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The 1994 Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition

presented by Steve Goryl

Steve Goryl ClimbingCome 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 forged.

  • Scott Fischer (Climb Leader). Scott had attempted Everest 3 times previously without success.

  • 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.

Mt Everest trashThe 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

Steve GorylIn 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 Systems Engineer.

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."

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