Saturday, December 09, 2006


I have watched and read too much about Mt. Everest and the various expeditions. I'll admit a bizarre fascination with the people who chose to ascend that particular mound of earth. I don't really get it, though. One of the last specials (Disc channel?) I saw had one group with a mess of variously disabled folks. There have been lots of stories about people summiting Everest who were blind/asthmatic/limbless/whatever, and there is always accompaniment to the tune of "(one) can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it, as I have proven by making it to the top of Everest despite (some disability/health issue)." It really is bullshit. Fact is, in most of those cases it is far more likely to be technology and other people who have made the feat possible. In the end the ability to climb Everest is dictated by free time and money. That's it. If you have the cash behind you to support training and cover the cost of the expedition, then you, too can climb to the top of the world. That's it. People who fail were insufficiently prepared. Knowing that it is money (and free time, but really, they're related) and not "the will of the human spirit" that gets people up and (more importantly) down the icy rock really takes something away from the folks that do it. Everest specials are kind of like NASCAR on Discovery, you wait to see if someone vomits blood or dies or some other horrible thing. Plenty of people have succeeded in summiting. It's only interesting now if they fail.

Although, I would love to see a quadriplegic ascend as some Sherpa's backpack, and cheer their triumph of being able to breathe at great elevations...with supplemental oxygen...but that is probably insensitive of me.

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