“But it’s not my fault! Everest is growing by four millimeters every year. It’s basically Science’s fault”. I’d give this explanation if I ever get inspired by the Indian couple, Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod to create my own fake story of climbing the Everest. I won’t forget to add the doctored photos and falsely acquired certificates.
Fortunately, I don’t have any plans of Everest related frauds in the near future. However, such frauds have grown at a steep rate in the past few years. The Rathods are just the most recent example.
In retrospect, though, this doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Nepal’s mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta easily identified the doctored photos. Then, the Nepal government went on to strip off the couple’s certificate and banned them for 10 years.
Makes you wonder why people go to such heights (figurative, clearly not physical) to doctor fake stories. Some do it to create fodder for the rest of their life of “motivational” speakers or authors. While some just wish to justify the money they raised to sponsor their climb and get there “first”. There is a fierce competition between expedition operators. The spring of cut-price climbing companies makes it that much easier.
Everest expeditions used to be the pinnacle (again, metaphorical) of trust. “Mountaineering used to be honourable. Now if we can’t count on the word of climbers – that’s sad” says German journalist and climber Billi Bierling. Bierling heads the management of the Himalayan archive. She hopes to work with the government to implement steps that restore climbs to their peak.