I have read a lot recently and my heart bleeds for the many who have died of Covid in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Yet it is amazing that there are still many expeditions out climbing the big peaks! Is this morally right?
Life is hard in these places and I was always privileged to climb on all of these countries. I made many pals with the locals the porters Sherpas and Sirdars we always left as friends they made our trips so successful. Yet much needed Oxygen is out in the mountains while local folk are dying through the lack of it in hospitals that are pushed to their limits. Most have seen the photos of what had happened and only recently have I seen a few articles on this subject in the mountaineering press.
There are many who run trips will say that they are bringing much needed money to these areas economy by still running expeditions. They say they are environmentally friendly in their glossy brochures. Yet it mind many Mountaineers are so selfish and they should be thinking of those who are needing help in these countries.
Most dream of a trip to these places and I met so many great folk on my trips. I always have helped them when ever I could and looked after them as they did me. In 2001 no one else was on Everest all the trips had gone after a big storm and I was left with our 5 Sherpas and Mingma our Sirdar at Advanced Base Camp in Tibet . They asked for a day to clear the mountain high up. They brought down over 50 empty oxygen bottles that they re sold in tents and gear in Katmandu. I helped them carry them down from the North Col.
They offered me a cut which I refused and were saddened by the gear left after storms hit the mountain. We cleared up ABC paid for extra Yaks to carry the rubbish out, it was a mess despite environment bonds. I got to know them well and how well they looked after me. There was no one else about even at Base camp apart from us and the Yak men and families. The monks came from the Ronbuk Monastery and helped clean up Base Camp with us.
We spoke with the Sherpas about each other’s lives at night in the wee cook shack and I was in awe of these folk. As the oldest on the trip and the Base Camp manager we got to know each other so well. They gave me huge respect as I did for them. I feel for them all now as family means to them and how we can learn from them. This is why so many can risk their lives for us and others.
Covid had hit many Base Camps and yet things carry on. I know the effort, money and dreams of going to these places. But after years of helping others in the mountains I worry about our selfishness and egos at times like these. Comments welcome as always. I have donated to a charity to help in a small way and pray that my friends from many years are okay.
Thinking of you all!
Comments welcome !
Mick Holmes ” No. It’s a slap in the face to all those needing oxygen to live to use it for ambition and ego. You want to help out a struggling economy, you don’t have to climb Everest for that. There’s something wrong somewhere.”