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Author Topic: Everest's most dangerous person, Henry Todd  (Read 15558 times)

trunl

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Everest's most dangerous person, Henry Todd
« on: May 20 2004, 05:26 »

I did some research, and found this. ITS UNBELIEVABLE! I remember you mentioned it some time ago, but did not know who was behind it.
Here it is, straight from www.mounteverest.net

April 1, 2003 - The biggest acid lab in the world 

Imagine this: You are a diabetic and are off to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Would you purchase your life-saving Insulin from a convicted drug dealer who has served time in prison? Well, something similar to this situation has been and still is happening on Mount Everest in regards to the oxygen systems that so many climbers’ lives depend upon. The ex-drug dealer turned Everest expedition leader is none other than Scotsman, Henry Todd.

In the UK right now there is a court case concerning the wrongful death of a young British Everest climber. One of the things in question is whether or not the climber’s oxygen system was at fault. Henry Todd supplied oxygen to the climber and his entire team in 1999 – expedition members found that six of the bottles Todd supplied did not work. Two climbers on the team did not have any oxygen because the systems malfunctioned high up in Camp IV. A year later in 2000, Todd again supplied oxygen to a husband and wife team that was forced to give up their summit attempt due to a faulty rig that failed at Camp IV.

Sub-standard, throughout the years

Incidentally, Henry Todd has a history of selling sub-quality products that dates as far back as the 70’s. The Everest expeditions he organizes are the cheapest around. Not only are the oxygen kits he supplies faulty, but limited in number. In 1996 he handed a bloodied oxygen mask that was worn by Texan Beck Weathers to another client just days after Beck almost died during the storm that killed Scott Fisher and Rob Hall.

Even back in his drug dealing days of the 70’s, Todd was responsible for peddling second-rate acid brewed in a London basement. A UK organization called the, “Independent Drug Monitoring Group,” donned the LSD operation that Henry Todd was a part of, “the biggest acid lab in the world.” The operation made so much acid that when it was shut down the price of a hit nearly doubled because the supply was so violently cut. Henry Todd, one of the ringleaders, was thought to have helped make 15 million doses of LSD, and banking the profit into Swiss accounts. Todd and his friend, "the chemist," got sentenced to the stiffest sentences in, "Operation Julie," - one of the UK’s largest drug busts ever: 13 years.

The world's highest oxygen lab 

Already in the sixties, Henry Todd was imprisoned for theft and fraud. Then came the drug business in the seventies. By the mid-eighties, Todd was out of prison looking for new ideas of commerce. He set his sights on Mount Everest.

Everest is the world’s tallest mountain and attracts dreamers from around the globe. Improved travel logistics and commercial expeditions have made the mountain accessible to a growing number of climbers.

Yet one business is overlooked by most. It is the business of oxygen. In the past years, Everest has hosted around 500 climbers yearly, including high altitude sherpas - those climbers and sherpas need oxygen. On average, around 3-6 bottles each: One for C3, another two for C4 and 3-4 for summit day, including spare emergency bottles. One oxygen bottle is around 300 USD. The Everest oxygen business including the surrounding other eight thousand meter peaks generates close to 2 million USD yearly.

April 2, 2003 - A fresh breath of India

Oxygen is expensive to manufacture. The bottles must go through rigorous testing for their structural integrity, fittings, and the oxygen itself. The procedure takes three weeks for every single bottle. A failing system high up on a mountain can easily kill a climber not acclimatized to go without oxygen. The brain clouds up and vertigo enters in minutes. In bad cases, the climber either sits down in the snow to die, or when trying to descend - falls to his death.

Soon enough, Todd was collecting empty Poisk bottles. Poisk is currently the leading brand of oxygen on Everest. Manufactured initially for Russian fighter pilots, now the oxygen is made with a license of quality for climbing. Todd had a better idea. How about refilling the bottles for a very low cost in India instead? Said and done. Poisk bottles found their way to Todd's new lab for refills. Forget the tests, forget the licenses - it was Indian oxygen sold in Russian brand packages.

Then the problems started. Expedition after expedition reported failing oxygen bottles. "I tried six bottles before I found one that worked," reported one client in a 1999 expedition. "One in three failed,” reported another climber that same year but in another expedition. A third expedition filed a report of oxygen fraud to the Ministry, followed by another one. And then someone died - a kid - 20 years old. Initially one of the strongest he suddenly slowed, and then fell off the mountain. “Our oxygen didn't work,” said the fellow clients. "Keep it quiet," ordered the leader. He had gotten his oxygen from Todd, and Todd had been best man at his wedding.

ExplorersWeb visited the Russian plant for proof. The proof was right there, in their books. Poisk bottles sold on Everest with Todd as the main supplier, but in the book, there were no sales from Poisk to Todd in the past two years.

High Courage found - at Low Altitude

So how did the rest of the climbing community react?

