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Mount Everest

On my flight from Mumbai to Istanbul I finally saw the new Everest movie about the tragic accident in 1996, in which countless climbers lost their lives.

I know the story well, the book “Into thin Air” by Jon Krakauer about this tragic event was my entry into the world of the mountains and sparked my passion for it! I know- strange!

However, the highest mountain in the world (8848 m) never caused a charm for me! On the contrary, with the time in which I gained my own experience in the Himalayas and climbed a couple of mountains, even an aversion to it has developed!

Not for the mountain, but much more for what is done to the so powerful mountain!

For me, the style in which so many people now climb the highest point on earth is similar to a rape of the mountain that leaves a lot of damage.

Since the Everest is not a particularly technically demanding summit anyway, the well-paying customer has no more to do, than to pull himself to the summit! Not that I mean to put the dangers of being in such an altitude in the mountains down.

Nowadays, people are literally carried up the mountain for a relatively high price. The real heroes, the Sherpas, not only attach ropes and ladders, but also bring oxygen bottles to the mountain, pitch the tents and cook the food.

Of course, a great deal of fitness is still part of it! Being at over 5000 meters is not a breeze and the area above 7000 meters is called death zone! Here man is only able to exist for a few hours!

Bad weather conditions also pose great danger!

Nevertheless, among mountaineers, Mount Everest does not really have a great attraction, except that it is the highest mountain in the world.

Otherwise, lower mountains, which are technically demanding or have never been climbed at all, are often much more popular with “true mountaineers”.

The film in particular has once again clearly illustrated how terrible the situation on Everest really is.

I do not even want to mention the ecological damage caused by the many mountaineering tourists!

What shocks me a lot more, is the way the climbers behave with each other.

There seems to be a strong competitive feeling, arrogance, even a competition, which scares me very much!

I got to know mountaineering as a team sport in which togetherness counts and the actual ascent fades into the background of a sense of community!

Only a common ascent can be successful!

The annual “congestion” on Everest, especially in May (there is a very good weather window here), is dangerous for every climber: you not only get late, waste your oxygen and often don’t make it to the summit while waiting in a line. No, as the accident in May 1996 showed, this traffic jam leads to death!

Expedition participants often pay a high price to take part in an Everest expedition. The organisers are, of course, under pressure. On the one hand to prove a great success rate, on the other hand, of course, also towards the customer!

Often even the most experienced climbers make devastating decisions, allow high-altitude sick customers to continue climbing and fail to meet the important time limit for the return. Like this the experienced mountain guides of two commercial expedition companies let their lives in 1996!

If you watch the film, the relationship between the ascent of Mount Everest and the own life seems to be in an abnormal relationship! The risk of never seeing the loved ones again seems not a too big investment, to be on top of the highest mountain in the world.

Like an addiction, only the goal of the ascent is in front of the eyes and everything else becomes void, which leads to elementary mistakes!

Mountaineering is not only the ascent of a mountain, but also involves being able to make important and correct decisions, even if it means not being at the top. A true mountaineer listens to the mountain and climbs it gently and with the”consents of the mountain”. One should never stand up to the mountain, which has a divine meaning in so many religions. It is not without reason that Mount Everest is called Chomolungma by the Tibetans, which means divine Mother of the Mountains.

So you have to approach them gently and not scare with them, as I think it happens on Everest.

In the film, the question arose among the climbers, why they would like to climb Everest. Answers were “because he’s there,” “Because it’s beautiful” or “to complete the Seven Peaks.”

Sad answers, I think. I found it much more beautiful a little later in the film, when it was said that he was happy in the mountains, while normal life seems rather dark and depressing to him!

That’s the way, it is for me! I like to have a goal to be in the mountains, to show performance, to stand up and not be able to continue! It is actually only beautiful  at the top of the summit with a clear , otherwise such an ascent is much more “suffering”, as was also so beautifully said in the film. Pure suffering: It is bitterly cold, you hardly get any air to breathe, you cannot sleep well and every step is a torment.

Nevertheless, for me mountains have a wonderful magic and attraction. And they actually make me happy.

But to experience this happiness and pure joy, it doesn’t necessarily needs to be Everest. We have so many beautiful mountains in this world.

For example, I myself have not felt any difference in quality between a five-thousander or six-thousand-metre peak! The joy was the same!