As you well know, it’s been a deadly (and very farcical) season atop Mount Everest.
Veterans have likened it to The Lord Of The Flies, with far too many climbers causing dangerous overcrowding as people seek to summit the world’s highest peak.
That picture above recently went viral, drawing attention to the fact that 11 people have died this climbing season alone.
First and foremost, the local tour group operators need to both limit, and more carefully select, the climbers they allow to join, but it’s unlikely that they will do so without the relevant authorities getting involved.
Some experienced adventurers, though, have taken on a daring alternative to keep the thrill of summiting the mountain alive.
Over to CNN:
…away from the crowds and human waste that have earned Everest a bad reputation in recent years, climbers are still trying to forge new routes up the world’s highest peak. This year, climbers Cory Richards, from the United States, and Esteban “Topo” Mena, from Ecuador, set out to climb a steep couloir on the northeast face of the mountain, without oxygen or Sherpa support.
After 40 hours, weather conditions forced them to abort their attempt, but they will go back again next year, Richards told CNN.
“Nobody’s ever done it so we don’t know exactly what the challenges are. And that’s part of the appeal,” he added…
Richards and Mena’s route is riddled with dangers, taking them over unpredictable terrain — glaciers, ice fields and gulleys. If you fall, Richards said, “it’s not like you’re gonna live.”
There’s that true adventurer spirit.
Here’s a post of his from back in May, detailing the first attempt at an alternative route:
Side note – follow Cory Richards on Instagram. His account is top notch.
OK, one more from Richards:
Experts say there are around 20 different routes to the top of Everest, but tour groups only use two. For those willing to push the boundaries, that leaves plenty of room for exploration.
Even if you’ve made it to the top before, a new route offers a different challenge:
“It’s a very magnetic peak, and a magnetic challenge for some people to want to achieve within their lifetime,” said Jake Meyer, a British mountaineer who became the youngest Briton to climb Everest in 2005, aged 21.
“As people’s experience grows but also generally the climbing industry’s experience, skills, and measurement of performance increases, there will be people who are really pushing the limits and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible,” he told CNN.
Despite the deaths and negative press, trips to the top of the mountain will continue. “Everest, because regardless of what’s reported on it, keeps getting more and more busy,” Richards added.
“People always ask, ‘Well, you’ve done it, why go back?’ Why do Olympians go back to the Olympics? It’s to refine, reduce, and to make art out of action.”
Can’t fault the thinking there.
At least these adventurers who are tackling daring routes have experience, unlike some of those who come with tour groups and have never even put crampons on their boots.
By the way, if you like stories about daredevils risking their lives, you might want to check out The Dawn Wall:
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