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June 11, 2023

Fears and fascination of Everest summit

  • HB Thapa

Fears and fascination of the Everest summit has always been intermingled with one another in each climbing season as climbers from various countries vie to conquer this highest peak in the world, ever since the legendary climbers Tenzing  Norgay and Edmund Hillary stepped on this Everest summit and created a world history of their own.

In this spring season only, 12 climbers including foreigners and Sherpas lost their lives on the Everest, while five are still missing in the crevices of the Everest region.

In 2019 also, at least 11 climbers in all had breathed their last on Everest summit, which testifies to the fact that despite hard realities of encountering risks and death at any moment while summiting Everest, the number of Everest climbers does not decrease.

Instead the climbers increased to above 400 in this spring season when around 500 climbers scaled the highest peak and fulfilled their individual coveted dreams of being on the top of the highest peak in the world.

Though the Everest climbers follow a set of rules of climbing and many of them ascend and descend safely by complying with the given climbing code of conduct while several climbers including some foreigners are reported to have deliberately ignored the safety suggestions and guidance of their Sherpa guides and ultimately died while descending or ascending the Everest summit.

The pathetic scene of scattered dead bodies seen everywhere around the Everest base camp ultimately forces one of tourism operators and mountaineers like Sonam Sherpa to claim that “it is time to change the Everest Base camp to avoid further decadence of the base camp and further promote smooth administration of the camps.”

The traffic jam along the Hillary step is another major issue identified by the tourism operators, who consider decreasing the number of climbers or to schedule the Everest summit in such way that there is no accident on Everest.

However, the fear and fascination of Everest (Sagarmatha or Chomulongma) has not yet dissuaded the climbers to go atop this highest peak. This is one of the most perplexing questions.

Why do so many climbers each year pine to go for Everest summit though their lives are rife with risk and even fatal consequences? Some climbers are believed to come to Nepal and opting to go for Everest expeditions with a hidden motive to die on the Everest which they think is the most sanctified area on earth to let their soul depart form this earthly mundane life.

Nepal government in this regards should mull over taking safety measure for those climbers who might come to Nepal with their hidden motives and tarnish Nepal’s image in the world.  Nepal Mountaineering Association, the government and tourism operators should chalk out a way out to minimize the loss of lives in the upcoming Everest climbing seasons.

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