Ever met him ?? The self effecting poor, british acent used to kill me.
I have not. Honestly, I am glad that I haven't, and I dread the day that I do, because I don't have much nice to say. I've read his Everest book, Boukreev's book, Kenneth Kamler's book, Sandy Hill Pittman's writings, and the opinion I form from those sources isn't favorable. Even Dave Roberts' (his mentor?) references to Krakauer weren't super favorable -- though by the time I read Roberts' memoir I had a negative view of Krakauer, so perhaps my reading was tainted..
It is hard to put words on what make him an asshole.
I'll try: he sounds like a self-important egotistical narcissist who gains more from putting other people down than from taking humble revelation in his own achievements. The way he took down Greg Mortenson for Three Cups of Tea, while justified, came across more as a vendetta than as the work of a truth-seeker. He is, by all accounts, a gifted climber and a gifted writer. But instead of using those gifts for good, the tone comes across as self-important to the exclusion of all others' possible merit.
But you must consider that I haven't met him, so my opinion isn't well formed and certainly could be invalid. Hearing someone who has met him say he is an ass gives me a measure of confidence in panning him. But, again: it's an outside impression.
Unfortunately these Sherpas died just trying to earn enough to feed their family's. What's so bad about that is that they were fixing ropes for a bunch of rich "trophy hunters" who as Messner put it, "many are not qualified to climb the Matterhorn on their own." IMO that is an ugly part of Himalayan climbing today.
OK, back on topic.
I think Ed V. said it best: "The Everest experience today is not the experience that I want to have." I feel terrible for the folks who died earning a living, and for their families. The mountain is angry
. There are too many people on Everest, and too many people milking mother nature for cash by putting people who don't belong there in to harm's way for a buck.
Last year, the same root causes led to a brawl where two climbers were almost killed by an angry mob. This year, the mountain killed 16 people on the first day above the icefall. Correlation isn't causation: I do not suggest that the mountain retaliated for the sins of last season. That said: if you believe that Sagarmatha is a goddess, you gotta wonder WTF is wrong with how the world is treating her.
I'd like to see Everest returned into the hands of dedicated, lifetime mountaineers. This tourist stuff has to stop.