Climb every mountain? I think not. Anyway, it’s already been done, and done, and done


I’ve never much wanted to climb Mt. Everest.

There are a couple of reasons for that.

-The first one is the fact I’m pathologically acrophobic. Heights make give me vertigo and stark terror of the sort that makes me want to pee in my pants, or worse. It’s not so much falling I’m afraid of; it’s hitting the bottom after the fall.

–         The second reason is because it has become so commonplace that it’s no longer the feat it was when Hillary and Norgay did it way back in 1953. So many people are now climbing Everest that it has become as congested as an LA freeway on the last leg to the summit. Like so many things in life, conquering Everest has become as ho-hum as an intimate encounter with Marilyn Monroe was reputed to be back in the day. In other words, everybody’s done it.

Oh, and there’s a thrid reason. And that’s that it probably involves a certain amount of tenting. That wore out its welcome with me a couple decades ago.

And that reality only leaves me with the sneaking suspicion that it was always easy. The conquest of Everest was a big scam mounted by the Nepal Tourism Authority to attract people to their hotels and fast-food joints and to give a bit of work to itinerant Sherpas.

“Right, mate, that was a piece o’ cake,” said Sir Edmund to Tenzing after they’d completed their feat back 60 years ago.”

“Just don’t let on, boss,” Tenzing replied, “Or everybody will be wanting to do it.” (I don’t know how to reproduce the Sherpa accent, but I believe his comment went as shown.

I’ve never much understood the impulse to climb mountains. I mean, I like mountains well enough – from afar. They can make a wonderful backdrop. But I’d rather stay down below, like I do in this community where we have the amazingly lovely curtain punctuated by the Comox Glacier. Magnificent. And I have flown over the Glacier and that was cool. But, I have no need to wend my way up there. I suspect there are crevices and other nasty causes of premature death.

I have seen other mountains, too. The Cascades punctuated by Baker, Ranier, Hood and Shasta. Dazzling all. I’ll ponder them from the bottom. Mona Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island is exception and, if measured from the sea floor, is considerably loftier than Everest. I’ve also seen the Rockies, the Alps, the Apennines and others. Just nifty, from down below.

“Because it’s there,” is the cliché excuse for climbing Everest or other crags.

So is Jupiter, but again I’d rather ponder it from afar.




10 responses to “Climb every mountain? I think not. Anyway, it’s already been done, and done, and done

  1. Problem with Everest (or as they call it in Nepal – Sagarmatha) is that it’s technically, not a difficult mountain. So any yahoo with enough money and the wherewithal to deal with the altitude and weather can be taken up there. Of course the mountain does get fed up once in a while and kills a batch of climbers, but they deserve no better IMO

  2. Yea, I prefer to look at the mountains at a distance and avoid straddling them. One friend once said, “wouldn’t you like to go see the view from there and see what it’s like?” NAH, if I cannot drive to see the view than I would rather it remain a mystery to me,…we all need a bit of mystery in our lives!

  3. I’ve just been reading my son’s school magazine and one of the boys there who is twelve, that’s TWELVE, is preparing for his SECOND climb of Everest. HIS SECOND CLIMB !!!!
    I felt a bit cross quite frankly. It just seemed a bit showy-offy. Especially as I can barely climb our stairs without wheezing, huffing and puffing…..

    • I think that is ridiculously showy-offy, as you put it. In later years how often are you going to be able to bore people at cocktail parties with that accomplishment?

  4. I have never camped. I once spent the night in a car, but that’s another story altogether. The tenting part is huge for me, as well. As is the fact that I used to be married to a mountaineer and, while he adores (adored?) the challenge of a high mountain, I am more along the lines of of I-don’t-have-to-do-shit-like-that-any-more-thankyouverymuch. So I don’t. Finally, I might break a nail and that would be sad.

    • I want to hear about the night in the car. No. You’d probably better not way. The most disagreeable aspect of tenting, aside from everything else, is having to pee at 3 am and stumbling around in the underbrush to accomplish that. And yes, there is always the threat of a nail break.

  5. I used to go hill walking with my father…but that was as high as it got.
    Why would anyone want to climb a lump of rock?
    It’s like transocean sailing….totally pointless unless you can’t find another way to smuggle your dog into the U.K.

    • I think the incentive to smuggle the dog is a very good one. But yes, climbing is pointless other than as a source of bragging and that’ll only work with people who are impressed with such attainments.

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