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Cybercafe At Mt. Everest 102

Posted by timothy
from the plus-it's-an-oxygen-bar dept.
Makarand writes "A Nepalese entrepreneur, Tsering Gyalzen, is making plans to set up a cybercafe at Mt Everest basecamp and open it by March. Proceeds from the venture will be used to support solid waste management in the area. VSAT digital satellite equipment installed a 2-hour trek-distance away from base camp will be used to send signals to the internet cafe using radio links."
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Cybercafe At Mt. Everest

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  • by ebbomega (410207) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @06:47AM (#5313327) Journal
    Three Starbucks have just recently set themselves up on the same corner....
  • cool (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2003 @06:48AM (#5313329)
    thanks, but i'll pass hauling myself 20000 ft up on a mountain.. when i can get it right here in my warm, heated house :-)
  • Heh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Isbiten (597220) <isbiten@@@gmail...com> on Sunday February 16, 2003 @06:48AM (#5313330) Homepage
    Good business idea, specially when only 100 people climb every year. But Im sure they all pay good to send some emails when they get back to basecamp.
    • Re:Heh (Score:3, Informative)

      by ishmaelflood (643277)
      No, there's about 20-40 a day get to the old base camp (Gorak Shep) during the walking season. BTDT
    • These movements have no intention to make profit on the same spot, it's mostly about commerciallity of the company. "Oh look, this is a net cafe of that guy that has one on Everest".
    • Re:Heh (Score:2, Informative)

      by mlush (620447)
      Good business idea, specially when only 100 people climb every year. But Im sure they all pay good to send some emails when they get back to basecamp.

      Perhaps only 100 climb, but how many visit? A very brief search got me 4 guided treks to Base Camp, it a tourist destination nowadays!

      On top of that I think that the climbers will be more interested in downloading weather data (though the tourist will be sending their emails)

      • Re:Heh (Score:4, Informative)

        by kubla2000 (218039) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @07:33AM (#5313403) Homepage

        On top of that I think that the climbers will be more interested in downloading weather data (though the tourist will be sending their emails)

        Well, all expeditions are equipped with their own satellite network links these days. Check out the climbing section of mountainzone.com http://climb.mountainzone.com/ for example. Most expeditions now also have a dedicated blogger who writes for a newspaper and a website. All this data, including satellite phone calls home (and to the sponsors) are the norm now.

        The cafe will, I imagine, be for the tourists for whom base camp is the destination. It won't play a part in expeditions or expeditions planning.

        • Could be a movie in that: "Warclimbing Everest!" I doubt they'd have to carry much chalk, maybe a few Pringles cans.
        • by mlush (620447)
          Well, all expeditions are equipped with their own satellite network links these days.

          I would think that the cafe may be able to undercut the portable satellite network equipment, expeditions would still need the equipment to cover their travel to the mountain etc but once there [c|w]ould the cafe be cheaper?

          • I would think that the cafe may be able to undercut the portable satellite network equipment, expeditions would still need the equipment to cover their travel to the mountain etc but once there [c|w]ould the cafe be cheaper?

            Perhaps, but if you have a major chunk of your expedition underwritten by a media outlet that *insists* on daily reports for its readers/viewers, do you think they're going to chance that the cafe is running, or carry their own gear?

            Also, depending on the route the climbers are taking, Advanced Base Camp can be a *very* long hike from Base Camp.

    • Re:Heh (Score:4, Informative)

      by Totto (188328) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @08:12AM (#5313474)

      But Im sure they all pay good to send some emails when they get back to basecamp.

      I climbed the highest mountain in the Americas last year. There was e-mail access at Base Camp, 20 miles into the mountains, at 14400 feet. Solar-powered PC and satelite phone.

      Outgoing e-mail cost $4 per 250 bytes of text. Incoming e-mail was available with prior agreement.

      Consider that rate for a moment. I am certain you can expect even more spectacular rates here.

      (I'd also make damn sure to keep the incoming address away from spam-lists, but that is another matter).

      • ... I wonder how the ping times are like?
      • by lommer (566164)
        (I'd also make damn sure to keep the incoming address away from spam-lists, but that is another matter).

