I didn’t mean to write this title like a headline, but it does look like something you’ll see in a newspaper, doesn’t it?
In any case, I was reading this article about an avalanche on Mount Everest that killed 13 Sherpa guides and left 3 missing. Sherpa guides are people who fix ropes for climbers and prepare the route for mountaineers, and they may make 20-25 round trips to carry kit and supplies, or maintain the mountain route. Even today, the South Col route, which is popular after the ascent of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, has pretty dangerous points, and some 250 climbers have died on the mountain.
What’s worse, the rising number of tourists has raised concerns about safety and environmental damage. This means that your decision to scale the Everest heights to “prove yourself” or “challenge your limits” may hurt the mountain, and compromise other mountaineers. And yet Nepal still plans to cut fees for trekkers next year. It has issued 334 foreign climber permits this season alone, up from 328 for the whole of last year. Yup, Mount Everest is actually getting crowded. A crucial point is that it’s not only these 334 people that are scaling the mountain. They will have an equal number of guides to help these foreigners in their climbing, so you’re seeing a huge increase in people.
And it’s really ironic that in this personal journey up the mountain, it’s really your guide that’s doing a lot of work for you. He climbs together with you (and has probably gone up and down several times over), guides you with your equipment, and prepares the route early in the day before you’re even up and ready. That’s not much of an achievement for you, is it? It seems more of the guide’s achievement, being able to assist somebody like you — of course, not saying anything about you; you may be a great climber for all I know — up this treacherous slope. And these guides are the ones who are most likely to be sacrificed when disasters arise. They’re doing this as a job, and if left alone, probably wouldn’t want to climb such a perilous mountain anyway. You’re climbing the mountain for glory, most likely.
And this is really a portrayal of what tourism has become around the world. I’m sure you’ve heard of what tourism has done to destroy some natural habitats or irreversibly change the way of life of some villages. Do you know that on Alisan of Taiwan, the “villagers” “living” there may actually take a train down to Taipei at the end of the working day? Sometimes a village’s “traditional lifestyle” is only an act to seek the interest of tourists. It’s good that tourists appreciate nature and rural life, but they don’t realise that their mass arrival has ruined the existence of the very things they come for, replaced with pretence.
Article can be found here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27095616