Admit it. You just love extreme sports. And we’ve got a huge challenge for you. This is Mount Everest, one of the most extreme places on earth.
If you set out to conquer the highest mountain in the world you’ll face deadly physical and mental challenges. Scaling Everest is no easy feat. At least 295 people have died on Mount Everest, and we don’t want you to be next.
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world at 8,850 m (29,035 ft). It lies between Nepal and China. This gigantic mountain arose from the movements of tectonic plates millions of years ago. Do you know that it’s still growing?
Above 8 km (5 mi) close to the summit lies the “Death Zone.” It’s so high that you can only breathe in about one third of the oxygen you’d get at sea level. This could cause fluid to build up in your lungs and brain, and blood clots in your lung arteries. Here every decision is critical.
How can you prepare for this monumental undertaking? Is there any chance of being rescued from the “Death Zone? And what happens if you get stuck in the “Death Zone?”
Step 1 – Know Yourself.
I don’t mean your height, age, and weight. I mean, what would you do in a life threatening situation? Can you stay calm, think clearly, and follow directions?
When you’re hanging onto the side of a mountain, in a storm, staying calm could help you and your teammates to survive. There’s no “I” in team, and it couldn’t be any more apparent than on Everest.
Nobody climbs to the summit alone, so it’s always a team effort, and everyone relies on each other. When you and your team are on the mountainside you could all be attached to the same rope. What could happen if someone hasn’t anchored the rope securely enough? So remember, teamwork is essential for making the summit.
Step 2 – Prepare.
High on Mount Everest, with dangerously low oxygen levels and freezing temperatures, will you be strong enough to keep climbing? Knowledge and training will be crucial to surviving.
For instance, know how much oxygen, and what flow rates, you’ll need to climb safely. Also, be prepared for all the challenges you could face.
One major risk is hypothermia, which happens when your body loses heat faster than it can make heat. And the ultraviolet rays reflected from snow and ice can cause snow blindness, making climbing even more dangerous. Learn how to handle these challenges, for your health and your team’s. And make sure you’ve got the right climbing equipment and supplies. You have to carry everything you’ll need.
Step 3 – Respect the Weather.
Huge mountains are notorious for their drastic and unexpected weather changes. Mount Everest is no different. One moment it’s clear and the summit is in sight, the next it’s harsh winds and the chance of being stopped by heavy snowfall.
Remember to constantly check weather forecasts, and take them seriously before you continue climbing. Climbers often spend days on the mountain, waiting to continue climbing. Also any sort of helicopter rescue on Mount Everest is not possible, Although helicopters can reach that altitude, weather conditions make it impossible to attempt.
Step 4 – Trust Your Sherpa.
Sherpas are famous for their ability to climb Mount Everest. Sherpas are native to the Himalayan region, descended from Tibetan heritage. They are the real experts and heroes of Mount Everest. Without their help, reaching the summit is almost impossible.
So, it is important to trust and learn from them. They have years of knowledge and experience and they know the mountain better than anyone, including how to cope with avalanches and icefalls. The record-breaking mountain guide, Kami Rita, has climbed Mount Everest more than 20 times. He can tell if a climber will be able to summit the mountain, or not.
Step 5 – Know the Ropes.
It sounds trivial, but at 8,000 metres death could just be one mistake or rope failure away. Always make sure to clip in to a rope everywhere you go and don’t rush.
In recent years, one of the major hazards on Mount Everest is the sheer number of climbers on one stretch of the ascent. People have to wait for their turns to keep climbing, which adds to the time it takes to finish the climb, and increases the chance that they’ll run out of food before they’re finished. Also, remember that ropes take a lot of wear so check them daily to make sure they are strong enough for the next day’s climb.
Step 6 – See the Bigger Picture.
Maybe the most important advice we can give is simply that it’s okay to fail. We know factors like the high fees climbers pay to do the climb, and dreams of being one of the few that have made the summit are important.
But at the end of the climb it’s better to turn back, live another day, and hopefully try again. The English actor Brian Blessed knows all too well, he has attempted to summit Everest three times.
On his last attempt, Brian was only a few metres from the summit, when he chose to sacrifice his chances to help rescue a fellow climber. Now, in his 80s, he will never get another chance to summit and achieve his ultimate goal.
Climbing to the highest peak in the world is very, very tough. And while the number of people to summit Mount Everest increases every year, the dangers increase too. In 2019, there were long queues in the “Death Zone,” and 11 people died in just one week as they waited to continue the climb.
- “How Much Does It Cost To Climb Mount Everest? – 2021 Edition – The Blog On Alanarnette.Com”. 2021. The Blog On alanarnette.com.
- “Mount Everest | Height, Location, Map, Facts, Climbers, & Deaths”. Wilfrid Noyce. 2021. Encyclopedia Britannica.
- “Everest through the eyes of a Sherpa: ‘Climbers need to wake up’”. Pradeep Bashyal. 2019. BBC News.
- “Climbing Mount Everest, Facts And Information”. 2021. Adventure.
- “What happens to your body in Mount Everest’s ‘Death Zone,’ where 11 people have died in the past week”. 2019. Business Insider Nederland.