By now, millions of people have dreamed of climbing Mount Everest. In the 60 years since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary first successfully climbed and returned form Everest, over 4,000 people have climbed it, some more than once. 50 years ago, our local boy Jim Whittaker climber it, becoming the first American to stand on top of the world. Because of the images we have seen of Whittaker, Norgay and Hillary, we view Mount Everest as a remote, empty, unfriendly mountain. It is one of the last great human adventures on this planet, and many of us feel compelled to put our boots on her slopes and try to summit. The mountain is deadly, killing nearly 4% of all climbers who attempt to reach the peak. We know the mountain is deadly, yet 219 people (as of 2010) have died.
The mountain is gorgeous and inspiring, causing numerous adventure seekers to ignore the risks an give it the old college try. Spending up to $120,000, even people with no climbing experience are heading out in record numbers, pushing their limits for the ultimate in mountain adventures. We now see more pictures, envision ourself climbing, and day dream about when we can be there. However, the pictures we see aren’t current, and thanks to National Geographic, we can now see just how wild, crowded and bustling Mount Everest is today.
As I was writing this, a report came out saying that guide services on Everest are requesting a ladder be installed on the infamously crowded Hillary Step. (Link: http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/1840469/report-mt-everest-may-have-ladder-installed-at-hillary-step-to-ease-congestion)
Images from the June 2013 Issue of National Geographic Magazine
There is little truly wild space left in the world. We need to understand that if someplace is worth seeing, people will flock to it. Our sites of natural beauty need to be saved, but they also need to be properly developed, so when masses of tourists come, we can handle the environmental impact properly. From the Olympic National Park to the Slopes of Mount Everest and even down to the Amazon rainforest, we need to find a balance between humans and nature, where we admit that we can keep the world 100% wild. This is the call of my generation, and we need to come up with a solution.
Until we do, be mindful that everyone deserves to see the same sites as you. Nature is here to be enjoyed, respected and shared, not kept a secret.