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Peak Season (Paywalled)

A journey of extremes beneath the world’s tallest mountain

I was inching along the trail, but my muscles screamed as though I was sprinting. Stopping to try to suck some extra oxygen from the thin air, I took in the view: Up ahead, shrouded in clouds, Qomolangma rose out of a rocky valley and was reflected in a river of snowmelt.

This view was the reason my sister and I had come to Tibet: to take in one of the world’s extremes and tick the mountain known as Everest in the West off our bucket lists, albeit from the safety of the mountain’s base.

We were not alone in this quest. Since the early 1990s, the once-isolated peak at the border of China and Nepal has become a feeding frenzy for wealthy Western mountaineers, who pay 30,000 to 100,000 USD for a shot at the summit, alongside ambitious tourists hoping to get a glimpse of the highest point on Earth.

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Peak Season (Paywalled) is a story from our issue, “Tuning Up.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.

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Lily Hartzell is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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