Climbing Mount Everest is hard.

Getting up and summiting 29,000 feet above sea level over grueling terrain, harsh weather conditions and the shear horror of altitude sickness is one of the greatest human physical achievements. According to the Himalayan Database, there have been 8,306 successful summits but 297 people have died climbing the mountain since 1922. There are two basic approaches to get to the top: one from Tibet in the north and one from Nepal in the south. More people choose Nepal because it is easier to get a permit (don't have to deal with Chinese politics) and the weather is slightly better.

However, there is one big problem with the Nepalese approach — the Khumbu Icefall.

Shown above as the valley above between Everest on the left and Nuptse on the right (Lhotse is in the middle of the background) and nicknamed "The Horror Chamber," this massive, continuously moving glacial icefall covers 2,000 vertical feet of the climb between the base camp and Camp 1 in the Valley of Silence. It earns its nickname by presenting adventurers with deep and shifting crevasses, towering ice seracs and deadly avalanches. Khumbu is responsible for taking more lives on Everest than any other cause of death on the mountain, bar none.

The Khumbu Icefall reminds us of the horror chamber investors are in this year. The chart below from Josh Brown’s post “The Year No One Made Money” pretty much sums up the degree of difficulty:

The red bars are the percentage of 70 asset classes tracked by Deutsche Bank that have negative total returns for each calendar year. So far in 2018, through mid-November, 90% are negative. That is a record going back to 1900. The chart above is also a great reminder about the awesomeness of 2017!

While 2018 has been challenging so far and future returns are unknown, we believe sticking to a sound wealth plan built around broad asset allocation and portfolio diversification will get you to your financial goal summit as safely as possible.

Contact Russell Moenich to learn more about this topic.
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