Today’s letter is E in the A to Z blogging challenge, and I have decided to write about Mt. Everest. Ever since I read the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, I’ve had this weird obsession with Mt. Everest. I heard about this book when one of my students did a book report on it (in fact, that is one of the best perks of being a junior high English teacher — I get so many great book suggestions from students!!!!) and decided to read it. What a fascinating read! I learned so much about that mountain! I learned all about the big business behind climbing Everest and the issues associated with its commercialization. I learned about the environmental impact the climbs have — things like how many discarded oxygen canisters are still on that mountain because it’s just too difficult to trek it off the mountain, or how if someone dies on the mountain, especially if they are higher than base camp, they are just left there because it is just a virtual impossibility to recover the body and take it down the mountain. By the way, the statistics about people who die on that mountain are fascinating. People who don’t know a lot about Everest tend to think that climbing Everest guarantees a summit — it does NOT — and it is also assumed by those who don’t know a lot about the mountain that the hard part is climbing, not coming back down. They are both very dangerous; the descent is definitely not easier than the ascent! I learned about things like altitude sickness and the Khumbu ice falls and crazy crevasses! I learned about the important role sherpas play in climbing Mt. Everest, and it made me interested in visiting Nepal. After reading Into Thin Air, I thought anyone who wanted to climb Everest must be stupid or not in his or her right mind. And then I immediately thought how cool it would be to climb Mt. Everest. It is a truly elite club! But I know I’ll never be able to climb it, although I would settle for seeing it with my own eyes, or maybe even some day just going to base camp — that would be so cool!
Want to learn more about Everest? Read Into Thin Air or just check out the Wikipedia page about Everest!