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Topic - Extreme Everest opinion in The Times

davidoldfart - on 26 Apr 2014
This article has just been published by The Times. I suspect the author had a partly satirical intent, but some may find it deeply offensive. I know I do:

Close Everest. Close all the damn mountains
Giles Coren

Published at 12:01AM, April 26 2014

On one hand, you have 16 Sherpas killed; on the other, a bunch of macho idiots whose holidays have been ruined
The Sherpas of Everest are on strike. A long queue of very rich white men with extremely tiny penises is furious because it wanted to go and play on the mountain. Tensions are running high. The whole Himalayan climbing season may even be cancelled. And I, from my sunlounger by the hotel pool in Charleston, South Carolina, am feeling sick about it. Sick to my coconut-oiled and increasingly nut-brown stomach.
First of all, I’ll give you the background: steepling mountain peaks like the fangs of an angry god, snow, blue sky, dazzling sun, bearded blond men in expensive outerwear and tosspot sunglasses . . . ha ha ha, no, not that kind of background. I meant the news background.
Last week, 16 Nepalese Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche on Everest’s “popcorn field” while fixing routes and carrying equipment above Base Camp for the 330-odd foreign climbers currently waiting to haul their fat, pampered arses up the once-revered peak for the sake of a stupid selfie and a handful of dull stories with which to bore the ears off their children and grandchildren until they are shut up in a retirement home for old bores with no toes.
There was an avalanche. While the 330 foreign “climbers” drank ten-dollar beers and complained about the rubbish hotel wifi that was rendering YouPorn barely watchable, ice chunks the size of houses were falling like meteors on their helpers, killing them instantly. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
Sixteen of them.
The families of the men, who would typically have been earning about £3,500 a year and of whom several die every season because it’s part of the job, were offered £250 compensation for their dead warriors. They thought it derisory. They were right. The Nepalese government trousers millions every year from the fees of roughly £30,000 paid by each bumbling white dork who joins the queue for the meritless upwards shlep, and then it offers families who have lost their paterfamilias in the name of the country’s single notable industry roughly what the witless western wazzocks pay for their socks.
That insult, plus a desire to honour the lives of the 16 men who died, led the Sherpas to cry off work, and to talk of a longer strike in the name of better pay and conditions. But the orange-jacketed dingbats waiting in line to join the nose-to-tail trog up the cold hill, with the special little beards they’ve grown to mark their stupid climbing holiday (they stopped shaving probably on the Tuesday or Wednesday of their last week in the office at Accenture or Citibank) are outraged because they look like missing out on their fun.
It’s 800 idiots in total this year, including snowboarders and a moron called Joby Ogwyn who, in a stunt sponsored and filmed by NBC’s Discovery Channel, planned to jump off the summit in a Batman-style “wingsuit” and fly down. Because obviously that is the best way to show mankind’s respect for what Tibetans call Chomolungma or “The Holy Mother”.
It was reported that Ogwyn initially wanted his “flight” to go ahead, despite the deaths of two of his own actual Sherpas in the tragedy, who were killed carrying his own actual kit. But after a change of heart NBC pulled the plug this week. The right move, no question. But too late, surely, to prevent Ogwyn being known for all time as the Batwanker.
Not that many others on the mountain have behaved better. Thursday’s Times reported that, “Western climbers were furious that their trips had been effectively blocked by the strike after some had paid up to $50,000 to make the ascent”. Isaiah Janzen, an American, said he would consider going ahead without Sherpa support if necessary: “I saved money for three years to afford this, it is the most expensive thing I have ever bought.”
The most expensive thing he ever bought. Oh, well then. How very moving. Alongside an unrefundable airline ticket what are the lives of 16 little oriental brownskins? Jesus Christ, it makes me want to fly out to Nepal and kill the scumbag myself with an ice pick to save him the trouble of freezing to death.
Like sunburnt sangria-swillers on the Costa del Sol, angry with their tour rep about the snacks on offer at happy hour, these horrific bastards, wing-suited or not, simply cannot see the scale of the human pain at their holiday destination, in a way which makes their planned “conquest” of a mountain entirely meaningless. If you are without human empathy then your physical actions are as worthless as a machine’s. Make it about the money and you make it about nothing at all.
It is about the money. That is what climbing Everest has become, along with rowing across the Atlantic, trekking through some jungle, horse-riding across some desert, all that stupid exploration and adventure that is glorified on the television and indulged in by celebrities on a thousand shows and sponsored stupid bloody swims up the effing Amazon. It’s just tourism. It’s just leisure activity. It is no more thrilling or immanent with spiritual significance than a trip to Bluewater for a cheap pair of trainers and a cheeseburger.
Once, there were places to explore. Now there are places to go on holiday. Exploration is over and these idiot imitators should be shut up for ever. Close the damn mountain. Close all the mountains. The human exploratory instinct, even when it was pure, was disastrous. It killed the world. The ludicrous man-against-nature mentality of the “adventurer” is as murderous as that of the big game hunter, which did for the rhino and the elephant and the tiger and the leopard.
It is the mentality that killed everything in the continent whose Eastern seaboard I have spent the last two months descending, from Quebec City and St John’s, Newfoundland, via Toronto, Philadelphia and Rhode Island, to the Carolinas. Everywhere I have travelled, the story has been one of loss and extinction at the hands of exploring man: the cod, the whale, the buffalo, the passenger pigeon,
the Indians . . .
Every man who ever pulled on a pair of walking boots or skis, packed a rucksack or picked up a paddle was — regardless of his apparent conscious motivations — going out to kill something. Puny man imposing his will on dumb nature. It’s pathetic and evil and it always has been.
So just close the damn mountain and send those idiots home.
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