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Mount Everest Case Analysis

Michigan Tech MGT3000 Organization Behavior
by

Michael Armstrong

on 29 October 2012

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Transcript of Mount Everest Case Analysis

Mount Everest Case Analysis The Climb Begins The Summit 1:00 PM 2:00-2:30 PM 3:45-4:00 PM May 10
Camp 4 to Summit May 8
Camp 2 to Camp 3 May 9
Camp 3 to Camp 4 May 6
Base Camp to Camp 2 March 31 1996
Pre-Camp Pre-May 6
Base Camp Mid-April
Acclimatization Many climbers arrive at Base Camp with respiratory & digestive aliments. Leader Hall tell 3 clients to proceed with the trip though they are sick or fail acclimatization.
Sherpa Ngawang Topche gets HAPE but continues on. He dies later. News of ferocious winds at the summit doesn't deter the leaders in proceeding.
Leader Hall and Fischer fail to set a turnaround time to reach the summit. Client Dr. Kruse becomes ill and turns back.
Leader Fisher leaves him team behind.
Client Hansen still suffering of frostbite determines to proceed.
Swedish climber warns Leader Hall. Guide Harris is hit by a falling boulder and continues on.
Guide Boukreev warned by IMAX team to retreat.
2 clients struggle to reach Camp 3 and 1 client turns around. Ferocious 60 MPH winds.
Leader Hall pushes everyone to summit.
Leader Hall and Fischer fail still do not set a turnaround time. 18 hours to avoid darkness and running out of oxygen.
4 clients turn back.
Client/Reporter Pittman must be towed by Sherpa Lopsang Jangbu
Leader Hall and Fischer leave whole team as they help others.
Leader Fisher and 1 client becomes ill.
Several clients use their last oxygen bottle.
Final assent rope is missing at summit. 2 clients and 2 guides reach the summit and start descent.
Guide Beidleman stays waiting at the summit for the rest of his team.
Guide Harris becomes disorientated and can not be convinced to descend any farther. Leader Hall, Guide Groom and several other clients reach the summit. Guide Groom begins descent.
Guide Beidleman & Leader Hall decide to wait.
Most of Fisher's clients still have not arrived. Leader Fischer reaches the summit finding Leader Hall waiting for Client Hansen to arrive.
Client Hansen reaches the summit and Leader Hall & Fischer begin descent. Untitled Un-Awesomeness is
Rob Baker, Mike Armstrong, Jacob Penzien, and Matt Vertin The Tragic Descent Weather takes a turn for the worse and a ferocious snow blizzard begins.
At 6:00 PM Leader Hall & Client Hansen request rescue from Guide Boukreev but he is unable to because of the snow blizzard.
At 9:00 PM 6 clients arrive at Camp IV while a group of clients are lost just a short distance away. 2 clients die.
At May 11 4:45 AM Leader Hall reports 1 client and 1 guide is dead and shortly after daybreak Leader Fischer dies.
At 6:20 PM Leader Hall makes his last goodbye call to his wife and later dies. Preparing at Base Camp... THE DEADLINE HAS ARRIVED 6 CLIMBERS DIE IN A WINTER BLIZZARD DESCENDING FROM THE SUMMIT OF MT. EVEREST ALONG WITH 3 RESCUE PERSONNEL. What happened? Lopsang Jangbe – Lead Sherpa ∞, ∞
Ngawang Topche – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Lopsang Jangbu – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Pemba – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Ngawang Sya Kya – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Ngawang Tendi – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Tashi Tshering – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Tendi - Sherpa ∞, ∞ Scott Fischer – Owner and Leader 3,1
Anatoli Boukreev – Guide 7, 1
Neal Beidleman – Guide 0, 0


Sandy Hill Pittman – Client 6, 0
Charlotte Fox – Client 2, 0
Tim Madsen – Client 0, 0
Pete Schoening – Client ∞, 0
Klev Schoening– Client 0, 0
Lene Gammelgaard – Client 0, 0
Martin Adams – Client 1, 0
Dr. Dale Kruse – Co-Owner & Client 0, 0 Mountain Madness Ang Dorje – Lead Sherpa ∞, ∞
Arita - Sherpa ∞, ∞
Chuldum – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Lhakpa Chhiri – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Kami – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Ngawang Norbu – Sherpa ∞, ∞
Tenzing - Sherpa ∞, ∞ Rob Hall – Owner and Leader 7, 4
Mike Groom – Guide 1, 1
Andy Harris – Guide 2, 0


