Advocacy for a new Himalayanism : Should the rules for expeditions to Nepal be changed?

Part 1

Ama Dablam, Népal. ©Jocelyn Chavy

The queues of Everest candidates have made visible an unattractive aspect of the current Himalayas: too many fixed ropes and extreme merchandising have made the adventure at altitude bland, to the point of denying the existence and the interest of a real, roped-up practice of the mountain. Isn’t it time to think about a new amateur Himalayanism? Let’s change the rules of the game. Here are the proposals of Paulo Grobel, guide and specialist in light expeditions.

2020has been an exceptional year in the Himalayas and Nepal. Not because of the quality of the ascents but rather because of the almost total absence of any mountain climbing at all. This new situation could incite us to take a fresh look at our Himalayan ascensions – a way of imagining a different world in the Himalayas.

The reflection within UNESCO which led to the classification of mountaineering as an Intangible Cultural Patrimony of Humanity and Reinhold Messner’s Manifesto book invite us to analyse our current practices. Himalayanism itself has been shaken by the devastating effects of an extreme commodification that began on the highest peaks and has become more and more generalised.

Is it possible to change the rules ?

Isn’t it time to reflect on what it really means to reach the summit of a mountain? What needs to happen to make that experience rich and meaningful?
– Is it possible to change the rules of mountaineering in the Himalayas?
– Is it possible, for example, by limiting the