How many times are we reminded, ‘Conquer your own Everest’, quoted in motivational lectures, read it in blogs and imbibed deep in our minds? Mt Everest means impossible, it means fighting a life battle. Over the years, this mountain has manifested into a romanticized mountaineering feat; well, you can disregard it as a stunt or love it as a life challenge, you cannot ignore Mt Everest. Standing tall at the elevation of 8, 848 meters, many have managed to spin myths around it. Some are true and the rest all are simply stories that were purported by media or incorrect assumptions. Let us weed out all the myths from facts and have a clear view about trekking at Mt Everest.
Thrill seeking amateurs: Those who attempt to surmount MT Everest are thrill seekers and want to indulge to prove a point. Those who go ahead and climb it do not simply wake up and hike to everest base camp, wrong! You need to prepare in advance before the actual trek. Most of them have years of mountaineering experience on their CV. Gauging environmental changes, handling equipment, ability to wear and remove layers of clothing and many other skills are needed before you can take on the mountain, there are so many Nepal travel blogs and Nepal blogs that have detailed information.
Sherpas are exploited: Many articles have been published and many blogs have written about the exploitation of Sherpas. However, the fact is that no one is forcibly dragged or pushed into the trade. Given the average wage earned in other professions in Nepal, being a guide is more lucrative and hence many Sherpas enlist as guides. Also, there is regulation regarding life insurance of individual Sherpas. And, in case they are killed on Everest, there are many organizations that assist and protect their families.
Everest means pursuit of death: A majority of people believe that trekking on Everest is like walking into a death trap. With the 2015 avalanche and earthquake, wherein many trekkers were stranded and the weather making it difficult for the rescue helicopter to airlift them. This further added and fueled the belief that it equals to tragic deaths. However, we need to make a note that, during the 2015 calamity, this tragedy was small in comparison to the 9000 deaths in Nepal. The expedition is not undertaken randomly, there is planning, permits, licenses, regulations and training involved.
Accompanying Sherpa makes it easier: When we are discussing climbing the Mt Everest, we need to consider, reconsider and evaluate many factors. Given the landscape and weather, everything is smooth and anything can go wrong in a fraction of a second. While, the Sherpas that accompany you, have scaled the mountain and are equipped with knowledge of the terrain, there are things beyond their control too. As an individual, you have to ensure that you drink water and you should be able to gauge, if you are about to get dehydrated. While a Sherpa carries water, he can’t be a judge of your dehydration. Before undertaking the mission, one needs to be a pro at handling equipment and gear. So a Sherpa does make it easier, but you still have to climb your own Everest, quite literally.
Messy with human waste: In 2015, concerns and protests were raised to highlight the ongoing waste management issue and the vast amounts of human excrement that is left behind after the season ends. Now, the Nepalese government and environmental groups have laid out plans for waste management and building of toilets to deal with it. Hence, now the issue is much under control and Nepalese government also requires every climber to carry out 8 kilograms of waste when descending the Everest.
Deaths owing to falls: We assume that death on Everest is mostly due to falling or frost bite. However, statistics suggest otherwise, the most number of lives were lost owing to avalanches, followed by falls, exposure, altitude sickness and so forth. We need to understand that the terrain and unpredictable weather conditions, remote locations further add to the problems of mountaineers. And, most of the deaths have occurred while descending down the mountain.
After browsing through these myths, you will realize that the reality is far cry away from the incorrect reporting. There are many dedicated trekking in Nepal and Nepal travel blogs, where you get in-depth information about Mt Everest and give you a clearer picture. Before embarking on this adventurous one-of-a- journey, do your research. If you feel you are not ready for it, don’t worry, there are many other options and other interesting places that are available for trekking in Nepal.
Mt Everest has inspired many and continues to do so; it is the spirit of scaling heights and winning over the impossible that makes it special.