Mt. Everest: RMI Expedition Ends

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

We began the day with hope that we might be getting closer to resuming climbing.  Billy and JJ took the climbers hiking while Mark Tucker and I met with a number of other climb leaders and Sherpa sirdars.  Those meetings convinced us that the right course was to give up on Mount Everest for Spring 2014.  In future dispatches, we’ll try to quantify the reasons for such a decision.  But for now, suffice to say that the risks outweigh the possibility of success.

This week has been a roller coaster of emotion for many of us, from the horror that came with the avalanche of April 18, to the confusion that followed it regarding the right course to take for balancing respect for the dead, concern for team safety and summit ambitions.  Following the accident, our list of serious obstacles to an Everest summit was always significant, but we believed it worthwhile to continue looking for some way forward.  Our climbers, Sherpas, guides, and outfitters had put too much into the planning and execution of this trip to let go of the goal with less than our best effort.  We’ve given that now.

We’ll start heading for home soon.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Mt. Everest, Nepal. Photo: Jake Norton

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Comments

RMI guides make great decisions.  Dave, Billy, JJ.  This is why I’ve climbed a number of summits with RMI—you literally are trusting them with your life to make good decisions. 

While I’m sure this was an extremely difficult decision, I believe it was the right one.  Sometimes you have to listen to what the mountain (and circumstances) are telling you.

Safe travels home.

Posted by: Dan on 4/25/2014 at 6:38 am

So sorry for the loss and for the tough situation it put you all.  I’m glad you are safe and coming home.  JJ—you’ll have many, many more climbs….

Posted by: Randy Christofferson on 4/25/2014 at 4:23 am

A very tough decision to make I am sure - but the best one in light of the previous days events.
Safe travels to all….

Posted by: Jeff Hall on 4/24/2014 at 4:59 pm

Nicole and team, I am so sorry.  This is history in the making and you were there to bear witness to this tragedy.  Pray for the lives lost.  Come home safely.  Sandy

Posted by: Sandy Murray on 4/24/2014 at 4:35 pm

Dr. Choo

We just wanted to say we are sorry the trip has to come to an end but know it is the best decision for everyone.  Our hearts go out to everyone lost and their families.  Have safe trip home. Also Chuck says hi.

Posted by: Jessica & Brenda on 4/24/2014 at 2:34 pm

James,
Mostly glad you are safe. Wish you were able to attempt a summit, but this was not the year. Things are going well at the office. My son Michael is planning a trip to Everest basee camp in May. Is this wise?
joe

Posted by: Joe Browder on 4/24/2014 at 1:28 pm

James,

I just returned from New Zealand where I visited my son, and am now hearing about the awful event and situation.  So so sad. 

Now I want to wish you and the others with you a safe trip back to your homes and loved ones. 

No question about it ... what has occurred is absolutely terrible.  As time provides distance, I hope all who are qualified objectively analyze and consider what has happened, what factors may have contributed, and what may be appropriately done in the future to successfully influence any of the controllable factors.  I am confident, because of RMI’s experience, sensitivity and caring, it will provide helpful and nurturing suggestions and leadership. 

I want to personally thank Dave and his leadership team for helping you and the others right now.  Their assessment of the situation and sound decisions is very much appreciated. 

I want to encourage all of you now to take care and support each other.  And please, consider seeking additional emotional help as needed upon your returns.

My warm regards,

Fred K

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 4/24/2014 at 1:18 pm

As always Dave Hahn makes the right decisions at the right time.  It is an understatement to say you can trust your life with Dave because he has proven to be the man you want and need if you have a problem on Mt. Everest.

Posted by: Chris Reither on 4/24/2014 at 8:43 am

‘Luke’ needs to give his head a shake. His statements are exactly what is wrong with a said percentage of the climbing culture today. ‘Honoring the dead’ as he describes amounts to an excuse to act selfishly in resuming one’s personal pursuit. The Sherpa people are the workhorses of any commercial expedition and its arguably our desire to climb that creates their required employ. We essentially provide the reason for them to even tempt fate year in year out - because its a lucrative offering that sustains their livelihood. This incident was historically the worst ever by numbers and witnessed by many. Unless any of us were there, one cannot even fathom the effects of such a loss. It was tragic at all levels, an objective danger materialized and many a life was lost. If you know anything about the Sherpa, respect and loyalty then you know the mountain has spoken…and equally you know it will always be there. A very difficult but respectful and classy decision by RMI and all those who follow suit. A respect for humanity trumps everything, and sadly its something current society is losing sight of. RMI has shown great courage and respect in this decision and I wish you safe travels home.

Posted by: John C on 4/24/2014 at 7:59 am

Kara and team
Be proud of what you have accomplished
Safe travels home and prayers to those whose lives were lost.

Posted by: Tonya on 4/24/2014 at 6:42 am

People die on Everest Every year, yet climbing continues.  In 1996, Ed Viesturs put it best when he said the best way to honor the dead is to climb the mountain.  I think it’s stupid to quit the trip.  I’ll be anxious to read the dispatches in the coming days to hear “why” this trip was cancelled.

