It just sounds weird. "Mount Everest is closed."
But that was the headline last week. No one's climbing that most iconic of all mountaineering conquests.
Because last week 16 Sherpa guides were lost on the mountain. As blocks of ice as big as automobiles came cascading down on them.
You just don't venture onto that peak without a Sherpa. They are the legendary people of the mountain. The guides who take climbers there - climbers who pay up to $100,000 to the Nepalese government to go.
Right now the Sherpas don't want the mountain "open for business" the rest of the year.
Because it has cost too much.
Getting to the top of a mountain often does.
Our personal "Everests" that is. That treasured goal that we're driven to achieve.
"I will be married. No matter what." So many who conquered that slope now wish they'd never dreamed the dream. It turned into a nightmare.
"I will get to the top in what I do. Whatever it takes." Only to sacrifice a spouse, a marriage, a child, a good name to get there. A price too high to pay.
"My kid will be a winner. I'll make sure of it." So he or she becomes more of a performer than a person. A creation of a parent's ego rather than the person God made them to be. A robot programmed to please, but lonely and stressed.
Success. We each have our own definition. And there's nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to climb our mountain.
But, in the words of Jesus, "Count the cost."
In relationships. In integrity. In health. In the lives of your children. In your personal peace.
No conquest, no dream is worth ending up in the emergency room. With a medical crisis of your own. Or the emotional meltdown of someone you love.
The collapse of a marriage. The sacrifice of a reputation. A trail of people wounded or crushed as you raced for your finish line.
I've seen it too many times. Driving for a goal - even a noble goal - can make you blind to the needs around you and deaf to the cries. And oblivious to the cost. Until the avalanche.
There is no Everest that's worth an irreplaceable life treasure.
Or, as Jesus asked so hauntingly, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?"