Since it doesn’t have anything better to do, GONe has gone and sent an expedition to find out exactly how high Mt Everest is, despite our strong protests. Why did our grapplement have to be such a smart ass, anyways? What if the bastard is indeed knocked off, and Everest is shorter than previously thought? Imagine what that would do to our national morale, our territorial integrity and our gastroenterology as a nation if Chomolungma is no longer the Goddess Mother of the Earth, but only an Aunt?
Nepal may as well commit national hara-kiri if Mt Everest is no longer the highest peak in the world. It is an unthinkable, nightmarish scenario. For one thing, what will become of all the products that are named Everest this or Everest that? Everest Bank will have to change its slogan to ‘Our Interest Rates Are Second Highest’. Everest Hotel will no longer be ‘Nepal’s Top Hotel’. Nepal Tourism Board may have to alter all its posters to say ‘Nepal: The Land of Everest. We Were Greatest Once.’ And 8848 Vodka will have to alter its bottle labels to 8488.
Expedition members are now back busily crunching numbers, and will announce their findings in the next fiscal year. This leaves us enough time to cook the data, or if need be, allocate a few arabs and corrodes to ensure that the mountain maintains its stature as the highest on the planet in order to protect our fragile national ego.
It is in our ultra-nationalist interest to come up with a cunning plan to retain Everest’s stature. There are now so many climbers who want to get to the top that GONe should make it mandatory for every climber not just to pay $11,000 each in royalty, but to carry 20kg of rocks from Base Camp and deposit it at the top. If my calculations serve me right, this year alone we could have added another 12m to the summit height if all climbers and guides did their bit. For this we can elicit the help of expeditions from the Chinese side, since their reputation would also be tarnished if Everest is found to have shrunk.
GONe should double the number of permits, and instead of bringing down trash from the mountain as currently stipulated, climbers would have to take all the oxygen cylinders and uneaten noodle packs, and deposit them at the summit.
If we do that, my back of the envelope math shows Everest’s height will cross 9,000m above mean sea level by 2025. This means the mountain will be even more popular, and to handle the bigger numbers of climbers, GONe may have to install a funicular up the Icefall, moving walkways across the Western Cwm, a cable car to the South Col, and an escalator from there to the View Tower Restaurant & Bar at the summit.