Coming Soon: McDonalds on Mt Everest

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Those who climb it nowadays have more luck than brains . . .

" 'Anyone looking for a mountain adventure shouldn't go for Everest,' says Billi Bierling.

Without the Sherpas and infrastructure -- such as fixed ropes leading right up to the summit -- some 90 percent of climbers wouldn't even reach the top, she believes. . . .

'Many don't know how to put on crampons or even how to hold an ice pick,' Bierling says. She was even more astonished to find that she didn't need to use her own ice pick to reach the summit. . . .

'They have more luck than brains. I feel sick when I see 20 trusting people all hanging onto a fixed rope at the same time. Before the big expeditions came, people still knew what they were doing.' . . . "

In base camp she met "a New Zealander who was cooking provided team members with mousse au chocolat and fresh strawberries flown in from Katmandu by helicopter. In the evenings they watched films on a flat-screen TV in the cinema tent. One Russian expedition had liters of vodka on hand and a wireless Internet connection for which the expedition leader paid $5,000 a month. 'It was pretty crazy,' says Bierling." More

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