Thursday, 6 January 2011

Climbing Everest: Noble adventure or Selfish Pursuit?

Climbers who make the pilgrimage to Everest may claim that they're transcending the stresses of daily life in the city, but life at the mountain's Base Camp is as bitchy and competitive as any office across the globe. So say G├╝lnur Tumbat and Russell W. Belk in Marketplace Tensions in Extraordinary Experiences, to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

With many climbers paying as much as £40,000 for the pleasure of trying to get up the mountain, the authors conclude: “Our study finds that extraordinary experiences, when bought in the marketplace, can be destructive of feelings of camaraderie and reinforce an individualistic and competitive ethos that I, the climber, am the only one who matters”.

Plenty of books (see Michael Kodas's High Crimes, for example) and articles have been written about the often tense atmosphere around Base Camp, but this probably the first in-depth sociological study into the people who feel the urge to go there.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't think they'd still harbor such competitive natures while at Base Camp. The mountain itself is so huge; it must be humbling to set foot on its slopes! Still, this seems like a great read.