Musings Waiting at Athens Airport: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Role in Commercializing Everest

-

I’ve always been interested in Mt. Everest and the spell it casts over some climbers and have been paying some attention to the recent tragedies of people climbing, getting sick on the mountain, and left by others who would risk their own survival if helping those who stopped on the mountain.
But I have to critique Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person known to have achieved the summit and survived, for his criticism of the “commercialization of Everest” that has been reported in the media.
This is not a new critique from Hillary. He’s been saying the same thing for years, and Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air reports the same from Hillary.
While I actually agree with the famous New Zealander about Everest, his own role in commercializing Everest needs to be acknowledged.
Edmund Hillary made a string of commercials — shown on television and in movie theatres — of a Toyota 4-Runner charging easily up Everest making it look like anyone could handle the challenge (in a Toyota, of course).
Hillary has done amazing things for the local villagers who live at the base of the mountain and has provided schools, opportunities outside of Nepal, and been a tremendous Ambassador for those who aspire to climb the tallest of this globe’s peaks.
But I think he needs to lay off the ‘commercialization’ theme since he has been complicit in the problem.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

23 comments on “Musings Waiting at Athens Airport: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Role in Commercializing Everest

  1. free sex site says:

    Hi, very interesting site. I really like it.
    http://junky.phpnet.us/anal_free_newsgroup_pic_upskirt/ anal free newsgroup pic upskirt http://junky.phpnet.us/clip_hilton_paris_xxx/ clip hilton paris xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/free_hardcore_lesbian_video/ free hardcore lesbian video http://junky.phpnet.us/free_realplayer_xxx_movie/ free realplayer xxx movie http://junky.phpnet.us/picture_sex_woman/ picture sex woman http://junky.phpnet.us/free_interracial_sex_story/ free interracial sex story http://junky.phpnet.us/hot_gay_teen_boy/ hot gay teen boy http://junky.phpnet.us/clip_daily_free_gay_porn/ clip daily free gay porn http://junky.phpnet.us/black_sex_xxx/ black sex xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/cyberskin_sex_toy/ cyberskin sex toy http://junky.phpnet.us/com_free_picture_xxx/ com free picture xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/xxx_site/ xxx site http://junky.phpnet.us/classic_adult_dvd/ classic adult dvd http://junky.phpnet.us/free_line_story_xxx/ free line story xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/teen_couple_fuck/ teen couple fuck http://junky.phpnet.us/adult_dvd_rental/ adult dvd rental http://junky.phpnet.us/chat_online_lesbian/ chat online lesbian http://junky.phpnet.us/fuck_hard_porn_star/ fuck hard porn star http://junky.phpnet.us/free_xxx_anal_sex_picture/ free xxx anal sex picture http://junky.phpnet.us/free_adult_story_site/ free adult story site http://junky.phpnet.us/porn_movie_review/ porn movie review http://junky.phpnet.us/black_gay_man_man_white/ black gay man man white http://junky.phpnet.us/gay_black_escort/ gay black escort http://junky.phpnet.us/fuck_machine_mx_neighbor/ fuck machine mx neighbor http://junky.phpnet.us/free_porn_movies/ free porn movies

    Reply

  2. free sex site says:

