News & Opinion | June 5, 2019 4:22 pm

Mount Everest Has Been Ruined by Selfie-Snapping Crowds and Unnecessary Deaths

"Everest, as an idea and cultural force, is over"

Mount Everest
Mount Everest is losing its touch. (STR/ AFP/ Getty)

The once majestic Mount Everest — one of the world’s most alluring and challenging frontiers — has devolved into a polluted free-for-all now referred to by those profiting off it as the “Everest industry.”

This is thanks, in part, to the Nepalese government, which is selling a record number of permits to people who wish to test their skills on the mountain, The Atlantic reported. Tour groups, too, are rounding up hordes of people of all mountaineering levels and promising them access to the top. Once there, these tourists are dangerously lining up along the face of the mountain to take their summit selfies and are leaving trash in their wake.

There have been at least 11 deaths on the mountain this year alone, a relative mystery according to the government of Nepal — a poor country that relies heavily on tourist dollars. The country shows no signs of pulling the reigns on permits to hike Everest despite these deaths, but some critics are saying that the near-dozen who have died so far were lost unnecessarily and out of carelessness.

Those who oppose the droves of “privileged amateurs who now ascend Everest” and its $70,000 price tag, say the climbers are doing dishonor to the mountain, according to TA, while endangering the lives of others who need to wait their turn to ascend and descend.

“If the reasons for Everest deaths are unclear today,” the magazine’s Margret Grebowicz argued, “then so are the reasons for climbing the mountain. Whether Everest continues to sell out or gets shut down, its peak has lost its hold on the world’s imagination. Everest, as an idea and cultural force, is over.”

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