Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cameras on the Kumbu Ice Fall?

After telling the 30th person about my adventures, I had the idea, what if we had cameras monitoring the ice fall? Even just one camera would probably be able to give us quite a lot of information. I took the picture below on April 16th about 45 hours before the avalanche happened. 
45 Hours pre-serac falling, April 16th, taken from Pumori C1. The serac that avalanched is on the lower left 1/3 of the height up from the bottom and 1/3 of the width from the left to the right. It is angling down from left to right. It looks overhanging to me.
My suggestion, in the future to prevent this tragedy, is to have a camera, roughly the same location this picture was taken, monitor the glaciers in this area and when you get a picture like this, don't climb for a couple days until it falls.

The difficult part is that on the right side of the picture is the Nuptse ridge, and you can see hanging glaciers on that wall as well. The standard south col route passes between the two ridges and you don't want to get very close to either ridge. 

Another suggestion, at base camp, was could we use explosives  to make the route more safe. While it's a good idea and used frequently in North America, it's expensive and requires skills and bringing those skills to Everest, at 20,000 feet on the wall you are looking at would require significant effort, and still no true guarantee that the serac you toppled is the one that will fall next. Here is a more detailed analysis of the glacier before and after it fell

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