Six Climber Die on Rainer

The bodies of six climbers are still yet to be recovered after falling 3,300 feet on Mount Rainer. A very unfortunate event that we are seeing more often. It is still early in the season, as we saw with the tragedy on Everest where 11 Sherpas were killed, that does not mean it is any safer. Dix rescue beacons were detected at the base of a 3,300 foot face, authorities are skeptical if the bodies will ever be recovered.

The four climbers and two guides were attempting Liberty Ridge, said by some to be the toughest and deadliest way up the mountain. Since 1897 at least 89 people have died on Rainer, the fifth-tallest mountain in the lower 48. Averaging one climber a year.

This accident is a reminded that experience is not always enough to save your life. Those climbers knew that, which is part of the reason why they chose to climb that mountain. Too many people see climbers as narcissist, this is not true. People that pay 15,000 or more to be hauled up Everest are narcissist. These climbers are afraid to die, they risk the lives of underpaid, underappreciated Sherpas to fix 20,000 feet of rope and create a “yellow brick road” to the top. That is text book narcissism. Read “Forget Me Not” by Jennifer Lowe-Anker, it will put true mountaineering and true love into perspective.

Stay safe out there people.


3 thoughts on “Six Climber Die on Rainer

  1. I’m afraid I can’t agree with there being a difference between this accident on Rainier and ones on Everest. The guides and Sherpas are paid in both circumstances and, without people hiring Sherpas to guide and help them up Everest, the Sherpa people would lose a very large part of their economy. To them, it’s better than having to remain subsistence farmers with little land to try to survive off.

    1. First of all thank you for your opinion, it is great to hear feed back. I agree that the guides and Sherpas are paid in both circumstances, which is great, and that Sherpas have benefited immensely from Western expeditions. Where I think the circumstances differ are where the guides are guiding climbers and the Sherpas are doing the dangerous work for the climbers and in some instances hauling climbers up the mountain. The men who died on Rainer need the guided expertise to keep them on the right route and to assist in minimal rope work, they had climbed before and knew what they were doing. I have complete respect for their attempted ascent as well as their ethics. However, when Sherpas are being underpaid to do the most dangerous work on the mountain and when clients and expedition leaders have blatant disregard for the safety of the Sherpas I feel that lines are crossed. If you want to climb Everest, Sherpas should help carry loads to and up the mountain, no more. You should be fixing your own ropes and placing your own life at risk. Sherpas should not be treated as disposable servants. Please let me know what you think!

      1. Hmm – you do make some good points and, never having been to Nepal, I’m not sure what the Sherpa’s pay rates are like but I do know how poor they would be otherwise.

        As to the guided climbers just needing a guide for the route, I’m not sure that’s any better. I’m of the opinion that route knowledge is probably more important than knowing how to do the technical ropework stuff personally. Perhaps I think that as I’m a mountain-walker rather than a climber (although I climb a bit) and so have a low opinion of anyone not knowing the full route before they hit the hill and having the skills to navigate along it.

        I have to admit to using the Skye Guides in the Cuillin hills of Skye over here as what you term above ‘disposable servants’ as they are there to find me a safe bit of rock to tie onto and tie me to it while I ascend. Without them, I wouldn’t have the nerve to tackle those peaks myself as they’re very scary indeed. I do pay them highly though – I’ve spent a fortune on them so far so that I could complete all the Scottish higher peaks. I needed guides for around 10 of them and managed to borrow a brave mate for another few.

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