It is located half a world away in Nepal where large earthquakes have been happening. It is a place where mountain climbers come from all over the world to get their rush at the top of the world. The world’s tallest peak was once considered one of the world’s most difficult endeavors. Fewer then ever thought the assent was even possible but in recent years more and more people have spent lots of money to make the journey possible. It has now become a bucket list item for a certain kind of affluent traveler. As a result, the number of people with little or no climbing experience has increased. The only way any of those climbers can get even close to the summit is literally and figuratively on the backs of the local Sherpas, mountain people of Nepal.
The Sherpas are the people that carry everything up that mountain for the climbers and are experienced climbers themselves with cargo now and with rich people, there are a lot of non-essential items to carry. That creates a tremendous risk to the Sherpas. Every past spring hundreds of tourists arrived from the west chasing a dream to stand atop the world. There were lines of hundreds of people making the climb every day but none of them could make the climb without the assistance of an experienced Sherpa. I could care less about the deaths of the big shots on the big mountain. I feel sorrow for the hard working underpaid Sherpas who made the climb safely every day until the avalanche was too much for most to survive.
In an avalanche bodies in that line will be buried on top of each other. The job of a Sherpa is now considered the most dangerous job on earth because of the amount of people getting instant death from falling or avalanches. So many died in April that they closed the mountain to all climbers this season. The people used to live on the mountain and some men would walk for 26 hours at a time. They were the most remote community on the planet and were exploited by rich people paying them little to carry on their backs chairs and tables and fine wines to the summit. The mountain was covered literally with trash and discarded used items. Many rich people wouldn’t even make the trip back down the mountain but be airlifted off leaving all supplies and trash.
The Sherpas were living on the mountain for almost 100 years but it seemed that almost overnight that tourism companies were arriving from the west offering the Sherpas money to assist them in their quest to the top. With pay as much as $5,000 per year the people would pitch tents, haul mattresses, prepare meals, whatever the westerners would need or simply not want to do for themselves. Companies like Alpine Assents from Seattle have made lots of money on the backs of the Sherpas. Climbing the mountain is a risk to anyone but the risk to them came first Once the big shots died, they decided to leave the mountain alone. Nature has won yet again and put pompous humans back in their place. Standing at the top of the world was once the ultimate selfie.