In reply to
> If it hadn't been Sir Ran on Everest ... would the vitriol and yawning and all the negative comments be as active on this forum, I wonder?
Personally I would like to see no coverage of Everest at all on this site unless of an ascent that is genuinely ground-breaking in some way ie a new route or an ascent in especially good style (of which un-guided should be obviously a minimum requirement).
There was a letter in a US climbing magazine a year or two ago that summed up the sad status of the mountain to me: in one of the recent climbing seasons - 2007 as far as I remember - three sherpas died in the Khumbu icefall at the start of the standard route on the Nepal side. In the days when Everest was still a bona-fide expedition objective, the icefall crossing, which has to be re-pioneered each year, would be fixed by the climbers themselves. Now that commercial climbing dominates, the various guide operators find it more efficient to pool costs to get the icefall equipped before the paying punters arrive. But as the ideal climbing time window is relatively short and the number of punters joining the queue swells each year, the pressure to equip the icefall as early as possible grows. The conjecture in the letter was that that season the sherpa team were pushed into the icefall to begin equipping when conditions were still too dangerous - and died as a direct consequence.