Leave Your Moral Compass at 8000m

The News today will probably be about Kenton Cool high alttitude Mountain Guide and now 10 times summiteer of Everest. Today he climbed it to put the Medal won in 1924 by the original Everest Expedition. When the medal was presented the team were already in the last phase of preparation for there ultimate fatal 1924 attempt on the mountain, where Mallory lost his life in striving to stand on the roof of the world. It was a dream for some of the original expedition to see the medal reach the summit

Some 90 years later and Everest is just another peak, plagued by the honey pot effect of being the highest in the world. My local mountain Snowdon suffers the same fate because it is the highest in England and Wales. In two short weather windows over 300 people have attempted the stand on the summit over about 3-4 days. With this summit rush comes risk.

In the news some four people have died already this year, however more alarming is the lack of respect for those that have perished. One 19 year old from the UK the youngest woman to complete the Seven Summits talks about walking over those that have fallen by the wayside. She is sadly not alone, as most simmiteers have paid upwards of $50000 dollar for a ticket to the top. To paraphrase an old climber, ‘They stop at not and nothing stops them’ would describe their blinkered approach to mountaineering.

Moral Bankrupcy seems to reign in the death zone. How people justify it in their minds stepping over or around people who have collapse and leaving them for dead if they aren’t already.┬áThe sad fact of the matter is that the only mountaineers on the mountain are probably the guides and sherpas, as I know very few of my peers who could actually afford it. Instead it is more likely to see some banker or business tycoon with more money than sense and a ruthless outlook on the world. Yet they will in effect tar mountaineers with the same brush.

If you’d like to read more about Moral Bankrupcy in the Himalaya then I can recommend Joe Simpson’s ‘Dark Shadows Falling’.

It begs the question ‘What makes some ignore the suffering and death of another?’

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