Movie Review: Storm Over Mt. Everest Film

Pages: 7 (3450 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Geography  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Time passes, and progress is interminably slow. Anywhere else on earth, except during emergency conditions, say, a buffer of time can generally be found or created. But this is no more so for high altitude climbing than it is for emergency surgery -- time is not a friend in these conditions. There is no such thing as the tincture of time on Mt. Everest. The passing of time kills on Mt. Everest, and every weak link in the human chain exponentially increases the jeopardy to climbers. Leadership can only do so much under conditions when the weak links are revealed well into the climb -- for instance, when it is another team that acts like a weak link for all the climbers on the Mountain on any given day. The best that leaders can do under these conditions is stay absolutely lucid and adaptable -- responding on a second-by-second basis to changing conditions. There were 33 climbers on the slopes of Mt. Everest on May 11. For unknown reasons, the fixed ropes at The Balcony and at Hillary's Step were not set in place prior to the climbers arriving. Both Hall's and Fischer's teams were impacted by this delay of an hour while each team waited for the Sherpas. In addition, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer told their team members to stay within 150 feet of each other, so bottlenecks began to build up at the single fixed rope on Hillary's step. Leaders must make the hard decisions for the sake of the entire team -- Rob Hall had too big of a heart to make this sort of decision on his own. Scott Fischer deluded himself the way a 40-year-old suffering from a heart attack might -- it is human nature to deny what seems improbable or that is innately unacceptable.

6) The Law of the Catalyst Winning teams have players who make things happen -- catalysts are people who get things done. There were several obvious leaders who were catalysts on the climb, one of whom was criticized for his individualistic approach. Anatoli Boukreev climbed without oxygen. He argued that using oxygen gave climbers a false sense of security -- Boukreev was one of those athletes, like Lance Armstrong, who exhibited extraordinary physical stamina and lungs capable of taking him nearly anywhere he wanted to go. Because he did climb without oxygen -- and his style was to go up fast and come down fast, Boukreev arrived at the summit before everyone else and also descended first. Doubtless, conscious of the fact that every minute he spent at altitude meant that his brain was dying, Boukreev knew that speed and his innate strength were the only two variables that gave him the capacity to climb as he did. He climbed by his own rules and because he did, he was available and able to help other climbers to safety

7) The Law of the Compass The meaning of this law -- anyone can steer the ship but it takes a leader to chart the course -- is doubtless applicable to most leadership conditions, but when a series of unpredictable events occurs, those who start out to be leaders may not be leaders in the end. Two of the leaders of the Adventure Consultants team died near the South Summit -- Groom managed to get down to the South Col. Neal Beidleman and Anatoli Boukreev were the two leaders from Mountain Madness, Scott Fischer's team. Fischer was incapacitated shortly after he began his decent, and Neal Beidleman wandered lost in the blizzard on the South Col until about midnight when he and three others saw lights that they believed were from Camp IV.

8) The Law of the Bad Apple. Bad apple seems like a rather harsh way to describe Doug Hansen, the postal worker from Seattle, but the fact of the matter is that he wanted too badly to not only climb Mt. Everest, but to make it to the summit. Doug worked two jobs in order to be able to afford climbing, and to afford this -- his last climb -- trip. Doug had collapsed on the South Summit the year before when he was climbing with Rob's team. So both climber and team leader wanted very much for this to be a successful climb for Doug. Rob was empathetic and felt a strong sense of responsibility for Doug. Rob's sense of obligation as a leader, when combined with Doug's physical condition -- which may not have been sub-par, as even the strongest climber can suddenly be overcome with Mountain Sickness though they've had no history of it in the past -- compromised the safety of the team, led to a situation from which there was ultimately no escape.

9) The Law of Countability Teammates must be able to count on each other when it counts. There is little argument that this principle was being implemented on the slopes of Mt. Everest on May 11, 1996. Everywhere, there were examples of teammates helping each other on the South Summit side. However, there was considerable controversy associated with three climbers from India, who were passed by two climbers from Japan. The Japanese climbers were reported -- by Outside journalist Jon Krakauer -- to have climbed right past two downed climbers in their bid to make the summit. According to Krakauer, the fallen climbers were not even acknowledged. Further, the Japanese climbers were said to have reneged on an agreement to join a search party to find and help the Indian climbers. The Japanese climbers made the ascent; two of the Indian climbers died.

10) The Law of the Price Tag The meaning of this principle is perhaps best applied in two ways. A team fails to reach its potential when it fails to pay its price. The price most climbers pay is that of not being able to summit. It is not at all unusual for high altitude climbers to have to make several attempts -- over several separated expensive trips -- before they can summit. When climbers like Doug Hansen are unable to let go of that goal, their refusal to pay the price is passed on to others -- who, in the case of mountaineering -- may pay with their lives. The second type of price is extracted from climbers because of the physical abuse they encounter over repeated climbs. Most climbers have fallen, have gotten tangled in equipment, and have suffered frostbite. Some, like those on Mt. Everest on May 11, 1996, suffer life-changing, debilitating physical damage. It is a high price to pay for an individual, and the cost to the team can be enormous, particularly if it means risking their own lives to rescue team members.

11) The Law of the Scoreboard This law, which means that the team that can make adjustments knows where it stands, is another law with clear and direct application to high altitude climbing. Conditions change rapidly on the mountain and any plan is susceptible to the destructive forces of nature or the accidents and oversights of climbers. The ill-fated climb is an excellent illustration of how leaders and followers both had to adapt their climbing plan in enormous and crucial ways.

12) The Law of the Bench Good teams have great depth, but a good starter is simply not enough if the team wants to go to the highest level. This law of leadership is particularly germane to the climbing teams on Everest. High altitude climbers are exceptionally fit -- mentally, emotionally, and physically. They can justifiably be called a very deep bench. The caliber of the climbers who were on Everest on May 11, 1996, was exceptional -- without a doubt, it is to their individual credit -- the concept of having a bench exemplified -- and to the inherent leadership capacity in each climber that any climbers survived.

13) The Law of Identity The principle of identity as shared values that define a team can clearly be applied to the mountain climbers. Theirs is a culture all its own -- one that flatlanders wonder about, or are in awe of -- which is at once mysterious and foolhardy. The fatality rate for climbers of the eight highest summits in the world is very high, and the rate for Mt. Everest is extraordinarily so -- typically running about 1 in 4 over the course of a season. The year of the ill-fated climb, the rate was actually 1 in 7 (12 out of a total of 398) because so many more climbers reached the above-base-camp point and 84 ascended to the summit. It is a club all its own.

14) The Law of Communication "Interaction fuels action" is the slug line for this law of leadership. And from a team perspective, this makes perfect… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Storm Over Mt. Everest Film.  (2011, July 23).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/storm-mt-everest-film/5901886

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"Storm Over Mt. Everest Film."  Essaytown.com.  July 23, 2011.  Accessed July 17, 2019.
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