So you’ll never scale Everest. Explore these seldom seen destinations instead
It wasn’t that long ago – 200 years, 300 tops – that everything was remote. For most people, if you crossed the Atlantic at all, it was likely only going to be once. But as automobile engineer Karl Benz and the folks at Boeing conspired to make the world smaller, we have come to value places that are difficult to reach in roughly inverse proportion to how many places there are that are actually difficult to reach.
Easter Island used to be the back of beyond, a place clouded in mystery. Now there are daily flights from Santiago and, if you go, there’s a hot dog stand I can recommend. It’s between the eco-hotel and the French restaurant, right next door to the surf shop.
And as the film Everest, which opened this week, reminds us: Getting to the top comes with great risk even if the climb isn’t as uncommon as it used to be. More and more people are spending the time and money to check off this ultimate bucket-list item. The bloom is a bit off that particular alpine rose. Stories of Everest these days are more likely to include phrases such as “traffic jam” and “busiest month yet” than they are to hit notes of triumph and discovery.
So what’s an adventurer to do? Well, you could climb Everest anyway and, like Alexander the Great, weep that there are no more lands to conquer. Or you could tick off an item on this list.
Torngat Mountains National Park
The great thing about living in Canada is that there’s lots of it that is really difficult to reach. The downside: Most of it is flat, featureless scrubland and tundra. But the Torngats are truly extraordinary, made out of some of the oldest rock in the world, formed as much as four-billion years ago. To get there, you have to make it to Goose Bay Airport in Newfoundland and Labrador, then get a chartered plane through Nain to northern Labrador, where you will have to hire armed local bear guards to accompany and protect you. If you don’t, bad things could happen. If you still find yourself pining for an Everest-like experience, you can climb the highest peak in the Torngats, Mt. Caubvick, which, though just 1,652 metres high, is at least a day’s sail and several hard days’ trek from Saglek.