Image Above - Alex Honnold is a modern-day Don Quixote who is winning new plaudits from around the world and inspiring a generation of young dreamers for reaching his own impossible dream.
Honnold, 33, achieved a feat no other human has accomplished: the solo ascent of 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in 2017 using just his hands, feet and a bag of chalk (no ropes, pitons or other climbing equipment).
Image Above from left to right - Jason Wells, 1972-2018 - Tim Klein, 1975-2018.
On the morning of June 2 at 8 a.m., while speed climbing on the lower pitches of the Salathé Wall on El Capitan—a section called Freeblast—two highly experienced climbers, Tim Klein and Jason Wells, were involved in a fatal accident. The team was simul-climbing through Pitch 9 or 10, 5.7 terrain approaching Mammoth Terraces, when the incident occurred. A scream was heard and both climbers fell, roped together, 1,000 feet to the ground.
Wells had dozens of El Cap ascents under his belt, many of them with Klein. It wasn’t uncommon for the pair to ascend the 3,000-foot formation—a wall that takes most experienced parties several days—multiple times together in the same weekend, or sometimes twice in one day.
Image Above - Dubai/Muscat: A British national of Pakistani origin died from heat exposure and dehydration while hiking on an Omani mountainside along the UAE border on Saturday, Royal Oman Police (ROP) said.
UAE resident Bushra Farooqui succumbed to the elements after she inexplicably broke away from her 12-member hiking party and could not be located by Omani search and rescue parties.
The tragic hiking death is the first in Oman in a decade.
The body of the established businesswoman and charity volunteer living in Dubai will be repatriated to Pakistan.
What to do in a whiteout
Frequently, flurries of snow that cause whiteouts soon pass and the best course of action is to stay put, if it is safe to do so. The risks are high and in the absence of a horizon we easily lose our spatial orientation which can also lead to vertigo. If you must move, there are some measures you can employ to minimise this risk.
1. Before moving off, be absolutely certain that you know exactly where you are you cannot navigate safely to another point if you don’t know where you have started from.
2. If you have one, use your handheld satnav (GPS). It will tell you where you are and where to go, but it is important to stress that it does not tell you how to navoid snowdrifts, ice that has covered open water, and avalanches.
3. Whiteouts are frequently a local phenomenon and related to a specific altitude so, if safe to do so, move to a lower position if it is not too far to travel. If your route was from a lower altitude, follow the old track back as it may also give some kind of contrast in the snow.
4. If there is a forest nearby head for this; it will afford some protection from the weather too.
5. If there is a handrail nearby which is near impossible to miss, aim for it.
6. Instead of going straight to your attack point (next destination), use the technique of Aiming Off, if you can.
7. With the loss of an obvious event horizon, it can be difficult to assess
how the ground lies ahead if you are moving up or down. Depth perception is also difficult. Throwing a rope or a snowball out in front is a good method.
Types of whiteout
There are four types of whiteout:
1. During a normal snowfall, a sudden heavy flurry, albeit usually brief, can sometimes strike and create whiteout conditions.
2. In blizzard conditions the volume of wind-blown snow, often mixed with ice particles, is so dense that it is all you can see.
3. On pitch-black nights, even light falling snow can reflect the light from head torches and create a whiteout. Dimming your torch beam can reduce, but not totally eliminate, this effect.
4. This last type happens when low cloud covers the hills, diffusing the light and making the entire environment turn white, even when it is not snowing.
Image Above - Hurricane Michael Begins its Pummel on the Florida Panhandle
When attempting to climb a mountain it will be of great help and safety to check local weather patterns and also to ensure you don't risk climbing when the risk of Hurricanes and Tornadoes are at there highest. A tornado or Hurricane at 8600 m / 27000 ft is something a climber should completely avoid if possible.
Image Above - Tom Ballard, 30, Tom Ballard, 30, along with his Italian friend Daniele Nardi, 42, had been attempting to climb Nanga Parbat in Pakistan when sadly they perished in inconspitable weather conditions. Harrowing messages sent by a British climber missing on a Himalayan peak nicknamed “killer mountain” reveal he was experiencing "bad weather, fog, sleet and strong gusts of wind" The pair, who started their climb in December, had reached a height of about 6,300m at the weekend.
