Monthly Archives: December 2017

Everest: The Sublime, Ultimate Object of Identity

everest people who died

Sunita Hazra, Goutam Ghosh, Paresh Nath and Subhas Paul shortly before their summit attempt at Mount Everest in May 2016, where the three men died. Their bodies were recovered a year later. Photo from Sunita Hazra, via the New York Times.

The New York Times recently published a story about efforts to recover the bodies of three Indian men who had died in an attempt to climb Mount Everest. Since the first recorded ascent in 1953, around 280 climbers have died, and as many as 200 bodies remain on the mountain. So why do people climb it? George Mallory, a British explorer who failed three times to climb the mountain and died on the third attempt in 1924, famously answered the New York Times reporter (of a much earier vintage) asking the same question ‘because it’s there.’ Mallory was defiant, almost offended that the mountain would impose itself so forcefully on his world – and it was very much his world.

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