Everest: The mountain of heroes is becoming the monument to fools – Washington Examiner
The tallest peak above sea level, 29,000-foot Mount Everest has long been the mountain of adventurers. While not as challenging as K2, Everest has inspired generations of climbers for decades.
But unless Nepal, climbing companies, and climbers themselves get a grip, Everest will lose its reputation as the mountain of heroes. Instead, it will become a monument to fools.
It was 66 years ago on Wednesday that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first confirmed human conquerors of Everest. But with at least 11 climbers dying on the evidently overcrowded mountain in May 2019, we see a big problem.
It’s the foolishness of Nepal’s government in providing an excess number of climbing permits to unsuited individuals. Yes, Nepal is a very poor country that desperately needs foreign revenue. But the country also needs to cultivate credibility as a land that will take care of its visitors and its natural beauty. The permits undercut that perception.
It’s the foolishness of mountain guide companies. Motivated by greed — individual climbers can expect to pay around $70,000 for a guided ascent of Everest — and apparently unconcerned with physical fitness, these companies are helping flood Everest with crowded queues and at-risk individuals.
Of course, the ultimate foolishness is that of the unsuited climbers. Because of the human reliance on oxygen at the final stages of Everest ascents, it is exhausting even to stay idle towards the top of the great peak. So when you try to climb Everest without being adequately prepared, you aren’t just endangering yourself and ignoring your family; you’re endangering everyone else. The testaments to this fact are the photos and videos of the absurd queues that now blotch Everest’s slopes. Those lines are the markers of idiocy.
Until Nepal reduces its permits, climbing companies improve their standards, and climbers think more carefully about what they are actually doing, Everest will continue turning into a monument to fools.