The Angry Corrie 21: Jan-Feb 1995
Report from the Top
A seething mass of dirty, unwashed humanity wallows in raw sewage as waste paper and cardboard flutter in the wind. Everest Base Camp, 1994, really is just like any other bothy. If you think Ben Lomond is overcrowded on Fair Saturday, you'd hate the Khumbu Glacier. Usually Nepal doesn't figure much in Scottish minds beyond wanting to avoid them in the opening round of the World Cup ("Well, Dougie, who'd have thought little Tenzing could beat Brian Irvine to that cross?"), but with a Scottish expedition on Everest, let's catch up with the main expeditions currently stuck in a traffic jam in the Western Cwm contraflow:
American Golf Expedition
Bud Pringle's eight-man team aim to be the first humans to place a golfer and clubs on the roof of the world. Resplendent in a Goretex snowsuit with a loud check, Bud says, "We're gonna be the first to tee off from up there, and go down in history along with Columbus, Armstrong and Palmer. Any place they don't have golf don't matter."
Nepali Clear Up Clear Up Expedition
Last year the Nepali Government sponsored a massive team of 200 soldiers to scour the sullied slopes of Everest and remove forty years of climbing refuse. The expedition was a tremendous success, but inevitably such a large team would have to leave a considerable amount of their own equipment behind. This year's expedition will make a determined effort to clear up after the clear up.
French Alpine Expedition
Jean-Claude Vango firmly opposes Himalayan siege-climbing tactics, which he views as expensive, time-consuming and environmentally harmful. He has formed a compact team for an Alpine-style assault. "We are progressing well," says Jean-Claude, "with the cable-car route to the South Col complete and work beginning on the funicular to the summit."
British Everest 25th Anniversary Expedition
Sir Roger Thunder-Blashers' team have chosen the popular South Col route for their commemorative climb. "This is a very special expedition," said one of the team, Rebecca "Geneva" Spur. "We're commemorating whoever it was climbed Everest 25 years ago."
Summits R Us
Samuel L Buckchaser's commercial expeditions annoy many purist mountaineers, but he is highly successful. Buckchaser, for $100,000, will attempt to place rich, ageing Americans on the summit. He has recently gone into partnership with Elmer Z Ripovski who, for $200,000, will take them back down again.
German South-East Ridge Expedition
Kurt Cramponberger's dream since he started climbing has been to be the first man to climb Everest by its SE ridge. Even the discovery that the mountain has no SE ridge failed to daunt this obsessive climber. The massive expedition includes 200 building workers who are hard at work building Everest's first new ridge since the last ice age. "The worst part is waiting for the cement to set," says Kurt. "It's like watching a Chris Bonington documentary."
Scottish Munro Classification Expedition
Sponsored by Peakbaggers Eponymous, this is the first all-Scottish expedition in the Himalaya since the Get Away from the TV after Costa Rica 1990 Expedition. Marilyn Corbett-Bagg and her team are working hard to complete the classification of the Furth-of-Scotland Munros. "It's really exciting," says Marilyn. "We've discovered that all of Nepal and Tibet are over 3000ft, so the whole area is just a single Munro with lots of tops. Scotland has more Munros than the Himalaya!" On a more sombre note, tragedy hit the expedition when a surveyor in the Western Cwm was struck by a golf ball, which shortly before had been two-ironed from the summit by Lyle N Scott.