I couldn’t feign surprise at the news of Everest losing another as we turn the calendar to May.

Written by Kyle Magin

It’s that time of year again. Teachers start booking Massage Envy appointments, Carnival cruise sand Sandals retreats, the resultant flora from April showers arrives and the White House’s Russia ties are in full bloom… but there’s no more sure way to tell May has arrived than to find out some well-funded sociopath has harmed or killed himself (or, infrequently, herself) trying to climb vertical plantation/literal Himalayan shitpile Mt. Everest.

Every year, people who actively hate their families and their continued existence on this Earth take two-to-three months off from vacuuming wealth out of the developed world to have a bunch of brown people haul their shit up the world’s highest peak so they can take a selfie at the pinnacle of the most narcissistic endeavor imaginable.

This year the first to go was, surprisingly, an expert climber.

Sunday, Swiss climber Ueli Steck was killed preparing to take a new route up Everest — because apparently all the garbage on the well-traveled paths was getting to him.

The 40-year-old known as the “Swiss Machine” died in an accident while acclimatising at the base of Mount Nupste, which shares a common ridge with Everest. “He had an accident on the Nuptse wall and died. It seems he slipped,” said Ang Tsering Sherpa, head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

Steck was preparing to climb Everest using its West Ridge, a route which has been the cause of more deaths than successful ascents. Early reports say he was climbing alone on Sunday due to his climbing partner contracting severe frostbite.

While Steck’s death is a tragedy for his family and the climbing community, it might be yet another signal that it’s time to shut the mountain down for a couple decades for clean up and repairs.

The spiritual descendants of Maurice Herzog — who used charming terms like Coolie and Chink in a trumped-up account of a book climbers cherish to this day — then extol their own bravery when some perfectly-foreseeable catastrophe befalls them because they’re climbing into the Death Zone.

In 2015, more people died on the mountain than ever before, surpassing the previous year and the one that got a shitty Jake Gyllenhaal/Josh Brolin treatment because if there’s anything rich people like better than doing dumb shit because they can afford it, it’s getting famous for surviving it.

2015 was particularly fucking galling, because while the outdoor/adventure world and its participants sent up #prayers or #goodvibes for the dozens of millionaires and their paid help who died on the mountain following a series of earthquake-triggered avalanches, 8,000 people died down the hill in Nepal and tens of thousands more were displaced in a country with an average monthly income of $300.

They died with a quarter of the Patagonia set’s fanfare. As a non-dues paying, orbiting member of that world, I’m sick of it. You should die a death as lonely as the one you choose to live if you make an attempt at Everest. Furthermore, your last moments of life should be filled with the shame of hiring poor people to chase you up on your retarded quest if they happen to get hurt or killed, as well.

I’m sure some OK people have taken a shot at the world’s highest peak, but I’m going to save my shock and empathy for full human beings and not the bots who can train for five months before essentially taking off work for an oxygen-aided hiking trip to the third world so everyone can see their dope North Face setup on top of the world in May.

1 COMMENT

  1. I see your point, to an extent. Have you ever visited Nepal or Tibet and climbs mountains or hiked while you were there? Sherpas on the mountain are a different breed. Sherpas come from a generation of Sherpas and it’s one of the best paying jobs available to them. The Sherpas are very skilled climbers and they are just as passionate if not more passionate than a wealthy westerner paying them to help out. I very much relate it to hiring a mountain guide in Europe or a new landscape you want to explore and ski. Yes, it’s a privilege to be able to hire a guide to arrange your routes and travel but it’s also a necessity for safety in new terrain in different countries.

    Your point in the story is clear and recognized but only shines one light on a very diverse industry. Look at the ski bum, with 1990’s gear, living in his car, skiing everyday and making shitty ski films to show his friends versus the doctor who owns his own practice, owns a mountain side condo, takes shitty selfies to post on social media to show his friends how cool he is, who also loves to ski every day and just has a lot of money to assist in pursuing that passion. I think you left out why people have a passion to face danger and and what keeps them coming back. You will always have naive, wealthy people trying to accomplish physical goals and show off but in the end I feel they attempt these big feats because they recognize the passion surrounding it.

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