Learning With: ‘‘‘It Was Like a Zoo”: Death on an Unruly, Overcrowded Everest’

Learning With: ‘‘‘It Was Like a Zoo”: Death on an Unruly, Overcrowded Everest’

5. How have insurance and mountaineering companies along with the government of Nepal sought to commercialize Mount Everest? How has the Nepalese government responded to charges that it is providing too many permits to climbers?

6. How has the profile of the typical Everest climber changed over the last 20 years? How has this change contributed to the dangers on the mountain?

7. Rizza Alee, an 18-year-old climber from Kashmir, said:

“I saw some people like they had no emotions,” he said. “I asked people for water and no one gave me any. People are really obsessed with the summit. They are ready to kill themselves for the summit.”

What is your reaction to Mr. Alee’s claim? Why do you think people were willing to risk death to reach the top of Mount Everest? How do you view the ambitions of people like Mr. Dohring who wish to get to the top of the highest mountain in the world?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

— The authors write:

Nepal has no strict rules about who can climb Everest, and veteran climbers say that is a recipe for disaster.

“You have to qualify to do the Ironman,” said Alan Arnette, a prominent Everest chronicler and climber. “But you don’t have to qualify to climb the highest mountain in the world? What’s wrong with this picture?”

What rules or regulations do you think the government of Nepal should create to ensure greater safety for climbers on Mount Everest? What responsibility do the climbers themselves have for improving safety on the mountain?

— The article describes the situation of Fatima Deryan, an experienced Lebanese mountaineer, as she made her way to the summit when less experienced climbers started collapsing in front of her:

Temperatures were dropping to -30 Celsius. Oxygen tanks were running low. And roughly 150 people were packed together, clipped to the same safety line.

“A lot of people were panicking, worrying about themselves — and nobody thinks about those who are collapsing,” Ms. Deryan said.

“It is a question of ethics,” she said. “We are all on oxygen. You figure out that if you help, you are going to die.”

She offered to help some of the sick people, she said, but then calculated she was beginning to endanger herself and kept going to the summit, which is currently measured at 29,029 feet. On the way back down, she had to fight her way again through the crowds.

“It was terrible,” she said.

What would you have done if you were Ms. Deryan? Would you have stopped to help other climbers, and perhaps risk your own life? What if your choice to help another would have jeopardized your lifelong dream to reach Everest’s summit?

— How adventurous are you? If so, what is it about adventure that entices you? If not, why not? What is the most adventurous or greatest physical challenge you have ever endured? What inspired you to attempt it? Was it worth it?

— Would you ever consider climbing Mount Everest? Why or why not?

Further Learning Network Resources:

Film Club: What if He Falls?

Student Opinion: Is It Selfish to Pursue Risky Sports Like Extreme Mountain Climbing?

Picture Prompt: One Last Adventure