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