Why do People Climb Everest? by Demetria Dresser

Deliberate learning and researching articles through different lenses and perspectives allows the reader to collect well-rounded knowledge from different authors and people.

"The ink-black wedge of the summit pyramid stood out in the stark relief, towering over the surrounding ridges. Thrust high into the jet stream the mountain ripped a visible gash in the 120-knot hurricane sending forth a plume of ice crystals that trailed to the east like a long silk scarf." -Jon Krakauer, "Into Thin Air"

When researching why people climb Everest I learned the different risks and rewards and the different reasons why Everest is climbed. From my research I have learned that the majority of people climb Everest for the reward though this means different things for everyone. From setting a good example, to showing off their new “trophy” Everest is climbed for a variety of reasons. Switching lenses to Jon Krakauer’s ‘Into Thin Air”, Krakauer displays a common theme throughout the book: people are able to overcome their greatest challenges and biggest goals through sacrifice, ambition, and grit.
While Everest is a lifelong goal for many, without question, people climb the mountain for a variety of reasons.

“Human beings simply aren’t built to function at the cruising altitude of a 747, our bodies will be literally dying.” -“Everest” Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, Universal Pictures, 2016

Reason 1: Family

The picture I chose is taken from a camp on Everest. The many colors represent the many people who have climbed Everest and how they are all tied together in some way or another.

One reason people climb Everest is to connect with their families. For example, a Canadian family of four set out to climb Everest along with the tallest peak in each continent. This united their family and led to an unforgettable experience where they were able to “fulfill the family dream”.

Reason 2: Thrill Seekers

Another reason Everest is climbed is for the thrilling experience. A quote from Brendan Leonard says, "We all have ways of rationalizing our behavior, whether it's climbing Everest, or riding a motorcycle on streets in a country that has an automobile accident every six seconds, or keeping loaded guns in our car or house, or not changing our diet when our doctor tells us we need to lose weight." Leonard is saying how climbing Everest is a different way of living on the edge, and many climbers enjoy the rush of something so dangerous.

Reason 3: Physical Gain

Many climbers find Everest one of the most physically demanding mountains as it drains your body of energy and oxygen.“I’m driven by new experiences that test my own limits,” says Arvai, a climber interviewed on healthline.com. Climbers have said that Everest is a physical barrier that comes with the reward of accomplishment and is the reason they climb it.

Conflicting Views

Over 280 people have died trying to climb Everest in the last decade, and some people do not believe the reward is worth the risk. Miss Cellania, a writer for Neatorama says “As you get above 26,000 feet, you enter the “Death Zone,” so called because the air is thin enough that you’ll slowly suffocate if you end up having to stay up there beyond your oxygen tanks’ capacity.” If one thing goes wrong up there, something as simple as a sprained ankle, it can and will jeopardize an entire climb. All points considered, Everest is not easy, not at all. There is a great chance climbers will die on their journey, and these odds certainly prove how serious these climbers are towards reaching their goals.

Authors Note

Through my research, I learned a lot more about Everest and how important it is to so many people. Everest unites people all around the world on an emotional level. Through the challenges and sacrifices one goes through on Everest, climbers are connected through an inexplicable bond found on the mountain. However, climbers often have to make impossible decisions to leave a member of the team behind. When I learned this, I had a new perspective of Everest. Climbing the mountain is not like running a race, there is no secure path, no promises for success. Without a doubt Everest is a life changing experience that is a combination of physical and mental strength. All in all, I enjoyed researching such an eventful topic and purposely learning through different lenses helped me collect a variety of new knowledge that added a lot to my project, and the understanding of my topic.

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