Sports

Mountaineering referees, these enthusiasts validate the records of extreme climbers


There are events that can prove to be more difficult than the ascent of an 8000 meters. For decades, climbing the world’s highest peaks ended with the same ritual. In Kathmandu, the climbers were asked to give an account of their exploit in front of the intractable Elizabeth Hawley. The American journalist, who had moved to Nepal in the early 1960s to cover her political news, is at the origin of a unique database methodically listing the Himalayan climbs on Nepalese territory. Mission that monopolized her until her death in 2018 at the age of 94.

The cruel sentence of “Miss” Hawley

Using an almost unchanging form, this eternal bachelor, who was credited with flirting with certain great mountaineers, questioned the climbers with her strong American accent. She was only interested in the facts. At what altitude had they set up the different camps? Had they made it to the top? By what route? What had the weather been like? How many members of the expedition had returned alive?

Without ever wearing crampons, “Miss” Hawley had managed to picture the peaks perfectly, so that she was able to detect inconsistencies in the stories. Sometimes he would cook the mountaineers or ask trick questions. To those coming down from Cho Oyu (8,188 m): “Have you seen Everest?” “ The roof of the world not being p

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