    Hi, very interesting site. I really like it.
    http://junky.phpnet.us/anal_free_newsgroup_pic_upskirt/ anal free newsgroup pic upskirt http://junky.phpnet.us/clip_hilton_paris_xxx/ clip hilton paris xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/free_hardcore_lesbian_video/ free hardcore lesbian video http://junky.phpnet.us/free_realplayer_xxx_movie/ free realplayer xxx movie http://junky.phpnet.us/picture_sex_woman/ picture sex woman http://junky.phpnet.us/free_interracial_sex_story/ free interracial sex story http://junky.phpnet.us/hot_gay_teen_boy/ hot gay teen boy http://junky.phpnet.us/clip_daily_free_gay_porn/ clip daily free gay porn http://junky.phpnet.us/black_sex_xxx/ black sex xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/cyberskin_sex_toy/ cyberskin sex toy http://junky.phpnet.us/com_free_picture_xxx/ com free picture xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/xxx_site/ xxx site http://junky.phpnet.us/classic_adult_dvd/ classic adult dvd http://junky.phpnet.us/free_line_story_xxx/ free line story xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/teen_couple_fuck/ teen couple fuck http://junky.phpnet.us/adult_dvd_rental/ adult dvd rental http://junky.phpnet.us/chat_online_lesbian/ chat online lesbian http://junky.phpnet.us/fuck_hard_porn_star/ fuck hard porn star http://junky.phpnet.us/free_xxx_anal_sex_picture/ free xxx anal sex picture http://junky.phpnet.us/free_adult_story_site/ free adult story site http://junky.phpnet.us/porn_movie_review/ porn movie review http://junky.phpnet.us/black_gay_man_man_white/ black gay man man white http://junky.phpnet.us/gay_black_escort/ gay black escort http://junky.phpnet.us/fuck_machine_mx_neighbor/ fuck machine mx neighbor http://junky.phpnet.us/free_porn_movies/ free porn movies

    Reply

  3. web hosting says:

    Hi, very interesting site. I really like it.
    http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/asp_dedicated_hosting_web/ asp dedicated hosting web http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/hosting_service_tampa_web/ hosting service tampa web http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/web_site_hosting_template/ web site hosting template http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/business_professional_web_hosting/ business professional web hosting http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/builder_hosting_reseller_site_web/ builder hosting reseller site web http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/web_site_design_and_web_site_hosting/ web site design and web site hosting http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/yahoo_video_hosting/ yahoo video hosting http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/free_hosting_picture_site/ free hosting picture site http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/totally_free_web_hosting/ totally free web hosting http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/hosting_malaysia_web/ hosting malaysia web http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/multi_domain_hosting/ multi domain hosting http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/web_web_web_window/ web web web window http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/asp_nt_hosting/ asp nt hosting http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/free_adult_domain_hosting/ free adult domain hosting http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/asp_buffalo_hosting_web/ asp buffalo hosting web http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/hosting_unlimited_web/ hosting unlimited web http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/free_image_hosting_service/ free image hosting service http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/cheap_hosting_reseller/ cheap hosting reseller http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/european_hosting_provider_service_web/ european hosting provider service web http://coolhosts.awardspace.com/cold_fusion_hosting_web/ cold fusion hosting web

    Reply

  4. popup blocker says:

    Hi, very interesting site. I really like it.
    http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/popup_spyware_yahoo/ popup spyware yahoo http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/aol_blocker_popup/ aol blocker popup http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/aol_block_popup/ aol block popup http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/popup_messenger/ popup messenger http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/internet_safety_stop_popups/ internet safety stop popups http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/blocker_dog_pile_popup/ blocker dog pile popup http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/java_script_popup_code/ java script popup code http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/blocker_popup_uninstall_yahoo/ blocker popup uninstall yahoo http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/free_popup_pop_up_ad_blockers/ free popup pop up ad blockers http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/free_ware_popup_killer/ free ware popup killer http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/ad_blocker_msn_popup/ ad blocker msn popup http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/popup_stop_window_xp/ popup stop window xp http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/panic_popup_stopper_ware/ panic popup stopper ware http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/yahoo_anti_popup/ yahoo anti popup http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/blocker_download_pop_up_yahoo/ blocker download pop up yahoo http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/popup_free/ popup free http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/ad_free_killer_popup_ware/ ad free killer popup ware http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/ad_and_popup_blocker/ ad and popup blocker http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/coleman_popup_camper_part/ coleman popup camper part http://popupblocker.awardspace.com/popup_popuppers/ popup popuppers

    Reply

  5. Finest says:

    This posting by Mssr. C goes in the dumpster along with the Muslim on the Supreme Court. Sir Ed makes a commercial that helps build schools and you equate that with polluting the slopes of Everestland? Pizza delivery, Steve. That’s what you’re good at.

