How did a peak that was at first deemed unclimbable, then downgraded to suicidal, become one that thousands of people could scale? Everest Inc. answers that question.
Anyone who has read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air or has seen a recent photo of climbers standing in line to get to the top of Everest may think they have the mountain pretty well figured out. It’s an extreme landscape where bad weather and incredible altitude can occasionally kill, but more so an overcrowded, trashed-out recreation destination where rich clients pad their egos—and social media feeds—while exploiting local Sherpas.
There’s some truth to these clichés, but they’re a sliver of the story. Unlike any book to date, Everest, Inc. gets to the heart of the mountain through the definitive story of its greatest invention: the Himalayan guiding industry. It all began in the 1980s with a few boot-strapping entrepreneurs who paired raw courage and naked ambition with a new style of expedition planning.
Many of them are still living and climbing today, and as a result of their astonishing success, ninety percent of the people now on Everest are clients or employees of guided expeditions.
Studded with quotes from original interviews with more than a hundred western and Sherpa climbers, clients, writers, filmmakers, and even a Hollywood actor, Everest, Inc. foregrounds the voices of the people who have made the mountain what it is today.
And while there is plenty of high-altitude drama in unpacking the last forty years of Everest tragedy and triumph, it ultimately transcends stereotypes and tells the uplifting counternarrative of the army of journeymen and women who have made people’s dreams come true, and of the Nepalis who are pushing the industry into the future.