Marc Batard: ‘Everest is Not Respected Any More’

What’s been going on with Marc Batard during this week of Everest summits?

Readers may recall that the former speed climber was undertaking one of the very few original projects on the Big E this season. First, he planned a no-O2 ascent to commemorate his 70th birthday. Second and most interesting, he wanted to set up a new, alternative route to the Western Cwm that avoids the dangerous Khumbu Icefall. Batard was also the climber who in 1988, sped up Makalu’s West Pillar on his own. That same year, he climbed Everest in a remarkable 22 hours 29 minutes.

We asked the veteran French climber for his comments on the recent speed ascent up Makalu, and about his progress on that new variation route via Nuptse. It seems that Batard is simply too burned-out to continue for now.

It’s all about the money

“I’m sorry but I lost motivation because of a lot of things,” he told ExplorersWeb. “The mountain is not respected anymore, [it’s about] the money, the helicopters…Maybe I’ll find my motivation again. For now, I am waiting for the Nepalese government to invite me to finish what I started, and where I spent a lot of money and time.”

The sons and the fathers: Left, Tenji Sherpa and Alan Batard; right, Marc Batard and Pasang Nuru.

 

Batard also referred to a “mess”, but he didn’t say whether this referred to Everest, his new route, or the FKT (Fastest Known Time) claimed on Makalu.

As we pointed out, Nico Miranda and Karl Egloff made an impressive ascent on Makalu without supplementary O2 or supporting Sherpas. The speedy pair hustled from Advanced Base Camp to the summit in 17 hours 18mins. Yet their climb is not really comparable to Batard’s. For one thing, he used a different route. And while he tried to go fast, his goal in 1988 was not an FKT  — there was no such acronym at the time — but to minimize the time at altitude during his lonely ascent.

The issue on Everest is — complicated.

Batard’s French-Nepali team is connected by family ties. Batard climbs with his son Alan and friend Pasang Nuru Sherpa, who has also added his own son Tenji to the team.

Assisted by a small group of French guides, they started opening the new variation route last year. It went across the side of Nuptse and down to the Khumbu Glacier at around 6,000m. It was not an easy passage, but Batard planned to fix it with metal cables and bolts, almost like a European Via Ferrata.

A member of Batard’s team on the new route in spring 2021. Photo: Jean-Marc Demoz

 

Red tape

This season, when he arrived in Nepal, he encountered red tape. Nepal’s Department of Tourism considered that his route was not strictly on Everest, but on Nuptse, so they issued him a permit for the latter mountain. If he wanted to climb Everest, they told him that he needed another permit and that he would have to pay for it rather than get a freebie, as he’d been hoping.

The summit of Everest was his ultimate goal, so he didn’t understand the Nuptse decision. Mainly, he felt unfairly treated because he was working to help future climbers and workers avoid the risks of the Khumbu Icefall. He felt that the fee for an expensive Everest permit should be waived in this case.

Marc Batard said he will write about all these matters in a few days. But the underlying question is, what if the Nepalis don’t need (or even want) his route? Helicopters now transport the ropes to fix the route up Everest — as well as oxygen bottles, tents, and other items — above the Icefall. Air transportation has become one of the most thriving businesses related to the mountain.

In addition, the widespread use of oxygen from as low as Camp 2, and ample pre-acclimatization — either at home or on trekking peaks — means that climbers don’t need to pass up and down through the Icefall as often as before. According to a few courageous whistleblowers, we even hear how some climbers may fly to Camp 2 to avoid the Khumbu Icefall entirely.

Clearly, Everest has changed a great deal since Batard was last there. We look forward to his report.

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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Maysnow
Maysnow
1 month ago

Geld regiert die Menschen auf diesem schönen Planeten, zu wenig Respekt ethischer Werte.. Daran sind nicht mal die Nepalesischen Unternehmer schuld. Es ist zu weit fortgeschritten. Die Schweizer Bergrettung ist nicht schuld, dass jetzt zu Camp 2 geflogen wird und die Seile mit Heli kommen. Zu viele gute Ideen werden ausgenutzt auf dieser Welt und denen, die sie weiter nutzen, kann man es nicht in Gänze verübeln. Solange wie wir egoistische Gesellschaftssysteme haben, wird es diesem Lebensentwurf auf der Erde schaden und ihn vielleicht vernichten. Gut, dass Herr Batard sich zurückzieht. Manchmal ist die Zeit nicht gekommen, bestimmte Ideen der… Read more »

Yeti
Yeti
1 month ago
Reply to  Maysnow

Batard wiederholt nur die üblichen Klischees und lamentiert, daß andere das tun, was er getan hat: den Everest besteigen. Erbärmlich und ethisch einfach ekelhaft!