    Reply

  6. Matt says:

    I’m just surprised and pleased that political junkies are debating the ethics of sport. Having spent a bit of time in the Himalayas, several friends who have climbed Everest and being somewhat familiar with the sport, the commercialization is no different than that which occurs in every sport. There are the first trailblazers and then the popularity rises, sponsorships follow and then the commercials, then the weekend warriors degrade the sport and level of respect it deserves. It’s a natural cycle in my opinion. I have been involved in the infancy of Triathlon and then Adventure Expidition Racing and observed the same cycle.

    Reply

  7. Dirk says:

    OK I’ll bite ploeg, “The fact is that Everest would be the world’s second highest peak regardless of who scaled it first”
    Huh? Is this some reference to an island being higher when measured from sea bottom?

    Reply

  8. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I expected a bit more from this post. The sole bone you have to pick with Hilary is that he made a Toyota commercial in 2002? The original article on which Krakauer’s book was based was written in 1996, and obviously Everest’s problems had been developing a lot earlier than that. I think Hilary came really late to the commercialism party; perhaps he undercuts his argument a bit with the Toyota money, but it’s a real stretch to say he had a ‘role’ in it. (Almost as much of a stretch as saying that Steve can’t comment on the issue because he hasn’t summited Everest. Sheesh!)

    Reply

  9. TokyoTom says:

    Scott: I find your remarks about Hilary and Everest rather puzzling, since you haven’t clearly defined what you view to be “the problem”.
    If the problem is simply that Everest is becoming congested (as growing wealth and improving technology puts Everest in reach of greater numbers), so that the number of deaths in the extremely hostile environment is accelerating, then it is puzzling that you have a bone to pick with Hilary. Everybody on the mountain, from the serious mountaineers, to the Sherpas, to any weathy wannabees who are paying to join an expedition for the sake of accomplishment and ego, are there voluntarily and because it suits a personal purpose. You and Hilary may criticize their decisions – either to be on the mountain or their decisions when on the mountain – but I personally don’t care to substitute my judgment for any of theirs. Not all are fools, but clearly nature does not deal with them lightly.
    Furthermore, I would think that since you cheer on Hilary’s various good deed, that you would also cheer on his Toyota ads that help to fund more good deeds. In any case, it should be clear that these ads have no connection whatsoever to the decisions made by various people to climb Everest, so your linkage of them seems to be muddled.
    Are there other, unstated aspects of the Everest “problem” that concern you? Feel free to share them if there are. It seems to me that the mountain is now gradually being cleaned up, and that locals are probably rather happy with Everest tourism and expeditions. The Sherpas are in a position to act collectively (if they are not already), and if expeditions are getting out of hand, then we can leave it to the nations involved to regulate the expeditions as they wish. Are you implying that this flow of tourist revenues should be altered in some way?
    By the way, while doing a bit of Googling I ran across this very informed personal essay about by a former climber; I recommend it to you and readers who are interested in Everest: http://www.foothill.edu/la/people/attach/Ecocriciticism.doc.
    Regards,
    TT

    Reply

  10. ploeg says:

    Steve,
    I always wanted to know who the audience was for those warnings that they invariably attach to those ads, saying “No, you can’t really climb Mt. Everest in a Toyota, don’t even try.” After reading your article, now I know.
    You can go after Hillary and his pitching tents for Sears in a kind of Charlie Brown, “Christmas is too commercial” sort of way. The fact is that Everest would be the world’s second highest peak regardless of who scaled it first, and selling SUVs in Skokie has nothing (and I mean, nothing) to do with the real problem of people being encouraged to climb a peak that they have no business being on. You’d might as well blame Hank Aaron for Barry Bond’s steroid use. And from the reasoning that you put forth, you probably do.

