I have heard many times that mountaineering is a selfish act. Certainly, when you see the summit something within you urges you to reach it no matter what. My experience with climbing is limited to Snowdonia, but here I experienced an egoistic drive to get to the top. The sun was coming down and we were still climbing up. This, especially for inexperienced climbers, is a stupid thing to do. Someone suggested that we should start our descent, but this was not a viable option to me. We had climbed this far, so we had to summit! After some negotiation we decided to trudge on, finally summiting quite late. The climb up had taken it out of us, but we had to do the hardest part, which is climb down. It is getting dark and we are winging our way down. Fortunately, we made it down safe and sound.
Those who wish to climb Mount Everest pay up to $50,000. This trek raises millions of dollars for Nepal and creates many jobs for the locals. Commercialisation of the climb has led to it becoming “easier,” that is to say that the routes are mostly secured with ropes and ladders. This has led to an increased number of inexperienced climbers attempting to summit this beast. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that there are over 200 dead bodies on the trail. 80% of these deaths occurred on the descent.
This shows how important having a purpose is. These climbers are there to summit, that is there only purpose. Even when they are told that they may die if they carry on, it does not matter to them. They have one objective. Yet once they summit they have achieved their purpose, they have reached heaven. Many probably have not even thought about the climb down because of their obsession with getting to the top. Many run out of oxygen and some just sit down and never get back up.
If you do want to climb Everest it is recommended that you start by climbing smaller mountains and building up to Everest. Yet, more and more people are climbing Everest every year. Some have never climbed a mountain before or even done any practise in the run up to the climb. There are some calls for the Nepali government to step in and give out less permits, but this means they would be losing out on a lot of money. At the end of the day it comes down to the individual. The government will not want to kill jobs and lose revenue.
Mountaineering is a selfish act, and every body on that trail should be a reminder of this fact. Every body on that trail should remind the climber that getting to the top is not enough, I need to get down too.
This post is all over the place, but it is something I had to write down after watching the following podcast: