You might have seen in the press recently what I think is one of the most depressing photos of our time, a traffic jam on the summit of Mount Everest. Hundreds of climbers bottlenecked in a queue to get to the peak, leaving a number of them dead and frozen, and everyone else slowly running out of oxygen.

Guy Noble Guy Noble

What is going on here? Greed, yes, the Nepalese giving out too many permits and too many companies selling the cheap possibility of getting to the top, but what possesses people to want to do this anyway, this notion of conquering the mountain, as if Everest cares? Who wants to go on this great adventure of personal discovery, of pushing yourself to the limits in one of the most hostile places on Earth, and then ending up in a queue as if you were waiting to go through the checkout at Woollies?

Who queues for adventure? There is something so ridiculous going on here, these amateur climbers wealthy enough to buy the experience of saying “I got to the top of Mount Everest.” How long are you allowed to savour the view...