        Actually, this would finally give spam lawsuits some actual weight. Whereas the bandwidth and time costs per spam to joe schmoe on his desktop PC are measured in fractions of a cent, spam would actually prove a quantifiable, significant financial burden to the operator of this system. Too bad they're in Nepal though, I have no idea how receptive Nepali civil court is to these kinds of suits (do they even have a civil court?) or how they could possibly enforce as suit against someone in the US or Korea...
    • Re:Heh (Score:4, Informative)

      by mosch (204) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @09:39AM (#5313725) Homepage
      It's not entirely a foolish idea. There's a bakery near the Everest Base Camp that's been in business for at least five or six years.

      The 100 person per year figure you cited is approximately how many people successfully summit a year. There's a large number of people who go part way and give up, and significantly more than that who don't want to climb Everest at all, but are just trekking in Sagarmatha National Park.

      • That's stretching the meaning of the term "near" -- it's still a few day's trekking from Everest Base Camp. But damn, they sure have good apple pie (and no more expensive than what you'd pay at Applebee's or similar)!
    • Good business idea, specially when only 100 people climb every year.

      Oh just wait a few decades, and it will have tons of visitors when global warming puts it right next to Lake Everest.
  • dup (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    this is a dup
  • by forged (206127) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @06:59AM (#5313345) Homepage Journal
    Cisco Donates Equipment to Build the World's Highest Wireless Connection On Mount Everest [cisco.com]

    The announcement was made on January 23, and it's nice to see things moving along. Cisco's announcement has a lot more details than the article reported today.

  • Nice (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2003 @07:00AM (#5313347)
    This must be the only environment my duron 1.3 won't crash of overheating at 36Ghz.

    Super computing, here I come!
    • won't crash of overheating at 36Ghz.

      Since the record with liquid CO2 AFAIK is less than 4GHz, I somehow doubt it. Otherwise an interesting idea of moving your hot computing equipment to a cold environment and access it through the internet.
  • by BeeCee (569828)
    Hope he plans on building an oxygen bar along with it.
  • Again- (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Omkar (618823)
    This is cooler and much more improtant for people who live there.
  • Duplicate... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by seldolivaw (179178)
    This was posted nearly a month ago [slashdot.org]...
    • RAther then pointing out its a Duplicate,
      it woudl be so much cooler if you jsut looked
      up the highest moded post and became a karma whore but copying it

  • we'd have to overcome to get there is:

    x-wing:/# mount everest
    mount: can't find everest in /etc/fstab or /etc/mtab
  • Dear Ma (Score:5, Funny)

    by Salsaman (141471) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @07:16AM (#5313375) Homepage
    help I'm faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllliiinnnnngggggggg. ..
  • Hmm? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    First Everest... next, the restaurant at the end of the Universe?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2003 @07:22AM (#5313388)
    Must we bring our instant communication, our invasive culture, to *every* place in the world?
    • Must we bring our instant communication, our invasive culture, to *every* place in the world?

      It already is in every place in the world, all you need is a dish and a laptop to listen to it

      People already climb Everest without (bottled) oxygen, perhaps the next Everest challange is doing it without email....

      Its now.... 5 days since we left out iBooks at base..... starting to suffer web withdrawal symptoms. Caruthers point and clicks is getting particularly bad and had to ban him from the sleeping tent

    • by macaddict (91085)
      Must we bring our instant communication, our invasive culture, to *every* place in the world?

      Must we push our ideas of how a culture is supposed to behave on every community that's trying to benefit from technological advances?

      This is a Sherpa building a cybercafe in a Sherpa community. What gives you the right to judge them?

      Maybe you should notify the Sherpas that they live in a sacred place that must be preserved, because they seem to think they can do whatever they want with their homes and community.

      • Yeah, but if we give the Sherpas technology and advanced communciation, they will want more. They will cease to be low-cost third-world servants for liberal young college types from the US to visit and patronize. It's already happening in places like Mexico, where college hippies used to be able to travel across the country for pennies. Is nothing sacred? Is no culture of people going to be kept quaint and backward for the enjoyment of idealistic young American tourists?
      • Hear, hear! If you read the New York Times Circuits story from two weeks ago about this, you find that the Everest part is just one aspect. What they're trying to do is bring the world to an area cut off by Marxist rebels that doesn't want to be cut off. Another way to avoid another Khmer Rouge killing fields situation is to have The Whole World Watching.
  • Gonna (Score:4, Funny)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @07:35AM (#5313409)
    need a few new empticons for the new experiences

    gasping for breath
    just fallen on my ass
    just fallen on my ice axe
    altitude induced gushing nose bleeds
    fscking sherpa just ran off with all the oxygen
    • "Proceeds from the venture will be used to support solid waste management in the area."

