Dark days and white snow

May 3, 2015

Ominious clouds of malcontent are being blown in off the jet stream and the casualties are falling like snowflakes in Siberia. Craziness is upon us and the bliss of hot Summer days is still a far off hazy vision on the polluted horizon. The bees are dying and Sherpas are fighting with the Swiss and the Italians 7500 metres up Mount Everest, UKIP are playing hardball with the soft minded and it’s impossible to get a job in TV if you haven’t (at least allegedly) raped someone. Dark days my friend, but at least the snow is still white.

But before we get to Nepal we have to visit Greece. And we must ask a question. How the hell did the Greeks invent anything? Have you been to Greece? If you haven’t had the pleasure then stick your head in your oven or burst it in the microwave on medium power for two minutes and you will get some idea of the sweltering volcanic heat that perpetrates  around the birthplace of modern civilisation. It’s impossible to get anything done. When the heat has finished with you all there is to do is swim in the cooling Mediterranean sea and gargle Raki. Which isn’t a bad way to spend a living.

The place might be a ramshackle hallucination of its former self nowadays but once upon a time it was The place to be. Democracy, philosophy, archeology machinery. They even invented music. Jesus they were good. But why didn’t they just lie on the beach? You don’t go on holiday to invent, the cold bring invention and rain creates. The Greeks defied normality.  Which brings us to the Sherpas and Mount Everest.

Do you know how many people die on Mount Everest? Nor do I, but it’s about half. You need to be as nuts as Scotsman to attempt the climb in the first place and then, once you have overcome the craziness that prevents most sane people risking their inheritance, you still have to get up it. And then if you did it twice you would die one time. Flip a coin and blow your brains out on tails and that’s about where your odds lie.

So after blitzing the first 7 and a half thousand metres of the bugger what you need to do is start a fight with 100 Sherpas. Really, who has the energy for this kind of nonsense? Most people can’t even breathe at 7000 metres let alone have a fist fight with the local couriers. But Swiss climber Ueli Steck and Italian Simone Moro managed it after a break down in communication somewhere near the flight path of a Dreamliner with a faulty battery pack on the north face with a group of Sherpas led to falling rocks, unroped climbers and a battered ego. The aftermath was a Battle Royale at camp 2 some 7500 metres above sea level. It was colder than the north pole and the air was thinner than paint stripper.

They never did get to the top.



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