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What Drives People to Climb Mount Everest?

Mount Everest climbers

I became highly fascinated with Mount Everest climbers in the beginning of 2023. People from all over the world come to climb the mountain, but it's no inexpensive feat -- on average, it currently costs around $50,000, depending on the guide company you hire. You also have to factor in mountain climbing equipment, travel costs, insurance, and permits. Not to mention it's hella dangerous to climb!

There are many things that can go wrong in high levels of altitude, ranging from altitude sickness to High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Since the mountain range is so far away from modern civilization, seeking proper medical care could be a problem, unless a helicopter is able to come by.

So... why do people continue to climb Mount Everest?

If you've seen "14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible" on Netflix, then you know about the incredible accomplishments of Nirmal Purja. In the documentary, Purja describes how many Westerners have taken the credit and fame that come alongside reaching the top of Mount Everest. As a Nepali himself, he understands the historical and cultural significance of reclaiming mountain climbing, and least climbing Mount Everest, for his home country of Nepal. The Nepali sherpas do indeed deserve much more credit than they receive. They put their lives on the line to help tourists make their treks to the top of the mountain as safe and calculated as possible!

Many people who climb the mountain are thrill-seekers. Many may not know their purpose in life, and climbing the mountian gives them clarity and insight into where to go next. Some people just like to challenge themselves to their absolute limit. And, of course, many people go for Spiritual purposes.

Mount Everest and the surrounding areas have long best viewed as Spiritual safe havens. People feel that being on top of a large mountain brings them closer to God/Source/Deity/The Universe. Since climbing Mount Everest is incredibly difficult and a long process to prepare for, reaching the top of the summit can feel synonymous with reaching Nirvana. You've put in all your blood, sweat, and tears to get to that point. The view is absolutely astonishing as well, and you can literally feel like you are on top of the world. You see the bigger picture. Nothing else matters but that present moment. That high is what drives people once they leave -- either in their own personal lives, or with wanting to climb the mountain again the next year!

I should mention that Nepal and Tibet, where Mount Everest and other tall mountains are located, are home to Spiritual ideologies that have fascinated people, particularly Westerners, for many years. People are fascinated with the concept of Nirvana and how to reach it, and Buddhism thrives in these areas of the world. Tourists and travelers who come to the area will find themselves much more cut off from modern civilization, where they have more time to think and contemplate their lives. Above all else, near or within the awe-inspiring mountains is the perfect place to sit out in nature, possible alone or in an isolated area, and meditate. Peace. Quiet. Nirvana. Well, unless you're specifically there for climbing Mount Everest... then you may have to wait a bit to feel or accomplish any of that.

Here is a detailed article detailing the personal experiences of different Mount Everest climbers. I recommend everyone read it.

Much love,

Brittney xx

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