Sunday, August 24, 2008

Faking it Beijing style

Faked firework displays, a kid miming to another little girl's voice and now it seems the Chinese have pulled off the biggest fake of all - taking the Olympic torch to the summit of Mount Everest, or Chomolungma as it is known to Tibetans.

A Nepalese blogger, blogdai broke the story after some careful research and has concluded that the summit bid was faked. The conclusions are based on:
  • no verification photographs - ie no visible peaks or other recognisable land features that would confirm being at the summit of Everest
  • presence of exhalation vapours and lack of rime ice
  • speed at which the climbers move
  • lack of old, faded prayer flags at the summit

I've watched the official video footage - see it here - and whilst I have not climbed Everest, I have read many many accounts of other people's climbs and have watched a lot of films and documentaries on the subject. And from everything I know, I just cannot believe this is not faked.

  • Hardly any of the climbers are using oxygen. They're sitting around on the summit waiting for torchbearers to arrive and not one of them needs artificial oxygen?
  • Only the torchbearers are ever clipped into the safety line. Other people are just swanning around not roped up together or into other safety lines
  • Everyone is moving far too fast for the altitude. I've climbed to 5640m and there's no way I could scamper up the mountainside like those Chinese did!
  • Isn't the actual summit area really small - no bigger than a billiard table is how Sir Edmund Hillary described it - yet there are 10+ people standing there

Watch the video, read all the comments across the internet and make up your own mind. But if it's true that the Chinese have faked the Olympic torch summit, what else could they have faked? Perhaps their 'historical proof' that Tibet has always been a part of China...