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A rush to the top

Anila Kurian, DH News Service, Apr 19 2017, 0:41 IST

Mounting traffic

spelling out Mountaineers and trekkers from Bengaluru say that the increase in traffic on Mount Everest is a cause for concern. (Above) Swathi Chatrapathy on Kedarkantha in Uttarakhand.

spelling out Mountaineers and trekkers from Bengaluru say that the increase in traffic on Mount Everest is a cause for concern. (Above) Swathi Chatrapathy on Kedarkantha in Uttarakhand.

Almost every mountaineer has ‘climb Mount Everest’ on their bucket list, and that includes a whole lot of Bengalureans. With Nepalese officials bracing up for a ‘traffic jam’ at Mount Everest this season, mountaineers and trekkers from Bengaluru have been expressing their concerns.

They are worried about the after effects of the surge in the number of people rushing to rushing to the top.

Swathi Chatrapathy, a video series hostess in the city, says, “I trek three times a year and it is a different experience each time. I have never climbed Mount Everest but I can imagine how crowded it would be. Even on the smaller peaks I have scaled, I have seen how human waste pollutes the area as there is no proper facility. Apart from this, kitchen waste also accumulates and ruins the beauty of the place.”
“Climbers should make sure to pick up the plastic waste after themselves or try not to carry any plastic at all. In India, there are a few organisations who manage the cleaning up. If the government can also pitch in, every trek or climb can be a memorable one,” she adds.

Environmental considerations aside, there are other physical and logistical challenges involved in a situation of increasing traffic on Mount Everest.

A factor that one should keep in mind is that once you start climbing, you are pretty much on your own.

Sandhya U C, the co-founder of ‘Indiahikes’, explains, “Not everyone can make it to the top, so if you think you can’t make it, wait for next year and try again. You can’t expect another person to take care of you as they will be struggling themselves. 400 people climbing Mount Everest sure is a scary thought. The chances of things going wrong are quite high.” 

Travel blogger Snehal Raibole says, “I never thought I’ll ever hear about a jam on the highest mountain on the planet. But if such a situation is unavoidable, then it should be handled with utmost planning. Even a small mishap there can cost valuable lives. That mountain is a test that not many people can pass. Atraffic jam is going to degrade an already degrading pristine environment and if we continue to take advantage of it for making a profit, the consequences will be disastrous.” 

“Then again, the mountain will test you, push you, throw you and make you cry. At times, you may even feel like giving up and going home. But the only thing that
will keep you going is your belief in yourself,” he concludes.

Sandhya adds that not every climber should hope to climb Mount Everest first.
“Many believe that if you are fit, you can climb. They don’t realise that being fit is not the only requirement. It’s best to climb smaller ones first and practice before you aim for the big one. Most of them do it for the name and fame attached to it,” she says.

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