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7 summits and other mountain stuff => News => Topic started by: 7summits on Mar 2 2004, 21:43

Title: Open letter from Ramon Blanco to Byron Smith about Carstensz
Post by: 7summits on Mar 2 2004, 21:43
Following is an open letter Mr Ramon Blanco  (http://7summits.com/info/stats2/index2.php?_=d&familyname=Blanco), the Spanish/Venezualan 7summiteer, sent to Everest climber Byron Smith.

It is mainly self explanatory, but 7summits is involved as we have been working hard to get new CP expeditions going (the contact mentioned is our man in Indonesia) and actions like these are messing that up...
The stage is for Mr Blanco:
This is an open e.mail to Mr. Byron Smith of Vulcan,  Alberta, Canada, and expresses my views (and personal consequences) on his article on climbing Carstensz Pyramid.

Byron Smith,

I am returning from Australia, after having completed my Seventh Summit (Kosciuszko version). Nevertheless, I also passed through Indonesia, because my idea was also to climb Carstensz Pyramid. I had been invited (just as you and others were before), and because of you, those of us waiting for our opportunity to climb the Carstensz Pyramid, were utterly frustrated.
Next April I shall turn 71 years of age: completing my Seven Summits has been a cherished dream of mine.

The days before my trip a friend sent me the following web page:
I was amazed and extremely worried because, quite evidently, these were critical and grave statements on a very delicate matter…placed in front on anyone with access to internet!

I decided no to mention any of this to the person who had invited me (who is, and you know this, the same person who had invited you!), and just prayed for things to remain on track.
Everything went well until we reached Timika (we had no problem at all with the security agents, those that, judging by your words, you were able to fool by photographing them… (are these people stupid?).
Anyway my fears materialized the day before we were scheduled to leave for the Carstensz  Pyramid’s  Base Camp. An authority showed up with your story (all 18 pages of it!) where you describe your “war and espionage movie”.
Look, Byron, in order to attempt Carstensz Pyramid, your host asked you for the utmost discretion and reserve…well, you betrayed him!.

You contradict yourself in the article on several occasions. Besides you try to prove how you were the magical solution to certain problems, and this is simply not true. You were just one of the four climbers that formed the group, no more, no less. None of you were in danger as you try so hard to have us believe. The true danger (moral and economical) is the one you brought upon the people who gave you the opportunity to climb that mountain (believe me: that is one decision they sorely regret). They were the ones coming up with the solutions. You write, among other sad and biased appreciations, with the utmost disdain about the Third World. That is your culture. You should ponder on the fact that the First World wouldn’t probably crumble if it were not for that “despicable and corrupt” third World. Did it ever occur to you that, in order for corruption to exist, you require at least two parties?. Who is guiltier? What party did you represent in the case you pictured on your article? And are you naïve enough to believe that corruption is only a problem of the Third World?

I have remained in contact with the person who invited you (yes, man, invited you and invited me), because I am sincerely interested in how he is trying to cope with the tremendous ordeal caused by your selfishness. I had the pleasure of talking to him during the days of our ill-fated trip, verify his human qualities and those of his staff. It would have done you a great deal of good to look sincerely into the way of life of these persons. Your eyes and mind never left your objective: climb that mountain and to hell with everything else.
Your selfishness has never allowed you to see that most of those great mountains you have climbed (and that have given you the status you like to boast) are all in the Third World. People of those parts of the world guided you there, for God’s sake!. You don’t have the least consideration.
What kind of person are you?

What will every potential Carstensz Pyramid climber think and conclude on the fact that you single-handedly shattered his or her opportunity? The only way to precede in this case was the utmost discretion. This way nobody was put at risk … and then came you, dear Byron.

The person you left in such turmoil write to me, among other things:

