Wednesday, 8 May 2013

'Well we knocked...

the bastard off!'
Edmund Hillary's  words to George Lowe,
 who waited above base camp with soup
for their return.

The early days of Everest
must have been truly magical...
man against the mountain.

Not so now.
The mountain hasn't changed;
man has.

Fascinated with mountaineering;
crampon-clad, I lie on the sofa,
soaking up the mountain air.
I'm there.

My love of sofa mountain adventure
started years ago when on holiday fell-walking
in the Lake District.
(that's the closest I've got!)
I bought a copy of the newly published
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson.
Nights back at base I'd read,
days I'd dream on Striding Edge
I was traversing the glaciers and gingerly
skirting the crevasses.

My admiration for mountaineers knew bounds.
Slowly though, over the intervening years, my feelings have been
undermined by the rape of the mountain ranges, by man. 

The crap-hole Everest has become with the litter
and detritus left by man, is a disgrace.
Added to which we now have man shitting on man 
from a  truly great height.

This latest tiff reported in the papers with the Sherpas,
illustrates to me the arrogance of the rich.

I feel for the men who scratch a living out of others' need to
add yet another notch on their adventure bedpost. 

Their selfless bravery when the shit hits the snow,
and they bust a gut to get them back to safety, is
to be commended.

The slogging up the tracks with all the 5* must-haves
of any 'self-respecting' recreational mountaineer,
has to really grate.  Added to which they are treated with disdain.
I've seen the wealthy at play and it is not a pretty sight.

Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay 
Their faces showing the joy of conquering the mountain

How things have changed in the sixty years since then.

George Lowe who placed the ropes for their ascent,
knowing he wouldn't be on the final push for the summit.

A true hero...

He died on March 20 this year. 


  1. Barely credible news a few days ago in re idiots climbing Everest and finding nothing better to do than ignore their guides and then fight with them. Truly, we are a peculiar species. I'm waiting until come City type in striped shirt and braces drives his red Porsche to the summit and sprays advertising slogans in the snow.

    1. I thought the same thing ian

    2. Ian, me ole mucker, you look in your photo, just like you've returned from the '53 expedition. Did your Jowett Javelin get stuck in the snow?

      John, me ole man with a harem of birds. Why on earth do you go to work on a bought Scotch egg, when at home you have a happy team producing the main ingredient?


  2. In our impecunious camping days, we borrowed Joe Tasker's tent from a friend of a friend, just after he died on Everest in 1982. He was never found.
    We found it very sad and a bit spooky, but we were hard up!

    1. Nilly, I've heard of Glamping, but never Impecunious Camping... is it a new thing?

      Sad, I agree, but I bet from high on the mountain, Joe approved.