Posted by: Luke on 4/24/2014 at 6:11 am

James, JJ and Kara and team: So sorry for the sherpa losses and my prayers for the families continue…Sorry too for your disappointment…Your respectful and courageous decision will be rewarded… Godspeed on your return…Thank you for demonstrating the best of the brotherhood / sisterhood of the rope…Walter

Posted by: walter glover on 4/24/2014 at 4:40 am

Very wise decision. Safe travels to you all on your journey down and home.

Posted by: Patti Tebo on 4/24/2014 at 3:31 am

Dear Dave and team,

My heart dropped when I heard about the avalanche and loss of so many lives last week.  Thank you for the updates each day, and the thoughtfulness of your words and actions.  Thank you for your bravery, compassion, and wisdom navigating this deeply sad and challenging time on the Mountain.  Safe travels.  ~Andrea

Posted by: Andrea Sparks on 4/24/2014 at 2:40 am

Although very sad to hear the news of your decision not to continue, it is also reassuring to know that you continue to embrace with respect the relationship you have with your Sherpa climbing family.  Sometimes where there is great loss, there ae also great lessons to be learned.  I have no doubt you have done the right thing. Safe travels, everyone.

Posted by: Josephine on 4/24/2014 at 2:17 am

Kara and Team,
I agree with what everyone has said. You are part of history, and I can tell my son that his Aunt Kara was there to witness this tragedy. I have no doubt that you will be there again next year to finish what you started. Thanks for the great communication, RMI. We all appreciate it more than you realize! See you soon! Love, Dixie

Posted by: Dixie Trunko on 4/24/2014 at 2:09 am

Thanks for calling this evening James. Hardly imagine what you and team have experienced on Mt. Everest. Please focus on returning home safely in good health. SC

Posted by: Soonja Choo on 4/23/2014 at 8:45 pm

Where does one even begin to express their deep sorrow for all everyone has endured at Everest during this climbing season.  My prayers go out to everyone touched by this incident.  I have so much respect for your team and I know the Sherpas and their families will respect your decision for years to come.  Your decision to cancel your expedition is trully honorable and says a lot about your integrity as a team and company!!  I wish for you all a safe return home to your loved ones!

Posted by: Tammy Doppenberg on 4/23/2014 at 8:39 pm

Tough decision but clearly the right and honorable one. Billy, I can’t imagine what you and everyone are feeling right now. Please know that you and everyone have 100% of our support. Safe travels home kiddo and see you soon. Love from this cuz and all the rest…

Posted by: Margaret Wenzel on 4/23/2014 at 8:02 pm

A tough decision like this is what has made RMI, Dave and Mark successful and the only outfit I climb with. God speed and prayers for the families of those lost.

Posted by: Jeff Olson on 4/23/2014 at 8:00 pm

Close call for you on the day before.  Great call for you to make that thoughtful decision on behalf of your many
Nepalese friends. Congratulations!

Posted by: Chuck Roberts on 4/23/2014 at 7:51 pm

Tough call guys but the right one. RMI Rocks.

Safe travels back home Dave. Maybe see you up on Wheeler soon.

Posted by: Phillip on 4/23/2014 at 7:44 pm

Safe travels on your way down.

Posted by: Todd McPencow on 4/23/2014 at 7:36 pm

Hi Im just wondering for future reference if you give any refund ,partial or in full, or nothing at all ? Is there an option for an insurance to cover losses in this type of cacellations? Thanks

Posted by: adrian on 4/23/2014 at 7:30 pm

Dave and Mark, I’m sure it took tremendous courage to make this decision.  What a terrible situation.  You are doing the right thing, though, and lots of love and best wishes to all.

Posted by: Sandra Cook on 4/23/2014 at 7:28 pm

Thoughts and prayers to all on the mountain!  Can’t even begin to understand what everyone has been through.  Safe travels home!

Posted by: Cindy Dell on 4/23/2014 at 6:52 pm

Greetings Team -

As much as I have tried to imagine what it has been like over there the last 5 days, I know that I’m not even close to feeling some of the emotions: anxiety, sadness, uncertainty, fear, loss.  I wish I had been there to experience this unprecedented event with all of you.  Saying farewell to the mountain now is the logical,wise, spiritual and reverent decision that must be made.  The Sherpa people need to grieve as they wish. Have a safe journey home.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 4/23/2014 at 6:41 pm

Very tough decision.  I am sure it was a hard call.  Be safe coming home.

Posted by: Ryan Foss on 4/23/2014 at 6:14 pm

My heart goes out to those families who lost loved ones. The impact is impossible to comprehend. Those men were fathers, husbands, sons, brothers and the primary support for their families. The families will be suffering from the impact of this tragedy for a life time.

Showing your respect by retreating is good form. The loss of a climb and the loss of money is nothing compared to the loss those Sherpa families are experiencing.

I wish you all safe travels back home to your own loved ones.

