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Himalaya shakedown, continued: whats the worth of a summit certificate?

Posted: Jan 19, 2010 04:47 pm EST

Summit Certificates, issued by authorities in Himalayan countries, have by tradition been accepted as proof of success but do they really prove anything?

By the end of 2009 Pakistans Alpine Club validated a number of false claims contradicting in some cases even the climbers own statements to media. Human error or climbers telling different stories depending on who's asking?

<b>Daniela slams fellow climbers: "9 out of 11 are lying"</b>

Soon after the October 20th Alpine Club of Pakistan's official and final report of summiteers, a heated email by Portuguese Daniela Teixeira reached ExplorersWeb.

This email is to put out the shameless report about the result of mountaineering expeditions in Karakoram this last season of 2009, Daniela wrote. We were absolutely astonished to see 11 summits reported on Gasherbrum II - including three people we had shared BC with.

We were there. Thus, we know for certain that there were only two real summiteers on GII: Ueli Steck and Sechu Lopez. All others included in the list of summiteers are lying, Daniela stated, speaking also on behalf of her climbing mate Paulo Roxo.

<b>Pure speculation about dead climber</b>

No one on our climbing permit and sharing BC with us summited GII and yet Pakistans report declares Boyan Petrov, Mohammad Mirahmadi and Hussein Asghari as successful, Daniela added.

Boyan clearly stated he did not summit. The two Iranians were seen turning around by GI teams. Also, the report considers Luis Barbero a summiteer in fact, nobody will ever know! It is pure speculation, as he was last seen below the summit, at the end of the last ropes fixed by an Iranian team.

Finally, the report files seven further Iranians as summiteers: How can this be if they already admitted they stayed 50 (vertical) meters below the summit? They openly admitted this to us in C1, and then reported Luis Barbero missing.

If all these people summited, maybe Paulo and I should be considered as GII summiteers last year when we stopped a mere 300m below the summit.

<b>Fake paper of recognition</b>

How did the climbing world on the highest mountains on the planet come to this absolutely ridiculous situation, Daniela asks.

This is not only happening in the Karakoram, but also in Nepal and Tibet Himalayas. We increasingly wonder why people go to these big mountains, supposedly aiming for adventure and challenge. Either their DREAM is not there anymore or it has been reduced to a mere certificate!

Deep inside, the liars know they did not make it, and they are so small in their spirit that they just need a fake paper of recognition to try to force others to believe in what they...are not!

Blame is not just on the ones applying for a (fake) summit certificate its also on the ones that approve it, knowing they are supporting a lie.

While the 8000 meter peaks might attract many people (and some climbers), this evolution also discourages the real dreamers.

"After everything we saw again this year; the lack of integrity and mountain behavior, the selfishness to reach the summit by any means and the lies - we can only say: 8000m mountains are becoming an altitude circus!!!!

<b>The facts</b>

Daniela is correct: G2 only 2 summits; K2 and BP none; with GI and NP almost 40 in all, confirmed ExWeb's contributor Rodrigo Granzotto Peron. I congratulate Pakistan Alpine Club for the initiative to do in Pakistan what Liz Hawley does in Nepal-Tibet Himalaya. However, it is necessary to take the 'summits' with reserves.

Beside stats, Danielas accusations are supported by the climbers themselves. Without being asked, Bulgarian Boyan Petrov submitted an expedition debrief to ExplorersWeb. The highest point I reached (on Aug 1st) was actually 30 (horizontal) meters away and 5-7 meters below GII actual summit, Boyan wrote.

Word is that Golestani mountaineers Hussain Asghari and Mohammad-Reza Mir Ahmadi have summited GII, but there is still no photo to prove the claim, Irans IMZ News reported on August 14th. Spanish Sechu Lopez stated the Iranians left C3 about two hours after him, but turned back before reaching C4.

Iranian mountain media further investigated Teherans team, prompting expedition leader Kaveh Kashefi to clarify, "Iranians stopped about fifty meters shy from the summit."

<b>Pakistan: It is the leaders and climbers moral duty to give correct information"</b>

Asked for a comment, Karrar Haidri and Saad Tariq Siddiqi (Ex Secretary Alpine Club of Pakistan) replied:

The results are compiled on the basis of the certified information provided by the expedition leaders at the debriefing sessions with Alpine Club of Pakistan upon return from the mountains. Names of all Iranians and all other GII climbers have been certified by their leaders as successful summiteers. The leaders also signed copies of such certificates.

It is the leaders and climbers moral duty to give correct information about their success at the time of debriefing. Alpine Club of Pakistan is not to be blamed for the incorrect results. Leaders of all such expedition may be asked to clarify their position.

<b>Ed note:</b> Due to the many errors, ExplorersWeb never published the 2009 PAC end report. However it should be noted that in the midst of serious political issues, bombings, natural disasters and poverty, Pakistan tries to protect western mountaineers with police escorts on KKH and in heroic heli rescues on the slopes. The climbing reports and certificates are a complimentary service, with climbing fees vastly lower than those in Nepal and Tibet.

<i>Swiss Ueli Steck summited GII on July 9th, 2009; Spanish Sechu Lopez followed on August 2nd. A few climbers managed to top-out neighboring GI, while no one summited Broad Peak or K2 in 2009.</i>

#Mountaineering #Opinion #Stats #feature #choice

The crux: GII upper summit ridge, sharp and exposed. Image courtesy of Sechu Lopez (click to enlarge).
Image by Sechu Lopez
Outspoken Daniela Teixeira back home in Portugal. Image courtesy of her website (click to enlarge).
Sechu Lopez (insert) with gear on GII summit. Image courtesy of Sechu's website (click to enlarge).
Daniela and Paulo defending the truth. Image courtesy of Daniela's website (click to enlarge).