Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mount Everest

I've been slightly obsessed with what's been going on on Mount Everest these past few days. If you haven't heard the most recent news, four climbers died over the weekend, making it one of the worst disasters in the history of the mountain. The pictures, which mostly come courtesy of Outside Magazine (who, per usual, have been absolutely killing it with their coverage) have been extraordinary. One picture showed nearly 300 people queued up for a summit push and climbers who have made the descent are starting to say that the traffic is responsible, in part, for several of these deaths.

I think what's happening on that mountain is an absolute joke, bordering on travesty. People who are incapable climbers at worst, amateurs at best are shelling out $60,000 per head for the sole purpose of saying they've climbed the world's highest mountain. To me, that represents everything that's wrong in the world of "sport."

"Vanity" climbing has always struck me as a bit of a joke but it's gone well beyond that. Base camp has been desecrated with litter and people are not just dying but endangering the lives of others. I imagine Sir Edmund Hilary is doing 180's in his grave.

I'm not sure what, exactly, can be done to bring about an end to this nonsense but I think something has to give.  Will be interesting to see Outside's perspective on the matter as the story takes shape over the next few months.

All I can say is that if the next 300 or so who are lined up to climb really want to impress, maybe they should focus their attention on an adjoining peak; a K2, Lhotse or Annapurna. They might not be tallest, which might not necessarily resonate in today's society, where the urgency always seems directed towards the "biggest and best" but without question, those are real climber's peaks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i think they should all stick with mt. tampalis. nice view. gs