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The number one thing that stands out from those stories is the high risk of death. There are over 290 documented deaths of those attempting to summit Everest since 1921, and apparently many more that are undocumented. But don’t confuse that with trekking to Base Camp, which is incredibly safe.
From all the stories of failed summit attempts, what became evident is that an underlying cause of death is psychological. A combination of get-there-itis with ego. That is, pushing ahead when you should turn back.
What this trek confirmed to me is that I have that killer personality type. If I ever attempted to summit Everest, I could be one of those that pushes myself to my own death. It was a confronting realisation, and it’s why I’m writing this blog, to help me re-program that aspect of my psychology.
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I’ve always been aware of my personality traits of not asking for help and get-there-itis, but previously I saw them solely as virtues. Increasingly I’ve realised that while they can be virtuous, they can also be dangerous in manifesting sub-optimal outcomes and behaviours. So now that I’m back, I’m actively re-programming myself through consciously seeking help, being more publicly vulnerable (sorry in advance for the upcoming oversharing), and practising patience, which is where the new sense of calm is incredibly powerful.