“””I do really appreciate your kind help to write Byron a letter, at least to let him knows that what he has done brings a very bad impact to me and my family also my business. He also has jeopardy many people's live and caused you, Mr. James and Mr. Henrik losed an opportunity to cliumb the mountain.
I just hope he would realized that he has done something very bad to me and other people who has encourage our self to help people with high risk of losing jobs just to help them to materialized their dream to climb CP.
Please tell him that even he doesn't mention any names but it was so claerly that all the ARMY guys who helped him was easy recognised from the article as he mentione ranges, positions, post and their unit. Again this is very stupid and Freeport is smart enough to find out all the actors behind this project.
Because of this, now is very little chace left for me to be able to run the CP Climb with such arrangement in the future.
He must know that besides caused me a financial loss (also to you, Mr. james and Mr. Henrik), this was also makes me losing my credibility as I understand that people would think that I'm not a trustable person and not professional on this business.
He also need to know that I have been doing same arrangement for the last 6 CP Climbs I led in 2002 and  NONE of them ever published the story of how the approached the mountain area or how they can get there. Even some of them were sponsored, they still can keep everything confidentially and all of them as I noticed just say that they did it throu Singa or other route NEVER mentioned about the MINE!
Tell him that HE IS NOT THE ONLY PERSON ever experienced such things, there are many great climber, greater than him ever done the same thing but they appreciate out hard work and willing to keep everything confidentially. The point is other can keep thier words as they appreciate our help but he did not!
Please apologize Mr. Ramon, I do not mean to address such complain to you but just would like to have your kind help to explain to Byron how bad the situation that caused by his article!
Thank you very much for your time and kind attention Sir. It always be my pleasure to read an email from you Sir, so please write to me anytime at your conveneient.”””
Best Wishes,

Byron, I have always climbed for the love of climbing. Something tells me you do it mainly to show-off. There is an unwritten mountaineer’s code of honor;: “share with your fellow  mountaineers and cooperate with them in order to better develop our sport”. Sorry for you, man, your selfishness does not allow you to embrace these ideas. I wonder if you are really sure that you are what you try to represent. Sorry, man, a sad example.
Ramón Blanco

The statement above is Mr Blanco's opinion and these are his words. He requested me to post this for him, as it's his right to voice his opinion and as I see no untruths in this and the events mentioned are affecting our Carstensz Pyramid trips I have posted this, but am not responsible for the actual wording of the letter, nor for any negative result because of it.
Title: Re: Open letter from Ramon Blanco to Byron Smith about Carstensz
Post by: 7summits on Apr 1 2004, 16:02
The following events happened after publishing the letter. These are actual true facts and not meant to bash anyone. If anyone thinks this is untrue, they can contact me or answer on the forum.

I have invited Byron Smith to reply to the letter above but he refused. Instead he sent his lawyers to me:
- First he left a threatening message on my answering machine, finishing off with 'legal actions will be commencing'. He could have just asked me to remove the letter, but never did. He did not email or call me, just sent his lawyers.
- when I emailed about his message he replied that it was not meant to be threatening.
- but the next day I received the following letter by email (not by regular email, not registered, not offcially signed)

Logan & Company*         Wayne E. Logan*
General Practice of Law Including      (403) xxx-xxxx
Intellectual Property,         xxx@xxxxxxxxx.com
Sports & Entertainment Law      

March 30, 2004

Via Email Only
harry @ 7summits.com

Attention: Mr. Harry Kikstra   Our File No.:5055402
Re:  Open Letter – Ramon Blanco and Byron Smith – Carstenz Trip   

Mr. Kikstra this letter serves to advise you we are the lawyers for Byron Smith.

We have had the good fortune of assisting Mr. Smith in a variety of his expeditions and assisting him with his intellectual property matters.  It has come to our attention the Open Letter that you have permitted to be posted on your 7 Summits.com website as prepared by Ramon Blanco.

As earlier advised, directly by our client by way of telephone message, this material is considered defamatory as there are substantial untruths presented in Mr. Blanco’s letter.  We have also left telephone messages with you regarding this issue and there has been no reply.

Since you are the owner of the 7 Summits website, you are responsible for material that is posted there and made available to the public.

We have received instructions to not permit this defamation to continue, and we can advise that if the entire letter from Ramon Blanco is not removed immediately from your website and within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, we have received instructions to enforce our clients remedies to the fullest extent permitted at law.

Please direct all correspondence directly to our attention. 

Yours truly,

c.c. C

First of all they did not leave any messages on my machine.

Again I have invited both the lawyers and Byron Smith to point out what facts exactly are wrong in this letter and how this is defamatory as I am willing to remove the letter is this si the case, but they refuse to answer those questions so far. The stage is open for mr Smith as well, I still offer him the chance to reply. Any more iside information is welcome, I am not out to bash anybody, but want to have as much information about Carstensz on the table and out in the open as possible.

Sending lawyers to remove a publication on an open forum instead of replying and pointing out inaccuracies if any does not make a good impression to me.
7summits.com wants to inform the climbers community about what is going on with the 7summits and the open letter has much needed infomation our site visitors are looking for.
Title: Re: Open letter from Ramon Blanco to Byron Smith about Carstensz
Post by: Corsair on Sep 23 2004, 03:59
Good on you Harry!
Title: Re: Open letter from Ramon Blanco to Byron Smith about Carstensz
Post by: 7summits on Aug 30 2005, 19:48
More questionable actions of Mr Smith surfaced the past few weeks when our friends at Explorersweb ran an excellent series about his Everest attempt.
They have now officially downgraded his climb from summit to disputed and now to no summit.

