Recently a group of Britons and Canadians were arrested for getting naked on the top of Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu; a few days later there was an earthquake in the area and they were blamed for causing it by their act of disrespect to the sacred mountain. (Officials later denied this and said it was just a matter of public decency.)
In the Globe and Mail, International Affairs columnist uses the event to start a discussion about mountain climbing in general. He suggests that mountain climbing should be banned, calling it the height of empty egotism and " one of the most damagingly popular forms of empty self-absorption of our age."
At the end of the day, the only reason you have chosen this otherwise pointless place to exert yourself is because it is All About You.There are many other purely solipsistic ways to empty your bank account. The problem with mountaineering is that it is no longer just harmless idiocy: It often becomes very harmful idiocy indeed. Your self-gratification carries a high environmental, humanitarian and often political price.
Lots of people have made a case for banning climbs on Mount Everest, but all mountain climbing? Certainly we at TreeHugger have been complaining for years about the garbage and the waste involved in climbing. But I worry that banning it is the thin edge of the wedge; one might say the same things about going camping.