As someone fairly new to the world of mountaineering the thought of flying over to the Himalayas to climb an 8000m peak is more like a fantasy rather than a reality. The skill and experience required to attempt to summit any of these mountains “safely” takes years of on-field practice. But this isn’t the only factor that makes it seem like a fantasy, the cost required to attempt any of these summits is exceptionally high, if your lucky you could get to a lesser known 8000m peak like Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak or Shishapangma for $10,000 USD, not including flights, gear, insurance and other costs we always seem to forget about. So this brings the question, is it harder to climb one of these amazing mountains? Or to get the chance to climb one? When I think hard about attempting to climb any of the 8000ers mountains, honestly my first thought is how can I afford it? It’s not how am I going to get to the top? Or what are the dangers? It’s not even what route to attempt. My mind goes straight to the challenge of getting the funds. This could just be because I enjoy the challenge of the climb and not the part of obtaining the funds and therefore I’m more relaxed about the climb, who knows. But the fact is, in my head, whether right to wrong, getting the funds seems like the harder task.
I think this also brings about one of the other big topics in the mountaineering world. Who should be climbing these mountains? If you think about it, most people who can fork out the money required to climb these mountains with ease are the successful businessman who have dedicated their lives to their business, not climbing mountains. As a result you get lots of inexperienced, wealthy new climbers attempting to climb these massive, dangerous mountains as their second, third or even first expeditions. And the ones who have dedicated their lives to climbing are either sponsored or broke. With the exception of the sponsored ones, these climber can’t afford to attempt any 8000ers. So what do we get? The most inexperienced climbers, climbing some of the most dangerous mountains in the world whilst the experienced ones miss out.
It’s an interesting topic and one we should continue to discuss.