Mount Everest is tightening under our heavines. Epoch to drop the barrel list | Philip Hoare

Reports of damage to the Hillary Step, the major challenge before the summit, be pointed out that we do not own awesome targets, whatever names we give them

Its a scene from one of John Martins apocalyptic covers. Or a modern tragedy movie. But this isnt CGI. Everest may have begun to breakdown, as if for the purposes of the collective heavines of its explorers.

Or so it seems. Reports that the bumpy outcrop Hillary Step, called after Sir Edmund Hillary, who firstly clambered the mountain with Tenzing Norgay in 1953, may have been destroyed during the Nepal earthquake of 2015( although some say its exactly been buried under snow ), speak to our desire to extend our human prerogative. Even the call signifies appropriation our taxonomy of sort. Metaphorically, it seems, the Earth reacts.

But some climbers now fear that if the near-vertical stair a final challenge to those attempting the ascending has disappeared, it will make it easier to climb Everest and thus open it up to new depredations. Some even wonder if it is time to impose severe limits or even a ban on jaunts that are becoming too favourite, and more invasive, feigning the very characters which characterize the place.

The politics of the issue are involved. “Theres” neighbourhood economies predicated on site visits of crazy westerners determined to ascend those elevations, as if humankind were affronted by the notion of eminence. There have been heroes and there have been relinquishes. But to this end? Where the mountain becomes one big-hearted litter stockpile, and we dont even take our dead away with us, let alone our rubbish, Everest literally becomes a graveyard for our ambitions.

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