For the last decade or so, I’ve been enthralled w/Mt. Everest. I have a slight desire to go to Nepal to see it. I’m not a mountain climber nor do I have any interest in climbing Everest. Ever.
After reading Into Thin Air my OCD nature allowed me (?) to read most books on and watch most specials/movies on the subject. ….at least my Patricia Hearst phase is over!
But each April/May I eagerly anticipate the climbing season on Everest to see what stories come out of it. This year – nothing good. Most years nothing good – but this year is just tragic. 15 deaths so far. One of the highest climbing fatality seasons ever recorded. But if it were just due to conditions it would be one thing. Total disregard for human life to get to the summit goal is beyond belief.
The two big stories are the climber who was close to death and the 40 people who passed him saying ‘oh, there was nothing that could be done’. …and left him to die. Then there was the climber who was determined to already be dead, but then found to be alive. After being carried down a bit – he walked to base camp on his own. Could the other climber been in the same situation had anyone given a fucking crap about him?
Time and again, from my readings, on how climbers survive the mountain – who have thought to have been lost causes.
But one quote in the news items disturbed me more than others:
“The sheer pressure of numbers and accessibility to these mountains (have) changed the kind of people who go,” said Lydia Bradey, a 44-year-old New Zealander who in 1988 became the first woman to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen.
As a result, Bradey said in a telephone interview, Everest climbers may be forced to decide whether to jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime investment to help a dying person.
“If you’re going to go to Everest … I think you have to accept responsibility that you may end up doing something that’s not very ethically nice,” she said. “You have to realize that you’re in a different world.”
G-d fuckin forbid that one accepts responsibility that you may end up giving up your dream and goal to do something that is morally and ethically CORRECT. It is, indeed, a different world.
And I think my OCD chain for Everest has been broken.