Learning from Tragedy on Everest

Learning from Tragedy on Everest

peak-300x225As a climber and a team and leadership specialist I want to take some time to discuss the recent tragic events on Mount Everest. You may have heard in the news about the deaths on Everest over the last few days. Everest is a dangerous place and deaths are part of every climbing season. However, this year there have been 11 deaths and the season is not even over. This is considerably higher than most years. When I summitted in 2008 there was only one death. So what makes this year different than other years? What is it that causes climbers to die on Everest? There are no simple or complete answers to these questions, but there are several factors that play into them. Over the next few blog postings I will reflect on and explore this tragedy based on my 25 years of climbing experience and, particularly, on my personal experience on Mount Everest.

 

As with everything in life some of the factors that are leading to climbers’ deaths on Everest are outside their circles of influence. But many are not. I will touch on both in my blog.

I see three main factors that lie within our circle of influence that are causing issues on Everest:

  1. overcrowding,
  2. inexperienced climbers, and
  3. lack of team work.

Outside of our circle of influence is a big one: climate change.

Some of the topics I will discuss include:

  • Why is Mount Everest so dangerous?
  • Why are so many people going to Everest in spite of this danger?
  • Is there an overcrowding issue on Everest?
  • How is climate change impacting safety on Everest?
  • Is inexperience playing a role in the deaths on the mountain?
  • What role does leadership play in success, failure and death on Everest?
  • How to be a great leader.
  • What role does team work play in success, failure and death on Everest?
  • How to build a high performance team.
  • How can one prepare for a climb of Everest?
  • What is a smart risk?

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