Climbing Mt. Everest — Internet Access and Flat-Screen TV’s Included

By Sadie Bass

Jul 22, 2009 4:09pm

ABC's Bradley Blackburn reports from New York: An expedition to Mount Everest has changed a lot since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first stepped onto the summit in 1953.  Experienced mountain climber and journalist Billi Bierling made the climb in May, and she tells the German magazine Spiegel that Everest has become so commercialized that it’s no longer a true mountain adventure.   Everest’s base camp includes some luxuries you’ll find surprising – hot showers, internet access, and a cinema tent with flat-screen TVs for watching movies.  And the climbers aren’t subsisting on the backpacking food you’d expect.  Fresh strawberries are flown in by helicopter for some meals, and there’s a bakery on-site for the 700 people who live in base camp during the high season in May. Perhaps those luxuries aren’t so surprising when you consider that people pay upwards of $50,000 for guided Everest packages.  But Bierling says all the huge, guided expeditions are changing the Everest experience, and they bring a lot of people to the mountain that don’t belong there.  Without the sherpas and infrastructure like guide ropes leading to the summit, Bierling believes 90% of the climbers would never reach the peak.  You can read more of Beirling’s thoughts on Everest at Spiegel Online.

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