Like much else that is both iconic and profitable, Everest creates a kind of moral vacuum. In multiple recent cases, groups of climbers have passed dying comrades on their way to the summit, without pausing to stop. And while I don’t mean to oversimplify the issue of Sherpa safety—climbers provide very high-paying jobs for Sherpas, by Nepalese standards, which can be a major boon—there are clear ways that climbers could be more fair to the people who pave their way to the top.
In an analogy closer to home, Everest can be compared to the NFL. Both are sources of treasured cultural dramas. Both rely on a system in which powerful people hire less powerful people (mostly from poor communities) to risk their lives.