Noble Sangha,
the article which spurred my Mountain Dharma Protection chi below is found as a link following my vent…

stickin’ up for the Sacred Peaks,


Dear Editor,
In response to the question poised in yet another well-crafted article by John Peel, “Everyone has an Everest, real or imaginary” which appeared in your June 11th issue.

The question was, “But even experienced climbers such as Kedrowski aren’t quite sure what the answer is to preventing future disasters on Everest. He leans toward a limit, but wonders if better coordination of those headed to the summit might be enough.”

An honest realization must precede the evident answer to ‘preventing disasters’ on Chomolungma (aka; Mt. Everest).  No one that uses supplemental oxygen on a peak actually climbs that peak. Using oxygen falsely ‘lowers’ the elevation and subjective dangers of the natural peak to the fitness capacity of the perpetrator…errr, ‘climber.’  Tour de France champions are routinely stripped of their titles when found guilty of using performance-enhancing aids. So too, summit registers should be wiped clean from any oxygen-relying ‘climber.’

Two mountain athletes; Reinhold Messner and Pete Habeler bagged Everest without oxygen in 1978. Two years later, Reinhold put on his crampons, grabbed his ice axe and free soloed Everest sans oxygen…in three days!  The standard of spiritual, mental, and physical integrity was then set. Yet few honor their boldness, fitness, or their standard. In fact, over 5,000 people have since been pulled, yanked, and prodded along to the summit of Everest. Of that number? Barely over 50 have climbed her genuinely, without oxygen.

The answer to the question is simple;  no oxygen. There are puh-lenty of beautiful, challenging peaks to climb within our trainable fitness levels! Perhaps even Everest! But, don’t lower a mountain to a pseudo ascent, that creates negative karma according to one of my Tibetan Teachers. I’ve turned down sponsored climbing trips to the high Himalaya because I know my natural limits. I also did not want to contribute to the circus parade polluting, abusing, and destroying the high, precious Himalaya.

Native Americans consider all peaks to be Sacred, their summits hallowed realms of the Mountain Gods. Ilg says, let’s honor that notion and may we all climb the mountains of our lives with pure intention and authentic fitness.

steve ilg

article link:

2 Responses to “Coach’s Vent: Saving Chomolungma Requires Inner Spirit”

  1. padma says:

    As one who has witnessed the “circus parade” of North Face base camp, I agree completely.

  2. Kevin Burnett says:

    Agreed. It’s become a joke and turned Everest into a mountain I would not even consider visiting.

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