Expedition climbing can be summarized as long days of boredom and monotony punctuated by brief intervals of exhilaration and terror. Many days are spent carrying heavy loads at high altitude, often under a blazing sun. Interspersed are exhilarating leads on sheer ice and rock faces. Everest the game lets you face the challenges of mountain climbing in the safety and warmth of your home.




If you're unfamiliar with the world of climbing, scan the glossary first to pick up some of the terminology. Click on the Play Everest link and then select the only climb that's currently available to you -- Mt. Rainier. A picture of Rainier appears, with possible routes outlined as a series of lines connecting waypoints. At the bottom is your basecamp. We'll prompt you when you need to set the next goal. This lets you select the route up the mountain. Once you establish camps, you can check where your climbers are and what supplies are at each camp. For now, everything is at the base camp. You're the climb manager and need to tell the climbers what to carry and where to go. Click on the Assign button to see what is possible. They'll carry supplies, so both climbers should go. When all orders are given, choose CLIMB. This conducts the climb for that day. Continue in this fashion to set camps & supplies higher & higher on the mountain until you reach the summit. Sound simple? Here's a few of the things that can go wrong:

  •  the climbers can fail to make it to the next camp due to fatigue or lack of motivation
  •  they can be hit by falling rock or ice
  • on steep pitches, they can fall
  •  they can be hit by avalanches
  •  the weather can change for the worse
  • camps can run out of food or oxygen (on the higher climbs)

========= ROUTE MAP =========

Each climb is played on the mountain itself. The possible routes are shown as thin lines, connecting a series of waypoints that indicate potential camps. As each camp is set up, the possible routes decrease. When a route is first led, it is shown as a thicker cyan colored line. Most routes require a certain amount of rope and hardware to be 'fixed' -- made safer for carrying loads. Use the "Examine Camps" button to check the route difficulty in terms of rock and ice, and to see how much rope and hardware are still required. Once a route is fixed, it is shown as a thicker, magenta line.

========= CLIMBERS: =========

Each climber has both a strength (STR) and WILL rating. These vary among climbers and sherpas. Various assignments and results depend on current ratings, and can affect them. For example, leading a new route, decreases strength but increases will. Storms, accidents or lack of food decrease will. If STR or WILL get too low, the climber must descend. Or the ratings may go so low that they cannot even descend. If STR goes to 0, that climber dies.


REST ----- Stay in camp to recover. The lower down the mountain you rest, the faster you'll recover.

LEAD ---- Climbers in the camp below the current goal can lead. This establishes the route, placing hardware and ropes. When the route is fixed, climbing is both easier and safer for those carrying loads. At the end of a successful lead, climbers drop their loads. If a tent is dropped, the waypoint can be turned into a camp and climbers can then use it for sleeping.

CARRY ------ Healthy climbers can move up to a total of 4 camps. The possibilities (in decreasing order of exertion) are:

  • carry up 3 camps and sleep there
  • carry up 2 camps, with a single camp descent
  • carry up 2 camps and sleep there
  • carry up 1 camp, and descend 2
  • carry up 1 camp, and descend 1
  • carry up 1 camp and sleep there
  • descend 1 camp
  • descend 2 camps
  • descend 3 camps
  • descend 4 camps

Adjust Loads ------------ Each climber has an optimum load of 20 lbs, each Sherpa, 30. Optimum loads decrease to 15 and 25 lbs respectively at altitudes over 20,000'. Anyone carrying a lighter than optimum load has a reduced chance of accident, and an increased chance of a successful lead. Heavier loads of up to an additional 10 lbs are possible, but result in greater chance of accident and decreased chance of successful leads. When you first set assign climbers to move to a camp, their loads automatically set. You can adjust this up or down or change the items carried using the "Assign' button

 DESCEND ------ Healthy climbers can descend up to 3 camps. Sick climbers can descend a single camp. Injured climbers must rest in camp at least one day before moving down.

