Discovering all the places to climb, driving around just to find a good spot and trying out everything. We were on fire (and drank lots of Red Bull to keep it like that).
Back then I thought of Italy as some kind of Wild West when it comes to stolen cars. After some cell-phones vanished from a tent nearby my impression was proven right. I think, Axel was mad for about an hour: „Deal with drugs, but do not steal things from other people’s tents!“
Well, this summer I discovered a better rip off. Something nobody could blame you for because it is totally legal. Leading up Breithorn! You can charge 550€ for a group of five. Even a shell game holds more risk than this income.
I have to be clear about this: I do not blame any of the mountain guides for what they do. They are being booked by tourists who desperately want to conquer a 4000m-peak. Nobody would turn his back to easily earned money. I want to criticize those folks coming there without the slightest idea of what they do and where they go. To them the walking up there, as it was paid for, is nothing else but another ride in a cable-car. You can trick the body pretty good to not recognize the altitude. On Breithorn you can be up and down before your cardiovascular system even gets that there is less oxygen.
(click on the picture to view a higher res and see the traffic jam)
There a literally thousand of people on the mountain. If the shit hits the fan, maybe 2% would stand a chance to get out of there (exaggerated, but you know what I mean). When Arved Fuchs is talking about customization in breakfast TV I do not like this. As there is always a certain amount of demand leading to a shift in supply in outdoor activities. Climbing has been shifted from a dirtbag sport to something yuppie-like with all the climbing gyms and stuff.
What I blame here is the fact that people tend to buy things. They just think everything could be purchased. Summits just as much as diapers in the super market. But mountaineering should be so much more. It is about pushing the limits and not being led to the summit without personal commitments and some sort of sacrifice.
post scriptum: Yes, I have been to the summit of Breithorn twice. And I hate myself for that. On Breithorn I made the decision to never climb a mountain with close cable-car again. So no Allalinhorn for me… And no mountains that are crowded. So no Montblanc for me…