Editor’s Note: Get to Know the Editor of BCM

In this Editor’s Note, we will be giving you a glimpse into the life of what we like to call our “fearless editor,” Cass Légér; an editor who is always on-call, never sleeps and puts everything into this publication, making sure our bases are covered.

We sat down with the editor and asked a few of the following personal and business related questions that came from the staff and readers over the course of 5 months.

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Remembering Alberto Zerain

Beloved Spanish alpinist Alberto Zerain died in a tragic avalanche on Nanga Parbat this week. Though he was not able to return from the mountain in this life, his memory has found a new home in the hearts among those who appreciated his attitude toward the dare of a summit and those who admired his accomplishments. 

Zerain was climbing Nanga Parbat as part of the 2x14x8000 project, which aimed to see 14 of the world’s 8,000 m. peaks climbed twice. While on the Mazeno Ridge, Zerain gave his last update to the Base Camp team on 24, June. Shortly after, his team lost contact with him and would announce on 27, June, that they believed he and Mariano Galvan had lost power on their radio communicators. 

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Alberto Zerain Missing on Nanga Parbat

Known Spanish climber Alberto Zerain and his climbing partner, Mariano Galvan from Argentina, have been reported as missing on Nanga Parbat. 

Zerain’s team announced on 27, June, that communication with the climber had been lost on 24, June. According to a statement on their Twitter account, the team believes that because of the number of days the climbers have spent on the Mazeno route, they believe their radio equipment has lost battery. 

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Get to Know Climber Fredrik Sträng

Fredrik Sträng is our K2 2017 Watch Pick, and we will be following his expedition on K2 this year through his Dispatches from the mountain. But who is Fredrik Sträng and why does it matter? I felt that in order to really give readers a sense of what Fredrik Sträng is like as a climber and person, we needed some input from Cass Légér, the editor of BCM and Sträng’s point of contact for Dispatches. During my latest meeting with Cass, I lobbied for the quote bits below.

Here’s a glimpse into the life of this incredible climber, with some quotes from Cass Légér, with whom I spoke with this week while trying to get to know Sträng a bit better for this piece. 

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4 Incredible Sherpa Climbers (Still Alive)

While western climbers are famed for their great feats, Sherpa climbers are some of the best, with a natural ability to weather high-altitude oxygen levels and an almost unnatural ability to climb relatively effortlessly compared to western climbers. These are 4 of the world’s greatest Sherpa climbers who are still alive.

Pemba Gyalje, Purba Tashi Sherpa, Ang Dorje, Lakpa Gelu

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Fredrik Sträng Heads Out for K2 2017

Mountaineer Fredrik Sträng heads out to K2 on June 12, 2017, after nearly ten years of absence from the mountain since the 2008 K2 Tragedy that killed 11 mountaineers. 

On 3, June, Sträng was ready, packing his gear for his K2 expedition and gave everyone a glimpse of 60% of his gear, which he laid out and gave a tour of. His gear included the Swedish flag, two Petzl ice axes, Olympus Mons La Sportiva high-altitude boots, a Primus Lite XL stove pot and Out Meals dehydrated ready-to-eat meals.

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Routes Up to K2’s Summit

First ascended by Achille Compagnoni on 31 July 1954, the mountain has since sprouted various routes across its faces that lead to the top.

Whether or not you’re crazy enough to attempt it, you’re not getting anywhere without a roadmap. Mountaineers usually take one of these ten pre-determined routes to the peak of K2.

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The Hillary Step Didn’t Disappear. Or Did It? Why Nepal Won’t Accept This.

In the case of the missing Hillary Step, we still are no closer to knowing whether or not the landmark is intact. So far, we have seen that various western mountaineers, including Kenton Cool and Tim Mosedale, claim that the rocky outcrop near the summit of Mount Everest is either completely gone or altered in some way.

But officially, the Hillary Step didn’t disappear, collapse or crumble.

Let’s take a closer look at why there is so much confusion.

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Everest2017 Marks 21st Anniversary of the 1996 Everest Disaster

Everest2017 marks the 21st anniversary of the 1996 Everest Disaster that killed 8 climbers including Adventure Consultants leader Rob Hall and Mountain Madness leader Scott Fisher on May 10, 1996. This day remains with everyone in the mountaineering community as a tragic unfolding of events that began on the 10th with an epic storm and would not end until the 12th. In its path, the storm left 8 climbers dead and one clinging to life, left for dead and only being saved by a tenacious wife who would not give up on him.