Image Above - Daniele Nardi, 42, Their last contact with their base camp team was by satellite phone on Sunday, They had not been heard from since. Bulletins sent by Tom on a sponsor’s website reveal the treacherous conditions the climbers had recently endured. In one bulletin, the 30-year-old described how snow had destroyed one of the camps at 5,700m. He wrote: “Tents, our down gear, sleeping bags, food, fuel and technical equipment were all lost. All that hard work to carry it up here, for nothing.” Last month he described how the pair had first attempted to stop the night at Camp 4, at 6,200m.
Alberto Zerain was climbing Nanga Parbat with Mariano Galvan as part of the 2x14x8000 project, which aimed to see 14 of the world’s 8,000 m. peaks climbed twice.
While on the Mazeno Ridge, Zerain gave his last update to the Base Camp team on 24 June 2017. Shortly after, his team lost contact with him. They would announce on 27 June, that they believed he and Mariano Galvan had lost power on their radio communicators. On 01 July, 2x14x8000 announced that a helicopter search of the Mazeno Ridge revealed signs of a massive avalanche. The team did not believe there was a possibility of survivors. On this day, the search for Zerain and Galvan was ended and the mountaineering world began to mourn, finally letting go of the hope they had so desperately tried to cling to in the belief that he would be found alive.
Image Above - From left to right Alberto Zerain was climbing Nanga Parbat with Mariano Galvan
He said: “Daniele looked puzzled (from what I could see under goggles and all wrapped up) because where he had spent the night in 2013 just didn’t exist any more. No snow ridge. We could barely stand up in the wind. “So we left a rucksack full of kit attached to a trio of ice screws and abseiled back down to Camp 3. The usual situation here, spindrift.
“Into the tent for a rehydrated meal. It went dark. Headlamps switched on and off down the mountain. Exhausted we reached base camp at 9pm.”
In his final message, Daniele had spoken about the “bad weather, fog, sleet and gusts of wind,” ahead of them.
The Diamir side of Nanga Parbat and the street where Nardi and Ballard were engaged - A search and rescue operation has been underway for the pair since Sunday but was briefly halted when airspace over the mountain range was closed due to tensions between India and Pakistan. The bodies of the pair were found two weeks later after going missing on 24th February 2019. A team of four Spanish rescuers identified their remains after earlier spotting their silhouettes at an altitude of 20,700ft, close to their last known position. Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador, said the search team has confirmed that silhouettes earlier seen on the mountain were the bodies of Mr Ballard and Mr Nardi. He added that the bodies are in a location that is proving difficult to reach.
He tweeted: "With great sadness I inform that the search for Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard is over as the search team has confirmed that the silhouettes spotted on Mummery at about 5,900 meters are those of Daniele and Tom. R.I.P." Mr Ballard was born in Derbyshire but moved to the Scottish Highlands in 1995, the year his mother, Alison Hargreaves, died on K2 when she was 33, just months after becoming the first woman to conquer Everest unaided. Despite being dubbed "Killer Mountain" because of its dangerous conditions, the summit of Nanga Parbat has often attracted climbers.Located in Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan area, it is the ninth highest mountain in the world at 26,660ft (8,126m).
Image Above - Tom Ballard with his mother Alison Hargreaves and his sister Kate in 1995 - Mr Nardi and Mr Ballard set out on the climb on February 22, making it to the fourth base camp the following day. The pair last made contact on February 24 from around 20,700ft (6,300m) on Nanga Parbat.
Pakistan dispatched search helicopters last week despite the closure of its airspace amid tensions with neighbouring India over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Mr Pontecorvo said the search team involving the Spaniards this week captured photos of the silhouettes and analysis confirmed that they were the missing climbers.
Mr Nardi, from near Rome, had attempted the Nanga Parbat summit in winter several times in the past.
In 2015, Mr Ballard became the first person ever to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter.
Image Above - Frostnip Vs. Frostbite - What happens to your body in extreme temperatures.
Other dangers to consider - Pneumonia
Tropical and all kinds of other infections
To the above; witnessing accidents and deaths of other climbers. The death percentage on Everest is currently around 5%. You can do a lot to minimize the statistics for yourself.
First from all, no mountain is safe. The Mount Blanc area suffers 50-60 deaths every year.
All mountains are unpredictable and sometimes terribly unforgiving to negligence. Beware! Take control of your situation on Everest like on any mountain; by being sensible and well prepared.
