It’s done now. I had to do it. There’s no better explanation. I met many other people on the trip who felt the same way. We are not alone.
It’s a feeling of peace. If I’d failed to get there, I’d be planning my next attempt right now. I have no desire to go higher on Everest but I admire the people who do. This was enough.
George Mallory had the best known (and possibly the best) response to the question “why do you want to climb Mt. Everest”. It was simply “Because it is there.” George Mallory and his climbing partner, Sandy Irvine, disappeared on Everest in 1924, on my birthday. Mallory may have been the first to summit the mountain.
Borrowing further from the diligent Suburban Sherpa, whose Mallory research pointed me here, I’ll finish with this:
“The first question you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, ‘what is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ and my answer at once must be, ‘It is no use’. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.”
EBC October 20, 2011