How did anyone ever figure out how to climb that thing before there were satellites or planes? I don't even see how they are getting from the base camp up past the broken up glacier area.
(I'm not some mountaineering snob - I tire climbing hills for a decent toboggan run)
A lot of people go to Base Camp as tourists, but the numbers drop dramatically at each higher camp. There's probably a case to be made that Base Camp should be toned down.
There aren't that many people truly climbing the mountain.
3,142 people have climbed Everest, with 219 dying trying.
It isnt disneyland, and I am not shocked at how much Everest has turned into disneyland, we definitely fundamentally disagree.
The footage I've seen was indeed from (and up to) the basecamp. I was quite shocked at what I saw, but I obviously misremembered exactly what it was - the trail to the basecamp. I certainly did not think all those people were reaching the summit, but I did think they were going higher.
I feel like a bit of an idiot, and needed to get that off my chest.
Speaking of aerial photos though, Over The Himalaya (http://www.amazon.com/Over-Himalaya-Koichiro-Ohmori/dp/09385...) has some staggering photos from the region if you like that sort of thing. Out of print, but worth tracking down.
They walk up that thing, its called Khumbu icefall. Basically the valley glacier spilling out in slow motion. Its incredibly dangerous (as you probably surmise), even though its at the bottom. Since the ice is all cracked up, many people fall into the cracks. Believe the local sherpas do most of the work each year to find a safe route through that mess.