A Satire: When Everest feels itchy

Posted: Mar 15, 2013 03:52 pm EDT

(Stefan Nestler) It’s mid-March and still quiet at the foot of Mount Everest. The calm before the storm. Or should I say before the rush? There will be again hundreds of climbers who turn the Base Camp on the Nepalese south side into a small town, with helicopter base, mini-hospital and wireless internet connection. It’s time to call my friend, Chomolungma, on his mobile phone – before she is stressed out.

Namasté, Chomo! Stefan speaking.

Oh no, you again.

Take it easy! I haven’t woken you up from your hibernation, have I?

Look at your calendar! Pre-season. I’m still on vacation.

Do you look forward at least a little bit to the climbers who will visit you in this jubilee season during which the 60th anniversary of the first ascent will be celebrated?

Do you really want me to answer honestly?

Yes, please.

If it was up to me, at least 90 percent of them could go to hell. Nevertheless they will come. Without my invitation.

In this case ten percent remain for you to welcome.

You don’t listen. I said at least 90 percent. But between you and me: Indeed I look forward to a few of the climbers.

For example?

Simone Moro from Italy and Ueli Steck from Switzerland, the Kazakh-Russian Team Denis Urubko/Alexej Bolotov and the Russians Gleb Sokolov und Alexander Kirikov. They will scratch me, where I feel itchy.

Please, explain it to me!

Have you ever heard of RSI?

Should I?

RSI stands for Repetitive Strain Injury. Someone who is always doing the same move, e.g. mousing, will sometime feel pain in his shoulders, neck, arm or hand.

And what has all this got do with you?

(He groans) For lunkheads like you: Year after year hundreds of people are crowding around on the two normal routes, that’s completely overusing. It really hurts. And where nobody is climbing, that is on my beautiful steep walls, I feel itchy. A withdrawal symptom. The opposite of RSI.

I understand: Climbers on new routes offer relief.

No shit, Sherlock! If Urubko and Bolotov climb on southwest face, Sokolov and Kirikov on east face and Moro and Steck wherever but on a new route, they are like a yaktail I can use for chasing the flies away.

That comparison falls short, because these top climbers may scratch your unattended areas, but won’t make you get rid of RSI.

For this I have my own yaktail.

But you don’t even want to…

Come on, don’t give me ethics!

But can you turn a blind eye this jubilee season at least?

My eye has been closed for years.


Because the blowflies are sitting on it.

Does it mean that you threaten them?

I am only a mountain, do you remember?

Stefan Nestler (aged 50) is working as a sports editor for Deutsche Welle in Bonn/Germany. His favorite subject is extreme mountaineering. He has been six times in the Himalayas and Karakorum. Nestler wrote blog stories from Base Camps on Mount Everest (2005) and Manaslu (2007) and during a Last Degree ski expedition to the North Pole (2009). In 2011 he attempted the 7246 m high Putha Hiunchuli in Nepal, but had to return at 7150 m.

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