Doug Hansen – Client 0, ¾
Dr. Beck Weathers – Client 0, 0
Frank Fischbeck – Client 0, ¾
Lou Kasischke – Client 6-7, 0
Dr. John Taske – Client 0, 0
Yasuko Namba – Client 6-7, 0
Jon Krakauer – Client 0, 0
Dr. Stuart Hutchison - Client 0, 0 Adventure Consultants Founded Mountain Madness in 1984.
Gained a reputation of being daring.
Attempted to summit 3 other times and finally made it on his 4th.
This was his1st commercial expedition up Mt. Everest. Rob Hall Leader Histories Founded Adventure Consultants in 1992.
Lead 39 clients on 4 other successful expeditions up Mt. Everest.
100% Success Guarantee.
$65,000 per client (highest guide fee in the world).
His prior summit attempt failed so he was eager to reprove himself. Scott Fischer Why did this tragedy occur? There were numerous cumulative factors that led to the tragedy on Mt. Everest. Early Warning Signs Clients lack experience (30% lack prior experience)
Clients fail acclimatization
Clients get ill
One leader (Fischer) is fatigued and in less than optimal physical condition
Verbal warnings from other guides and the IMAX team who had turned around due to treacherous weather. Why was Tuchman’s 5 Step Theory not followed at least in spirit? Team Preparation Was the team prepared? Was there a spoken norm? Was there trust?
At the conclusion of acclimatization, there were many warning signs that the teams weren't teams, but rather they were individuals with no trust, commitment or alliance to one another.
Did leaders follow their own protocol for everyone’s safety?
Did leaders have backup plans?
Both commercial expedition companies failed to provide state-of-the-art communication radios to every guide and client. Why didn’t the leaders communicate critical safety information to their teams on May 10th? A Critical 18 Hours The last 18 hours of the Summit is critical.
Leader Fischer was known for stating his “Two OʼClock Rule” in prior expeditions. This was the absolute latest time a climber could reach the summit and safely return back to Camp IV.
What was the backup plan? What mistaken judgments and choices did the climbers make? there were many… What is the root cause? Poor leadership decisions and lack of communication both contribute to the root of the cause of this disaster.
When obvious choices could have been made to the safety of a person or the team, instead a risk was taken. “Proceed at all risk” seems to have been the motto of the leaders.
This lack of decision and leadership came when the pressure was on to make the summit between storm gales at Camp 4 and the team had a limited supplemental oxygen supply. For to wait at Camp 4 for the weather to improve, would mean the team would run out of supplemental oxygen. The only options were to call the expedition off and retreat or take the risk to climb to the summit. Mistaken Judgments & Choices Leaders accept clients that lack experience.
Climbers in poor physical condition continue the expedition against the advice from leaders but also encouraged by leaders.
Leaders ignore the warning of retreating climbers.
Leaders ignore warnings of ferocious weather conditions.
Leaders fail to communicate critical safety information at critical times.
Leaders at times leave their teams to deal with other situations. Personal Reputations
World Records
Good Press
The Almighty Dollar ($) Potential Factors
Affecting Decisions Difficult to access but perhaps their decisions were affected by their personal reputations, or their desire of “good press” from the international writers that had been there, or in the world records that were possible (1st Scandinavian women, old male), or perhaps the high fees that were charged ($65,000 a client). Did these teams function effectively? The teams did not function effectively.
The reality of how death struck the leaders and team proves this.
An effective team would be looking out for each other but in this expedition it was individuals going at it alone in a group of people.
When it was known that someone should turn back the leaders of the expedition did not make the call. Was the team ready
to reach the summit? Preparedness of the team was very lacking.
Guide Boukreev stated that inexperienced climbers must build up their experience to climb 8000 foot level mountains.
Instead he realizes: “… I had been hired to prepare the mountain for the people instead of the other way around.” Similarities between climber and an aspiring business leader? Both set high goals for themselves and many of the personal characteristics necessary to achieve these goals overlap.
Both plan out steps to achieve their goals.
Both need to start out small and work their way up to bigger and more difficult goals as they gain more experience.
Both should have perseverance, self-awareness, and confidence since there will always be obstacles.
Both must be able to work well with others. What qualities make Hall and Fischer great mountaineers? Are these the same attributes required to lead an effective team? Hall and Fischer are both people that will weigh the risk with the potential benefits. They always think about the people that they lead and put heir well being above their own. Hall has experience in his field far beyond what most people have. While Fischer does not have as much experience he does have good intuition about situations. The for mentioned traits that Hall and Fischer show can be easily translated to leading a team. Poor Decisions and Why? Hall choose to continue towards the summit after indications that the weather would not be on their side.
Hall’s decision was biased from prior experiences with similar weather conditions, his overconfidence, and the escalation of commitment to this expedition.
Hall and Fischer would not allow any disagreement or discussion about decisions they made during the expedition – a grave mistake that forced clients to be passive.
Hall and Fischer lectured clients about the “two-o’clock rule” but violated the rule themselves. Evaluating Scott Fisher and Rob Hall as leaders Both had leadership traits such as knowledge, confidence, passion, and supportiveness for their clients.
There were examples of devotion to clients by both leaders.
Lacked humility, unbiased decision making, the ability to admit and correct mistakes, and leading by example.
Major downfall was their overconfidence in their abilities.
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