Most of you reading this article would have heard about Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest is located on the border of Nepal and China, and it is well known for being the highest point on earth, at a height of 8,848m. In the past, mountaineering the Mt. Everest was the bucket-list item that all serious climbers dreamed of but few actually achieved. According to Ed Dohring, a doctor from Arizona who was interviewed by the New York Times, climbing Mt. Everest is quite a different challenge these days. What he saw after reaching the summit was not the purity and wonder of nature but rather a small crowd of climbers pushing and shoving to take selfies. Since there were too many people on the flat part of the summit, he even had to walk right beside the body of a woman who had died. “It was like a zoo”, explained Ed Dohring.
1. Mt. Everest
a. Mt. Everest in the Past
Mt. Everest, with its majestic, ice-capped peaks, is a natural attraction that inspires feelings of awe and wonder in people who go there. It is the highest mountain on the Earth. Andrew War, India’s geographical survey director, conducted a triangulation of the Himalayas to confirm the fact that Mt. Everest is the highest peak in the world. Mt. Everest is notorious for requiring climbers to be accompanied by experienced guides, either Nepali or foreign. Also, ever-worsening weather conditions often change during the ascent, which can has resulted in the death of many climbers who have attempted to scale Everest. The help of native Nepalese guides, usually of Sherpa, is therefore essential to the climb, assisting in everything from the overall preparation process of climbing to the selection of a proper route to climb.
b. Recent Mt. Everest
In this picture, climbers line the icy, narrow rocky ridge commonly called Mt. Everest’s ‘Death Zone’, which is more than 8,000m above sea level. The climbers do not even have any places for footing. There are a number of dead bodies around the climbers, and we cannot know where or how they died. Even during the best climbing season, which is spring, especially May, the ascent is dangerous. In May 2019, 11 climbers were killed or went missing on the mountain. This is said to be the worst casualty toll in recent years, not including the avalanche in 2015 that killed 10 people. What is even more shocking here is that the main cause of the 11 deaths this year was not avalanches, blizzards, or high winds. Instead, the problem was too many people on the mountain. In general, veteran climbers and industry leaders argue that there are more climbers on the mountain than Mt. Everest can safely handle. Climbers and guides have criticized officials for permitting anyone who can pay $11,000 to climb up the Mt. Everest. So, in other words, it was a safety accident or a traffic jam, not a damage caused by bad weather in the same pattern as before. According to New York Times, some climbers didn’t even know how to put on and use safety instruments needed to prevent them from slipping on ice.
2. ‘No Trespassing’ in Mt. Everest
It takes a huge amount of money to climb Mt. Everest. As stated by Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, the royalty for climbing Everest Normal Route during spring season is $11,000. (The royalty differs according to season, mountain, and whether climbers are foreign or Nepalese.) In fact, mountain climbing can be a key source of employment and income for poor nations, but of its long record of shoddy regulations of climbing permits, Nepal has been criticized for failing capitalize on its mountain-climbing tourism industry.
A ‘No Trespassing’ period is usually imposed at Mt. Everest for short terms only, in response to bad weather or environmental disasters, such as forest fires. The latest example of such a short-term ban at Mt. Everest was initiated by China in February of 2019. Base camps for climbing Mt. Everest are set up in both Nepal and China. One such camp is located in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region and is accessible by car. Many non-professional mountaineers also visit the site, resulting in a huge amount of trash. In response, the Chinese government has indefinitely banned ordinary tourists from entering this area. Exceptions will be applied to professional mountaineers authorized by the Chinese government, but the number is limited to fewer than 300. Although this restriction is a start, it is not enough. Mountains that are high enough to threaten the lives of climbers, such as Mt. Everest, should have an all-time ban on mountaineering. Nepal’s authorities have said they plan to revise its regulations, requiring climbers to have ascended at least one 6,500m Nepalese peak before that can attempt to scale Mt. Everest. Also, they must submit a certificate of good health and physical fitness. In fact, the physical examination should be done thoroughly because there is a limited amount of oxygen available per person on the mountain. Since there are too many climbers on the trails, including inexperienced climbers, the ascent takes even more time than it ordinarily, meaning climbers will dangerously spend time standing around on the ridge waiting for the crowds to proceed. In an oxygen-deprived environment like that of Everest, a delay of even an hour can mean life or death.
Conquering Mt. Everest has been the dream of climbers from around the world, but it seems to have become an experience that almost anyone can undertake by simply paying a large sum of money. Some allow their entry without any sense of guilt to earn money, but this has eventually resulted in a shortcut that has resulted in the death of many. Even the mountaineers who are well-trained often have difficulties during the climb. The inexperienced climbers who are not even able to guarantee their own lives pose a risk to everyone on the mountain. Nepal’s authorities now need to set the best standard and regulations for ‘No Trespassing’ of the Mt. Everest. < 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >