Article attempts to describe people dying on Everest as part psychological trap

Probably, the article is right; however, the article misses one major issue; a lot of people climbing Everest are there because they can afford it, not because they know what they are doing.

This past 2012 Everest season garnered a lot of press. A month of slow news days put Everest back in the spotlight. When four people died in one

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

day, it made everyone’s news radar. This article, Everest’s Psychological Trap: How the tallest mountain warps climbers’ minds attempts to describe how people believe they can get beyond their turnaround time and still survive.

I believe the article is right.

The article describes the phenomenon as a mind trap. There are several different variations to the mind trap, one which the author calls the red lining. Red lining is having a turnaround time, a drop-dead time as I call you. (If you don’t turn around, then, you will drop dead.)

The author then explains that once you pass your turnaround time, there is nothing to stop you or make you think. There are no more deadlines. When you are sleeping and you hit the snooze button, you still have to be at work by 8:00 AM. On Everest once you pass your turn-around time; you still have the rest of your life, which you may be counting in hours rather than in a year.

The problem is that once we go over the red line, there are no more boundaries. Nothing calling you back to the safe side. And in a brutally tough environment like Everest, once Mother Nature’s jaws slam shut, there may be no one to help you.

The article does miss that last sentence which to this day is miss understood by everyone who has not been above tree line and a lot of people on Everest. By help, the only thing that can be done is to yell at you. There is no one above the South Col that can drag you down from there. That can assist you in getting down. It is physically impossible. Once you hit the snow, you are going to lay there until you die or until you regain enough to stand up again and walk back. However, this last thing has only been accomplished by two climbers on Everest that I know about.

One of the four victims supposedly asked for help as her last words. There is no help at 28000’. See ‘Save me’: last words of Mount Everest climber.

I also believe the article applies to people who are attempting to the highest mountain on the Earth the cheapest way possible. A guide can’t save your life once you hit the ground. A guide can tell you to turn around when you hit your time deadline and keep yelling and pulling on you until you do turn around.

If you have the money to hire a better company, you get a better guide to climber ratio. You get someone who by the summit day knows you, understands you a little and can continuously pester you into turning around rather than running off to check on several other people. Someone who can get in your face and turn you around physically and mentally.

Do Something

Climbers who did not hire guides got to Everest by turning around a lot. If you did not learn your body and did not learn to turn around, you did not live long enough to get to Everest. Even so, Everest is littered with bodies of guides and successful mountaineers, who did not understand, chose to ignore or just could only see the summit.

Read the article, it is interesting, whether you are going to Nepal or just watching a Discovery Channel special on Everest.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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