Jase Wilson examines tourism in the proverbial ‘death zone’ focusing on emotional dynamics in high-altitude mountaineering in Central Asia. Ahead of this four-month long fieldwork starting mid-March Jase says: “This is an arduous yet exciting journey. The plan is to collect information for my doctoral project by undertaking ethnographic field work, conducting interviews with tourists, tour guides, Sherpas, and other high-altitude mountaineering tourism stakeholders in a number of places in Central Asia. I will live, eat, sleep, and camp with climbing tourists, guides, and local workers who will make attempts to reach the summits of the world’s highest and most dangerous mountains”.
There are only 14 peaks in the world whose heights rise into the ‘death zone’ (above 8000 metres altitude), all of which are found in Central Asia—Pakistan, India, China/Tibet, and Nepal. Mountaineering at such altitudes has proven to be statistically one of the most dangerous forms of adventure-related activity. Some summits, such as Annapurna in Nepal (8091 metres) or K2 in Pakistan (8611 metres) may have death-to-summit ratios of over 30% during the most disastrous years. Few other forms of tourism present such sharp and distinct consequences for error.
Jase is well prepared for this formidable journey, and supported by the University including our School and ICRETH to conduct cutting-edge research.