MAJOR CASE STUDY:
INTO THIN AIR- ADVENTURE CONSULTANTS SYSTEM
Adventure Consultants, a mountaineering firm, founded operations in 1992. Its previous, successful guides, for subsequent years, gained the company an association with a reputation for leadership focused on safety . Under the leadership of Rob Hall, a famous and respected mountaineer, known for his numerous summits on Everest and also for a philosophy that the mission of a guide was not necessarily to summit a mountain but to take clients up the mountain and return them safely back down .
On May 10, 1996, a poor system of coordination and communication existed to effectively delay an organized summit attempt by over 30 climbers on various expeditions that day. That delay, in addition to personal decision on the part of Rob Hall to break with his own turn around time at 2:00pm placed his descending expedition in grave danger as a blinding blizzard hit Everest. Rob Hall died during his return down.
The focus of this systems analysis paper is not to exploit or discuss the Mount Everest disaster of 1996 but instead to examine Adventure Consultant’s business system and processes at the time and contrast how they could be improved given current technology improvements and their impact on information systems. After explaining the known roles of key entities on an Everest Expedition climbing process, this report has been organized to give a general review of the previous information system and a context for which current technology could be applied to assist Adventure Consultants with preventing another Everest disaster like the one in 1996.
The key people in the Adventure Consultants organization are those who organize the itinerary of the summiting mountains or completing wilderness treks.
The home office of Adventure Consultants is based in Lake Wanaka, New Zealand . As a system, that part of the organization handles marketing efforts, climbing-permit applications, billing, safety notices distribution, logistics, and relay communication with it field offices - base camps at objective mountains. Although primary travel arrangements are handled by clients, transport within the host locations are handled by Adventure consultants – i.e., taxi rides from the destination airport to hotel at Kathmandu, helicopter rides to village of Lukla in the Himalaya, trekking to Lobjue and eventually base camp .
The field offices system is responsible for rallying international clients under a common set of rules. Furthermore, using planning information from the Home Office, personnel at the field office educate and affiliate the clients with the Climbing Guides and the extremely important role of Sherpas at Everest.
International clients come with a wide variety of climbing skill sets and previous experience; however, most experienced Everest climbers would evaluate most clients as novices or as intermediate at best. The primary responsibilities of clients are to: 1) submit payment for their share of the expensive climbing permit required by the Nepalese Government , 2) arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal, and 3) exercise good judgment on when to abort their Everest attempt. Although it goes without saying that clients must have some notable, recent climbing experience, overall health is often not considered and dismissed.
Base camp staff consists of a base camp: doctor, sirdar (lead Sherpa), and manager. Their roles are imperative to coordinating efforts between the guides and their clients with planned activities and waypoints while ascending and descending Everest. All radio communication and status updates regarding the different camps/expeditions on the mountain, weather, travel progress, and health are relayed to the Guides and back to the home office. For example, the base camp sirdar selects other Sherpas -experienced, native, Everest climbers, to assist the Sherpa climbing...
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