Image Above - Mont Blanc meaning "White Mountain", is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of Russia's Caucasus peaks. It rises 4,808.7 m (15,777 ft) above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence. The mountain stands in a range called the Graian Alps, between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France. The location of the summit is on the watershed line between the valleys of Ferret and Veny in Italy and the valleys of Montjoie, and Arve in France, in the middle of what is generally considered to be the border between the two countries. In June 2015, Italian Prime Minister Matteo RENZI expressed repeated claims on the territory.
Image Above - Chamonix Mont-Blanc Skiing - Even if you join a commercial expedition, you can't count on anyone in a dangerous situation. It's very healthy to take control of your own gear, oxygen and climbing decisions, to turn around allows for new attempts at a later stage to give your body time to recuperate. It's wiser to fail than to die, surprisingly many excellent Everest climbers have done the same. To try 3, 4 or even 5 times is more common than you would imagine, and wise if the situation calls for it.
Image Above - Portrait RM - Archiv R. Messner 2016 - In fact, the more inexperienced the climbers, the more often they will summit on their first attempt. It's chance-taking due to unawareness of the dangers and of course it's very hazardous. You might get away only once or twice with it, but it's nothing for the long-term climber. Reinhold Messners summit ratio in the Himalayas was 1:3. Speed is very important as the longer you take to climb a certain location also increases the drain on air and your body, It takes a lot of effort and enormous human toll to climb to the top of Everest and your body will need time and a safe and warm place to recover once you make it to the summit, Dont risk running out of air as many climber has become completely committed to reaching the top but has not allowed any energy or air to come back down again safely. Don't rely on other climbers for spare air or help only in extreme emergencies you should always be efficient and self providing every step of the way.
Image Above - Reinhold-Messner-Peter-Habeler-1978 - Respect the weather.
Bad weather can turn an easy, sunny climb into a horrible, fatal inferno. The change is often fast and unforgiving.
Suddenly, you are blind, the wind freezes the blood in your veins, you can't think and you can't find your way anywhere! Instantly, you feel a deadly fear whilst your mind keeps falling into a helpless dizziness. You cant feel your fingers, you can't feel your toes - there is ice on the white dying tissue of your face and the roaring wind drowns your fellow climbers desperate yells for each other, It's too late for everything.
Don't get yourself into it. Check the weather forecasts, see that you understand them, take them seriously and don't allow yourself to get false security in large numbers of climbers.
Image Above - Himalaya mountains blocking bad weather, Tibet 2015 - Carefully plan your stages and try to find a suitable time that won't put you in a bottleneck or long trail of other climbers, This is completely avoidable and will certainly improve your chances of a succesful summit, All to often scores of climbers created by the many guiding services clog up the roots creating bottlenecks and slow progress, Why waste 3 4 5 hours on a mountain, take your time progress on selective days when the weather is good but allow for climbers to progress on other days, Allow a gap. Try to take extra air heat packs etc on your journey in case someone becomes sick or has run out or develops severe hypothermia, small things like this go a big way in helping others on the mountain.
On prolonged climbs, bad weather might strike unexpectedly, contrary to forecasts of fine conditions. The mountain creates its own weather, impossible to predict well by todays models and especially without a weather station on the summit. Trust forecasts for general weather system predictions, but always keep an eye on the mountain. Place fixed ropes everywhere possible. Bring a compass, provide for a security light in camp. Minimize the risk any way you can.
Use the ropes.
Don't hurry, clip in everywhere. At technical parts, fixed with old rope, clip in to several lines at once. Almost yearly climbers die in the Himalayas due to old rope. Pull at the ropes before clipping in. Check the screws and the ropes at all times. Don't climb together with large numbers of climbers on one rope. Don't lean on the ropes too much. Use your crampons and legs on steep climbs like the Lhotse wall.
For unroped sections it might be wise to tie in to each other. Learn self-arrest techniques. Some climbers prefer not to tie in with someone (if one falls the other will get pulled along).
And we mean PLENTY. High altitude health problems like headache, edema, frostbite, confusion and such are actually more often related to dehydration then lack of oxygen.
