Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Everest News Farce

Just a quick comment on "news" written by non-climbers about climbing. I have read close to 100 articles bemoaning the sad state of affairs on Everest, about how too many people died there this year, and about the overcrowding and bottlenecks and how it's all a bunch of greedy overpaid business people on an adventure holiday, and it's not like it was in the old days with the jolly good groups of high ranked climbers doing it for the cause man...

Trail Running along the Blue River in Summit County CO
Training for Elbrus Race 2013
I think there are a few driving forces behind this rash of ignorant incendiary writing.

1) Google loves "new and fresh" articles of about 300-700 words with a certain ratio of keywords

Almost every one of these articles falls into that category. Panda and Penguin have pretty much screwed up the internet for people who really want to learn about stuff. Silly fluff articles will prevail.

2) Recent memoir re-hashing

Much like the Rolling Stones not being able to just give it up already, we have some ghost-written books out alleged to be by some of the few remaining survivors of ancient Everest history claiming superiority for their methods of climbing. Maybe it's too bold of me to say so, but they conveniently forget that they paid their hundreds of porters what amounts to mere pennies per day. That the huge siege on the mountain built a pyramid of logistics on the backs of those hundreds of porters and sherpa to get two guys to the top. I'm not convinced those ethics are any better than the current standard on Everest. (this isn't directed at the few near-alpine style ascents rare and uncommon in Everest history)

3) Non-climbers and armchair mountaineers love to bash Everest

Enough said - if it's about Everest and it's negative, they'll eat it up. Sells ad space.

4) Time delay writing

These really sound like they were written about last year (2012 season) during which there were too many deaths and too many bottlenecks. They probably assumed that the whole thing would escalate, wrote these in January and set a timer for "early June" and let it auto publish.

Summit of Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania
One of the Seven Summits
Ironically, I think this was one of the safest years on Everest in recent times. Aside from the whole rock throwing incident. Big weather window. Very little bottle-necking. Few deaths. Those are the facts that have me questioning these articles.

How about you? Do you think I have these articles pegged? Or is there something I'm missing? Let me know...