      I think one's ass has bigger worries. And rest assured, I think many would be thankful for that thin air when they step into an outhouse.

      Add'tl emoticons:

      holding one's nose
      eyes darting for restroom
      just used a pinecone
    • Here you go (Score:2, Funny)

      by SuperKendall (25149)
      <i>gasping for breath</i>
      x
      8-X
      x

      <i> just fallen on my ass</i>
      :-B*

      <i>just fallen on my ice axe
      /
      :-/(
      \

      <i>altitude induced gushing nose bleeds</i>
      ^^^ :<(=============

      <i>fscking sherpa just ran off with all the oxygen</i>
      8<( [O2O2O2]%-)
  • by coloth (630330) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @07:38AM (#5313416)
    This "CyberCafe" may offer thrill-seeking Westerners and Japanese their last opportunity to communicate with their right-thinking loved ones, and be talked out of another ridiculous ego trip.

    I, for one, would sponsor an EverQuest account at this cafe to snag these folks in a more controlled environment. At least until they are incapacitated by repetitive-stress injuries.

    Then they could be transported to a safer uber-thrill, like a ride on the Vomit Comet or, perhaps, a scintillating decade of psychotherapy.

  • by abc_los (638007)
    I guess they're going to put my network consulting firm on K2 out of business
  • What a *good* idea. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kahei (466208) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @07:55AM (#5313435) Homepage
    I am happy to hear there is now a cybercafe in the central himalayas. I certainly hope that soon there will be a mcdonalds at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, a Starbucks in the middle of St. Pauls' Cathedral, and a frozen yogurt bar on fucking Mars.

    In fact, why not just tarmac over the entire planet all in one go? It's kinder than doing it bit by bit like this.

    • A frozen yoghurt bar would not work on Mars, as all the ice there consists of water [slashdot.org].

      But it would be possible on Everest, provided you manage to haul a herd of yaks up there...

    • by macaddict (91085)
      I am happy to hear there is now a cybercafe in the central himalayas. I certainly hope that soon there will be a mcdonalds at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, a Starbucks in the middle of St. Pauls' Cathedral, and a frozen yogurt bar on fucking Mars. In fact, why not just tarmac over the entire planet all in one go? It's kinder than doing it bit by bit like this.

      Oh, I see. To preserve the planet in ways that you like, people in the Himalayas can have no choice as to what businesses they open. Ignorant savages. Don't they know they're supposed to preserve their culture intact (preferably at a quaint, primitive level) so that Western tourists can leave behind their Starbucks and McDonalds and go to their backward little country to gawk at them and feel like they've "left civilization behind"? Next thing you know, they'll be using the internet access to provide news and education opportunities to their community. How are the tourists supposed to feel superior if the natives already know about things like the "magic box that paints your picture" and "carts that move by themselves"?

      Why are First World civilizations allowed to advance technologically, but anyone else has to preserve their cultures at whatever level the anthropologists find most interesting to study. Why are the Japanese allowed to introduce new technology and gadgets into their culture (and evenutally everyone else's) every day, but a Sherpa wants to open a cybercafe in his community and he's accused of somehow ruining the planet?

      Maybe what is best for the Himalayas should be decided by the people who actually live there?

      • This isn't about culture. No one would be complaining if they were putting internet cafes in their villages for the people to use. The point is that sites of natural beauty should be left pure. People would be equally upset if national parks in the US were being filled with internet cafes.
        • > People would be equally upset if national parks
          > in the US were being filled with internet cafes.

          WHY??????????
          I wouldn't complain at all - and i'm as much of a nature and outdoors freak as anyone out there. Definitely more than most "sitting in my basement getting suntan from the monitor" /.-ters.

          I may not use a I-cafe in Yellowstone (due to costs - just like I don't use them in NYC where I live or in any big town where I travel, if I can help it). But I sure as hell would like the fact that i CAN access the internet if needed.

          Now, Starbucks i would mind - but that is because I go to Yellowstone to escape urban "culture", not civilization or technology.

          -DVK.
      • In his excellent book Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer mentions the money and sponsorship that's gone into mountaineering in the region as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Sherpas receiving carrying fees have managed to pay for first-class education for their children (for example) - not really possible otherwise. On the other, technology and money have undoubted downsides on so-called "simple" cultures.