A lot of strange feelings, reactions and symptoms occur at altitude. For instance; going high causes your brain to lack oxygen. A brain short on oxygen reacts by depression. In the old ages, when people slept in four-poster beds hung with thick velvety curtains, people lacked oxygen at night. Thats why this time in history is called the "nightmare-age". It's the same phenomena. The brain reacts on oxygen depravation by nightmares at night and bad moods during the day.
The increasing incidents of theft of oxygen bottles from high-altitude camps on the Mount Everest is exposing climbers to potential life-threatening situations. Expedition groups have complained that their oxygen bottles had disappeared and that could be life-threatening.
Several foreign climbers have also posted about the thefts on social media. "Another seven bottles of oxygen have gone missing from our supply," expedition leader Tim Mosedale posted on Facebook. Officials at the Nepal National Mountain Guides Association (NNMGA) believe that the rising number of inexperienced and untrained climbers could be behind the thefts. Some have also claimed that people are stealing the bottles to sell them at base camp. "That market appears to be thriving at the base camp," Tenji Sherpa said. On an average, climbers need at least seven bottles of oxygen on their way up and down the Everest. They normally need it from above Camp III. Each bottle contains four litres of oxygen and climbers inhale it at different rates. If they consume it at the highest rate of inhaling, a bottle can last up to five hours, which means they might need more bottles than normal. Under new proposals to eradicate and reduce this problem every climber will need a sherpa to ensure that they have enough oxygen food and medicine, "We have proposed for this to be included in the mountaineering regulation but there has to be a cabinet-level decision on this," an official at Nepal's tourism ministry said. "Frequent changes in the government have meant that our ministry has been getting a new minister every few months, and issues like this don't get addressed."
Image Above - David Roeske summits Mount Everest without the use of supplementary oxygen. Going down instead floods your brain with oz and you will get euphoric. This instead can cause psychosis.
In dangerous situations, we all react differently. Some freeze, some panic, some are rational. How will you react?
The knowledge of different situations at altitude - and your own reactions to them - is important for your self-confidence and essential for survival.That's why experience with altitude is so important prior to an Everest climb.
Know your gear, oxygen and alpine medicine.
How much oxygen will be needed for the attempt? How many bottles is that? On what flow? What is your backup for os-failure? How do you change the bottles?
What if the regulator clogs up with ice? What will you do if you lose a crampon? How does it feel to become snow-blind? Why does it happen? Why do people with hypothermia undress and neatly fold away their clothes?
Seek knowledge in books and practice. Preparation is the seed of success. On Everest - it's also the key to survival.
Whilst there are some ways to "read" the snow, and various digging techniques for avalanche situations, there is really not much to do about it. Avoid climbs following heavy snowfalls. Especially on the Lhotse wall or the North wall. Climb swiftly past the dangerous parts, don't climb the icefall too late in the day, and - well - keep your fingers crossed.
Read and educate yourself daily while resting in your tent there is always something to learn which might just save your life. Dont always rely on other climbers instincts and judgement, be proactive be committed to thinking for yourself when in danger.
A 9-year-old Pakistani girl has become the youngest to climb the 5,765-metre-high Quz Sar Peak in Shimshal Valley located in the north of Pakistan. Selena Khawaja has told Gulf News in her first detailed interview that she has a special love for peaks as she lives in the mountain city of Abbottabad. Selena said she felt “great” on reaching the summit on 21 February 2018. “The view from the top of mountain is very beautiful.” Delighted at her achievement, Selena has now set her eyes on three peaks: Mingling Sar (6,050 metres), followed by Spantik Peak (7,027 metres) and then the Broad Peak (8,051 metres) which is the 12th highest mountain in the world. “I aim to climb all these peaks this year,” said a confident Selena.
Image Above - Selena Khawaja with her father Yousaf Khawaja at the top of the 5,000-metre-high Quz Sar peak. Image Credit: Courtesy: Selena Khwaja. But she has bigger ambitions already. In 2019, she plans to attempt her dream peak, the 8,848-metre high Mount Everest. “I will aim for the world’s tallest mountain in 2019 to become the youngest girl to reach the top of Mount Everest” she told Gulf News. Selena is a student of grade 5 at Talking Heads International School with a passion for outdoor activities. Encouraged by her parents and her teachers, she started physical training at the age of 8 in the mountains of Miranjani and Makra. “I have scaled Miranjani at least 45 times and it is nearly 3,000 metres high,” she rejoiced. “And summited the 4,000-metre Makra Peak around 3 times.”
