Don Messerschmidt, an anthropologist with a passion for mountain research and writing, in Himal:
In the list of names that the highest mountain inspires are Everest toothpaste, a variety of hard red winter wheat, unaffiliated Everest colleges in Nepal and in North America, and, among others, Everest Affiliates, an investment firm in Canada with the motto ‘Making millionaires since 1997′. There is also Everest candy, whisky, computer software, and a brand of special underwear (don’t ask). Everest is even a popular name for baby boys. And, computer techies take note: a sophisticated solid-state drive called the ‘Everest 2 Platform’ is waiting for you to join the team.
The infatuation with things ‘Everest’ began with an obsession among British climbers in the early 20th century to summit the big one, and it ‘peaked’, so to say, after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay topped it on 29 May 1953. That towering event was, to use another well-worn cliché, a ‘titanic act’ of determination and perseverance. Continuing the play on words, following the death of Hillary in 2008, British actor and adventurer, Brian Blessed, who made his own three attempts on the mountain, described Hillary as “a kind of titan”.
Hillary, who was never one to mince his words, summed up the events of that day when he met his friend, George Lowe, during the descent. “Well, George,” he said, “we knocked the bastard off!” A week later, Hillary was knighted for this accomplishment. But despite the fame Hillary would enjoy for the rest of his life, he apparently did not hold much romantic affection for the big rock, or at least not for the shenanigans later perpetrated on and about the peak. In a 2003 interview for The Guardian newspaper, he made this blunt summation: “It’s all bullshit on Everest these days.” Hillary was, obviously, not referring to the ascent of Everest by his son, Peter, in 1990, nor to Peter’s follow-up ascent in 2002 with Brent Bishop, son of the 1963 American Everest summiteer, Barry Bishop. More:
In The Guardian:
Ralf Dujmovits had reached the South Col of Mount Everest, at a height of just under 8,000m, on 18 May, when he made the painful but necessary decision to turn back due to the stormy conditions that had taken hold at the summit.
The 50-year-old German, who is considered to be one of the most experienced mountaineers in the world, was astounded and horrified to see a long queue of tourists snaking their way up the mountain as he struggled in difficult conditions to descend.
He described his experience on Wednesday after an image from his camera caught the attention of picture editors around the world with its depiction of human overcrowding on the most popular mountain in the world.
“I was at around 7,900m and saw in the distance on the Lhotse face a human snake, people cheek by jowl making their way up. There were 39 expeditions on the mountain at the same time, amounting to more than 600 people. I had never seen Everest that crowded before. More: