Wednesday, 2 June 2010

I don't understand it, but I wouldn't ban it

News that a fit, healthy, bright 28 year-old had to be left to die on the slopes of Everest when he encountered retinal problems shouldn't surprise anyone. I believe that something like one in eight of those who attempt the climb die in the attempt. Yet there is still a long waiting list. I guess everyone believes they will be one of the seven who make it, and can dine out for the rest of their lives on being one of the (relatively) few who have climbed the tallest mountain.

The odds seem lousy to me, and I don't need the kudos, so I can't really understand the drive that tempts otherwise sane people to take the risk. And although the premature death of another young man is to be deeply regretted, I certainly wouldn't ban anyone from making that choice.

But for anyone so tempted, may I suggest an alternative? Those who have swum the Channel are still relatively rare, the accomplishment is highly mentionable, and probably rates at least 50% of the kudos of having climbed Everest at a tiny fraction of the risk.

6 comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I could never see the point of climbing any higher than my masthead, and I try to avoid even that as much as possible.

Vertigo sufferer said...

Yes, similar insanity drives those who constantly strive to construct a building taller than those already in existence.

Chris said...

Why ban climbing Everest when you can simply mock the self-regarding idiots who attempt it?

"Following in the footsteps of a 13 y/o boy. How daring! How adventurous!"

Robert said...

Real climbers get killed on K2. Everest is for the amateurs.

Anonymous said...

Its everybody being so law abiding and not giving offence.
If they brought back crimes like robbing banks or exotic burglaries - modern youth would not need everest for daring do.

Anonymous said...

Its everybody being so law abiding and not giving offence.
If they brought back crimes like robbing banks or exotic burglaries - modern youth would not need everest for daring do.