On her latest triumph, Selena was accompanied by her father Yousaf Khawaja and expedition guide Wazir Baig, porter Arif Baig and other team members. The expedition took more than 10 days, out of which 7 were wholly dedicated to the hike. Sharing one of the fearful experiences of the Quz Sar journey, Selena told: “At 5,000 metres, I felt slight altitude sickness but my training and the support of my father helped me overcome it soon.” Selena’s father, Yousaf Khawaja, is in fact her mentor and mountain guide who prepared her for the climb. “When she started climbing at the age of 8, I sensed improvement in her activity within a month. In less than one year, she was able to do Miranjani round trip in half the time.”
Both daughter and father are inspired by Pakistan’s sports legend and political leader Imran Khan. “Aim so high that your goal seems impossible then work hard and achieve your goal — these words of Imran Khan motivate me and Selena to aim for Mount Everest,” he shared in an interview. Selena’s father, a fitness trainer, believes he has trained her daughter physically and takes special care of her diet, which is full of vitamins and minerals. “At the age 9, she is way more fit than a casual 20-year-old,” he claims.
(Medical Problems) Obviously it would not be a good idea to attempt to climb a tall mountain if you suffer from serious medical conditions as this could endanger your life, If you slipped and fell hurting your spine you would expect someone to help you ie: get a stretcher to carry you down to the next camp, But this is not always guaranteed because of the harsh climates on higher levels of mountains, It is essential that you bring a well stocked first aid kit with you on your trip and if you are climbing in pairs or more ensure one person has the medical knowledge and expertise to help an injured climber when the unexpected does happen.
We will not go deep into this subject. We are not doctors and there is extensive literature on alpine medicine available. You should educate yourself and also read and bring with you the book "Medicine for mountaineering (The mountaineers) on the expedition. We would however like to share with you some of our own hands-on experience. Our advice is out of a climber's perspective, a practical supplement to conventional medical knowledge.
Image Above - A sherpa Acclimatizing high in the Everest region
There is no need to hurry or exert your self while acclimatizing. You shouldn't climb higher than 300-500 meters/900-1500 ft per day. That's not very hard to do and you might be tempted to go farther. But all it will bring you is headache, sleeplessness and possibly mountain illness in the morning. Use your head, not your legs only.
These are the signs to watch for when climbing:
Some headache (relieved by aspirin), irregular breathing at night, rapid breathing at day, increased urine output.
Moderate mountain sickness
Some sleeplessness, decreased urine output, persistent headache not relieved by aspirin. Stay at your current altitude for some time (1-2 days) until you feel well. Don't climb higher!
Acute mountain sickness (AMS)
Dizziness, vomiting, losing your balance, persistent coughing, sleepiness. Go down at least 500-m/1500 ft! Immediately.
Consult a doctor (on the walkie-talkie) and take emergency medicine.
High Altitude Cerebral (HACE)- and Pulmonary (HAPE) Edema
This is serious. Cerebral and Pulmonary Edema are caused by fluid collecting inside the brain and/or lungs.
Cerebral edema shows as failure of motor function, vomiting, hallucinations, extreme sleepiness and ataxia (can't walk heel to toe). Try to walk a straight line or point your nose if you suspect it.
Oxygen, Gamow bag-treatment, Diamox and Decadron are helpful, but the most important is rapid descent.
The same treatment counts for Pulmonary edema (blue lips, very heavy breathing, gurgling sound when breathing).
Both HACE and HAPE arrive upon pushing in spite of AMS. They are the immediate result of too much, too fast and a general negligence to the body's subtle or in the end, not so subtle warnings.
Sometimes we have to push the limits. Storms and other acute situations might force us into circumstances that we don't like. That's one thing. But to come up with AMS due to impatience and ignorance is sad. It could cost you your life. HAPE and HACE kill fast.
Lastly, never cook inside a sealed tent. The gas withdraws the oxygen from the air and this can cause HACE/HAPE conditions in your sleep.
Frostbite and frostnip typically occurs in the hands, feet and sometimes ears and the nose. The tissue turns white, you lose the feeling in it, and eventually it becomes black, blisters and finally falls of.
Frostbite is thawed in cool water slowly heated to lukewarm. If you thaw the tissue too fast (in too hot water) it will thaw before circulation has returned and the tissue will die of oxygen depravation, the cells bursting. In addition to thawing you need to administer antibiotics to prevent infections.