Marie
Marie
1 month ago
Reply to  Yeti

Nein, er lamentiert nicht darüber, dass sie das tun, sondern wie und warum sie das tun.

Rabin Upadhaya
Rabin Upadhaya
1 month ago

It is for your own safety.

P.R.
P.R.
1 month ago

I think Batard came 10 years late! These days every tourist picks the helicóptero to camp 2 on Everest. He is not adressing to climbers anymore. At Everest, we are speaking about business and massive tourism, not Alpinism at all, anymore.

Brodie
Brodie
1 month ago
Reply to  P.R.

That is exactly why Everest is just a pikers peak now, a tourist trap, a beaten down clown show… all for. $$$$

Brodie
Brodie
1 month ago
Reply to  Brodie

Then climbers should only do the North Ridge Route. The long approach will keep them honest.

Yeti
Yeti
1 month ago

Boring and untrue. I’m really tired of this bashing. So, monsieur Batard (!!), what you do, others shouldn’t do?

Kevin
Kevin
1 month ago

8000ers are becoming a playground for miljonaires and attention seekers. Its hard to understand for real climbers like him and wilco van rooijen what currently happening on the mountains nowadays. Mountains are becoming to dangerous as well for no ox climbers because of the crowds

Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith
1 month ago

I agree that Everest isn’t respected anymore. Expedition companies, through experience since the 1990 ‘s, has made The summiting of Everest almost line a Theme Park attraction. Yes, there are dangers, Altitude Sickness, deadly weather, and the always perilous Kumbu Ice Falls, but with the help of Guides and Sherpas, and all the way to the top pretty much roped for the climbers, inexperienced climbers now have a really good opportunity to summit Everest. I think that with the loss of the Hillary Step, to an Earthquake several years ago, that climbers have to only climb a ridge standing in… Read more »

Le Mec
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan Smith

K2 has already become commercialized, fixed ropes from bottom to top on the Abruzzi with guided clients log jammed at House Chimney and the Bottleneck. Fortunately, most Instagrammers will be too intimidated by the much steeper terrain than on Everest, and lack of creature comforts during the long and rugged approach. But you can, if not now then likely very soon, skip the stunning approach altogether with a quick heli trip to base camp.

E Conboy
E Conboy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan Smith

Complete with a fishing stream, lodge, movie theater, dance hall and hot tub. Come one come all. Bring the kids! OMG!

Uttam
Uttam
1 month ago

Whoever says Everest isn’t respected anymore is getting it all wrong. It’s their mindset that needs to change. It’s NOT Everest but a certain style of climbing that is not respected anymore, be it on Everest or any other 8000’er. Everest is still the highest mountain in the world … and no other mountain can take that away from Everest … And I’ve not heard of or read about any serious high altitude mountain climber, saying, “Nope, I’m not climbing Everest, it isn’t respected anymore.” No self-respecting mountaineer would say or do that. You can climb all the 8000ers and… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Uttam
Chris Warner
Chris Warner
1 month ago
Reply to  Uttam

Uttam, the late great Norbert Joos Summited 13 of the 14 8000m peaks. He purposely left Everest off his list! His list of climbing accomplishments before and after his Himalayan climbs are world class (I met him climbing El Cap). He definitely didn’t have a “big hole” in his mountaineering life. Hopefully none of us need to summit Everest to feel fulfilled.