Non-climber operated Everest news websites received desperate reports but didn't mention a word – after all, commercial expedition leaders are important contacts. Independent climbers on Everest dispatching to the web from BC at the time of the death were kept in the dark. "What's up?" was met with a, "you do news, we are not supposed to talk to you."

The dead boy’s parents met with an arrogant expedition leader and friends. The family still experiences a massive opposition, especially from the UK mountaineering society. The blame was put on their son.

Climbing magazines made a story at best, playfully labeling Henry Todd, "The Toddfather." Articles painted a romantic picture of Todd as the climbing bandit of the old school, the LSD business only trying to find a way to finance his love for climbing in the seventies when, "times were different."

A spokesperson for IGO 8000 recently stated to ExplorersWeb: "Henry Todd left IGO 8000 voluntarily to not tarnish our name while he is involved in a possible court case with a previous client’s family. Afterwards, if he wants to come back, as long as nothing undue has come to light, he will be welcomed back." IGO 8000 is a recommending association for Everest commercial expedition leaders.

The second-rate oxygen business on Everest could continue. Until the very people of Everest at last showed the courage the climbers lacked. In 2000 Todd was banned from the country by the Nepali government. Because now, strengthened by all that unexpected support and flattering bandit-image, Todd had become, "the tough guy."

April 3, 2003 - Fearing the Hooligan

It is not often that countries ban folks for no good reason. In 2000 Henry Todd was banned from Nepal for 2 years by the Ministry of tourism for physically assaulting one of his own clients.

"Henry’s first sucker punch took me down, and he was on top of me faster than an avalanche, straddling my chest and maniacally hitting me until two sherpas rushed up and pulled him off." reported a climber and journalist who had arrived on Everest as a client of Todd’s. The climber sent dispatches to the Discovery channel questioning Todd, and the real agenda of a well funded, "clean-up," expedition.

The climbers didn't appreciate the investigations and neither did Todd, "Get the f--- out of Base Camp or I'll kill you," he yelled before trotting back to the, "Clean-up," expedition’s camp, where he was greeted by applause. The Nepali authorities began an investigation. The climbers stated that the reporting climber, "fell."

But now the ministry had had it - Todd was banned from Nepal. It was also cited in the Ministry’s press release that Todd was warned several times by the government in previous incidents.

Now magazines outside the climbing community tried to help. Articles in publications like the UK Sunday Times and Forbes magazine researched Todd and published critical stories – unfolding, "Operation Julie," and Todd’s checkered past.

Back to business

But already last year Todd tried to get back into Nepal to guide another Everest expedition. The government didn’t welcome Todd back and he decided to leave the climbers on their own to climb the south side and to guide them from the north side via walkie-talkie.

While en route to the North side, Todd met up with a small US team who was on their way to Everest to climb it without oxygen. One day after meeting Todd, 2 members of the team decided to go with oxygen and bought 4 bottles. One month later the team disbanded and headed home before making a summit attempt. The first to leave cited the teams division about scaling Everest with or without Oxygen.

In the meantime, Todd became the first wireless Everest commercial leader, guiding his south side climbers via radio. One of his clients died on the expedition from a fall below Camp III.

Soon after the Everest season concluded Todd figured he’d give the Karakorum a shot and set up an expedition to K2. It should be noted that Todd has summited neither Everest nor K2. No one summited K2 and no one died on his team at least – however, it was reported that Todd almost got into an altercation with a Japanese climber, but a third party intervened and settled things down.

Characteristically Todd is a charmer. Those who meet him instantly take to his demeanor – after that it all depends. There are those who love him and those who hate him with a passion. The love part can also be interpreted as fear – after all Todd has the power and the connections, along with a violent temper.

Will he get back in this year?

This year, he will be back, or at least will try to come back to the South side. His team must be on another’s permit because in the list released by the Nepali Ministry, Todd’s name was nowhere to be found on the expedition leader category. Is he trying to sneak by and will Nepal let him back in this year? Hopefully not – Todd has been a menace whose actions and history have put peoples lives in jeopardy, hurt them, and possibly even killed some. Why would the Nepali government let such a person back into their country and lead a team up their tallest peak?

However, the country has it's own problems to battle at the present. This could be the break Todd needs for comeback. Unless the climbing community shows the will to clean up the bad acts on Everest, people will continue to die. It's time to stop looking the other way, mates.


trunl
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trunl

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Re: Everest's most dangerous person, Henry Todd
« Reply #1 on: May 20 2004, 06:13 »

i found this man's email address if you want to email him. i did.

[edit: email address removed. We never place email addresses to avoid spam and do not want to start an email flame originating from this site against anyone, whatever the cause might be. But thanks for posting, it shows that Everest can be dangerous in unexpected ways! Always be very careful who you deal with!]
« Last Edit: May 20 2004, 12:26 by 7summits »
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