper in the known world. A reporter from the BBC has even taken the cell next door and asks me questions all night through a hole in the wall. I’ve received death threats from people who say they are fed up of hearing my name mentioned in every bloody news report. They say there is so much about me and the Hillary Step that they can no longer get any decent stories about President Trump.”

If all this wasn’t bad enough, Mr Moosedale has had his passport and wallet taken, and has been told that unless he pays a fine of $22,000 into a Swiss bank account then he will be banned from Nepal for ten years.

“I can’t afford that amount,” he said via email, which has recently become available in Nepal between power cuts. “I tried to sell some of my oxygen bottles to pay for it, but I discovered they had been stolen from a tent on the South Col. If I ever get out of here then I will have to turn my home into a bed and breakfast to repay my debts.”

For years the Hillary Step has been a notorious bottleneck on Mount Everest’s deadly summit route, which has now become so easy that anyone with enough money can climb it without needing to put on crampons. In recent years, tailbacks of several miles have been reported, and tourists regularly have to queue for four days to get up it. If the Hillary Step has really gone then you might think it would be even easier to climb, but some newspapers have been reporting that it will now be harder. This sounds perverse, but there is no need for you to question it.

Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain in the Himalayas near China, has been dogged by controversy this year. There have been so many conflicting stories blowing off its slopes that you don’t know what to believe. The popular Mount Everest blogger Colin Readyornot even described this year’s climbing season as “having more twists than a US-election campaign”. While that might be taking things a bit too far, there is no doubt that the increasing number of climbers posting messages from the many new internet cafés that have opened on its slopes is creating confusion.

A special page has been set up to pay Mr Moosedale’s fine on the crowdfunding website GoFuckMe. There are many reputable charities and NGOs working tirelessly to end global poverty, but if you prefer to donate to Mr Moosedale’s fund instead then click here.

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19 thoughts on “BREAKING NEWS: British man arrested for Photoshopping pictures of Mount Everest’s Hillary Step

  • May 31, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Sorry, but I’m finding it hard to find much sympathy or compassion for the guy. Respect? Learn about the places you’re visiting before you leave and respect their customs.

  • May 31, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Dammit, you had me there!

  • May 31, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    john maclean get a life – this is all bull….Tim posted whilst on the mountain so no photoshop – and he wrote his account prior to this baloney. They can not even spell his name right neither is he in a jail at present! Doh !

  • May 31, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    You appear to be referring to Tim. This article is about Tom. #facepalm

  • May 31, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks, Colin! You mean Tom, of course.

  • May 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Had me going too! Nice one, hilarous

  • May 31, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    This is so great 🙂 Thanks for the laughs & the great photo!

  • June 1, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Oh-oh, I will probably be fined too for below Hillary Step Collapse photo link:

    I don’t have oxygen bottles to sell but maybe I can try selling some South Col beer bottles… 😉

  • June 1, 2017 at 9:34 am

    The link to Mr Moosedale’s fund appears to be dead – how can I donate?! #savetom

  • June 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    OMG, YOU’RE RIGHT – CONSPIRACY!!!! #NepalBlocksGoFuckMePage

  • June 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    I concur with Mr. Readyornot, assessment.

  • June 2, 2017 at 9:40 am

    OMG ! hang on, let me get a look at a calendar ……

  • June 2, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Congratulations, you almost got me until “Angst Ridden Sherpa” confirmed that little nag in the back of my mond.

    Sir, I applaud you. Good one! 🙂

  • June 2, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    *mind … sorry.

  • June 10, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Didn’t I just read that the China Tibet Mountaineering Assn just announced that Mr. Moosedale had actually climbed without a permit, and cited Moosedale as the reason that they are closing Tibet to climbing this fall? Oops, Mr. Moosedale was climbing on the Nepal side, but whatever… the CTMA said Moosedale is as good a reason as any.

  • June 12, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Tom has full respect for international borders, and would be shocked to learn that you have mistaken him for the Polish climber Janusz Adamski, who traversed from Tibet to Nepal without permit or visa.

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  • July 18, 2017 at 2:40 am

    The idea of something being “sacred” is so often not respected if you grow up in a Western Culture where the usurping and undermining of what is sacred and breaking cultural convention is somewhat of a constant evolving pastime and a deliberate exercise in self expression and test of granted freedoms. But before you travel in other countries, the culture and laws should be understood outside the context of where you come from. To quote Doug Scott on his trek through the Karakoram with the Balti people in 1978 -“you realize that YOUR CULTURE is just another culture -not THE CULTURE”

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