Erri De Luca: Everest and the million dollar queue

 We asked Italian writer and alpinist Erri De Luca to comment the photo of the queue on Everest which recently made its way across the internet... here's his vision.

Not even in the Dolomites, in the height of summer on the most popular via ferrata, does a queue form like this one. It would be interesting to work out its worth: climbing permits, travel, guides, porters,supplementary oxygen bottles, clothing. It's a million dollar queue. So the fixed ropes up Everest have become a vast golf club where there is only one hole, and it's on the top. In a single day in May circa one hundred and fifty waiting in line made the put.

This takes nothing away from the magnificent mountain which remains the perfect summit of mother earth. Her slopes have hosted the most desired adventures of sublime alpinists, their insomnia and their exhausting descents. The mountains remain unharmed and virgin with fresh snow covering the broken trails. The queue and its commercial march however removes the meaning, valour and title of those who set foot on the summit in this way. I hope that soon one can get there by helicopter, snap a photo and off you go, return home on the same day. 

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