Originally Posted By: wagga
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Actually that was me

Might be a cross-cultural issue here. "Good one, Skippy" is a genuine mateship accolade in Australia.

oops, thought you meant our skippy here

Originally Posted By: wagga

19,200 feet is well above Everest (or XV, or 'b') base camp. Where were you? I would think that the thinner air could be helpful for speed, and of course the slightly lower gravity value could make for higher PV records. Shame they never tried it at Tranquillity Base.
Only sportsman there was The Icy Commander

Where was I? Now you've done it. More detail on #37

Photograph: In the center background is the pyramid of Everest peeking over the wispy south face of Lhotse. From Virginia, two sections of thin bamboo tomato stakes were carried intact in the author's backpack to the Himalayas. They were taped together, laid across two ice axes jammed into the snow, and vaulted over using a hiking pole. An excerpt from the trail journal tells the scene:

WED NOV 1, 2000 - Mera La camp 17,700 to Mera high camp 19,272. 4 hrs.
Slow steady pace with double boots and crampons - gentle slope, nothing dangerous. High camp off the ice on a rocky perch, tents barely able to be placed on ledges. Spectacular views of world's highest peaks opening up - Everest, Cho Oyu, Makulu, Kachenjunga, Lhotse. Feel much, much better here than we did at similar high camp altitude on Aconcagua two years ago - much better rested and acclimatized, a world of difference, no headache which incapacitated us for two days there. No heavy loads and no bad weather. No doubts about what we are going to do. Felt good enough to finally do a high altitude pole vault for Seth. Set up bamboo stick between two ice axes and vaulted on walking staff. New world record: 19,272 plus 1 foot. Remi took photos.

The following day we roped up for the midnight start to summit 21,246 ft Mera Peak (the non Peak-41 Mera). Over the subsequent week we also crossed over the technical Amphulabsa, then summitted Imjatse.

The hypoxic memory and diary incorrectly stated that the bar was set at one foot. Actually, it was about two feet. The ice axes were 2 ft-3 in (.68m) long, the spike ends were stuck 3 in (.07m) into the hard ice, and the photo suggests the bamboo bar was actually at about 2 ft (.61m). On the basis of the witnessed and photographed event, the authors diary, and the email later, this highest-ever pole vault playing field was well documented. How high a glacial field was it?

The altitude of 19,272 feet was obtained on the mountain by watch-altimeter adjusted daily from baseline per radio barometric readings. GPS was not available to us then, but Google Earth now is, and it surprisingly lists far-away places like Mera High Camp, at 19,020 ft (5797m). Pole vaulting was performed just west and above the camp on flatter glacial terrain at about latitude 27o 43' 05.33" N, longitude 86o 53' 05.56" E and an altitude of 19,060 ft (5809m). If we assume that the Google satellite imagery is more accurate than a watch altimeter, then the height from which the vault occurred was not 19,272 but 19,060 ft (5809m). Either figure is far higher, nearly a mile so, than the earlier estimate of Jack Longland's site at 14,400 ft (4389m), also by the Google Earth method.