The queue at the top of the world

Dawson Stelfox was the first Irish climber to summit Everest, reaching the peak in 1993. Now, he writes, it is time to reintroduce limits on the numbers of climbers on the world’s highest mountain, for both safety and environmental reasons

2nd June, 2019
Mountaineers en route to the summit of Everest: climbing high mountains has changed from being an individual, self-reliant pursuit to an adventure holiday experience Picture: Getty

It has been nearly 100 years since Charles Howard Bury from Mullingar led the first Everest expedition, with George Mallory finding the route to the North Col that became the focus of all the early attempts on the world’s highest mountain.

That route remained the focus of climbers up until World War II, when attention shifted to the southern, Nepalese side, culminating in Hillary and Tenzing’s historic first ascent in 1953.

By 1993,...

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