Internationally renowned mountaineer Barry Blanchard thinks most people tackling the highest mountain on earth don’t have enough experience.
Commenting on the recent Mt Everest debacle that saw hoards of inexperienced climbers queuing for the summit of Mt Everest, a number of whom perished on the descent, he said there is a massive void between the average Everest climber of today, and a world class alpinist.
“There is a disconnect between who the general public identifies as a great mountaineer, i.e. anyone who has summited Mt Everest, “ he said, “ and who the knowledgeable mountain climbing community identifies as a great mountaineer.”
Blanchard, who arrives in New Zealand on September 23rd for a six-stop speaking tour, is undoubtedly the finest alpinist to visit New Zealand in many years, said General Manager of the New Zealand Alpine Club, San Newton.
“Barry’s reputation as a world class climber of the most extreme routes spans 30 years,” Newton said. “We rarely see an alpinist of his calibre in New Zealand.”
Blanchard commented on the much publicised death of Canadian celebrity and novice climber Shriya Shah-Klorfine, who perished on her Everest attempt in May.
“It was like the news was reporting on a woman who, on an impulse, while attending her grade fiver’s track and field day, decided to tie in for the three legged race,” he said. “The average Everest client is on an expensive adventure vacation and should be better prepared because at the end of the day mountain climbing is a dangerous and all too lethal pursuit.”
Many Everest climbers will want to experience more 8000m peaks after summiting Everest, he said.
“I think these accomplishments need to be kept in perspective relative to what the very best mountaineers in the world are achieving. Everest may have become the Coliseum (circus) of our times, but alpinism is actually at an exciting period giving that consummate technical skills and physical training are pushing the evolution of the pursuit.”
“What people need to realise globally is that the finest mountaineering is not taking place on Mt Everest.”
Blanchard will be speaking in Auckland (Sept 24), Wellington (Sept 25), Nelson (Sept 26), Christchurch (Sept 27), Dunedin (Sept 28) and Wanaka (Sept 29).
Details on ticket sales and venue can be found here