No long post here about the meaninglessness of Everest climbing, the bizarre Himalayan expedition industry and so on. There is a lot written about this stuff and I just don't care. Himalayan climbing has never really interested me. What has caught my attention is the outpouring of angry voices insisting that climbers and other extreme sports enthusiasts should not be rescued or at least have to pay for their rescue.
Nepal has no rescue service, so climbers on Chomolongma rescue each other. Western countries tend to have organised rescue services staffed by climbers, so again climbers rescue each other. Why is this system offensive? I listened to lots of angry callers to a radio talk show last week and many of them mentioned the risks rescuers take and the expense to society.
The boater may be taking a risk, but what they do is so ‘normal’ that this is not seen as risk-taking activity. The climber may be taking less of a risk, but what they do is seen as strange and dangerous. It’s alien and incomprehensible and therefore easy to complain about. If we started to look at the numbers, we’d have to start looking at boaters and accept that everyday activities involve risk that may endanger others. We might have to start to look at driving, heaven forbid.