Crowded at the Top

Long lines up Everest.Who’d have believed that Mt. Everest would become crowded– crowded!

The mountain was first conquered in 1953, a feat most thought was impossible. BBC reports that now “the summit has become as congested as a five-lane motorway during bank holiday weekend.” One day in 2012 234 climbers reached the peak–in a single day! This year some climbers have complained of having to wait in bottlenecked lines for as long as two-and-a-half hours. The BBC quotes experienced climber Graham Hoyland as saying, “It isn’t a wilderness experience – it’s a McDonald’s experience.”

Who would have ever thought.

The highest, most inaccessible mountaintop on earth is now overcrowded. The photo by German climber Ralph Dujmovits shows the unbelievable line on the way up Mt. Everest.

There’s almost nothing that no one’s ever done. Nowhere that crowds haven’t already gone. Unless you’re a billionaire and have signed up with Virgin Galactic (and even then), outer space is beyond the grasp of most adventurers.

The world has been largely domesticated.

What open, wild space is left? You could try to stand up in a hurricane or tornado but probably wouldn’t live to tell about it. You could float around the Pacific in a raft, um, no.

We have little choice but to adjust our mindset about such things. Enjoy the world rather than conquer it. We really don’t have much choice. Of course you can have the feeling of conquering something small, but it’s just a personal thing. And that is in truth a way of enjoying it.

But one wild area will always remain to be conquered: ourselves.

Each of us has a human will and character that can often be problematic. It will provide lifelong adventure and limitless possibilities to anyone who seeks to conquer themselves. And we have lots of role models. Jesus is my favorite.

It’s also a positive alternative approach to what too often becomes just religion. There. Go conquer yourself.


Photo credit:  Ralph Dujmovits