You may have seen the reports in the news this week of the number of climbers who have died on Everest so far this season. Sadly, according to the reports the numbers are up on last year.
But it’s the photos that have accompanied these stories which are beyond belief.
There are queues…literally queues to summit and descend Everest! And people are dying because of it.
If that isn’t an example of overtourism to the extreme I don’t know what is!
This issue is of course not confined to the mountains of Nepal, it is a wide spread epidemic across the world. More people than ever have the means and opportunity to travel and the world’s hot spots (and beyond) are struggling to shoulder the burden.
But these photos of Everest really shocked me. I do understand that there is a very small window of opportunity for climbers to reach the summit during the year, but I never imagined that there would be queues. You don’t imagine that to reach the peak of the world you would have to wait in line!
It is however apparently not an entirely new phenomenon, but it seems acutely worse this year due to the number of permits issued to climbers and the weather which will always play its part.
However, to me, the photo which has been circulated depicting the queue to the summit, highlights the issue of overtourism that we are facing not just for Everest, but also for the rest of the world.
Decisions such as building an airport at Machu Picchu need to be reassessed surely? I don’t know exactly what the answers are, but as the numbers of tourists continue to rise and the pressure on local communities and the environment increases, it is something that will have to be tackled and we should all be mindful of when we travel.
Have you noticed this phenomenon on any of your trips, or perhaps where you live?