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Ueli Steck Cremated and Ashes Split Between Switzerland and Nepal

Ueli Steck, one of the most revered mountaineers of his time, died on 30, April 2017 while on a Himalayan expedition on Mount Nuptse. He was 40 years old.

On 04, May 2017, Ueli Steck was given a ceremonious burial service in Khumjung, Nepal. The mountaineer was cremated, and in attendance were only close family and friends who mourned his death for over three hours. The ceremony took place in Tengboche Monastery in true Nepalese tradition. It was reported that some of his ashes were spread in Nepal, and the rest, taken to Switzerland to be dispersed by his family.

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Ueli Steck Dies on Nuptse at Age 40

Ueli Steck’s life ended as the first casualty of the 2017 Everest Season. Steck died near the base of Nuptse at Camp 1 after falling 3,280 ft. (1000 m.). He had climbed the sister mountain of Everest to acclimate himself to the altitude before traversing Everest and Lhotse in May along with the rest of the mountaineering teams who make their summit assaults around 10 May.

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Royal Robbins Dies at 82

Royal Robbins, a legendary rock climber who helped define the rules of engagement for the sport, dies on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at the age of 82.

Born in 1935, Robbins grew up in Southern California much like most other working-class children spending segmented years between trailer parks before learning how to climb in the early 1950s. His first tackle was Tahquitz, a granite crag that includes nearly featureless sections across its routes and is notorious for loose rock on its North Side. His daring first run would be a testament to his audacious achievements in the future, which struck awe in his followers.

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The Seven Summits According to Messner

The Seven Summits are the 7 highest mountain peaks within each of the 7 continents – Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South Americ. The variations have to do with disagreements about the placement of mountains on continents and continental shelves.

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Are Critics Wrong About Alex Honnold?

Alex Honnold, arguably the world’s greatest free climber and center of a climbing controversy, has been featured in a series of television specials profiling his epic achievements. In the February issue of Rock and Ice magazine, he’s featured in an interview spread covering his feelings about death, which seems to have become the hanging topic over Honnold’s head – “Does he know he will most likely die doing what he’s doing?”

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K2: The King of Mountains

Everest may be on every mountaineer’s bucket list, but true mountaineers know the prize lies on the summit of K2, or Karakoram 2, the King of Mountains; At just 800 ft. shorter than Everest, K2 is the world’s second highest mountain; and while Everest is the tallest, it does not compare in any measure to the brutality that is an expedition on K2.

By measure of ratio, the death count on K2 is much higher than that of Everest, with well-documented mountaineering disasters in 1986, 1995 and the most recent in 2008; the 2008 disaster has been known as the most controversial of all.

For every 100 mountaineers that attempt a summit on K2, 29 will die. Only 306 climbers have succeeded, 80+ have perished. Compared to Everest’s 5600+ summits and around 300 deaths, K2’s reputation is accurately captured by something as simple as numbers.

K2 was dubbed Karakoram 2 in 1856 by T.G. Montgomerie, the name stuck.

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What Are the Seven Summits?

The Seven Summits are the 7 highest mountain peaks on each of the 7 continents – Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. The Seven Summits were first completed in 1986 by Patrick Morrow. However, the definition of the Seven Summits differs on how you view the borders of the world map, particularly with the difference being held within Europe and Australia since some don’t view the location of mount Elbrus in Russia as part of Europe or view Indonesia as part of Australia. This difference results in 4 possibilities for the Seven Summits:

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The 1996 Everest Disaster – The Whole Story

On May 10, 1996, four groups of climbers set out to summit Mount Everest – one group led by Rob Hall of Adventure Consultants, another led by Scott Fischer of Mountain Madness, an expedition organized by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and a Taiwanese expedition. The day would turn out to be the single most disastrous event in the mountain’s history, killing 8 and injuring others after an unexpected blizzard ravaged the climbers, trapping them high on the mountain.

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Book Analysis: “The Climb” by Anatoli Boukreev

The 1996 Everest Disaster unfolded on May 10; after the events, Anatoli Bookreev wrote The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Mount Everest. This analysis covers the events as written in Bookreev’s book. Another analysis of Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster” by Jon Krakauer, which is a rival to Bookreev’s version of events was of the same tragedy also written.

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