I’m gonna bet this news won’t impact too many of this blog’s readers (we’re talking a severe minority in a population pretty tiny to begin with). Still, I find it intriguing, and it’s my bloggy so I’ll whine when I want to.
NEW DELHI — A delegation of government officials from Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation will visit the Mount Everest base camp on Thursday in an attempt to salvage the expedition season even as Sherpa mountain guides, support staff and foreign tour operators, shaken by an avalanche that killed over a dozen Nepalese guides last Friday, begin to pack up their gear and head home.
International Mountain Guides, one of Everest’s largest touring agencies, announced late Wednesday that it planned to cancel its expedition. The decision came as some Sherpas, including the so-called Icefall doctors who secure the route up the mountain, called for a halt to the season’s expeditions, dissatisfied with the government’s response to the tragedy.
“The Icefall route is currently unsafe for climbing without repairs,” a partner at the trekking company wrote in a statement. “We have explored every option and can find no way to safely continue the expedition.” — NYTimes
Okay, I get it that there are people who like to climb mountains. To me, if it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, it does so just barely. There are people who like having scalding hot wax dripped on their nuts, too. So sure, why wouldn’t there be people who think scurrying miles up the slippery side of an icy mountain is a fun thing to do?
What I don’t get at all is, How can these same folks possibly complain about safety? The whole enterprise is fraught with insane risk and mortal danger. If your concern is safety, stay on the freakin’ ground where you belong.
Two climbing groups whose leaders were interviewed for the article are named “Altitude Junkies” and “Peak Freaks.” Have at it, freaks and junkies. Another leader, who lost a cousin in the recent mishap, expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s efforts to ensure safety, saying, “If in a couple of days the American people or European people die again in that place, what’s going to happen then? Who is going to take responsibility?”
May I dare to suggest that “responsibility” might be on the maniacs who willingly scamper up the slope in pursuit of their own peculiar thrills? Do other freaks and junkies check with government authorities to ensure safety and responsibility before sticking needles in their arms?
Leave the mountains alone, fellas, and save your adrenaline for something constructive. Mow your lawn. Paint my house. And quit bellyaching.