Climbing Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is, in and of itself, a rulebreaker in my book. It defies the odds. Most people won’t understand it and will call you dumb for attempting it. Every human limit is pushed in the process.
Attempting to climb a virtually unclimbable mountain is a rule I’m fine with breaking.
However, this week at least four people died on their way down from the summit of Mt. Everest. I hate this in general, but I love mountains and hate it even more because I hope to climb Everest some day myself.
Now, I am only going off of the facts that I have read this week, but it appears a whole host of climbers on Everest broke a rule this week that just shouldn’t be broken. We don’t know if the climbers that died broke this rule, but we think so.
If you are going to attempt to reach the summit of Everest, on your final day, Summit Day, most AMAZING teams leave for the summit while it is still dark between 1am-3am in the morning. 7am is a VERY late start. 11am is honestly the latest anyone should ever leave if they plan on coming back. It takes everything you have to get up there, it often takes longer than you expect, it’s growing vert crowded on the mountain, and if you leave after 11am it is incredibly likely that you will be attempting to come back down from the peak past dark, when you have very little energy left.
Teams this week were not only leaving after 11am, but were leaving as late as 2:30pm.
This is a dumb decision no matter how you look at it. It’s a rule that should not be broken. Even if a team left that late and made it back, it’s just not smart – even a little bit. It’s a death wish.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m even OK with death wish trips if they are righteous and could potentially save lives or make the world a better place, but this wasn’t one of them.
Bend some rules, break some rules, but be sure that you are fully evaluating the costs of each!