May 25, 2003
Fifty years to the day after becoming the first human being to summit Mt. Everest, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand says he is a man "of modest abilities." That once-incredible achievement has becoming less daunting over the years, though, illustrated by this week's firsts. A 15-year old Nepal girl became the youngest person to scale the mountain, and another Sherpa climber, Pemba Dorjie, broke the record for the quickest Everest ascent. [The Observer].
But this fascination with Everest has a cost, especially for the intrepid souls who challenge the world's highest peak. The going rate is UKú29,000 for a 70-day trip. This includes hotel and airport transfer fees, accommodation in Kathmandu, all road transport by private vehicles, camping facilities and meals on Everest, oxygen supply and apparatus, as well as costs for porterage, leaders, guides and Sherpas. And, of course, now there are Everest climbing guides on the Web. As MSNBC says, "Everest has been has been fetishized, commodified and, predictably, trashed."Posted by glenn