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  • Mt. Everest.

  • It's big.

  • It's dangerous.

  • And more and more, it's crowded.

  • It's the traffic jam atop the world. A

  • record number of mountaineers waiting for hours in the harshest conditions on the planet

  • to reach the 29,000 foot mountain top.

  • 2019 is shaping up to be one of the deadliest years in decades on Mount Everest.

  • And so those in the climbing industry, it's a business problem.

  • It's like a stock portfolio.

  • You've got 15 climbs around the world that you're running.

  • Some are making more money, some are less.

  • Some might be closed for political reasons, some might have a volcano erupt.

  • So that one's off the charts.

  • We're moving to other areas. So

  • as a business model you need all these mountains to really make you work for yourself.

  • Otherwise you're forced to maybe run a trip you don't want to run or have a problem

  • canceling a trip.

  • I mean we've canceled trips for five days before they left, knowing that there's other

  • mountains that we do to support that.

  • But I think if you're doing one or two mountains, you're relying on that, it puts you as

  • a business person in a really difficult situation where if I don't run the trip I could

  • be out of business or going broke.

  • And you don't want to be there.

  • In late May 2019, social media images surfaced showing what looked like a human traffic

  • jam at 29,000 feet, in the upper troposphere.

  • An image now emblematic of a deadly new normal, droves of climbers waiting for their

  • chance to summit Mount Everest.

  • But dark details soon became apparent from the image.

  • Several people died on the mountain that day.

  • Reports then surfaced of long lines leading to the summit and climbers burning through

  • oxygen as they waited for inexperienced climbers to be helped off the mountain or for

  • others to take selfies at the top of the mountain.

  • Even with these things going on we're getting calls like, I heard about the disasters.

  • But hey, what does it take to climb Everest?

  • You know we'll give them a three or four year routine but also unfortunately people are

  • doing one or two smaller climbs.

  • They felt like they've done well.

  • They're contacting up an outfitter saying Can I give it a try with this kind of

  • experience and they're saying yes.

  • So a combination I think of people misreading what it takes to climb Everest and perhaps

  • some of the guide services misreading what should be expected from clients before taking

  • them on this mountain.

  • Mount Everest has become big business for both climbing companies and the local tourist

  • industry. Those kinds of images are putting certain business practices under scrutiny.

  • The Nepalese government makes a lot of money from Mt.

  • Everest.

  • According to several media reports the government makes $300 million from climbing each

  • year. It sells permits to foreigners that allow them to climb the Nepalese side of Mt.

  • Everest. They cost $11,000 and nearly anyone can get one.

  • Nepal does not cap the number of permits it issues, and it issued a record 381 permits in

  • 2019.

  • I certainly would like to reduce the volume up there.

  • But there's a better way to look at who should be going up on what day and how to spread

  • that out on a case-by-case basis.

  • Reaching the top of Mount Everest is so dangerous with its brutal winds and lack of oxygen

  • that there are only a few windows each season in which climbers can hope to reach the

  • summit. And there are more and more climbers from around the world trying to check

  • Everest off their bucket lists.

  • India and China have gotten much wealthier in the past 20 years, and mountaineering in

  • general has gotten more popular across the world.

  • That's opening up Mt.

  • Everest to as many self-proclaimed adventurers who can afford the steep price of entry.

  • Well, we can say that the interest in Everest has always increased, but in these past few

  • years it's increased, I don't know, you know 10 fold.

  • We're seeing a 10 percent increase probably for the past 10 years.

  • But the increased demand isn't coming with increased quality control

  • Climbers who lack the endurance and training needed to summit Everest slow everyone else

  • down, increasing the time other climbers spend in the dangerous summit.

  • And even if one climbing company does go above and beyond in vetting its clients, they

  • can be on the mountain with any number of climbing companies that don't, trying to summit

  • the mountain at the same time.

  • Mount Everest is a big tourist attraction for Nepal.

  • Nepal is a poor country, landlocked in tough but beautiful geography.

  • It needs tourism, and Mount Everest, even if you're not a climber, is a big draw.

  • During the climbing season, base camp becomes a mini city.

  • Even actress Mandy Moore recently visited at

  • So if calls to cap the number of permits Nepal issues to potential Mount Everest climbers

  • come to fruition, the government there stands to potentially lose millions of dollars.

  • That also means lost livelihoods for Sherpas, the local guides who make their living

  • guiding climbers up and down the Himalayan mountains. And

  • the local adventure tourism industry set up around Everest in the Himalayas.

  • It's expensive to climb Everest using an established mountaineering company.

  • Newer local companies in Nepal, for example, charge tens of thousands of dollars less.

  • We can't tell what kind of fitness you're in beforehand.

  • Why aren't you vetting these climbers for

  • fitness? By what? By making them go up the mountain a week before?

  • There's no way to vet how much time people have put into their fitness training,

  • and that's a lot of it when said the system of how we're going to evaluate people.

  • We don't know until they get there.

  • It becomes the guide's responsibility to more turn people around.

  • And that's pretty hard.

  • God, just gave you a $50,000 check and your trip is over on day three.

  • But that is part of the job of a guide and a guide service, if it's not right.

Mt. Everest.

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Why So Many People Are Dying On Top Of Mount Everest

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/16
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