Read all backgrounders and Smith's reactions in which he does not provide facts but just threatens again.


Title: Re: Open letter from Ramon Blanco to Byron Smith about Carstensz
Post by: maubrey on Aug 31 2005, 02:47
Hey, what d'ya expect from a used car salesman anyway? ::)
Title: Re: Open letter from Ramon Blanco to Byron Smith about Carstensz
Post by: Henrik Olsen on Nov 20 2005, 18:32
Hi There to all in the forum.
About Mr Ramon Blanco´s letter to Mr Byron Smith
I can really, in all ways confirm what Mr Blanco says. I was with him on what we thought would be a nice summit climb to Carstensz in December 03. Instead we gat hold "like" prisoners on Irian Jaya by the army, because Byron spread stories he shouldn't have', and diddent bother to remove his article from Everest news.com. It took us sevel sat. calls over days, to make him do it, at some point he diddent even bother answer the phone calls we made to him. But finally, to make a long story short, we were able to leave the Island.
In that time we, Mr. Ramon, Mr. James, and my self Mr. Henrik was very afraid for our lives.
I can only say that what Mr. Ramon says is so very true, and I will back him up any time. My word is also true in the letter that is attached to my mail here.
Some time in the near future, after I summit Everest in 06, and show pictures of me on the summit, the world will be abel to read about this as I will right a book about my 7summits quest and lifedream. Hope some abroad publisher will take it and translate it into English.

Under here you can read the mail James and i send to Mr Byron Smith after we gat safe home.

Dear Byron,
Yes I'm still upset. What you did was wrong. XXXX asked you not to write any details about your trip. Pictures with no dates, OK . A little story about your adventure, OK, But not explisive details.
The mine intelligence is always looking for subjects related to their areas. It's a small world when it comes to the internet. You say that you didn't put any names in, but you did name the positions which was pretty easy to figure out. How about the date and times? Anyone could easily trace these back, and believe me they did. This had very little to do with the soldier.  It went way beyond that. When the administration got involved that was all it took to destroy this trip. and put all of us at risk. From that point on they set a trap and we sprung it. Once the mine found that their security was jeopardized. They put mega pressure on the Army which in turn put mega pressure on us. With many threats, such as our choice of either being hung or shot. Which would you chose? Our trip was doomed and so were our dreams. We came their for the same reasons you say you did. To live our dreams, not for their gold, and not for their copper just for our dreams. The doors for the mountain will be closed for along time and maybe even for the life of the mine. Which could be another 40 to 50 years. This is what's being talked about. By then the mountain (Which I'm told is owed by Freeport land) will be destroyed. Flattened just like the hills beside it. You can rest a shore that they have their eye on this baby. If I saw your article before I left, I never would have gone. While we were there another article appeared. Yes just like yours, it was handed to us and it too was all marked up and highlighted from the administration( the trickled effect) .Which again hurt our trip and any likelihood of climbing. Like I said from the start, our trip was doomed. Then you were asked to take your story off Everestnews.com. you did so, But when you were asked to write a statement saying that what you wrote was false, you refused. This only made more people angry. Was your ego to big and you were to proud to save the lives and jobs of others? How could you let your pride get in the way of someone’s  life? if you didn't want to place something on the internet. At least you could have wrote a statement to XXXX or to the others stating that you were wrong in doing what you did. This might have helped cool things down some. You suggested to threaten the soldiers by reposting the article with names would have done nothing to save us.  They (Freeport Mine) already knew who was involved.
The seven summits are a dream for many. They have been done many times and will continue to be done well beyond our life time. If you are doing then for recognition, then in my opinion you are doing then for the wrong reason. XXXX was beaten as a result of your article. Because of his personality he would never tell anyone. His business and livelihood will be jeopardized along with the dreams of others. The soldier took his equipment. Yes even including his satellite phone. The one that you proberlily used to call home with. XXXX made sure that you were kept as safe as possible. In return you could have done the same for him. It seems to me that you chose not to reciprocate. I hope in the future you think twice before you write. Remember that when a Politician or a person in a position of high rank is assassinated the documents are sealed for many years to come. Maybe you should have considered doing the same.   
Jim and Henrik     

Posted by
Henrik Olsen