1994 Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition
presented by Steve Goryl
Come and hear the story of The 1994 Sagarmatha Environmental
Expedition presented in a multi-media format
by Steve Goryl. Steve was
the Expedition Leader of this precedent setting
climb of Mt. Everest and became the 367th Westerner
to reach the summit on his only attempt.
Late in 1991 Scott
Fischer and Steve Goryl heard of the
idea of an Environmental Everest Climb. "We
were inspired by Bob McConnell's efforts
on the Chinese side of the world's highest
mountain." Bob was the first recipient
of the David Brower Award for Conservation.
Together Scott and Steve formed a team that
was intent on exploring every avenue of conservation
on this majestic peak. After several member
changes, a strong team of five climbers was
- Scott Fischer (Climb Leader). Scott had
attempted Everest 3 times previously without
- Steve Goryl (Expedition Leader). Steve
as a NOLS Instructor had climbed as high
as 22,834 ft. in Argentina.
- Rob Hess (Equipment Leader). Rob had climbed
very close to the summit on K2 and worked
for NOLS with Scott on Denali.
- Steve Gipe (Medical Leader.) Steve was
an early NOLS Instructor and is now an ER
Physician in Montana.
- Brent Bishop (Finance Leader). Brent is
the son of Barry Bishop who summitted in
1963 with the first American ascent.
1994 Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition set
many precedents for environmentally conscious
expeditions on Mt. Everest. The expedition
removed over 5,000 pounds of trash from the
mountain and started the Bottle Recovery Incentive
Plan that is presently enforced by the government
of Nepal. The expedition used GPS technology
to do an Environmental Impact Statement of
the mountain in addition to water quality tests
at three different altitudes. The American
Alpine Club awarded the team with the David
Brower Award for Environmental Action.
Four of the five team members attained the
summit. Rob Hess and Scott Fischer became the
third and fourth Americans to summit without
the use of supplemental oxygen. Brent Bishop
followed in his father's footsteps and became
part of the first American father and son team
to climb Mt. Everest. Steve Goryl ended up
summitting alone after waiting at 26,000 ft
(Camp 4) for four days, in high winds. He descended
to base camp on his 40th birthday. The expedition
suffered no major injury or illness and taught
many of the principles of Leave No Trace to
the local Sherpas.
About the Presenter
addition to having taught mountaineering, skydiving,
scuba diving, and first aid, Steve has instructed
more NOLS courses than anyone else and is presently
working for NOLS Information Systems as the
Steve writes, "I spent a large part of
my childhood and teenage years living in Europe.
I was well accustomed to global travel but
always yearned to know more about my country.
When my family returned to the United States,
I had a great interest in seeing the mountain
ranges of our country. As soon as I had landed
in Colorado, my view of the snow capped peaks
and clear blue sky, convinced me that my desire
to be a 'mountain man' was right. I saw the
Alcoa Hour presentation of 'Thirty Days to
Survival', a story about the early days of
NOLS, and that was the final event. I knew
I was going to attend the National Outdoor
Leadership School to learn the principles of
expeditions and mountain travel."
"My student course in 1970 was led by
our school's founder the late Paul
Petzoldt. At the age of 16 I had already
skied the Alps, but that was nothing compared
to my 30 days in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming.
I caught my first trout on a fly line, completed
my first rappel and became thrilled with the
concept of 'self arrest' on a snow slope. I
learned to cook and bake and to treat my 'expedition
mates' with the same respect and care, that
I was learning for the environment. The 6+
days without food at the end of the expedition
was an experience that forged my will and perseverance
for the rest of my life. I firmly believe that
the skills I learned in Expedition Planning
led to my success on some of the highest mountains
in the world. I feel that it is increasingly
important for everyone to experience the Wilderness,
Adventure and Self Reliance that comes from
a 'NOLS' Expedition."