Climbing Everest this spring? Please don’t!
Business as usual on Mount Everest very soon after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal? The government of Nepal seems to be determined to continue the climbing season on the highest mountain on earth despite the chaotic situation all over the country. “The ladders (on the route through the Khumbu Icefall) will be repaired in the next two to three days and climbing will continue, there is no reason for anyone to quit their expeditions,” tourism department chief Tulsi Gautam told the French news agency AFP. Gyanendra Shrestha, another official of the Nepalese Tourism Ministry confirmed: “We have not called off the expeditions. A couple of teams have told us they still want to go ahead.” If the route from Base Camp to Camp 2 is restored, teams who want to can attempt the climb, he said. “Adventure is like that”, Shrestha said. “It is full of the unknown. You have to be safe on your own. The government can’t prevent disasters.”
As reported yesterday, among others the expedition team of the New Zealand operator Himalayan Experience wants to stay in Base Camp for the next few days. “Talking to Phurba (the sirdar of the Sherpas) he tells me that the Sherpas are ready to go back to BC and to assess the conditions in a few days time and will then make a collective decision”, Russell Brice, head of Himex, wrote in his newsletter.
For me, no way!
But should mountaineers really start to climb again on Everest? After Saturday’s avalanche that killed 19 people in Base Camp? While across Nepal every help and all equipment is needed, while thousands of injured have to be treated, while entire regions are still cut off? Can climbers really fade out all this? For me, no way! I would find it bordering on the cynical. For sure, Sherpa people need their jobs in order to feed their families. But there should be other ways to ensure that instead of climbing Everest this spring. The expedition members could, for instance, donate money to those who were hit the hardest. They could stay in Khumbu or other regions for days or weeks, lending their helping hands to rebuild the destroyed homes and providing their tents for local people who lost the roof over their head. And they could return next year to climb Everest. The mountain doesn’t run away. And Nepal will stay dependent on tourism, even more in the years after the earthquake catastrophe.
Date30. April 2015 | 16:34