Posted by: Mike Renz on 4/23/2014 at 5:49 pm

We are thinking of all of you and those who were lost. I am so proud of the RMI guides and Sherpas who helped in the rescue and recovery effort despite the risks. It must have been very hard for the past few days for everyone on the mountain and I am so sorry to hear the quest this year has come to an end as I know how much effort went into the preparation for this expedition. Let’s remember those who were lost and be grateful for those who are still here. Send you love and support! Safe travels. - FX

Posted by: FX on 4/23/2014 at 5:35 pm

Will continue to pray for you all…for strength, wisdom and courage.  Incredibly tough but wise decision.  Safe travels home.

Posted by: Susan on 4/23/2014 at 4:53 pm

Honorable and thoughtful! As a client of yours, i thank you.

Posted by: David Smith on 4/23/2014 at 4:17 pm

Your RMI team once told me “The Mt. will always be there to climb another day” and I’m sure you’re going to be there to. I’m honored to say I have climbed with your guides… Safe travels!

Posted by: Joseph Del Grosso on 4/23/2014 at 4:11 pm

I was totally knocked over with the decision.  I thought things work out with time and mediation, but it didn’t.  I know the right decision was made with the issues you were facing and, as you can see, we all support this difficult decision y’all had to make following the tragic event on April 18.  Safe travels.

Posted by: Mary C on 4/23/2014 at 4:06 pm

Highest regards to you and your team- a most honorable and thoughtful decision!!  Thank you for being so caring and selfless!  Strong human beings!!
Peace and hugs to all involved

Posted by: Cathy on 4/23/2014 at 4:04 pm

You guys did the right thing.

Posted by: Gary Grief on 4/23/2014 at 3:46 pm

I’m so sorry Jeff and Team I know how hard you worked and looked forward to this expedition. May you have future summits, health and happiness. I’m so sorry. Thank you RMI for posting how we can help the local Families affected by this tragedy.

Posted by: Jodi Justman on 4/23/2014 at 3:39 pm

Mountains are no respecter of persons. The lives tragically lost are a reminder to all of how great this mountain is - all the more to tread wisely and reverently. May all of you affected by the past week’s event be comforted by friends and family.

Michelle

Posted by: michelle on 4/23/2014 at 3:26 pm

This was the tough but right choice. It shows stregnth and respect for the living and the dead. Karma is a very real and important thing. The Sherpa will value your respect.

Posted by: Robin Miller on 4/23/2014 at 3:14 pm

It is very hard to go so far and not get a crack at the mountain but this decision is very admirable and respectful to those brave men who lost their lives.  I hope the team has a safe trip home.

Posted by: Bryce on 4/23/2014 at 3:09 pm

So sorry but good call

Posted by: Gary Butcher on 4/23/2014 at 3:08 pm

Sorry it came to that, but good call.

Posted by: Greg on 4/23/2014 at 2:56 pm

A lot of respect and admiration for you and your team to make the decision to come down as opposed to risking what could potentially be everyone’s safety.  Thoughts and prayers to all. Safe travels home.
Rachael ABQ uptown RS 985 NM/CO

Posted by: Rachael C. Lujan on 4/23/2014 at 2:45 pm

It must be hugh disappointment for all of you, yet the very BEST decision. You are admired, amazing, and highly respected. Safe travels to home with many incredible memories. SC

Posted by: Soonja Choo on 4/23/2014 at 2:33 pm

I’ve been following your climb and am sad to hear that the climb is coming to an end, but do respect the decision to respect the lost Sherpas and for thinking of the safety of the team.  Travel home safely!!!  JJ—I will see you in Russia on July 19th.

Cheers,
Cindee

Posted by: Cindee Teer on 4/23/2014 at 2:31 pm

What a terrible disappointment for you all but what a brave decision to have made.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you all. Congratulations on making this decision and all you have achieved.  This has to be the right and respectful decision. Good Luck to all the team, safe journeys home.

Posted by: Heather Bentley on 4/23/2014 at 2:06 pm

I feel so sad to hear that you guys have to pull out but respect you for the decisions being made out there…it can’t be easy for any of you and I hope that this will just make everyone stronger. I am happy to be getting you back safely Kare Kare…and start our summer adventures! xoxo

Posted by: Farah Hedwig on 4/23/2014 at 2:01 pm

I admire your decision and send my support to the entire team.

Posted by: Whitney on 4/23/2014 at 1:58 pm

Spencer,

Proud of you brother and your entire group. Sorry to hear your dream was cut short. Happy to have you coming home though not going to lie. Wish your team the best and hope to see them on the next adventure up. Safe travels home.

Posted by: Danny on 4/23/2014 at 12:51 pm

All:
As an avid follower of your climb…and sitting safely in the USA—want to convey that you have made the right decision. Godspeed!
Dave, look forward to seeing you in the Taos low-lands.
Jennifer Mooney

Posted by: Jennifer Mooney on 4/23/2014 at 12:50 pm

So sorry for your disappointment but I admire your continued respect for the Sherpas that were lost and those that remain.  Safe travels home and next year will bring better days.

Posted by: Linda B. on 4/23/2014 at 12:41 pm

Kid,
Sorry to hear your quest is over for this year, sadder still that Sherpas were lost.  We cant wait to see you back home
Love from the NorthCoast!

Deke

Posted by: Deke on 4/23/2014 at 12:05 pm

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