Home | About | Donate

What Mount Everest Climbers and Migrants Have in Common

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/05/what-mount-everest-climbers-and-migrants-have-common

Sorry. But any analogy between rich trust-fund-baby mountain climbers and desperate poor people escaping corrupt violent governments, and gangster economies is a long, and tortuous stretch.


The actual comparison the author was attempting to make, however strange it was framed, was that the detrimental effects to both the ‘climbers’ and the ‘migrants’ were due to greed.
I agree with you though that the driving forces of these two groups are so different it makes it hard to suggest any comparison.

1 Like

"There are some obvious differences. "

The Everest climbers get there, have their pictures taken then go back. Illegal immigrants plan to stay.

Kind of hard to pity someone that spent up to $100K to attempt the summit of one of the world’s highest (Chimborazo in Ecuador is actually the highest) and most famous peaks simply to draw a line through an item on their bucket list. However point is somewhat taken.

1 Like

Historically, people would go to the mountain to find themselves and find a way though whatever their obstacle was, from mythological stories to actual physical challenges. People use what works for them and other people will not always be good stewards. Both examples show that finding yourself comes at a price now, I’m not sure what happens to the mountain but it represents a new challenge. Interesting.

I think some of the drive for the EVEREST crowd is narcissistic as much as hope… whereas immigrants vying for a better and safer life for their families is much more heroic.

Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the Earth owing to it being on the equatorial bulge. But what the earths atmosphere and human legs and lungs feel is the height above the flattened spherical surface of sea level.

I think that today it is almost all about narcissism. This has happened to all adventure sports since the days when I was young and (for lack of a better word) “hippie spirituality” ruled most passive outdoor pastimes.

Back when I first took up hang gliding - it was, like climbing mountains, a spiritual quest - being one with the soaring birds, thermal currents and cumulus clouds in the purest from of human flight possible - “slipping the surly bonds of earth” and all that. Instructors taught students to fly for free - just the sheer love of flying.

But now, it is all about being a bad ass and showing off your expensive equipment (although it is also a pastime that is going extinct because getting suitably trained costs almost as much as a private pilots license - nobody does it for free anymore.