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June 22, 2006

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The Great Ganesha

Hey Jake,

Returning your visit. Thanks for dropping by.

Very well-written post. I agree with you completely.

Another reason (I think) also probably lies in the fact that these days people with little or no experience are being taken to the top of mountains, Everest in particular, by tour guides and so forth. As a consequence, their lack of experience prevents them from having the capability to make cogent decisions when on top. That may also explain why those people did not stop to help Sharp.

This is not to justify their actions in any way, but I guess it opens a whole new can of worms.

Just my two cents to add to this.

The Great Ganesha

schreinervideo

The time has come to shut down Qomolangma entirely. There's nothing more to be taken from it. Its dignity and even its recreational value are gone. All that's left is money and destruction. The death and degradation resulting from the endless line of thrill-seekers are the only tangible results of the human need to exploit and dominate the mountain. The terrible things that happen to climbers of Everest are karma. Good luck with that.

Jake Norton

Thanks for your comments Ken (schreinervideo). While I agree with you that there are certainly problems on Everest and things need to change, there is a lot to keep in mind here. As you know from your involvement in Tibet, many, many people depend on the tourism dollars generated from both expeditions and trekking in the Everest region. In the early 1990's, Nepal did put heavy restrictions on climbing expeditions to Everest with almost devastating results for the economy and well being of the local people. While sadly the local Tibetans on the north side of Everest see only a small share of the money that comes into Tibet via tourism and expeditions to Everest, even that little bit is important to them and needs to be taken into account before decisions are made to seal off the mountain. Lots of aspects to consider.

As for an "endless line of thrill seekers" - not everyone going to Everest can be lumped into the mindless thrillseeker stereotype. There are nuances and reasons why people choose to climb Everest, some good and some bad. But, lumping together and condemning a group based on the actions and intentions of a few never works very well.

As for the "terrible things that happen to climbers of Everest" being karma, perhaps they are, and you are certainly entitled to that opinion. However, I would be cautious in dismissing tragedy, be it on Everest or elsewhere, as simply karmic penance. My friend Ang Phinjo Sherpa was killed in the icefall last year at age 50, on his 49th expedition to an 8000m peak. He was an amazing, humble, spiritual man who made a puja each morning before climbing and carried his malla with him each day reciting mantras as he climbed. Gentle, kind, and loving, Phinjo left behind a wife and three children. Personally, I cannot think of a single karmic reason Phinjo would have been killed in the icefall that day aside from sadly being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tragic, but not to be dismissed as his own fault.

Again, thanks for your comments, Ken. Take care, and stop on by again!

-Jake

v

I know this is quite a late comment on this blog entry, but I just learned about this incident yesterday. Just wanted to say that your response to it is right on, and well written.

- v

Jakenorton

Hi V,

Thanks for your comment - never too late to add your thoughts! It was a tragic incident, and hopefully one which will not be repeated.

Thanks again, and come back soon - your thoughts are always welcome!

-Jake Norton
www.mountainworldproductions.com

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