Should Mount Everest Be Closed Down for Good?

Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain, and as such, it has been a mainstay in many adventurers’ bucket list. Scaling the mountain is no ordinary feat. It takes months to acclimatize or to get used to the high altitude environment, it takes a great deal of practice for one to become physically and mentally fit to climb the mountain, and it takes a huge amount of money to go there with the possibility of not making it out alive.

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Everest has attracted countless climbing attempts, with several being successful and others fatal and tragic. The three notorious disasters in Mount Everest occurred in 1996 when 15 people died due to poor weather conditions. That tragic event was topped off in 2014 when 16 people died, all sherpas or local guides, due to an avalanche. The 2014 tragedy prompted the temporary closure of the entire mountain from all climbers.

Then, in April 2015, a natural catastrophe happened – a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, triggering fatal avalanches in Mount Everest, killing at least 18 people on site, and thousands others in various locations. After the earthquake, experts found that Everest had shrunk by at least an inch.

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Despite the horrific fate of some climbers and sherpas at the mercy of the mountain, the innate risks of the climb seems to be the primary reason why climbers continue to try scaling it. The number of successful attempts soared since 1990, and continued to rise until 2010. However, the 2014 avalanche and the 2015 quake would seem to be reasons enough for authorities to close down the mountain indefinitely.

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As of late, there are still aftershocks rocking Nepal, delaying further relief and rescue operations and adding to the already devastating effects of the recent tremor. The instability of the Nepalese mountain, the reportedly difficult lives of Nepalese guides, not to mention the overly expensive climbing fees (which should double or triple to cover impending risks), would certainly keep the climbing community from attempting to summit Everest anytime soon.

The closure of Everest is both bad for dreamers and for the local community, which depends so much on tourism revenues. The 2015 massive quake did not just hurt Everest tourism but the entire Nepalese tourism as most of the country’s historical structures became nothing but a pile of rubble.

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Photos by: ilkerenderAndrew PurdamJoe Hastings

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