Olympic Torch Complicates Everest Climb

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/90035579/90035544" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic


Mount Everest from Base Camp I. Rupert Taylor-Price hide caption

toggle caption Rupert Taylor-Price

I have a well-documented fear of heights. Seriously, a tall flight of stairs or an abnormally-high curb, and my stomach does cartwheels. That's why the idea of climbing Mt. Everest has always given me the heebie jeebies. So I couldn't even imagine being stuck on Camp II — at 21,300 feet — to make room for the Olympic torch. But that's precisely what's happened to climbers hoping to make the great ascent: they've been barred from the mountain's higher elevations for 10 days until the torch relay is complete. The extreme weather fluctuations on the mountain give climbers a small window of opportunity to make the journey, so the ban may impede their chances of making it to the top safely. What's more, Nepalese soldiers guarding the slopes were given authority to use deadly force to squelch any protests — as a last resort, but, still, not the most favorable conditions to climb the world's highest peak.

Mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears joins us to talk about the conditions on the mountain, and how climbers keep up their morale, even in the toughest situations. If you're a climber or if you've climbed Mount Everest, tell us your story.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

It seems that by imposing this ban, it not only increases the risk for other climbing teams by reducing their window of opportunity, but also for the Chinese team...should they encounter trouble. Having fewer teams on the mountain would greatly reduce the chance of rescue should tragedy strike. Not a brilliant idea, although dictated by political necessity...how about skip the publicity stunt altogether and avoid escalating the risk for all.

Sent by Joe Kimura | 10:54 PM | 4-29-2008

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from