Monday, February 18, 2013

Fluctuation of Objectivity

I believe it might make some people uncomfortable if I write about the "conflicts", the troubles which have made themselves clear after the accident.  I would say simply that there have been a series of occasions which developed into sets of conflicts among the people involved, including not only the foreign climbers (Koreans and Polish as well) and the hired Sherpas but also people of the agencies in Kathmandu and in Seoul.  Here, I would rather mention a few thoughts on, in particular, the scheme of development of conflicts.

What would define the condition as a conflict?  A tentative answer is: fluctuation of emotions.

How the Sherpa has dead, and what the death have meant, was never identical, as well as not equally empathetic, to all of us.  Some people said, "Polish do not know mountain"; others say "Sherpas are lying"; for still others "Some Koreans are crazy", and so on.  Moreover, each of their assertions have changed into another expressions with other impressions as time goes from the beginning, or rather at the earliest stage when any had in one's mind a climbing activity, to the last stage an individual subject could remind on any occasion of its past.

People say: We want to know the truth, what really happened as they were.  For them, any development of ideas perhaps based on a different recognition of the "truth" is, by definition, wrong, and needs to be corrected, by an injection of truthful knowledge.  According to this wide-spread habit of thought, the past is there as an objective, universal.

This is where relatively few thinkers in the history of human thoughts have tried to overcome, say, the Kantian original-and-replica dualism and by which to clear out any assumptions unquestioned on the nature of human being.

As the mountains we never be able to acknowledge

Sliding rock: it is something, say, may be funny, or frighten us.  We make something fun, or be surprised by, for which we do feel unavowable quality to a certain extent.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Summit Bid for Lhotse

It was afternoon October 13th, when I barely realized that it is impossible to dig up and make it flat the slanted field of the camp three on which I planned to pitch a tent.  Wind became stronger.  Meaningless shoveling onto the icy snow continued, with trying to suppress such a thinking to come down to the lower camp dominate my mind.  

Then, Lhakpa, one of the two Sherpas hired from the Polish, asked me:
"You can join us, if you want."
The Polish leader also agreed him and asked me so.  

One of the two Polish Sherpa, Pemba, in their tent at the camp three (7200m)

We were melting the "Kim-bab", a Korean traditional food which used for my lunch.

Tenzin is a young Sherpa, whom I met firstly on the summit of Everest in the early morning of 19th May, 2012.

Wind was getting more and more severe.  The Polish tent in which we three were rested was strong enough not to be broken by the fierce wind.  We shared food and fuel and the roomy atmosphere we made together.

Melting a fruit can on a stove.  Everything we may want to eat was frozen.

We three and other six Polish members climbed up to the place for Lhotse camp four (7890m) next late in the morning when the wind stop.  Nobody used supplemental oxygen, although I had breathed with my own a couple minutes while climbing up.  I had to carry more than 20 kg in my bag: two bottles of oxygen, a sleeping bag, a small tent, three snow-bars, a cooking set with a gas stove, food for three days and so on.

It was one of the toughest hour when, as the sun setting, I found one hundred meters I needed to climb up to the camp.  Getting quite colder, the heavy rug-sag resisted me to go up.  Hopelessly I had shouted of requesting help to the climbers who shortly before me arrived and started digging the field for the camp.  Only one tent, for three or four, they could pitch on, inside of which yet seven people were, including Alexei and two Sherpas.

I joined them, but I knew I needed to go out and to set my tent on, as the Polish leader asked me so with Alexei.  Two Sherpas, Pemba and Tenzin, gratefully, helped us regarding the job.

However, the tent has never enough room for two, especially for the large body sizes of myself and Alexei.  Pemba once wanted to join us, though he went into the larger tent -- in which even six people already should have spent the night.  Moreover, the fabric of the tent is not waterproof.  Continuous snow-shower resisted us two take naps.  I began to use my supplemental oxygen with 0.5 liter per hour -- scarce amount but still better than not to use -- when we had crumpled into the tent to make us comfortable as far as possible.

All of us there could not make a good sleep, due to the snow-shower, wind, freezing cold, and the cramp space.  A few times, though, we discussed about when we would start to climb up to the summit.  Nobody climbed up that night; too tired was all of them.