Uttam
Uttam
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris Warner

if he gave up Everest because it is not respected anymore, then Norbert Joos was a fool. like i said it is a certain style of climbing that is not respected anymore, not Everest. feel sorry for him that his flawed thinking led him to give up on it. if he were smart, he’d have said, “i’ll climb Everest first and get it over and done with and never come back to it again.” his types (“snobs”) don’t like the fact every Tom Dick and Harry and Mary and Jane are now climbing Everest. Norbert will never know what it… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Uttam
Yeti
Yeti
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris Warner

So what? It’s not about bagging peaks, it’s about being at that very spot where the world ends! Not to BRAGG about it but to simply experience that feeling! Mountaineering is about FEELING! more about technicality…

LZF
LZF
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris Warner

I thought Norbert did not finish the 14 due to health issues

Uttam
Uttam
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris Warner

Hey Chris Warner, why you spreading misinformation? you wrote Norbert Joos purposely left Everest off his list. you make it sound like he never even attempted Everest once. but he attempted Everest several times (a whopping six times) without 02 but couldn’t summit it for whatever reason (see Note1 below). i took your words at face value and wrote him off as a snob. i take that back- i was wrong to write him off without ascertaining your lie first. yeah, like hell you are privy to everything that went in his life… like he didn’t have a big hole… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Uttam
antonio gomes
antonio gomes
1 month ago
Reply to  Uttam

i just read the wiki/wiki and the french text is full of mistakes on the cause of his death

Yeti
Yeti
1 month ago
Reply to  Uttam

It’s the END of the World… The Poles are not the end. Just keep walking, you go round… Everest, you can’t go higher! Finito, maestro! It’s a very special feeling… I forgot to check my altimeter, when I climbed Everest. The only time I looked at it: “8.611 m!” I smiled… I though, ok, next step, you are higher than any other mountain on EARTH! In fact, I started feeling the divine when I arrived at the South Col: Looking at the Summit Triangle, I heard angels singing…

Gp Capt Narender Dahiya.
Gp Capt Narender Dahiya.
1 month ago
Reply to  Uttam

Point taken. Then came ‘All 8000s’.
So far so good. But then came ‘7 Summit’ concept. Your opinion ? I think it’s just commercial marketing !

Raj
Raj
1 month ago

Sorry to read Gov not being supportive on permit issues . Lets respect the legend and the beautiful plan they are bringing to Nepal mountain Tourism .

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

For the record, he was asking people flying to Kathmanduto bring his ropes, to save money from excess baggage lol

Yeti
Yeti
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Batard cut the ADIDAS stripes from his gear, back in the 80s/90s. That guy is a weirdo.
Pasang Nuru is a very good guy though, I met him on Everest in 2018 (he was guiding a friend).

Murilo Lessa
Murilo Lessa
1 month ago

this guy is such a bad joke. went, bolted, trashed the rock with his “new approach”, got enough attention and now bids on a discount because he cant afford whilst bitching the toxic sad 8000 meters culture that he himself is also responsible in supporting…

antonio gomes
antonio gomes
1 month ago
Reply to  Murilo Lessa

respect what Mr.Batard did as a top Alpinist.

Le Mec
1 month ago

An alternate via ferrata to avoid the icefall is irrelevant because soon it’ll be heli shuttles to C2 as standard practice. Imagine the revenue! The majority of which will, as always, go to enriching government officials in Kathmandu rather than aiding the impoverished Nepali people.

Last edited 1 month ago by Le Mec
Yeti
Yeti
1 month ago
Reply to  Le Mec

I have been on 5 Everest expeditions. I would NEVER climb the mountain and be air-lifted to C1 or C2. The Icefall is a magnificent place I LOVE!

Le Mec
1 month ago
Reply to  Yeti

Congratulations, glad you enjoyed it. The majority of climbers killed on Everest die in the icefall, most of them Sherpas working for wealthy clients.

Richard Salisbury
1 month ago
Reply to  Le Mec

Between 1950-2021, there have been 199 deaths on the Everest south side:

73 from 7900m to the summit
52 from 6000m to 7899m
44 from 5400m to 5999m (Icefall altitude)
30 below 5400m (BC and below)

The higher altitudes are more dangerous than the Icefall altitudes, especially as you get closer to the summit.

From the Himalayan Database.

Yeti
Yeti
1 month ago

I really am curious about how many critics here have actually climbed – especially 8.000 m peaks. I get a feeling that most seem to be repeating the msm and politically correct clichés which are simply false.

