DEATH MOUNTAIN; Climbing Everest Is One of Man's Greatest Challenges, but Has the Summit Become a Deadly Tourist Destination? Rob Waugh Reports

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), April 3, 2005 | Go to article overview

DEATH MOUNTAIN; Climbing Everest Is One of Man's Greatest Challenges, but Has the Summit Become a Deadly Tourist Destination? Rob Waugh Reports


Byline: ROB WAUGH

When George Mallory embarked on his 1924 expedition to Mount Everest he was heading into unknown territory.

The world's highest mountain was unconquered, the snowcovered peaks untrodden. The last anyone saw of the pioneering climber was a distant vision of him and his climbing companion Andrew Irvine 'going strong for the summit', just after noon on May 6.

How times have changed. When Mallory's frozen body was found 75 years later, 1,000 feet short of the 29,000ft peak, he was not alone on the slopes. At the time, there were more than 120 corpses there, preserved by the cold. Today there are 170.

Nevertheless, thousands of climbers who try to scale Everest every year, many with the help of companies who sell 'package tours' to the top of the world's highest mountain. It's routine for more than 30 expeditions to be on the slopes at one time - yet over the years one in nine of those who have attempted the final ascent on the summit have died in the attempt.

'When we climbed Everest, it was a lonely place,' says George Band, who took part in Sir Edmund Hillary's 1953 expedition that finally conquered the peak, and the author of the official Everest history, published this week.

'We were the only group on the mountain.

Even in the Seventies, the Nepalese government only allowed one group at a time. But now there are 15 routes up the mountain, and on popular ones, such as the Southeast Ridge, there are dozens of parties at any one time. The Nepalese are rather too interested in the income to say no.' And there's a lot of money to be made.

Nepal's government receives up to [pounds sterling]100 million a year from climbers.

Untrained climbers will pay an all-in fee of up to [pounds sterling]30,000 to be helped to the top of the mountain. Of that, [pounds sterling]10,000 goes to the government and much of the rest goes to the companies who take climbers to the top.

'There was one chap, about ten years ago, who paid a commission of [pounds sterling]20,000 and didn't quite make it to the top,' says Band. 'Two years later, his guide asked him if he wanted another go, and of course he said yes. On summit day, they were still climbing at noon. These days, it's so regimented you set off for the final leg at midnight, and if you aren't at the top by noon, you're meant to come back down.

'It was the climber's second attempt, and his second [pounds sterling]20,000, so the guide said, "Let's take a a risk." They kept climbing, a storm came down, and they were both killed. That's what happens when there's money at stake. If someone offers you a huge amount to take them to the top, it's easy to find yourself trying, even if the climber's fitness isn't up to it.

'When we climbed Everest, it was untrodden. Hillary, [Mike] Westmacott and I had to break through the Khumbu icefall with ice axes,' says Band. 'These days the whole summit area is covered with rope. In many ways, it's like going up a giant staircase.' But temperatures on top of Everest reach below -50*C, with winds up to 150mph. The summit is in the jet stream, exposing climbers to the most powerful winds on earth. No amount of rope can make that completely safe. Yet the mountain continues to tempt climbers, often attracting groups wanting to claim ever more bizarre 'firsts'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

DEATH MOUNTAIN; Climbing Everest Is One of Man's Greatest Challenges, but Has the Summit Become a Deadly Tourist Destination? Rob Waugh Reports
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.