Every time I’ve had the insane thought that it would be cool to climb Mount Everest I trot out a long list of reasons why it will never happen. In addition to the blindingly obvious such as the exorbitant cost and a fear of heights, there are dozens more on a seemingly endless list destined to ensure that I will never, ever risk life and limb to go where only 2,700 or so people before me have gone and from which only about 2,500 have returned. (Yes, a 10% chance of dying is close to the top of the list.)
But even with my fevered imagination crafting one disaster scenario after another, the lack of cell phone service on the summit has never been a major concern. Nor has the absence of team sports at the base camp ever been a factor.
However if they were, I would now have two fewer excuses to stay down where the air still actually contains some oxygen.
According to this news item Nepal Telecom is going to expand its cell phone service to the top of Mount Everest by installing 4 more cellular telephone towers. Once that’s completed in June of this year, you’ll be able to take telemarketing calls to new heights (or should that be “at” new heights?).
And if a few weeks away from watching your favourite sport is all that’s keeping you from acclimatizing at base camp, the first ever cricket match has now been played at that dizzying altitude (16,495 feet).
So if either of those was all that was keeping you from strapping on the crampons and grabbing the oxygen bottle, you are now out of excuses. Put $20 on Team Tenzing for me, and call me from the top when you get there.