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Everest Death Toll Climbs to 11

Everest
Everest. Photo: Shutterstock

Update: Italian climber Luigi Rampini, 69, was rescued around 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday when a group of five found him in stable condition with some signs of frostbite on his nose and fingers. They began a descent of Everest around 5 p.m. The number of confirmed and suspected deaths on Everest this season has been reduced to 10.

After communications with a camp on the North Side of Everest, Alan Arnette has upped the fatalities for the 2012 season to 11. The climbing blogger recently conducted a phone interview with Jamie McGuinness of Project Himalaya. The details of the two confirmed deaths, and one presumed death, are listed below.

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The Economics Behind One of the Deadliest Jobs in the United States

Over parts of the last decade, cell-phone tower climbers were 10 times more likely to die on the job than construction workers. As cell-phone carriers struggled to keep up with new technologies, fix their towers to work properly after company mergers, and make sure their networks could handle rising demand, the climbers often paid a price. From 2003 to 2011, 50 climbers died while working. This news is coming to light thanks to a cooperative investigation by Pro Publica and Frontline. Some of the details in their investigation, listed below, show a lack of regard for safety and an economic scheme that favored middlemen, rather than the men putting their lives at risk.

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Two New Tools to Help You Climb Like Chris Sharma

Screen Shot 2012-05-22 at 2.21.53 PMWalltopia will team up with Chris Sharma to design a gym. Above is a previous gym design with a 360-degree tour.

Those that have dreams of climbing like Chris Sharma have two new tools to help them reach their goal. Last week, Rock and Ice teamed up with Sharma to put out the first video in a series of climbing tutorials. Then, last Friday, Sharma released a video sharing news about Sender One, his new climbing gym in Santa Ana, California.

Screen Shot 2012-05-22 at 2.22.26 PMMany Walltopia-designed gyms feature creations that appeal to children

Sender One will open in this fall and feature designs by Sharma and climbing wall manufacturer Walltopia. The 25,000-square-foot gym will feature 50-foot route walls, 18-foot bouldering walls, an IFSC standardized speed climbing wall, an LED backlit and translucent "Space Design" wall, and a Funtopia wall for kids.

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Three Big Walls in One Day

Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold grabbed the first major achievement of Yosemite's spring climbing season this weekend when they made the first free ascent of the Triple Crown, a linkup that combines three of Yosemite's biggest walls, in a single day. In 21 hours and 15 minutes, Honnold and Caldwell raced up El Capitan's Freerider, Half Dome's Regular Northwest Face, and Mt. Watkins' South Face. All in all, they ascended nearly 7,000 vertical feet of sheer rock, covering sections as difficult as 5.13a.

The partners began their linkup on Friday at 4:45 p.m. and climbed through the night, finishing at 2 p.m. the next day. While Caldwell took three tumbles on the way up Freerider, Honnold didn't fall once. Besides the 77 pitches of climbing, the linkup includes several hours of hiking just to approach and descend from the routes.

Caldwell at the crux of Mt. Watkins South Face, from his first attempt at the route.

"This one was a long time coming," Caldwell wrote on Facebook. "El Cap, Half Dome and Mount Watkins all free in under 24 hours. It was amazing to team up with such a solid and inspiring partner."

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Four Dead on Everest

Everest_flags_mainPrayer flags near Everest. Photo: Daniel Prudek/Shutterstock

At least four climbers are dead after a weekend of summit attempts on Mount Everest. German Eberhard Schaaf, 61, died from apparent altitude sickness Sunday at around 28,700 feet on the South Summit. South Korean Song Won-Bin, 44, who has been missing since Saturday, collapsed with acute mountain sickness and fell off a cliff at The Balcony at 27,600 feet. Nepali-born Canadian climber Shriya Shah, 33, died Sunday, and the body of 55-year-old Chinese climber Ha Wenyi was found near 28,200 feet. Neither cause of death has been confirmed. "Most of these deaths occur due to high-altitude sickness," Asian Trekking founder Ang Tshering Sherpa said. "Climbers spend their energy on the ascent and they are exhausted and fatigued on the descent." A Nepali guide was also reported missing on Saturday. Successful summits include Ueli Steck's climb without oxygen on Friday and 73-year-old Tamae Watanabe's ascent on Saturday. Watanabe is the oldest woman ever to climb the mountain.

—Nick Davidson
@NickGDavidson

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