Just days after talking about the very long TSA security lines at US airports, I came across this photo of a different line of people. The sad thing about this line is that these are climbers on Mt. Everest hoping to reach the summit during a very limited window of good weather. This is a line of humanity on the upper reaches of what used to be one of the most remote spots in the world. But for enough money, say $30,000 to $85,000 or so, you too can buy a place in this line. Of course you’ll have to train rigorously for months to get this far. Then depending on the weather and jams like this on the trail (more a rope line than actual trail), you may or may not get your chance at the summit. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a good chance you’ll die somewhere up where all those people are trying to go. You’ll fall, or have a heart attack, or die of altitude sickness. Four climbers died of those causes just this week. In the past others have died because they froze to death or ran out of oxygen while waiting in lines like this. Also in 2014 and 2015 , avalanches and earthquakes killed a number of climbers and Sherpas.
I’ve been fascinated by Everest since I was a kid, since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to conquer the mountain in 1953. It saddens me that the mountain and its challenge have become so commercialized. It degrades the experience for everyone.
Phurba Sherpa, 25, fall
Eric Arnold, 36, suspected heart attack
Maria Strydom, 34, altitude sickness
Subash Paul, 44, altitude sickness