The next morning I had to consider whether I climb up or down.  It was only me who planned to use supplemental oxygen from the camp; the Polish were supposed to fix hundreds of rope whenever dangerous section come up.  I did not have a clear knowledge of the route to the top, so I initially thought just follow others.  But they would not use oxygen bottle, which perhaps make them slower than me.  

But, I found that they only had brought up there 200 meters of rope, that is never enough to fix sections on the route where usually at least 800 meters needed.  It seemed that they would climb roped-between (anseilen).  I felt I was not strong enough to climb by myself the steep icy gully.  I decided and started to come down, ten in the morning.  

"Big accident!  A Polish member has dead!"
It was next early morning, however, a surprising news heard from my Ngaa Tenji, who were climbing up to camp four of Mt. Everest, via the walkie-talkie.  At the camp two, I tried to contact the Polish leader and was able to tell him the news, but he did not know what had happened and suspect the Sherpa's report, since at the camp four, he could see all the members with him.

The dead body, as Ngaa Tenji found first in the early morning, was proved as of Pemba's, not of any Polish member's.  He fell the sheer Lhotse face 1,500 meters long down to the western cwm glacier.  We, a few Koreans as well as our team Sherpas, decided to carry "him" down to a snowfield near the camp two in order a rescue helicopter might be able to bring back to Kathmandu.  

On the other hand, another Polish Sherpa, Tenzin, had a severe frostbite in his both hands, which resisted him to climb up on the mid-way up to the summit of Lhotse with the Polish leader.  Two other Polish had gone back to lower camp earlier; The Russian, although he could climb closest to the top, had also had to forgive his second journey near the top.

With Ngaa Tenji (right) and Tenzin (middle) at the base camp.  

That day we could help Tenzin to come down to the base camp.  The next day I also came down.  It looked no hope to be able to climb further at least for me.  Things went harder.  I decided to fly out to Kathmandu the next day, with two Sherpas -- the dead Pemba and the frostbitten Tenzin.

winds on the summit of Lhotse

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Friendship on High Mountain

Alexei Bolotov (49), a Russian.  He tried Lhotse without supplemental oxygen this season, which ends up with unsuccessful.  

Spending one night with him at the last camp (7890m) we become friends.  Continuous snow-shower onto the one-person tent we two had barely been able to take pieces of nap.  Although I greatly appreciate the Polish leader who lent me the tent, which made by his own company and which be without a water-proof cover, this leads into a difficult situation, in which it snowed inside of the tent overnight.  What I was quite surprised was his ability by which he made naps inside of the snowing tent with his thin pants.

Alexei tried twice the summit bid, both finalized unsuccessful, while he climbed up to 200 meters near the top.  It was too cold to climb to the summit without additional oxygen as well as fixed rope.

Myself and Alexei Bolotov.

I fortunately had a time to visit him at a hotel in Kathmandu he stayed after arriving back from the mountain, and enjoyed a couple cups of beer.  Maybe we can see on another mountain in the future.

Later, I have found that he is one of the famous climbers among Russians, climbed 11 peaks among the 14 eight-thousanders and participated in the expeditions including climbings the west face of Makalu (8463m) in 1999 as well as the north face of Jannu in 2003, the climbing praised as recipient for the Piolet' d'Or 2005. 

Death, before which we find impossibility to be transcendental

"Whenever about to start climbing, the idea of death always decides the first step of every possible trails of thought," I wrote in my diary Oct. 4th.  There will be sadness of others if I die.  What, however, is sadness?  Do we really want to avoid death because of, as Lacan understands, the "deceitful expectation for the future", and, therefore, has sadness itself been founded on a futile ground?

I would say, even though Lacan's disinterested interpretation gains favor, that it is the ground on which we live on and through where sadness, fear, and many other widely understood emotions would have dictated our present, and where we probably cannot disociate ourselves from the phenomenal world.  Put simply, I believe we cannot transcend our worldly nature, although we might imagine as such.

The broken tent of the Japanese team at camp one, 6,100 meters high.

I found the main tent at the camp two being half-broken by the strong wind,