        Anyway, technology won't help. Sargamatha can kick anyone off at any time no matter what they've got...
    • Before you get your panties in a twist, its not quite that bad. The fact of the matter is that people have been using Sat phones and the internet from Base Camp for years now, and even from the peak. This is just the first person doing it commercially, seperate of the individual expeditions.
    • I certainly hope that soon there will be a mcdonalds at the bottom of the Indian Ocean

      To mangle an old joke, I think that putting one McDonald's at the bottom of the ocean would be a good start.

  • Now I can freeze my ass off _and_ send mail before I trundle off into impending doom.

    (yes, people sometimes die while climbing everest.)

    Famous last words: "Welp, I'm off to climb this little rock. See ya later!"

  • Will it have IPv6?
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @08:37AM (#5313537) Homepage
    Rather than getting email "business offers" from Nigerian cybercafes, I'll get them from Everest. I can see it now:

    Dear Sir.
    Your contact information was referred to me by one of my trusted contacts, whose name I am not at liberty to compromize. I would like to approach you with reguards to a profitable Business Proposal, reguarding the transfer of TEN MILLION ($10000000) U.S. Dollars into your Bank Account. For reasons I am sure you will appreciate, I ask that you keep this commucation confidential, and avoid it falling into the hands of any agents of the Royal Nepal Yak Mounted Police that may be operating in Your area.

    My name is Tsering Gyaltsen Sherpa, and I am the grandson of Gyalzen Sherpa, the recently Deceased Serpa of Nepal. If you have been following the events in my country over the last few years, you will remember the big scandal that took place when Gyalzen was found dead in an alley, from an alledged overdose of Tylenol Flu. [snip]

    I swear those Nigerian 419 scammers must use a page like this one [flooble.com] to generate their scam letters.

  • A Nepalese entrepreneur,

    He couldn't be much of an entrepeneur with this doozy of an idea. Given it's location, you really have to wonder how many customers he expects to get...
  • An Idea (Score:2, Funny)

    by DarwinDan (596565)
    Here's an idea...since only a handful of people go there and it's expensive to set up a VSAT, why not have someone from Corporate America sponsor the base camp? I could just see it now: Enron Camp...
  • (Begins with a picture of the sun rising over two mountain peaks)

    Announcer (Graham Chapman): Mount Everest. Forbidding, aloof, terrifying. The mountain with the biggest tits in the world.

    (Gong crashes, a disgusted voice interrupts)
    Voice Over: Start again!
    (A hideous clown in green plaid shirt, 14-inch wide blue polka-dotted bow tie, red curly wig, false teeth and an ugly mask steps in front of the picture of the mountain for a second and waves.)

    Announcer: Mount Everest. Forbidding, aloof, terrifying. This year, this remote Himalayan mountain, this mystical temple, surrounded by the most difficult terrain in the world, repulsed yet another attempt to conquer it. (Picture changes to wind-swept, snowy tents and people) This time, by the International Hairdresser's Expedition. In such freezing, adverse conditions, man comes very close to breaking point. What was the real cause of the disharmony which destroyed their chances at success?

    (Hairdresser #1 is a snowy, bundled up climber with a very gay voice. Hairdressers #2 and #3 are even more gay and windswept.)

    Hairdresser #1: Well, people keep taking your hairdryer on every turn.

    Hairdresser #2: There's a lot of bitching in the tents.

    Hairdresser #3: You couldn't get near the mirror.

    (Cut to the announcer, a stuffy looking older man, delicately trimming millimeters off the leaves of cabbages growing in his country garden.)

    Announcer: The leader of the expedition was Colonel Sir John Cheesy-Weezy Butler, veteran K2, Annapurna, and Vidal. His plan was to ignore the usual route around the south and to make straight for the top.

    (next part shows a map of the mountain)

    Cheesy-Weezy: We established Base Salon here, and climbed quite steadily up to Mario's, here. From here, using crampons and cutting ice steps as we went, we moved steadily up the face to the north ridge, establishing Camp Three, where we could get a hot meal, a manicure, and a shampoo and set.

    Announcer: Could it work? Could this 18-year old hairdresser from Brixton succeed where others had failed? The situation was complicated by the imminent arrival of the monsoon storms. Patrice takes up the story.

    (cut to Patrice (Eric Idle) in a salon, very effeminately brushing and blow- drying a customer's hair.)