    Reply

  11. Nigel says:

    Steve,
    I’m a little biased on this one, Sir Ed being my ultimate hero & the only person I have ever gotten goose bumps from, just by walking past him in a TV Studio once, totally a walking legend in my Native Country.
    I think Sir Ed’s stance on commercialism of Mt Everest is a little more nuanced than you suggest, he is appalled at the trash etc on Everest. But this case of climbers leaving a man to die is directly relevant to another more recent where climbers gave up on reaching the summit to save a climber ( http://stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3683930a11,00.html ) and it’s that not giving up the chance for a summit that I believe offended Sir Ed.
    Personally I met the double amputee Mark Inglis when he was at the same University I attended in NZ and he’s a good bloke, but I think he made the wrong decision. In the end life is more important than climbing a mountain and I believe that to throw away 75k ( cost of climbing Everest ) to save a life is wothotu a shadow of a doubt worth it, in fact there has been a New Zealand guide who died trying to save a client on Everest ( Rob Hall ).
    I agree Sir Ed ( actually his favoured title I believe ) is not innocent with regards commercialism, but my belief is that his position is that it should come with responsibility, to my mind a fair goal.
    I hope that’s not to biased :).
    Nigel

    Reply

  12. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear All — particularly John Stuart whose views I respect and admire tremendously. I was extremely taken with Jon Krakauer’s book on one of the most tragic Everest climbs — and found the personalities of people like Hillary who had previously climbed those mountains fascinating and moving. Krakauer’s comments — as I remember them — highlighted Hillary’s revulsion at the commercialization of Everest and the marketing that anyone, no matter the level of training or conditioning, could climb the mountain. I have tremendous respect for the accomplishments and philanthropy of Sir Edmund Hillary.
    However, I will stand by what I wrote that in my view those Toyota commercials did not display ambulances and rescue or portage operations up Everest — but rather lifestyle. I had just read Krakauer’s book when I saw the commercials — and they have stuck in my mind since.
    His comments recently awakened that view that I thought it was on the wrong side of his own critique.
    I’m not going to debate others who think I should go climb the mountain before criticizing Hillary. I’m offering a gentle critique of Hillary using the terms he has set in the media. I know that I’m not conditioned to climb Everest and never will, and I will continue to admire Hillary for what he accomplished in his life, Toyota ads included.
    best regards — and more later, though not on this,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  13. JohnStuart says:

    Mike Mirer:
    I criticized Gordon’s manners, not his intelligence.
    But to do so we had to clarify what vulgar word he was seeking to invove (ponce, not ponse).
    Calling Mr Clemons a ponce is vulgar and inappropriate to this site.
    Sir Edmund Hillary would not call Mr Clemons a ponce because he is not a vulgar man.
    As I noted before, perhaps all of us would do well to eschew offensive language in ad hominem remarks on this site.
    Civilized debate can be sharp, even biting at times, without descending to vulgarity.
    JohnStuart

    Reply

  14. Kevin Ballie says:

    I’m not sure if it’s the hindu in me or what, but I’m willing to acknowledge that yes, Hillary’s being in those commercials did constitute a commercialization of Mt. everest. If we see movie stars smoke on the big screen, we protest because we claim that countless teenagers will have been subtly influenced to smoke. The same goes for Hillary’s commercials. Making it “look” as if there are no detriments to climbing, and that it is easy, does not prepare many people for the trip.
    On the other hand, he has done enough for this community around the mountains to negate his commercialization of the mountain. At at least one point pre hike, there surely is someone who tells the hiker in question about the dangers of climbing. Let’s not forget that people also go through months of training before the climb.
    Both sides of the argument are correct, so why the argument?