 Oxygen (O2) ------------ Above 20,000', all climbers need to use oxygen. They must carry an oxygen bottle with them while leading or carrying. At night each climber consumes 1/2 bottle of oxygen. If an odd number of climbers sleeps at a camp, the remaining 1/2 tank is lost. Sherpas do not use bottled oxygen. If no oxygen is available when needed, STR and WILL decrease, as does morale.



: ================================

Weather ------- The top section shows current conditions and a forecast for the next day. After 3 days, the bottom half shows history of weather type, cloud cover, and depth of snow as a series of overlapping graphs. Increasing depth of snow increases the chance of avalanche. Snow level is a white line, weather a black line. High camp is shown as a gray rectangle. The worst possible weather varies by season. During Premonsoon climbs, a STORM is the worst. During Monsoon weather, GALEs are possible. During WINTER climbs, BLIZZARDs occur. ------- Summary ------- This report appears in 2 parts. First, a list of all climbers is shown, sorted by current camp location. This lets you see where your climbers are, and what their current condition is. Next, a report appears showing supplies in each camp. It also indicates how many people are currently in that camp. Hints ------- Give some ideas about what to do next. Usually based on conditions at the currently selected waypoint.

========= RESULTS: =========

When you've given everyone orders, click on CLIMB to carry out the day's events.

Success: --------

Orders are carried out alright, with no problems.

Rock or ice hit, or Fall: ------------------------

Party encounters falling rock or ice, or one or more of the group takes a serious fall.  Depending on strength and morale, injured members may need to stay in camp for one or more days.

Avalanche: ---------- The party is hit by an avalanche. Survivors return to camp.

 Death ----- Accidents, avalanche or altitude sickness can cause death. If a climber dies, all the team members are affected. Their will to carry on decreases. After a death, check the team summary and decide whether the team should continue the climb, or retreat.

Health ------ Normal climbers are subject to both accident and altitude sickness. If they are hit by rock or ice, or take a fall, they're injured and must rest in camp until they recover. When climber's strength gets too low they become sick and can only rest or descend. Descent is recommended, as recovery is faster at lower altitudes. If strength goes to zero, the climber dies, with possibly devastating effects on the morale of the rest of the team. If several members are killed in an accident, or due to poor planning, the climb is almost certainly doomed.

======== FINISH ========

The game can end in several ways. Once someone makes the summit, you can end the game with a success, or you can continue to try to put more climbers on the summit. In particular, your character gains more experience if s/he makes the summit. The game can also end if a climber dies and you decide to call off the climb. Finally, the game ends immediately if your player dies.

SCORING: -------- One of your party must reach the summit to complete a game. Your team score is based on the difficulty of the climb (rock, ice and steepness), the weather difficulty you chose and the number of days it took to reach the summit. You receive more points for placing multiple climbers on the summit. In addition, you receive a combined score that reflects your personal achievements (highcamp, rock & ice experience and summit). The combined score determines where you place in the Alpine Record. ------- Journal ------- This summarizes all the climbing events that took place. It also contains more details than appear during the game, and can be studied to track weather conditions, avalanche and other risks. -----------------

CLIMBING BASICS ----------------- Classic expedition climbing uses the 'siege' approach: hundreds of local porters carry equipment to set up a military-scale base camp. Then more experienced high altitude porters, traditionally Sherpas, carry loads to the camps on the mountain. Historically, western climbers did the route finding and actual climbing. Today, the climbing is split between the client climbers and the Sherpas. Ensuring that enough equipment is in place is a matter of organizing a logistical pyramid. Food and oxygen are needed in the course of the climb, so in order to supply a high camp with these goods, much larger quantities need to be carried and used at the lower camps. Modern techniques started in 1970 with Bonington's expedition to the South Face of Annapurna. This brought California/Chamonix big wall techniques to the Himalayan faces. Later climbers carried this 'alpine' style ascent to the extreme, in epics like Messner's solo ascents of the 8000 meter peaks. The game takes a middle road in which climbers attack difficult faces, but retain the security of a series of camps for retreat and rest.

