How much does overcrowding, experience, age and sex affect how likely a climber is to reach the summit of Everest or die trying? A scientific paper was published last week that addressed these very questions. So what did it conclude?Read more
Nirmal Purja’s ascent of all fourteen 8,000m peaks: why is it controversial?
Last week was one of those weeks when a mountaineering story is so big that it makes it into the popular press. On the face of it, it was a straightforward story of someone smashing a record to smithereens. But if you dig a little deeper, there is another side to it.Read more
In memory of Chongba Sherpa of Tate, a high-altitude superstar
While I was in Kathmandu last month, I learned that Chongba Sherpa passed away last year after a short battle with cancer. He climbed with me on Manaslu in 2011 and Everest in 2012, and we stood on both summits together. He climbed Everest a remarkable 14 times.Read more
A peek inside the Himalayan Database, the archives of Elizabeth Hawley
A couple of weekends ago, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a while: install the Himalayan Database on my computer and play around with it. The Himalayan Database is a comprehensive record of expeditions to peaks in Nepal, based on the archives of Elizabeth Hawley.Read more
Nepal’s scramble for first ascents – or are they?
In 2014, the government of Nepal published a list of 104 peaks that were newly open for climbing, unleashing a scramble to make their first ascents. There was just one problem. Some of these peaks had already been climbed before.Read more
How to verify a Manaslu summit claim
There was another big controversy on Manaslu this year. It was widely reported that record numbers reached the summit, but it now appears that a problem with the rope fixing meant that the majority didn’t reach the main summit at all, but one of the two foresummits.Read more