“...I think that mountaineers get a great satisfaction out of overcoming some challenges which they think is very difficult for them, or which perhaps may even be a little dangerous.”
—Sir Edmund Hillary
The mountains seduce. They thrill. They also kill. But for mountaineers, nothing beats the fatal attraction of the tallest of them all—Mount Everest. The crown of the Himalayas is the ultimate prize for climbers, the Holy Grail of mountaineering. Since Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic ascent to the summit in 1953, thousands of mountaineers have trekked through the snow-bound, icy heights in search of glory. Scores of climbers have also been killed.
But the avalanche of mountaineers in Nepal and the Himalayas has raised a big question: how much can Mt Everest take? Last week, as hundreds of mountaineers set out for the summit to take advantage of a small, five-day window of clear weather, it led to an unprecedented “traffic jam” on the steep, treacherous incline at 26,000 feet. The...