----------------- GAME ASSUMPTIONS: -----------------

  • sleeping bags and personal gear always carried by individuals
  • tents sleep 2 comfortably, 3 or 4 crowded and huddled but safe
  • 1 food unit = food & fuel for 2 people for 1 day
  • no supplies used while in base camp

 Scenario Notes: ---------------- All mountain images are actual photos of the peaks to be climbed, taken by the author on climbing and hiking treks. The routes include the original ascent routes and alternates when possible, with addition potential routes and waypoints added for playability.

Climb notes: ======== Rainier ------- The actual climb of Rainier usually requires only 1 camp, but that would make the training mission trivial, so we take it in 3 days, carrying full packs to the summit.

GLOSSARY ===========

  • Waypoint -- a point on the map. Can be an established camp, a potential camp, a goal, or the summit.
  • Goal -- a waypoint designated as the next campsite, or the summit.
  • Camp -- a waypoint with tents where climbers can spend the night. Each camp has a maximum number of tents which can be placed, due to the precarious nature of most alpine campsites.
  • Base camp -- Camp 0. The headquarters of the expedition, easily accessible by low altitude porters, so food and tents are always plentiful. Climbers recover strength and will in base camp.
  • Lead -- Before the route is set, the first man or team up faces more difficulties, since there are more unknowns, and little protection. Once a lead has been done, subsequent repeats of the route are easier. Also, the leaders may place fixed ropes to help later carries.
  • Fixed rope -- To make the route safer, climbers install fixed ropes -- anchoring ropes to the sides of the mountain to give some protection in the more exposed or dangerous places.
  • Hardware -- In the game, this represents the various types of hardware needed to place anchors and to fix ropes.
  • Oxygen (O2) -- Oxygen tanks and masks are carried to make breathing easier. Unfortunately, the O2 tanks themselves form a significant logistical problem, so climbers in recent years have been trying light, fast climbs without the siege tactics represented in the game.
  • Sherpa -- A tribe who lives in the Khumbu and other high mountain valleys of Nepal. Originally from Tibet, they helped the British in their early explorations, and became essential for success on the major peaks. In the early climbs, most Sherpas worked as porters only, but today, they also share climbing leads and summit attempts.
  • Porter -- Often hundreds of low altitude porters are needed to carry the expeditions supplies to base camp. These people, ranging in age from about 12 to over 60, and including some women, carry loads of 70 pounds for several weeks to enable the climb to take place. In Nepal, porters are often Tamang, Rai, Gurung and Sherpa.
  • High Altitude Porter -- Once the base camp is set up, more experienced porters are needed, traditionally Sherpas, but now often including other tribes. These porters need to be able to carry heavy loads through ice fields, crevasses, across glaciers and up steep slopes.

References: =========== There are dozens of books on Everest alone, and many more on Himalayan mountaineering and exploring. Some of my personal favorites, and ones I used during the design of this game include: Everest: --------

Bonington, Chris, "Everest, the Hard Way" (NY: Random House, 1976).

Gillette, Ned & Jan Reynolds, "Everest Grand Circle", (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1985).

Hornbein, Thomas, "Everest: The West Ridge", (San Francisco: The Sierra Club 1966).

Hunt, Sir John, "The Conquest of Everest", (NY: E.P. Dutton & Co, Inc, 1954).

Tilman, H.W., "Everest 1938", in The Seven Mountain-Travel Books, (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1983).

Annapurna: ---------

Bonington, Chris, "Annapurna South Face" (NY: McGraw Hill, 1971).

Herzog, Maurice, "Annapurna", (NY: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc,, 1952).

 Kangchenjunga: --------------

 Freshfield, Douglas W., "Round Kangchenjunga", (Kathmandu: Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1979 (republication of original 1903 edition).

Other Himalaya --------------

Dingle, Graeme & Peter Hillary,, "First Across the Roof of the World", (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1984). Tilman, H.W. "Nepal Himalaya", in The Seven Mountain-Travel Books, (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1983).

Rainier -------

 Dee Molenaar, "The Challenge of Rainier", (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1979).

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