Do We Need New Everests?

May 25, 2012 — 4 Comments
gty everest lpl 120525 wblog Everest Overcrowding Could Be Fatal This Weekend

Image Credit: Getty Images

According to an ABC news story, more than 200 people will attempt to reach this summit of Mount Everest this weekend alone. In recent years, anyone able to fork our $75,000 in permits and supply adequate equipment, can attempt to summit the world’s most famous peak. Just last week, four climbers died of exhaustion and exposure on their descent from the top. Experts fear that more may die this weekend.

As a kid, I remember hearing tales of Sir Edmund Hilary making the summit. It seemed such an exotic thing to be an explorer. But now I look with a degree of cynicism on today’s summit attempts. It seems that even the most out of the way places have fallen prey to consumerism and commodification. How long will it be before James Cameron starts offering guided tours to the ocean’s deepest point?

Other “Everests” are losing distinction a well. The Ph.D. once was a revered degree, reflecting years of dedication, hard work, and scholarship that set the recipient apart in a way that truly deserved respect. Now, the number of Ph.D. holders on government assistance is sharply rising as massive student loan debt and a glut of candidates for every open teaching job strips aspiring academics of their ability to earn a living wage. Often over-qualified for hourly jobs, these teachers get by on food stamps and the occasional adjunct class.

I think we need new, innovative Everests. Any ideas what those might be? What is YOUR Everest?

Anderson Campbell


  • David Kessler

    I love this word picture. I’m finding myself thinking about the difference between my Everest and God’s. My Everest tends to be more like a rolling hill – it requires little faith and supernatural assistance. I’m looking at the events of this summer differently now.

  • Cheri Lemieux Spiegel

    You know, Andy, I’m thinking about this more and more lately. We’re moving into our third years in our doctoral programs, right? Soon enough, God willing, we’re going to have those degrees. What then? I am at this weird place where I am realizing that some of my life long dreams are coming true. So what now? I wonder if I’ve been dreaming too small all along. Folks ask me what I’d like to do post-PhD and I have some goals, some specific paths I would like to see my career take, but no dreams. When did I stop dreaming?

  • Daniel Gauthier

    “Everest: Pave It! Summit Starbucks coming 2013″As much as my parents (who might say their everest was having me – I know it was painful work, but come on – that’s just the oxytocin talking) tell me I’m special, learning how many people climb that mountain is really humbling. Maybe space travel is the new everest? Ultramarathons on the moon? I love physical challenges, but unlike the literal everest – which you climb once and count it an accomplishment – my everests are never-ending mental disciplines: don’t let money and social status motivate or cause stress. Have self control, self-respect… etc.

  • Rodger McEachern

    hmmm…I’m thinking most of the ‘Everest’s we seek to climb’ are pursuits of a society that has too much time, energy and money…I with David K…thinking what ‘everest’ might God be calling me to climb? And I doubt it’s one in which I am glorified and patted on the back. As always, thanks for being insightful Andy.