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Rock Climbing : News : Other News : Helicopter Rescue Possible On Everest Summit Soon

Helicopter Rescue Possible On Everest Summit Soon


Submitted by socialclimber on 2007-02-10

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 4 | Comments: 33 | Views: 3819

By doing away with the pilot and constructing the TGR Alpine Wasp with light weight composite materials,the remotely controlled vehicle,which is about the same size as a piloted helicopter, has a large enough payload to allow it to carry two people. A revolutionary diesel engine and rotor blades designed to function efficiently at high altitude give the Wasp the performance to achieve a 9000+ meter ceiling.

Trevor Rogers of TGR Helicorp says the "pilot" of the Wasp will use virtual reality systems to locate stricken climbers and will be able to fly close to the mountain even in fog, to perform rescues. Climbers will be fitted with a tracking device in order to be located, and once found, climbers would be winched on board with a cable. Climbers would have to be capable of clipping themselves into the cable or be assisted by another climber.

The helicopter will be tested this spring in the southern Alps of New Zealand. If all goes well, the Everest Rescue Trust will run the helicopter from its base in Namche Bazaar, Nepal, from spring 2008. The aircraft will be housed in a specially constructed hangar and there are plans for a frostbite treatment centre at the same site. Namche Bazaar, is situated at 3440m on route to Everest base camp.

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33 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 socialclimber
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 2007-02-10
It appears the alpine wasp could be derived from a TGR Helicorp stable-mate, The Snark UAV

http://www.gizmag.com.au/go/4785/
 marckylove
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 2007-02-10
Great--Now even more incapable 'clients' will feel safe attempting to summit Everest.
 kricir
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 2007-02-10
But I donít wanna walk down, Iím tired! Just call the robo-copter!
 andypro
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 2007-02-10
As much as I hate to say it, I have to agree with marckylove. This could do incredible good. Sometimes shit happens and even the most capable climbers get screwed (i.e. 1996). However with yet another safety-net those that were on the edge of "deciding to go" will probably take the plunge, and jeopardize others in the process.
 trainreks
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 2007-02-10
4 out of 5 stars so much for survival of the fittest...
 djbiggs
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 2007-02-10
survival of the richest....
 socialclimber
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 2007-02-11
The Everest Rescue Trust admits the hardest part of setting up the whole operation will be mapping out a code of practice. They are adamant the chopper will not be used as a taxi service by lazy climbers or put porters jobs at risk (by using it for transporting gear up the mountain) how they go about this is still being determined.
 maldaly
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 2007-02-11
Add R/C Helo rescue to long growing list of why not to go to Everest...
 doogle
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 2007-02-11
Now you can add wrecked "Wasps" to the long list of rubbish found strewn all over the mountain.

I would have to be pretty near death to get in a remote controlled helicopter.
 z_rock90
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 2007-02-11
Just one more reason to climb K2 instead.
 tslater
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 2007-02-11
So can it drop climbers off? Hmmm...
 overlord
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 2007-02-12
a diesel helicopter? thats interesting.
 bent_gate
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 2007-02-12
So why not start by using it to haul all the empty bottles and other trash off the mountain. Add it to the fees paid to climb the mountain. Unless they volunteer to carry down 50 pounds of extra trash themselves.
 sungam
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 2007-02-12
Bent gate just had a good idea. This could possibly be used to aid clean-up?
Obviously it would be expensive, and moreso than getting the sherpas to bring it down (there is a "prize" for those who bring down empty bottles) but the sherpas can barely keep up with the ones being left by their party, let alone the thousands left there before.
Maybe a coupla loads on the ol waspy would help clear things up?
 tslater
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 2007-02-12
This is going to sound horrible, but could they use it to take off the bodies? I know if my son was still up there, I'd pay to have him brought home.
 mattb1921
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 2007-02-12
WOW. Maybe they could use the helicopter to run a cable to the top so that there could be a tram setup to take people to the top.

This helicopter is the last thing that needed to be added to the picture of the circus that already exsists up there.
 getsomeethics
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 2007-02-12
a sad day for everest!
 dellochef
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 2007-02-13
I' am allready waitin for the book and multimedia-speech: My adventures on everest. There and back again with the copter.
 daniellebo
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 2007-02-13
does the virtual pilot get any pseudo summit rights? i mean, he gets some props right? maybe they could teach other people how to use it and you could "virtually" go to everest from your lazy boy. It could take the concept of an armchair mountaineer to a whole new level.
 awolclimber
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 2007-02-13
I have to agree with tslater. If the chopper is being used for cleanup, it could also be used for body recovery. Because clearly the body count up there is not serving as a 'client' deterrent. I think clean up and recovery should come WAY before rich-kid summit rental!
 fire_eyes
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 2007-02-13
bent_gate totally has it right. Use that thing to clean up that mountain! Of course it should be used first and foremost to return the bodies of those lost to the mountain, and it should NEVER be used to bring some fat cat to the summit. Disgusting. The way so many people make the summit now is less than ethical, but a helicopter ride?!?! Sheesh...
 deadhorse
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 2007-02-14
4 out of 5 stars hey don't act like survival of the fittest is even kind of still around. We did away with that centuries ago. I mean hell, i've gotten vaccinations. They just keep making the hardest place to get to in the world easier and easier. I know it's only practical, but i don't even think that porters + preset fixed lines are legit. But I'm no mountaineer and i suppose without them it'd would be impossible.

