Mount Everest was in the headlines a few weeks ago because of a “traffic jam” of climbers on their way to the peak. In a recent episode of his Last Week Tonight television show, John Oliver, explained why he was unhappy about this.
In 2019, 11 climbers died as they attempted to scale the world’s tallest peak. Apart from inexperienced climbers putting their lives at risk, they have also contributed to environmental damage: a recent cleanliness expedition found 11,000 kg of garbage from the mountain that has been described as a “faecal timebomb”.
Oliver threw light on the risks associated with climbing Mount Everest, as well as the ridiculousness of self-imposed challenges like being the first person to make a cellphone call from the top of the mountain.
The show carried frightening footage of the Khumbu icefall, one of the most dangerous parts of the route to the summit.
The satirist also discussed the concept of summit fever, the “compulsion to reach the summit at all costs”, and the death zone, an area of extremely low oxygen levels that induce major physiological changes.
Congestion on Mount Everest is not new. A “traffic jam” similar to the one earlier this year had occurred in 2012 as well.