An Everest Like Challenge

Climbing Mount Everest in 1953 would seem like a monumental achievement. Sir Edmund Hillary passed away this week, and a lot has been said and written about this pioneer and his Everest companion, Tenzing Norgay. I really enjoy reading mountain adventure stories. Recently, I completed Rick Ridgeway’s, Below Another Sky. Ridgeway failed in his attempt to summit Everest, but he has been to the top of K2, an equally impressive accomplishment. When it comes to adventure, I prefer the “path less traveled,” so climbing Everest, or Denali, or Mount Rainier for that matter, does not appeal to me. I have set some goals to learn high altitude mountaineering skills, but nothing that would resemble the resource wasting anti-environment activities of the “mountain tourists” who are guided to the high summits for a fee. My idea of adventure would be like those that David Roberts had in the 1960’s and 1970’s when he pioneered new routes on obscure peaks in Alaska.

Hillary was a great figure, and more so for what he did for mountain culture and the Sherpa people, after he achieved his fame. It was said that he “conquerered” the mountain. Well, my wife, Debbie, and I were talking at dinner one night this week, and we agreed that you don’t conquer a mountain. You can climb to the top, but the mountain doesn’t fight back. It isn’t an enemy and it isn’t to be slayed; you may overcome obstacles and face challenges that are environmental in nature. Mountains change, as do men and women, but nearly 57 years after Everest was first climbed, the mountain is still will us, but Norgay and Hillary aren’t.

1 Response to “An Everest Like Challenge”

  1. 1 waghormley 14 January 2008 at 11:54 am

    Everest, as you say, is forever — a symbol and a mountain.

    I also love the Matterhorn — Cervino in Italian, Le Cervin in French.

    These peaks call to us to “look up” and strive!

    Hillary and Torgay were brave and crazy — with what we know today, would they have even tried?

    The Mountain certainly called them, and it calls us all still.


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