Chris Bonington – Don’t Bother Climbing Everest
Reaching its snow-capped summit was long regarded as the ultimate achievement for any mountaineer.
But Britain’s greatest living climber is now encouraging people to avoid Mount Everest altogether – to dodge the ‘awful’ queues behind hundreds of amateurs.
Sir Chris Bonington, 83, who has climbed on Everest four times, said the mountain is now full of inexperienced climbers who pay thousands of pounds to tick it off their bucket list.
He said: ‘It’s awful… thank god I don’t have to go back there.’
When asked his advice for anyone wanting to climb the mountain, he said: ‘Best of all, don’t do Everest… If you really do want to climb Everest then fair enough, but be prepared to stand in a long queue as you’ll be doing it with about 600 other people.’
The seasoned adventurer also complained that amateurs are being guided to the top with fixed ropes.
Speaking at the Hay literary festival, he said: ‘Quite honestly, if you have this dream of climbing Everest you’re going to be doing it with about 500 or 600 other people.
‘You see those photographs with the long lines of people going up fixed ropes to get to the top.’
In 2012 experts claimed that the sheer number of climbers exacerbates the already substantial dangers of scaling Everest.
Mountaineer Peter Gillman, author of several books on the peak, said: ‘It’s the opposite of everything mountaineering’s about: Self-reliance, personal initiative and solitude in the wilderness.’
Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who holds the record for the fastest Everest ascent, said: ‘You have many people waiting and waiting. They spend too long waiting at the top and they get frostbite. Waiting around on Everest is dangerous. Running out of oxygen can be a big problem.’
Everest, which stands at 29,029 feet, has been climbed by an estimated 4,000 mountaineers since it was conquered by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. These days, an expedition to the summit would cost each individual climber about £18,000.
Sir Chris, who started climbing mountains aged 16, first attempted Everest in 1972 and reached the summit in 1985. He was also the first British person to climb the north wall of the Eiger in 1962 and was knighted in 1996.
Source: The Daily Mail