maybe that was the point....
 harmonrab
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 2007-02-14
f*** 'em they are all posers any way... Hate the way ppl commercialize this natural stuff...happening all around us.
Do it oldschool like Norgay and hillary...alpine style...still its pretty tough...oh well, every one thinks differently
 bako_prc
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 2007-02-15
boooooo
 cchildre
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 2007-02-16
I think this is a great thing, an incredible breakthrough. Bash on the posuers up there, sure they don't belong. If they save one soul with this thing, it is worth it, belong there or not.

Doogle, if your on Everest and you need help getting down, your near death, hell being in ABC is dangerous.

I would rather send a stricken climber down in an RC chopper, than involve 20+ climbers in a dangerous rescue descent. His chances are probably better in a chopper and if things go wrong it won't involve the innocent guys lending a hand.

No body can say the circus isn't a problem, that something needs to change, but this isn't the problem.
 dig_scott
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 2007-02-16
Where did you get the info that they will transform this and start rescue missions on everest?
 eastvillage
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 2007-02-16
sad news
 daggerx
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 2007-02-17
I hope things dont work out and this is a no go.
 socialclimber
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 2007-02-17
dig scot, There have been a number of reports over various media about this. Google "alpine wasp" for more.
 pyrosis
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 2007-02-20
Deadhorse, since when was the top of Everest the hardest place in the world to get to? Any number of peaks in the Himalaya, Andes, or even Alaska are more difficult.. And its possible without porters and fixed lines, even possible from the North without porters, partners, fixed lines, or oxygen, as Messner showed way back in like '82 or whenever that was... Not that you'll ever catch me up there either! Happy in the peanut gallery... :)
 deadhorse
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 2007-02-20
4 out of 5 stars damn, I guess it proves the old adage- when you assume you make an ass out of you and me. In this case, mostly just me.
 acarp
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 2007-02-22
Maybe Disney will buy the mountain and it'll become a new attraction.

The "It's a Small World" ride won't even compare.
 ERTrust
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 2007-02-28
5 out of 5 stars Ah, I miss the cut and thrust world of the "I know everything" climbing forums ;)

First off, the Wasp will NEVER be used to ferry anyone up/down in a taxi-type situation and it will certainly never take fat cat businessmen who want to bag the summit without doing the hard yards. There are several reasons for this, most notably being that it's a rescue helicopter, not a bloody taxi and it's unethical (yes we have ethics) and secondly because the first person we deposit on the top would die, oxygen or not, because of the massive altitude changes. It will also not be used as "survival of the richest", if you're on Everest you already fall into the category of "Not destitute" but rescues will be decided on various criteria, money not being one of them. It will be more like weather, accessibility, proximity to camps, wind, injuries, things like that.

We think it's a worthwhile exercise, we have the best intentions at heart and this is to save lives, not make the mountain easier to climb, we're not going to winch people past the hard bits... We are however going to try to minimise the amount of danger the uninjured have to put themselves in in order to save someone. The Wasp will be able to get people off the mountain and down to Namche Bazar (3440m) in a matter of hours, not days. This can't be anything other than a good thing.

We welcome the feedback and we welcome the cynicism but please, check out www.rescueoneverest.org to get the full story. Follow us through the next year or so and then judge us on our intentions and whether we got it right or not.

And for all of you that suggested we use it to get the dead bodies off the mountain, much as we agree and much as we'd like to return those people to their families for proper burial, there are some real issues with being able to do that:

1. Those bodies are now essentially frozen to the mountain and would take some serious chopping out in order to get them free.
2. They are entirely comprised of ice now, they just retain human form. This makes the average person weigh hundreds of pounds, probably half as much again as the 500lb weight that the wasp can lift.

So, unfortunately, I think the bodies will stay. The rubbish though, we might look at. I can't promise it at this stage (I just work here) but I will put the point forward (again) and see what we can do. If people want to email in via the website with their ideas, that would be great, like I said, we welcome the feedback.

Cheers

Matt
Everest Rescue Trust

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