Last May regular UKC contributor Kenton Cool reported from Everest that several bolts had been placed in the Yellow Band to replace old pegs and safeguard Sherpas and Western climbers (UKC News). This year he reports on more bolts being placed and of a new mobile phone antenna.
The Dream Guides Cook Bhin talking to his wife in Kathmandu from Everest BCUKC News, May 2010© Kenton Cool / Dream GuidesKenton Cool of Dreamguides reports:Over the weekend a number of Sherpas from Russell Brices' Himex teamplaced a further 3 bolts on the route between Camp 3 and the SouthCol. These were placed on the Geneva Spur at around 7800m.Last yeara total of 6 bolts were placed on the Yellow Band above Camp 3 byWillie Benegas and Adrain Bellinger. The bolts replaced old rottenpegs that had been placed by unknown sources some time in the past.At the time this action came under criticism by much of the climbingcommunity but ultimately it was done to safe guard the passage of theSherpa Teams who carry the loads for the Western climbers andtherefore pass through the area many more times than the Westernclimbers themselves. Adrain Bellinger together with Sherpas from the Himexteam plan to add further bolts above the South Col. Again this willsafe guard passage through areas which until now have been considereddangerous to Sherpa and Western climbers alike. I have no doubt that this news will once again ruffle feathers with inthe climbing community and rightly so, but please remember where thesebolts are being placed and for what reasons. Everest is currentlyconsidered (rightly or wrongly) a commercial mountain and these boltswill help safeguard the local Sherpas who earn a living from workingon their mountain.Mobile Phone Coverage:On Sunday 2nd March Namasta Mobile switched on their latest cell phoneantenna in Gorak Shep, close to Everest Base Camp.This means that the Base Camp on the Southside of Everest now has cell phone reception. Reports are that thesignal stretches to about Camp 1(6100m) on the mountain but not (asyet) to Camp 2.In the past the North Side has had cell phone signalmost of the way to the summit, and I personally have made a call on acell phone on the summit, again using the Chinese network. Untilthis year the only place on the South side where there was any signal waspart way along the Geneva Spur at just under 8000m, this was a littleknown fact, made use of by only the Sherpas. Although with UK roaming charges it's still cheaper to use a Sat Phone!You can keep up with Kenton's current Everest attempt on his blog: Dream Guides