It will take around 3 months to determine the exact damage. Luckily, frostbite often reverses completely. Never treat a frostbite by rubbing it! Feel your feet sometimes while climbing, stretch the toes, kick the boots in the snow once in a while for improved circulation.
Use HotTronics for the summit attempt, don't wear too tight boots. Always wear gators over plastic shoes - or even better use the One Sports shoes.
Should you sense a loss of feeling in your feet while climbing - remove the boots and warm the feet in your buddies armpits or crotch (well, that's what friends are for). The herb Ginkgo Biloba is said to expand the fine capillaries and be helpful against frostbite. Drinking lots of fluid is absolutely crucial.
Hypothermia can kill in only 30 minutes. Cold temperature, but also strong wind causes the body to rapidly lose heat. You start to shiver in order to maintain body heat from the rapid muscular shaking.
If your body temperature drops to 35C/95F, you'll get dizzy and disoriented. Then the shivering stops. The body now maintains temperature only around the important organs; heart, brain and lungs by shutting down blood circulation to the arms and legs.
At 30C/86F, your pulse is weak and slow. Your blood vessels widen. Now, you feel hot and want to remove your clothes, finally slipping into unconsciousness. At 24C/75F your heartbeat stops. How fast you drop temperature will determine how rapidly you'll parish. 30 minutes is more than enough!
Full blown Hypothermia will not be improved by additional clothing since clothing doesn't generate heat. In difficult climbing situations, you need to put hot water bottles in your armpits, to your crotch and/or stomach. As a last resort, strip and get into a sleeping bag - together with another undressed person, to warm up by the others body heat (yeah, yeah - keep your dirty imagination to yourself!).
Otherwise - keep moving until at safety. In 1998, a climber died of Hypothermia on the North Side. All that was found left of him was his clothing neatly folded below the summit. This is quite typical of the condition. Confused, the brain tries to bring some order in the situation, thus folding the clothes. Prevent Hypothermia by adding on clothes as soon as you start feeling the slightest cold. Bring windproof clothing and lightweight downs in your backpack for the lower climbs, hot water bottles inside the down suit for the summit and don't pursue the climb if you start getting the symptoms of Hypothermia, unless you have no choice.
This painful state comes from the sun burning your eye cornea. It occurs if you don't wear sunglasses at altitude.
When climbing on oxygen, the warm and moist breathing air will escape your oxygen mask upwards and sometimes clog up your goggles, especially upon climbing down. Your choice will then be to climb "blindfolded" or remove the glasses. You might choose to pull your glasses a bit out from your face, allowing the warm air to pass them. The suns rays will now be able to burn your eyes at the unprotected sides.
If the weather is overcast you might be tempted to remove the glasses altogether. Yet the rays are just as harmful when cloudy, and the following morning you'll be sorry. After 8 years of climbing it finally happened to us. It took only a short time without goggles at our summit descent (shooting film), we noticed nothing, and in the morning we were a mess. Try to keep the glasses on and bring snow blindness medical drops in case you get blinded after all. The ointment will considerably speed up your recovery.
Although there is a variety of altitude hazards to your health and many ways to prevent and cure - especially by knowledge and sense - there is one single important discovery that we would like to share with you.
It has totally altered our own performance in climbing as well as our well being in altitude. It is very simple yet crucial ' it is the drinking of water. The lack of oxygen at altitude cause your body to need more red oxygen carrying blood cells. Each new blood cell will pick up oxygen from the air and hurry it to your tissues. Your spine will therefore soon start to produce this new blood. The drawback is that the new blood cells will make your blood very thick. You will see it clearly if cutting your finger - the blood is dark and syrupy.
Thick blood means slow circulation and the blood unable to reach your finer blood veins - the capillaries. The oxygen transportation will be slow and inefficient with that.
Image Above - Stability and balance concept. Natural rocks arranged in buddhist pyramids and towers on mountain river bank. Fluid stream water flows with natural sound ... When your tissues don't get warm blood to heat them - they will start to freeze. You suffer frostnip. The cells in your body begin to collect fluid. Your lung fills up and you drown in your own body fluid (HAPE). The brain swells up (HACE). The body will collect water from everywhere it can - your intestines for instance. As your bowels don't get enough water to make the waste soft you can't get rid of it (it is small and hard as a rabbits and really painful). Water ends up everywhere in your body, except were it should be ' in the blood. Your muscle cells don't get oz and you climb slowly and heavily. All these altitude symptoms happen because the fluid balance in your body is messed up.
