Everest; The latest dispute

After the latest Everest dispute, I have been contacted by a few readers who´d like me to have an opinion. And I have to admit that I have once again been drawn into the developments on the highest peak on earth. Most likely because I have nurtured a dream on and off throughout my life to climb it. Why it hasn´t happened really boils down to one reason. The reality is, it would be for no other reason tha for my own selfishness. Which is against everything I believe in today.  However, I have been involved in this last unfortunate episode and there´s many angles to it. So I asked Barry Moss, not only a very good friend of mine, but also well read, knows the world of exploration and adventure well, on his take on the latest Everest dispute. At the end of his article I have assembled important links which will help you readers to get a perspective from both sides. One thing is clear, Everest involves people in every way! And remember to comment and read the comments!

Everest, The Latest Dispute

By

Barry Moss

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Few disputes are spontaneous.  Like tectonic plate movements, there is generally a build-up of tension that can easily lead to angry, violent and destructive force.  The incident between Sherpas and climbers on Mount Everest reported worldwide is indicative of a situation where lack of respect and pure selfishness can create tension and ill feeling.  The article in the Guardian of 3 May articulates the issue very well – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/03/sherpas-climbers-everest-fight

I was at a presentation given by a young climber a few days ago that really made me question not just his motives but also those of his contemporaries. I asked him about the ‘Everest’ incident but he quickly and conveniently side-stepped the issue. He really believed all the self-promoting, motivational ‘message’ he had so carefully crafted but what was he really saying?  If there was anything of substance, I certainly didn’t get it.

Climbing to me epitomises the dichotomy between teamwork and individualism.  Most climbing expeditions start out as team efforts but by the time a mountaineer summits (or not), it’s every man or woman for themselves.  The desire to summit often defies reason as it achieves nothing really useful to society.  I know and respect many climbers, those who have been there first or make no big fuss about their achievements and obtained their goal by their own efforts.  By and large these are people experienced in life and not young investment banker types looking to impress themselves and their contemporaries, which all too often is their primary motivator.

Mountains are sacred places.  Many ‘climbers’ defile those places in the most spectacular ways.  They defecate on them and all too often do the same thing metaphorically to the local people they employ to give them their ‘glory’ moment.

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Barry Moss (MI’94) former Chairman of the British Chapter and has also served two terms as a Board Director of the Explorers Club in New York. He is a veteran of Operation Drake, Operation Raleigh and the reed boat Kota Mama expeditions in South America. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Trustee and Director of the Scientific Exploration Society and a Director of Youth Exploring Science.

 Valuable links to read to get perspective:

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5 comments

  1. Mikael, As all knows Sherpas are some of the bravest, most honorable people. There is more to this story than the one sided dramatic headline. It seems the europeans disrespected the mountain rules and potentially put the sherpas lives at risk – the testimony of the American clearly confirms that. Falling snow and ice when you are on such a steep gradient is no joke. When I was there I saw sherpas going above and beyond to save the lives of tourists with altitude sickness, sometimes even carrying them down on their backs to lukla. They are born climbers, and have an innate respect for the mountain and it’s rules because it’s ingrained in every aspect of their culture. I’m sorry but these european climbers, however famous and experienced, seem like arrogant men who were more concerned about making good time and setting personal records. Shame on them. Violence cannot be condoned, of course, but all I can say is that from what I know of sherpas they must have had a damn good reason to be angry.

  2. does the general fact that indians are spiritual people make me (an indian) always right?? unfortunately no…!! and before one speaks on this particular issue would request them to kindly look out for the names & credibility brfore declaring the standard cliche statement of ‘westerners showing no respect’…!! and look at the crassnsess of it all that people actually are supporting the party/sherpas who in hundred(s) wanted to kill three climbers…!!! in WHICH world and WHAT disrespect/behavior justifies or leads to such an violent outburst is beyond the means of any sane person leave aside climbers on steep mountains…!! ueli has been going/climbing in nepal for ages and simone moro does a bit of charity i.e flying injured sherpas/climbers out of the western cwm…!! this is just the beginning of it and i myself personally have experienced such discriminatory behavior from the sherpas & even sherpanis now which will increase over time given the treatement and encouragement from imbeciles who know nothing about climbing…!! you know that DEFINITELY something is fucked up big time when people ask for such imbecile behavior (no one on mountain while rope fixing) as standard operating procedure and forget that :
    A MOUNTAIN IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE FIXED ROPE WITH BUT CLIMBED…!!!

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