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沒有雪崩,也沒有狂風,為什么他們殞命珠峰?

‘It Was Like a Zoo:’ Death on an Unruly, Overcrowded Everest
沒有雪崩,也沒有狂風,為什么他們殞命珠峰?

NEW DELHI — Ed Dohring, a doctor from Arizona, had dreamed his whole life of reaching the top of Mount Everest. But when he summited a few days ago, he was shocked by what he saw.

新德里——埃德·多靈(Ed Dohring)是美國亞利桑那州的一名醫生,他畢生的夢想就是登上珠穆朗瑪的最高峰。但當他幾天前登頂時,他被眼前的景象驚呆了。

Climbers were pushing and shoving to take selfies. The flat part of the summit, which he estimated at about the size of two Ping-Pong tables, was packed with 15 or 20 people. To get up there, he had to wait hours in a line, chest to chest, one puffy jacket after the next, on an icy, rocky ridge with a several-thousand foot drop.

登山者們為了自拍而互相推搡。峰頂平坦的部分據他估計只有兩張乒乓球桌那么大,但上面擠了大約15到20個人。要想上去,他得跟一群同樣穿著厚厚的外套的人擠在一起,在幾千英尺高、冰封多石的山脊上排幾個小時的隊。

He even had to step around the body of a woman who had just died.

他甚至不得不繞過一個剛剛死去的女人的尸體。

“It was scary,” he said by telephone from Kathmandu, Nepal, where he was resting in a hotel room. “It was like a zoo.”

“太可怕了,”他在尼泊爾加德滿都的一個酒店房間里休息時通過電話說。“就像個動物園。”

This has been one of the deadliest climbing seasons on Everest, with at least 10 deaths. And at least some seem to have been avoidable.

這是珠穆朗瑪峰最致命的登山季之一,至少有10人死亡。而其中至少一些看起來是可以避免的。

The problem hasn’t been avalanches, blizzards or high winds. Veteran climbers and industry leaders blame having too many people on the mountain, in general, and too many inexperienced climbers, in particular.

問題并不是雪崩、暴風雪或者狂風。資深登山者和業界領袖認為,總體而言原因在于上山的人太多,具體來說則是太多登山者經驗不足。

Fly-by-night adventure companies are taking up untrained climbers who pose a risk to everyone on the mountain. And the Nepalese government, hungry for every climbing dollar it can get, has issued more permits than Everest can safely handle, some experienced mountaineers say.

一夜之間冒出來的探險公司在接收未經訓練的登山者,他們對山上的每一個人都構成了威脅。一些經驗豐富的登山者說,尼泊爾政府對登山的收入來者不拒,發放的登山許可證超出了珠穆朗瑪峰的安全承載力。

Add to that Everest’s inimitable appeal to a growing body of thrill-seekers the world over. And the fact that Nepal, one of Asia’s poorest nations and the site of most Everest climbs, has a long record of shoddy regulations, mismanagement and corruption.

此外,對世界各地越來越多尋刺激的人來說,珠穆朗瑪峰具有無可比擬的吸引力。而作為亞洲最貧窮的國家之一和大多數攀登路線所在地,尼泊爾長期存在法規粗濫、管理不善和腐敗等問題。

The result is a crowded, unruly scene reminiscent of “Lord of the Flies” — at 29,000 feet. At that altitude, a delay of even an hour or two can mean life or death.

其結果就是這樣一幅擁擠、混亂的景象,仿佛《蠅王》(Lord of the Flies)在海拔2.9萬英尺的高山上演。在這個高度,哪怕一兩個小時的延遲都可能性命攸關。

To reach the summit, climbers shed every pound of gear they can and take with them just enough canisters of compressed oxygen to make it to the top and back down. It is hard to think straight at that altitude, climbers say.

為到達峰頂,攀登者卸下了所能減掉的每一磅設備,只隨身攜帶到達峰頂再返回剛好夠用的壓縮氧氣罐。登山者說,在那個高度,你沒法清楚地思考。

According to Sherpas and climbers, some of the deaths this year were caused by people getting held up in the long lines on the last 1,000 feet or so of the climb, unable to get up and down fast enough to replenish their oxygen supply. Others were simply not fit enough to be on the mountain in the first place.

據夏爾巴人和登山者表示,今年一些死亡事故的起因是在大約最后1000英尺處,人們被困在長隊中,無法足夠快速地上去再下來補充氧氣。還有一些人則是健康狀況本身就不適合登珠峰。

Some climbers did not even know how to put on a pair of crampons, clip-on spikes that increase traction on ice, Sherpas said.

一些攀登者甚至不知道如何穿冰爪,即套在鞋底增加冰上摩擦力的鞋釘。

Nepal has no strict rules about who can climb Everest, and veteran climbers say that is a recipe for disaster.

尼泊爾對于誰可攀登珠峰沒有嚴格規定,資深登山者稱這可能會釀成大禍。

“You have to qualify to do the Ironman,” said Alan Arnette, a prominent Everest chronicler and climber. “But you don’t have to qualify to climb the highest mountain in the world? What’s wrong with this picture?”

“參加鐵人三項賽要符合條件,”著名的珠峰年代史家、登山專家艾倫·阿尼特(Alan Arnette)說。“攀登世界上最高的山峰卻不需要?不覺得這里面有什么不對勁嗎?”

The last time 10 or more people died on Everest was in 2015, during an avalanche.

上一次10人或更多人在珠峰死亡是2015年發生雪崩時。

By some measures, the Everest machine has only gotten more out of control.

從某些方面看,珠峰的運轉混亂是愈演愈烈的。

Last year, veteran climbers, insurance companies and news organizations exposed a far-reaching conspiracy by guides, helicopter companies and hospitals to bilk millions of dollars from insurance companies by evacuating trekkers with minor signs of altitude sickness.