    Patrice: Well, we knew as well as anyone that the monsoons were due. But the thing was, Ricky and I had just had a blow dry and rinse, and we couldn't go out for a couple of days.(Picture of mountaineers climbing down mountain)

    Announcer: After a blazing row, the Germans and Italians had turned back, taking with them the last of the hairnets. On the third day, a blizzard blew up. Temperatures fell to minus 30 degrees
    centigrade. Inside the little tent, things were getting desperate.

    (Ricky (Michael Palin) and John Cleese are crowded inside a little tent, sporting beards, hairnets, and curlers. They sit beneath stationary hairdryers. Cleese is reading, Ricky is buffing his nails.)

    Ricky: Well, things have gotten so bad that we've been forced to use the last of the heavy oxygen equipment just to keep the dryers going. (A woman hands him a cup of tea.) Oh, she's a treasure.

    Cleese: Shhh!

    (another mountain climbing scene)

    Announcer: But a new factor had entered the race. A team of French chiropodists, working with brand new corn plasters and Dr. Scholl's Mountaineering Sandals, were close behind. The Glasgow Orpheus
    male voice choir were tackling the difficult north part. All together, fourteen expeditions were at the scene. This was it. Ricky had to make a decision.

    (back to Patrice at his salon)

    Patrice: Well, we decided to open a salon.
    Announcer: It was a tremendous success.

    (the following is accompanied by pictures of great mountaineering heros upon whom are pasted elaborate Marie Antoinette style hairdos)

    Announcer: Challenging Everest? Why not drop in at Ricky Pule's, only 2400 feet from this cinema. (A huge pink neon sign reading 'Ricky's' appears on the mountain.) Ricky and Maurice offer a variety of styles for the well-groomed climber. Why should Tensing and Sir Edmond Hillary be number one on top, when you're number one on top?
  • Yup. [slashdot.org]
  • ... is that because of space restrictions, the toilet is in the valley!
  • by Zog The Undeniable (632031) on Sunday February 16, 2003 @01:33PM (#5314721)
    Proceeds from the venture will be used to support solid waste management in the area.

    Given the temperatures on Everest, I expect Sir Edmund Hillary's poo is still up there and perfectly intact. Perhaps they could use the "solid waste" to construct traditional cairns as a memorial to those mountaineers that died trying to reach the summit, but that no-one really liked?

  • Everybody there is going to be really high!
  • NPR bit (Score:2, Informative)

    by queequeg1 (180099)
    NPR had a nice bit a few weeks ago interviewing the guy setting this up. NPR story [npr.org]
  • "Because it's there" just doesn't cut it for me.
  • Apu: There she is: the world's first convenience store! [points to
    store on top of mountain]
    Homer: This isn't very convenient.
    Apu: Must you dump on everything we do?

    OK, it's not the first convenience store, but it's the first one on Mt Everest.

    Of course, not that I'm saying Everest is easy, but the purity of it has long been sullied by the fact that pitons and ropes are rigged and maintained on the most popular route, and left there for subsequent climbs.

    Obviously the days of "exploration" on Earth are mostly behind us. Most people aren't there to do "science" either. Let's face it--it's the ultimate thrill for those with the bucks and the ability to do it. It's also a cash cow for the locals. Adding more attractions was just the logical next step. You can anticipate that this thing, in its attempt to clean up one form of trash, may invite another. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with making the site more accessible to those who don't intend to summit, but I hope they are planning this so it doesn't get too out of control. A few lodges are nice, but I'm sure the last thing anybody wants to see there is strip malls.

  • Miraculous you called it babe
    You ain't seen nothing yet
    They've got Pepsi in the Andes
    McDonalds in Tibet
    Yosemite's been turned into
    A golf course for the Japs ...

    Roger Waters
    from "It's a Miracle"
    off "Amused to Death"
    • ...yeah, right. We're talking about 9600bd speed or less up there (I live in Nepal!!!). Try to download some weather data at that speed. The guy's gonna be rich in a week if he charges by time. Well, well, I shall be heading for Namche Bazaar (capital og the Sherpa region Solokhumbu) in a few weeks and check this out for myself. Always wanted to read /. from up there... ;-)
  • Wouldn't it be easier to just sell their poop to Australian ski resorts? [slashdot.org]

"Your stupidity, Allen, is simply not up to par." -- Dave Mack (mack@inco.UUCP) "Yours is." -- Allen Gwinn (allen@sulaco.sigma.com), in alt.flame

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