We have been called heroes, amateurs, reckless die-wishers, super humans...
While we ourselves find it hard to explain why we do what we do and what it is exactly that we are seeking.
Yet, the sudden absence from everyday life routine, completely parted from the usual problems, spending time mostly figuring out the next meal - it does something to you.
Along with the unobscured views of blue mountains, the lonely sound of your own breath, the long suppressed thoughts - usually hidden somewhere back in your brain - suddenly finding their way to you in the monotonous rhythm of the climb. Bringing with them ideas of change, realizing the habits in your life that are sprung from long-term routine, instead of getting you were you really aim.
To that - the short span of time during which you will go through so many intense, opposite emotions; fear, triumph and frustration. This finally bringing out the courage you'll need to adjust your compass towards the future you truly hope for once back home again.
And - in the end - after getting so dramatically exposed in so short time; gaining new reflections on this world, mankind, loved ones and the eternal question of purpose. This is the Everest Enigma. Reserved for those taking the time to listen.
Only Everest climbers are just as alike, yet all different from each other, as a crowd on a Manhattan street. Everest is a scene of personalities from all parts of the world, sharing a dream while facing fears and setbacks together.
We are not entirely good, or entirely bad. Some of us will stop and help someone in need, some of us will just hurry by. Some might even snap a picture; and others just silently saves somebody's life.
Also, our motives to climb differ. Some hope for fortune, or fame and honor. Others climb just to fulfill a dream, or - so close to death - find a meaning in life. Climbing Everest offers a challenge that makes a major difference in most climbers lives. Yet the experience brings different things to different climbers and we are all there for our own personal reasons.
An interesting complication is that Everest is virtually lawless. Climbers are forced to make mutual decisions in a temporary society of strangers under pressure.
Add to this a great deal of media, money and fame at stake - and there is Base Camp for you...
Obviously, there will be trouble. Big time! The fear of dying, the difficulties of the climb, the frustrations of others succeeding and oneself failing at times. The worry of loved ones back home, pressure from media or sponsors perhaps, the huge costs involved. Lack of food and sleep, failing health, weakening body and mind - and the merciless cold and storms...Oh, the place will surely bring out the true you!
At home, you are protected by a smooth system of basic needs taken care of. There are laws, a police force, courts and hospitals that take care of everything so you don't have to. It's easy to say and THINK that you would react in a certain way if you were truly needed in a life and death situation. Or when forced to take a stand between right and wrong.
On Everest - you might stand trial. You might be tempted to lie for fame, to turn away from those in need for your own success, to play along in a foul game to gain advantages.
And tempted you might be, for the chance of getting away with it in this place of no rules will be great. Word will stand against word, whispers will fly, but there will seldom be proof or consequences. Together with all the unusual, extreme pressure placed upon you - you will be terribly defenceless and thus fully exposed on who you really are.
Do your best and shouldn't you like what you found inside of you - take this opportunity to face it and change. Nobody is perfect. Remember Mallory; it's not about failure or success, it's not about living or dying - understand that you have come to Everest to conquer yourself.