Climber: Life Is Tough on the Top of the World

Alex Găvan: Everest should not be the place to learn climbing basics, as it happens now, with the overwhelming number of commercial expeditions.

Safety in numbers has never been more deceptive. It seems we understood nothing of the past disasters on Everest. Mountains should be places of elevation of one’s soul, not of one’s ego. I feel that we are making these mountains angrier and angrier. One must first achieve merit to be allowed into the abode of Gods. Merit is never achieved through cutting corners and cheating the way up to the top.

At the time I write, there are still people wanting to resume their climb on Everest. Up there, the air is thin and the mind unclear. Mountains are to be climbed not only with ice axes and crampons, which can all of us have, but more than anything with humbleness. Life and decisions are tough on the top of the world


It’s earlymorningon the top of the world. I’m here to climb Everest’s neighbor, Mount Lhotse, which shares Everest’s southern-side base camp and most of the ascent route until about 7,600 meters (almost 25,000 feet) in altitude. If everything goes as planned, this will be my seventh 8,000-meter summit climbed without using supplementary oxygen and high altitude porters. It’s a somehow relaxed atmosphere: I’m between two acclimatization climbs and having a rest, reading in my base camp tent.

Suddenly everything starts moving: an earthquake. I keep calm and wait for it to pass. The moment seems like an eternity—a huge, shaking, moving, unstable, noisy eternity. I’m expecting the whole glacier to crack and embrace me into its depths. And then, silence.

I jump up and open my tent, and I see a white wall of snow coming directly toward me from the Pumori Mountain. It is so large and…

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