There is a very simple way to keep the blood nice and thick with the precious oxygen-providing red blood cells intact, and still happily free flowing to all the tiniest corners of your system: WATER! You need around 4-5 liters of water at altitude to feel great. Simple as that. Drink. Drink, Drink! The best way to check that you are well hydrated is to check your urine. You need to drink until it's almost white.
It's not of much use pumping your blood full with oz when climbing on oxygen support, if it still can't get anywhere due to slow circulation.
A well-hydrated climber with NO oxygen support can actually perform BETTER than a dehydrated climber ON oxygen. Obviously, being well hydrated and on oxygen, will be your best bet.
We rid us of headaches, hemorrhoids, edema, fatigue - everything, just by drinking! Try to drink 1-2 liters, 1-2 hours before the climb and you will feel a dramatic difference in your climbing performance.
At camp - don't just lie to sleep, take the time to melt snow and drink another two liters. At night, drink another. You won't believe the difference. In the morning, you will be up and ready to go, instead of the usual headaches, fatigue and all the other altitude pains.
In the past two years we have stayed at C2 for prolonged periods, at C3 without os and previous acclimatization there, still climbing fast for C4 and the summit. At the summit we stayed one hour without oz, leisurely climbed back down to C4, made transmissions and complicated technical work in the meantime - and felt great the whole time! Tina didn't even wear gloves once all the way from BC to summit and back...
It was a big change to our first years, when "normal" liquid intake (2-3 liters at the most), left us struggling and suffering throughout most of the climbs. Drink and be merry. Don't drink and you'll end up fighting a battle with altitude. If you climb in a commercial expedition, drinking might prove more easily said than done. Two burners and one of them probably failing, to be shared between three climbers. Not enough gas, and a decision to take turns cooking whilst the others might not share your view on the amount needed, could turn the task of getting enough liquid into an impossible one. We recommend that you bring a spare burner for your own personal use (the Titanium very light weight stove for instance: "Primus Alpine Titanium" 95 g/3,35 oz/3000 W/ approx US 150) and really be on your leader's back to provide plenty of gas. You've paid some serious money for the services - they can afford one extra sherpa to supply enough of the important things to everyone!
Finally - remember that coffee, tea and chocolate are diuretic and won't do the work well. Count in only 50% liquid value with those.
Image Above - Dr. Luanne Freer founded Everest ER, a nonprofit medical clinic, in 2003. Diarrhea
Visiting the bathroom whilst climbing is a complicated and cold procedure. You have to get into heavy clothing, work your way over a considerable distance (at least that's how it will seem in that condition) jump icy rocks and then do what you have to do in a limited state of privacy...
That is if you are lucky enough to be in BC. Higher camps provide even more hostile comforts, not to mention if you suffer sudden stomach attacks while climbing. Stripping in the icefall or while roped at the Lhotse wall is inevitable at times, and memorable always.
In 1997, a climber fell and was killed whilst doing his thing on C3. Always be carefully roped when leaving tent at C3, even for very short distances!
Everest is not a place for frequent visits to the toilet and antibiotics will prove a helpful friend to you. Diarrhea causes dehydration and disturbance of the mineral balance in your body. Drink plenty and add electrolyte supplement. Since diarrhea is such a pain on Everest, sometimes you will have to take aids like Imodium to halt it. You should be careful with these aids though. They prevent your body to rid of the bad bacteria, and will also affect your digestion so that you won't be able to go properly for some days. Use Imodium or the equivalent only when you really have to.