去年,資深登山者、保險公司和新聞機構揭露了一場涉及廣泛的騙局,導游、直升機公司和醫療機構串通一氣,對只是有輕微高原反應的登山者進行轉移救援,從中騙取數百萬美元。

Climbers complain of theft and heaps of trash on the mountain. And earlier this year, government investigators uncovered vast problems with the lifesaving oxygen systems used by many climbers. Climbers said cylinders were found to be leaking, exploding or being improperly filled on a black market.

登山者投訴在山上有竊賊,還有成堆的垃圾。今年早些時候,政府調查人員揭露稱,許多登山者用的救生氧氣系統存在大量問題。登山者稱,已發現氧氣罐存在漏氣、爆炸或在黑市上不當充裝等問題。

But despite complaints about safety lapses, this year the Nepali government issued a record number of permits, 381, as part of a bigger push to commercialize the mountain. Climbers say the permit numbers have been going up steadily each year and that this year the traffic jams were heavier than ever.

但即便已接到安全疏忽的投訴,尼泊爾政府今年發放的許可證仍達到了破記錄的381份,這是珠峰商業化的整體行動的一部分。登山者稱許可證簽發數量每年都在穩步上升,今年的擁堵比以往任何時候都更嚴重。

“This is not going to improve,” said Lukas Furtenbach, a guide who recently relocated his climbers to the Chinese side of Everest because of the overcrowding in Nepal and the surge of inexperienced climbers.

“這種情況不會改善的,”導游盧卡斯·富爾登巴赫(Lukas Furtenbach)說,由于尼泊爾一側過度擁堵以及缺乏經驗的登山者數量激增,他最近把自己帶隊的登山者轉移到了珠峰的中國一側。

“There’s a lot of corruption in the Nepali government,” he said. “They take whatever they can get.”

“尼泊爾政府存在很多腐敗問題,”他說。“他們是能撈多少撈多少。”

Nepali officials denied any wrongdoing and said the trekking companies were the ones responsible for safety on the mountain.

尼泊爾官員否認存在任何不當行為,他們表示珠峰的安全問題應由旅行社負責。

To be sure, the race to the top is driven by the weather. May is the best time of the year to summit, but even then there are only a few days when it is clear enough and the winds are mild enough to make an attempt at the top.

當然,登頂的行動取決于天氣。五月是一年中登頂的最佳時節,而即使是這段時間里,能見度和風力適合嘗試登頂的也只有那么幾天。

But one of the critical problems this year, veterans say, seems to be the sheer number of people trying to reach the summit at the same time. And since there is no government traffic cop high on the mountain, the task of deciding when groups get to attempt their final ascent is left up to mountaineering companies.

但資深登山者說,今年最嚴重的問題之一,似乎是同時試圖攀登珠峰的人特別多。山上不存在政府的交通警察,各登山組何時嘗試攀登最后一段,不得不取決于登山公司的判斷。

Climbers themselves, experienced or not, are often so driven to finish their quest that they may keep going even if they see the dangers escalating.

此時登山者本身則無論有經驗與否,都急于完成自己的這段探險,以致于眼見危險增加,卻仍繼續向前。

A few decades ago, the people climbing Everest were largely experienced mountaineers willing to pay a lot of money. But in recent years, longtime climbers say, lower-cost operators working out of small storefronts in Kathmandu, the capital, and even more expensive foreign companies that don’t emphasize safety have entered the market and offered to take just about anyone to the top.

幾十年前,攀登珠峰者大都是經驗豐富、愿投入大量資金的登山運動員。但資深的登山者稱,近年來首都加德滿都那些低成本運營的街邊小店,甚至不重視安全性的高收費外國公司,都紛紛進入市場,主動向幾乎任何人提供登頂服務。

Sometimes these trips go very wrong.

有時候會出現極其可怕的狀況。

From interviews with several climbers, it seems that as the groups get closer to the summit, the pressures increase and some people lose their sense of decency.

從幾名登山者的采訪來看,似乎隨著離峰頂越來越近,壓力陡增,一些人會顧不上起碼的體面。

Fatima Deryan, an experienced Lebanese mountaineer, was making her way to the summit recently when less experienced climbers started collapsing in front of her. Temperatures were dropping to -30 Celsius. Oxygen tanks were running low. And roughly 150 people were packed together, clipped to the same safety line.

經驗豐富的黎巴嫩登山運動員法蒂瑪·德爾雅(Fatima Deryan)最近快登到山頂時,發現經驗欠缺的登山者開始在她面前倒下。當時氣溫降到了零下30攝氏度。氧氣瓶也在耗盡。約150人擠到一起,拴在同一條安全索帶上。

“A lot of people were panicking, worrying about themselves — and nobody thinks about those who are collapsing,” Ms. Deryan said.

“很多人陷入驚慌,開始為自己擔憂——沒人要管那些倒下的人,”德爾雅說。

“It is a question of ethics,” she said. “We are all on oxygen. You figure out that if you help, you are going to die.”

“這是個倫理問題,”她說。“我們都靠氧氣撐著。你知道如果你幫別人,你就會喪命。”

She offered to help some of the sick people, she said, but then calculated she was beginning to endanger herself and kept going to the summit, which is currently measured at 29,029 feet. On the way back down, she had to fight her way again through the crowds.

她說她提出過要幫一些生病的人,但隨即意識到,這是在將自己置于險境,于是繼續向山頂前行,當時的高度為29029英尺。下山途中,她不得不再次從人群中擠出一條路來。

“It was terrible,” she said.

“太可怕了,”她說。

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