.by Anura Guruge
As I have mentioned before I used to be a Mount Everest junkie and even now have an impressive collection of Mount Everest books.
This morning I was reading the June 2013 issue of ‘National Geographic’ – this being one of the very few magazines that I insist that we subscribe to without fail, year after year.
I started with the Mount Everest article. It commences with the same picture shown in the article above. But, the magazine article has a 5 line caption, which reads:
“Traffic chokes the Hillary Step on May 19, 2012. Some climbers spent as long as two hours at this 40-foot rock wall below the summit, losing body heat. Even so, 234 people reached the top on this day. Four climbers died.“
That last sentence: “Four climbers died” just seems amazing. The 7th paragraph of the article states the names of the 4 dead. Pages 11-12 of the article actually has a picture of one of the dead, a 33-year old Nepali-Canadian named Shriya Shah-Klorfine.
To be sure, given that I haven’t read all of it, I am not sure whether that opening statement is ambiguous if not outright wrong. The implication is that four died on that day, May 19, 2012. I am not sure. Maybe he saw 4 bodies that day. Because later on in the article there is a graph that claims that there has been no rise in mortality! That it has stayed constant at 1%.
But, all told, 234 people summiting in a day sounds crazy. This is degrading what is our most majestic and sacred of mountains.