By The Mamil
About a year ago I was told about a guy who was planning to “Everest” Swain’s Lane in Highgate, North London. In other words, climb and descend it about 900 times in order to cover the same vertical distance of the world’s highest mountain.
My initial reaction was “I wonder where base camp is?” I’d like to think it’s at the grave of Sir Leslie Stephen, the Victorian mountaineer whose ashes are interred in Highgate Cemetery.
Apart from that rather tenuous connection, the closest Swain’s Lane gets to the Himalayas are the Yetis. There are certainly enough to be spotted, however, the Highgate variety are the 4-wheel drive Skodas driven by yummy mummies rather than the mythical creature alleged to roam the mountains of Nepal.
My second thought was, “that sounds like possibly the most uninteresting challenge one could attempt on a bike”, because let’s face it, Everesting is like being on a turbo trainer but without the option to watch TV or fall asleep safely.
There is little, if any, doubt that such a challenge, while physically demanding, is tedious beyond belief. No, let me be more precise here: there is absolutely no doubt that such a challenge is tedious beyond belief. Indeed it’s so tedious that people have been known to shove their fingers into their slowly rotating front wheel just to relieve the monotony of the 98th ascent of their selected 2 kilometre grind. Don’t get me wrong, I love climbing; point me to the start and I’m away, but over and over and over again? And again? No thanks.
A support group has been set up for people who wish to rid themselves of the compulsion to Everest. They are required, by way of introducing themselves, to acknowledge the truth of their problem: “My name is Graham and I am an altoholic”.
Devout Catholics deal with the problem in a slightly different way. Rather than seeing it as a psychological illness, they regard it as a sin. Offenders confess to their priests: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. My last imperial century was xx weeks / months / years ago. On Tuesday I committed adultery and on Thursday I Everested.”
A typical penance meted out by the priest might be five Hail Marys for the adultery and 30 How Much Farthers for the more heinous crime.
All that aside, the really very worst thing about Everesting is that it is yet another example of that dreadful abuse of the English language: turning a noun into a verb. This phenomena, which I hereby name “verbing”, is responsible for such linguistic atrocities as “to text” and “to podium”and it is simply horrible.
For that reason alone the practice should be considered an offence akin to wheel sucking, failing to fit mudguards in winter and wearing pro-team kit other than at fancy dress parties.