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‘Because It’s There’ Is No Excuse — Everest Needs A Rest found on MSNBC written by timnet, edited by John (Plastic) [ read unedited ] posted Tue 27 May 3:43pm

Environment “Mount Everest finally succumbed to the ambition of man 50 years ago when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first humans to conquer the mountain and live to tell the tale. But as adventure-seekers in increasing numbers take the ultimate test of strength, endurance and will, a mounting movement has gained a foothold, asking to give Mount Everest a rest for the sake of the mountain’s unique ecosystem and to provide a safer environment for qualified climbers,” timnet writes. “Hillary himself is among those lifting their voices on cutting Everest a break. ‘I have suggested to the Nepal government that they should stop giving permission and give the mountain a rest for a few years,’ he said recently. The first woman to reach the peak, Junco Tabei expressed similar concerns: ‘Everest has become too crowded. It needs a rest now. … Only two or three teams should be allowed in a season to climb Everest.’

“The average annual assault on Everest amounts to much more than that. While around a dozen teams normally take on the mountain in any given year, more than twice that amount set their sights on the peak in 2003 in honor of the golden anniversary of Hillary and Norgay’s accomplishment. Many climbers are looking to set various records, such as oldest to climb the mountain, youngest to make the ascent, or fastest to reach the peak. Anyone who has read Jon Krakauer’s bestseller Into Thin Air, about the deadly and disastrous 1996 season on Everest, saw a vivid picture of how climbers with more ambition than skill were creating a hazardous situation. Others cite hazards to the mountain itself, including the tons of garbage left behind and the impact repeated climbs have had on a formerly pristine area.

“Not everyone agrees that stringent restrictions are the answer. Money is one motivating factor; every climbing party employs many Sherpas and pays high royalties that help sustain the sagging economy of Nepal. “There are thousands of people in the region who solely depend on the trekkers and mountaineers for their income,” Sherpa guide Ang Phurba explained. “If they don’t come, these people and their families will starve.” Others cite Everest’s stature as one of the world’s most intriguing attractions as one chief reason why access to Everest should not be limited. One mountaineer notes that many other ranges, such as the European alps, see much more traffic and are not showing visible signs of wear and tear.”