Via Ferrata and Zip Lines on Everest and Moving Day


I had to pick something up at the rock climbing gym, so I asked Wunderkind, who is almost in preschool, if she wanted to go see it with me and she gave me an enthusiastic yes. Then I asked her what she thought people at the climbing gym do? She indicated that you play… and then go down the slide.

A slide made me chuckle. The pleasure of a slide struck me; that’s what Everest really needs. Well, maybe not a slide, but the placement of a ladder at the Hillary bottleneck suddenly felt like the wrong path to draw money from high altitude climbers through the new fees structure (aside from improving the flow of traffic). What the mountain really needs is something more exciting: Via ferrata or zip lining — the world’s highest, of course.

The via ferrata would take inexperienced climbers to the top of thr mountain, or least to the south summit (the rest of the way would only be done through more technical work,) and then you could fly down to the Khumbu Glacier in time for tea with your porters. Throw in some fixed-place cameras and you can sell the photos of you climbing the iron way and riding the cable.

Why hasn’t Nepal thought of this before?

On a wholly other topic, I’m continuing to find my place in this urban-suburban Peaklessburg.

My family — all four of us — are moving back to our old neighborhood inside the Washington, DC Beltway and into our old condo. We previously thought that it was too small for our growing family. Now we think it’s perfect for us (at least for a little while.)

To make it work, we’ve embraced minimalism (or at least much more than we ever have in the past,) and adopted the belief than home is merely home base from which to go out and live rather than your monument of your life. We just need a place that facilitates our life.

This move is part of a landmark decision for us. I have been saying for years that Washington was Peaklessburg (and it still is), and it never gets enough snow for long enough to be able to cross-country ski or snowshoe right outside my front door (something I grew up with and always considered a baseline for judging what’s normal.) But since having Wunderkind and Schnickelfritz, we look at the city in a different light and feel it’s the best place to raise them. So we’ll be here a while.

One minor factor that made the choice palatable was finding fun and some satisfaction in climbing at the local rock climbing gym. I have always climbed indoors but usually thought of it as a poor alternative to the real thing.

The rock climbing gym is actually conveniently located, has like-minded people, and it motivates me to stay active. I might even meet up to climb with a one of the climbers I use as a source occasionally. It’s also kind of amusing to be ” the old guy” at the gym; most of the climbers are 10-15 years younger and usually have no worries in the world and no idea about climbing history.

Still, pulling plastic beats hooking iron on a big mountain.

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