Tracey Archer Redfern
1 month ago

It saddens me to hear that people have no respect for Everest & that it seems to be a rich person’s experience, to climb it, because they can afford to have their ropes, oxegen bottles etc, helicoptered to camp 2, my fellow New Zealander, Rob Hall, died trying to climb it and keep his clients safe when they were caught out in a storm, he & his clients were climbing it with respect, no cheating the way people do now. I live on Mount Ruepahu, a popular ski destination in New Zealand and I see the same lack of respect,… Read more »

JPClimber
JPClimber
1 month ago

I have to say, I believe climbing is personal and unless you are competing with specific records or individuals, the spirit is to challenge yourself. I have however seen Damian and Angela challenge individuals comparing themselves to other climbing accomplishments consistently until today. I live in kentucky and saw Lucy on Good Morning America as the youngest American to climb Everest. They asked how she did it in just 4 weeks and she ignored the question. Obviously she used a high flow rate of oxygen — its awesome she did what she did at 18 but she isn’t stupid. She… Read more »

Jerry Kobalenko
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  JPClimber

From its beginnings 20 years ago, ExplorersWeb has always strived to cover accomplishments fairly, regardless of gender or nationality. Angela was involved in analyzing Oh Eun-Sun’s 2010 claim to have been the first woman to have climbed all 14 8000m peaks. The investigation (https://explorersweb.com/everest_k2/news.php?id=19768) made it clear that the Korean woman had fallen short on Kangchenjunga. As a result, Edurne Pasaban became rightly credited as the first woman to have finished this list. ExWeb’s persistent investigations likewise prompted Austrian Christian Stangl to admit that he had not summited K2. We were also the first to ask whether Colin O’Brady had… Read more »

JPClimber
JPClimber
1 month ago

I wasn’t trying to put down Explorersweb. I just read the recent article on her a few days ago that was shared and it was brief and to the point with no further commentary. My issue is I feel because she is the youngest female she is getting a pass. When I saw good morning america I was shocked with how fast she climbed Everest and I am pretty sure she could only possibly do that with an extra high flow rate of oxygen. But when she was specifically asked “How did you climb Everest so much faster than other… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by JPClimber
E Conboy
E Conboy
1 month ago
Reply to  JPClimber

I bet she just dying to answer that question!

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

A ridiculous waste of time and money.

Dr.Dinkar Gunjal.M.D.
Dr.Dinkar Gunjal.M.D.
1 month ago

It’s a sad story of”Money”taking over the spirit of adventure and human grit, motivation, ingenuity, perseverance!
It has lost the charm,and for the sake of”fame”people without any wherewithal of mounteniring and respect for mighty Himalayas are trying to summit Sagarmatha aka E,just because they’ve money!
What a commodification of NATURE, which is not going to forgive us in the long run.
Sagarmatha should be left alone and ALL expeditions need to be stopped,at least for a decade.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

He’s whining because he didn’t get his way … didn’t he get stuff choppered up and dropped for himself ? He assumed he needed one permit obviously not doing the prop planning then feels he should get it free because he’s doing the guides a favour 😂 the mountain may no longer be respected, he’s just as guilty! I’m tired of the Everest drama and would never go now it’s lost any appeal with the dramatic never ending news coverage and people like this guy!

fred west
fred west
1 month ago

Maybe he should retire.

lmontejo
lmontejo
1 month ago

I totally agree with Mr. Batard’s conclusions, and wrote about this before the beginning of this season.

https://wicis-sports.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-ethics-of-everest-expeditions.html

Gp Capt Narender Dahiya.
Gp Capt Narender Dahiya.
1 month ago

In Himalayas, when you are the only team attempting even 7000s or 6009s with no Satphones even to call in rescue, no Khumbu Doctors type assistance, no pooling in resources to open route/ fix ropes ! It gives a great climbing experience and satisfaction. So what if people at large won’t appreciate as much as an Everest. But, does a Mountaineer goes to peaks to find solace/ satisfaction out of effort put in/face challenges etc etc ? Or to seek glory ?! C’mmon guys ! Just enjoy your climbs. I Attempted Everest from North, turned around due failure of Summit… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Gp Capt Narender Dahiya.
Gp Capt Narender Dahiya.
Gp Capt Narender Dahiya.
1 month ago

BTW, How about attempting the yet Unclimbed mountains! There are plenty left still ! I know the list in Indian Himalayas. Come, be my guest ! I promise to come along and facilitate permits etc. Had the privilege of being Director of Indian Mountaineering Foundation.