Are There no Limits? Tough Season Ahead for Everest

The New York Times ran an op-ed this week about the dangers of mountain climbing this season on Mount Everest. The author points to global warming and the increase in the number of climbers as contributing factors to the heightened risk of an Everest attempt this year. He goes on to applaud an announcement by the leader of a highly respected climbing outfit who, in a highly unusual decision, has decided to cancel climbs for the rest of the season.

I can’t help but feel that mother earth continues to send signals that the time is now to do something to protect the last remaining natural habitats and wild places in our country. But will we listen?

I have always been fascinated by people who go to the ends of the earth to climb the highest peaks. Being a bit of an adventurer myself, I understand the drive to test oneself and the exciting challenges that only nature can provide.

My only experience with this type of mountain climbing has been from the comfort of my couch, through documentaries on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic.

I have always been struck by the ease with which the sherpas make it up the mountains, with very little fanfare or glory, while the climber gets all of the accolades. I am intrigued by the risks that mountain climbers are willing to take – frequently risks to themselves and to others – to reach the sacred peak.

Climbing Everest has become a highly commercial activity; perhaps this is what concerns me most. I am sure the climbing outfit who cancelled the rest of the season will pay a significant financial cost for that decision. In the long term, however, perhaps climbers will respect that owner’s concern for the safety of his climbers enough to boost the demand for his outfit in the future.

What do you think? But should there be limits on what money can buy? Why do we feel the need to conquer wild spaces for commercial use? And what is it that makes people want to risk their lives in activities like climbing Mount Everest? Have you ever done something like this? What made you want to do this? Do you think that there should be limits on commercial activity in certain wild areas? Or do you think that the market will regulate itself to keep places pristine?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

6 Comments

Filed under Environment, Fitness, International, Privatization, travel

6 responses to “Are There no Limits? Tough Season Ahead for Everest

  1. I like your idea that the earth is sending us signals. And you are absolutely right: we simply don’t listen. It will take a calamity of major proportions to get our collective attention.

    • Hi Hugh! I actually thought that the part about mother earth sending us signals is what might make people stop reading so thanks for appreciating that part! I am afraid you are right about a catastrophe being the thing that finally makes people take notice – after it is too late. It makes me sad. Probably the fact that I live in Colorado, and find peace in the wild spaces, makes my sadness even greater. Thanks for yoyur comment. I liked your post today, even though Billie Jean King is still a sheroe of mine! 🙂

      • She’s one of mine as well. I just wish she had a broader perspective. She could be a powerful voice for more important causes than tennis! I don’t think the blog is one of my better ones, by the way. And I misspelled Billie’s name and went back and corrected it after the fact! Thanks for the note.

  2. I think nature gives us a lot of signals. I feel many things about our Earth have been disrespected and deserve honor and nurturing from us humans. In my poem “Moonman,” which you can read in my blog, I was inspired by man’s passionate aspiration to conquer as much as he could. Much of it is metaphorical in nature (pun intended, *wink*). Of course this is regarded a bit feminist by most standards—among other things, but more than anything it is about the longing for a peaceful humanity, which I am 100% behind.

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