13 February, 2014

king of the hill

it's really hard not to feel like a pretentious asshole when buying a plane ticket to kathmandu and stressing to the agent the importance of having to be there on a specific date so that you can have time to acclimatize before hitting everest base camp.

if you know me well, you likely have heard me rant and rave about the everest crowd - pretentious assholes every last one. besides, what's the achievement in paying somebody 50K to outfit you for a trip up a mountain that is so crowded you need to line up to summit? soon they'll put in an escalator or, better still, all mobility access ramp so that the flabby and the infirm can ride up in their power scooters. and yet, in a couple of months, i too shall be adding my carcass to the moving carpet of humanity that litters the crowded slopes of the king of mountains*.

just so you know, this isn't my bucket list that's getting a checkmark; it's my dad's. he and my cousin are so in love with the place they've gone back several times, and this time he wants to take me and my mom along for the ride. and so, instead of hitting my bucket list (vietnam, i'm looking at you. and you, amsterdam, my great love!) to celebrate finishing school, i am taking one on the chin for family. though you must know i'm actually quite looking forward to it. the kathmandu part for sure. the mountain part…not so much (the climbing! the lack of oxygen! and did i mention the climbing?)

i just wish i didn't feel like such an asshole about the everest base camp bit of the trip. next thing you know, i'll be wearing oakleys (sorry, c - you know they're the official sunglasses of the north american asshole.)

*if you know me well, you'll also know that i think everest is cheating, since its base is so high above sea level. sure, it's the highest point on earth, but base to summit, kilimanjaro kicks everest's ass…and that's another mountain filled to the brim with asshole tourists. 


Tom said...

It is difficult to estimate how much damage has been done to the planet and its environment by mass tourism. On the other hand, industrialisation and technology have also played a spectacularly damaging role. Yet no matter how much or how little I engage with technology, I wouldn't have it any other way. What gets to me, however, in a big way is the sheer, excessive greed and over-use of what we have, coupled with our filthy habit of dumping - particularly our crap in someone else's back garden - demonstrated in your picture.

polish chick said...

struck a nerve, did i? i wholeheartedly agree, tom. when i first heard that the mountain was littered with abandoned oxygen tanks, assorted detritus AND bodies, i was disgusted. i think that's the moment when in my mind climbing everest moved from a stupid rich man's folly to actual active assholery.

i promise not to leave anything behind. god knows if i even make it up to base camp. i sure as hell am not gonna push my body past its boundaries just to prove a point that i have no desire of proving.

Tom said...

Oh, and I forgot, whilst my nerve was being assaulted, 'Happy St. Valentine.'

Geneviève Goggin said...

Wow... This will be an amazing challenge. I'm confident I couldn't do it (with my bad feet and the fact that I'm out of shape). And know what you mean about the ethical tourism dilemma. It's often on my mind. I want to see and do so many things that involve travel to developing countries. Good luck with the expedition!

Anonymous said...

It'll be amazing and you will love it. Kathmandu is a major Hindu and Buddhist holy city. But does this mean I can take the Mister to South America with me?

polish chick said...

i'm sure i will love it. i just don't love it yet.

and why the hell not? he'll be all buff from climbing everest with us, so he'll practically run up!