    Reply

  15. Mike Mirer says:

    while I don’t want to jump on the “Steve Clemons can’t criticisize Edmund Hilary” bandwagon, I do think the criticism is unfair. I agree with Steve (Mr.Clemons? should one be formal on a blog comment?) that Hilary’s past actions should be scrutinized, especially when they pertain to acts he criticizes. However, just because Hilary did appear in Toyota commercials does not mean he is a contributing factor in the commercialization of Mt.Everest; instead we should be challenging Hilary to own up to his actions- something I believe would make his argument against commercialisation stronger- instead of calling for him to stop because of those actions.
    Also, considering that there is no way to check your spelling and grammar on these comments (and most of the responses are spur of the moment) I think we should hold off on attacking each other’s intelligence through this method. Intelligence should be attacked with intelligence… makes everyone smarter- if it goes well.

    Reply

  16. sona says:

    Is this a debate? Edmund Hillary easily overtakes Steve Clemons in achieving real humanitarian outcomes. Hillary questioned the ethos of abandoning people to die in extreme conditions under the pressure of big money underwriting their ‘conquest’ of Everest. How is that principle damaged by Hillary being associated with commercials for Toyota 4-wheel drives which are widely used in that part of the world? Come to think of it jumbo jets contribute far more to the degradation of the environment than relatively fuel efficient Toyota 4-wheel drives in that difficult terrain.

    Reply

  17. JohnStuart says:

    Gordon H rebukes my buddy Steve for “ponsing around”.
    My didactic nature cannot resist the impulse to rebuke GH.
    The word “ponsing” does not exist.
    GH may be reaching for “poncing” which in contemporary slang means something along the lines of “mincing about in an effeminate manner”.
    The underlying meaning on “poncing” is “pimping” and the procurement of whores for profit.
    “Poncing” is not a very nice word, and is most certainly inappopriate in this instance.
    GH calls on Steve to apologize to Sir Edmund. Perhaps GH should set an example by apologizing to Mr. Clemons.
    Perhaps all of us would do well to eschew offensive language in ad hominem remarks on this site.
    Debate can be sharp without being vulgar.
    JohnStuart

    Reply

  18. my mother says:

    Yeah sure, I’d like to see Hillary climb Mt. Everest. I’d like her to start in the Summer of 2008 hauling that prodigious booty on up that hill with a gaggle of choice reporters on her ass. That should take until at least mid-November, then we could all start thinkin’ about to-morrow with President Al, yesterday’s gone, the great American Nightmare is gone (except for the pardons).

    Reply

  19. jerry says:

    I’d rather see Hillary using his status for all the things he’s doing, including fighting today’s hyper-commercial forces.

    Reply

  20. Gordon Hayhoe says:

    What is wrong with you. He, and the sherpas, climbed the damned mountain. You didn’t. Do you have any idea what it needs to do something not done before. Ponsing around the world on airliners and commenting on other peoples stupidities is much easier than actually doing it. Go climb the mountain, whatever it may be, before you tell us what the mountain climber should have done and should do. Your previous posters are too kind. You owe an apology to Hillary and his co-workers.

    Reply

  21. JohnStuart says:

    I vote with Mr Grathwohl.
    Taking into account all that Sir Edmund has done for the Sherpa Community, for Nepali Children, and for the Gurkha residents of the town of Darjeeling in India, I think his balance sheet looks pretty good.
    Toyota Landcruisers regularly go up to the Everest base camps and are used as ambulances and emergency logistic support for expeditions, so neither Toyota nor Sir Edmund are really challenging the facts on the ground very much with these commercials.
    He is a man who, compared to most of us, has given back quite a lot.
    I would cut a good man some slack.
    John Stuart

    Reply

  22. Steve Grathwohl says:

    With all due respect, that’s not fair. A Toyota commercial doesn’t contribute to the commercialization of Everest, by which is meant experienced climbers selling the service of ferrying non-climbers to the summit of Everest. Hillary’s hands are clean in a way that, say, David Breashears’ are not.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *