- Sports and Recreation»
- Individual Sports
Unprepared Mountain Climbers
The sport of climbing extremely high mountains such as various peaks of the Himalayas has slowly tuned into a sport for the yuppie masses. More and more people are tackling peaks as amateurs. Apparently many "climbers" feel that just because they pay tens of thousands of dollars in order to go on a mountain climbing trip they are guaranteed to make it A-OK. Unfortunately for them there are more and more deaths during these trips. These mountains are not for amateurs. Even experienced mountain climbers have a very difficult time getting to the peaks of these mountains. Even on smaller mountains in the Alps there are unprepared tourists who get into trouble or even die on climbing trips. These people do not seem to understand that this is literally not a walk in the park.
Many people with excess cash get hero vision and feel that because they have money they can do anything, including climbing mountains with no training. They seem to feel that it is just like paying for any kind of luxury cruise. Many of these yuppie expeditions have luxury camps carried up for them by Sherpas, where they can sleep in normal beds and have dinners cooked by chefs. However, they are in for a surprise when they realize they are in way over their heads when they face altitude sickness, snow storms, frost bite, and avalanches. No amount of money is going to have them then. Of course tour organizers don't really care if the people they are leading up are prepared or not, just as long as they shell out the cash. Ultimately it is the climbers job to make a rational decision as to whether they have any business climbing dangerous peaks. Of course climbing smaller peaks in the US is not as exotic or cool as going straight for Everest in their minds. And for what? To snap a few pics that they can make into their Facebook profile?
This sense of entitlement that comes from being rich does not impress mountain peaks. In Europe many rescue teams charge tourists who they have to save off of a mountain, especially if they got into trouble in areas where they were warned not to go, and rightly so. The rescue teams are risking their lives in order to save people who oftentimes do not adhere to danger warnings, apparently because they think they know better.
Even on smaller mountains such as Washington state's Mount Rainier there are climbers who go missing every year. Climbing a mountain is not the same as going on a day hike. Many people have a skewed sense of self responsibility. Nature is still nature, and it does not have any respect for money, pride or ego.
Now, I am no mountain climber myself and am not speaking from a pro-mountain climbing snob perspective. However, I do know my limitations. Just like I would never just try to fly a plane without having had training beforehand, I would not go mountain climbing before preparing myself. Knowing your limitations is very important. Don't listen to the you be be/do whoever/whatever you want to do propaganda that has been instilled in Americans from childhood. It is simply not true. We are not all equal. If we were then there wouldn't be any need for job interviews or tests to see who's better at something than others. If we were all equal then everybody could do everything. I realize that I am taking the equality thing very literally, but most children do believe it in a literal sense, only to slowly come to realize the lie that it is as they grow older.
So, don't climb mountains unless you are sure you know what you are doing and if you would invest the time and effort into it even if you didn't have the money!