We’ve all heard about the much publicized troubles with climbing Everest these days. The media tells us it’s too crowded, it’s too dangerous and those attempting it are too inexperienced. Some of that is probably true, but the situation on the world’s tallest mountain is certainly more complex than the mainstream media would lead us to believe.
Earlier today, Alan Arnette posted a very thoughtful piece to his blog entitled “What’s Wrong with Everest.” In that story, which I encourage everyone to read, Alan takes a hard looks at some of the very real issues with tackling Everest in this day and age. Some of those issues include less-than-honest commercial guide services, inexperienced guides and mountaineers that probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.
Perhaps most interesting for me was Alan’s examination of the difference in services between commercial guiding companies. On the high end, he looks at what Alpenglow brings to the table, which includes helicopter service to Base Camp, unlimited wifi, and more. For the 2013 spring season, they’re selling the package at an astounding $85,000. On the other hand, Utmost Adventure Trekking, which is far from the cheapest company, is offering a cut-rate Everest climb for $39,270, but fails to mention that that price doesn’t include bottled oxygen, garbage deposit or some other important details that will tack on thousands of dollars to the cost. In contrast, IMG’s expedition costs “just” $40,000 but provides everything a climber will need while on Everest.
This is just part of what Alan feels is wrong with Everest and he details his other concerns as well. He also gives a few fixes for these issues that he thinks would make the mountain much safer in the long run. Considering that he has climbed on Everest four times, and has a successful summit under his belt, these nuggets of information come from a wealth of experience.
If you’re a person who follows the climbing seasons on Everest closely and pays attention to the climbing scene there, you’ll definitely want to read Alan’s article. It contains some eye-opening stuff to consider, particularly if you’re planning an expedition of your own.