This cough is very debilitating to your climb. The dry and cold air will have you coughing every second step. You will get slow and weak. If not treated, it could spread to your lungs and cause pneumonia. The best way to prevent it is to wear a mask that heats the breathing air and moisturizes it. They are usually found in cross-country ski stores. They have a metallic net inserted in a lightweight plastic or cloth shell. If you can't find them you can order them from Sweden.These masks were originally invented for the Olympic skiing team in Finland and work very well. If you do come down with the cough, the drug Codeine could help. Best cure though is to trek down to around 4000 meters/13000 ft for a few days until it's gone. If it spreads to you lungs, you will need antibiotics. Heartburn
This is a very common trouble on altitude. Bring Zantac or the equivalent to ease heartburn, especially at nights
These adrenaline shots, usually used for allergic shock or severe asthma, are lifesavers as well as killers on a mountain. If in a state of fatal exhaustion, the adrenaline might bring out some power in you, hopefully enough to make it down. Yet, it might just as well give you a heart attack. Obviously, adrenaline shots are an absolute last resort when all hope is out and you are dying anyway. That's the time to shoot up. At all other instances, stay away from it. We always bring them with us, but thankfully never yet had to use them. (Check the expiry date and minimum temperatures).
An emergency drug, sometimes also used to speed up acclimatization. It reduces the increase in blood pH resulting from carbon dioxide loss at altitude caused by faster and deeper breathing. Diamox enables you to breathe easier at night (and avoid the Cheyennes), thus enhancing your performance at daytime.
We tried it on Denali, peed every 30 minutes, felt our fingers and toes tingle and gave it up altogether after a few days. Diamox doesn't do anything for us. Taking your time while climbing and drinking well is the best altitude beater. We bring Diamox only for rescue situations.
This steroid should only be used in emergency situations. Taking it will require immediate evacuation, since Decadron will relieve acute mountain sickness but not cure it. Don't try to rely on Decadron while climbing if you don't wish to die. Bring it with you (pills and shots) for serious situations only.
Another emergency drug, this one for pulmonary edema, since it lowers pulmonary artery pressure. Again, take it and rush down.
We've been told that Nifedipine should be taken in pills slowly absorbed under the tongue. Check with your doctor.
Image Above - Gamow bag
The Gamow-bag is really helpfull when trekkers or climbers suffer from altitude sickness such as HAPE and HACE . The bag rapidly decreases the altitude by a couple of thousands meters and can be the difference between life and death within hours. It works as a converted dive-decompression chamber and builds pressure with a simple footpump. The Himalayan Rescue Association have one at Pherouche and most often there should be at least one around in BC. If your expedition want's to bring the Gamow, it could be possible to rent it. Try your trekking agency. Or buy it at approx US 4000. Surf the net for it.
Image Above - Mountaineer doctor awed by Himalayas and inspired to help others by qualifying as high-altitude medic - Oxygen
Use it for all severe altitude illnesses. 2-3 liters/minute - and DOWN. Higher levels can be toxic. Always bring a spare emergency bottle between 2-3 climbers above C2 for rescue.
Ask your doctor about dosages, drug administration and additional drugs for various coughs (Codein), stuffed nose, strong painkillers for frostbite or fractures, and other prescriptions. In addition, bring band-aids, iodine, antiseptics, water purifiers, surgeon tape, and other first aid medical tools.
Have the necessary immunizations and preferably attend some first-aid class (The Red Cross do them). Iron supplements could help females. Take the kind that is easily absorbed by the body. Multivitamins and sunblockers prevent cold sores.
Image Above - Dr Luanne Freer mountain medicine Nepal - Last words on health at Everest
When we train Karate, our leader "Sensei" always states that we train hard in order to never have to use what we've learned.
This goes for altitude illness too - preventing it is half the skill to climb Everest. Learn, prepare and practise well, your exam will be to never have to use the emergency aids stated above.
To summarize; there are really just 3 major advises we have for beating altitude at Everest:
Give the climb time.
Take the time to trek down for a rest.
Drink lots of water.
Finally, don't forget to donate left over pills to the people in the valley, preferably to nurse Ann-Kanchi at Rhododendron Guesthouse in Debouche. She runs a voluntary medical clinic there. She has saved many peoples lives and is always short on medical aids.
She'll be very happy to see you. She also has many interesting Everest climbing stories to tell.
Image Above - Mountain Medicine course - Everest ER - To climb or not to...
The weather will be crucial to your success on Everest. You will find yourself frustrated by it's power to make you or break you. When you are ready, the wind might be yelling above you, when you decide to wait - the sun might shine from a clear blue sky. You will lay at night in camp 2 and listen to the roar of a distant train -the Jet wind. You will turn your face countless times towards the ridges of the mountains, trying to make some sense and predictions of the dancing white tails of snow. To go or to stay - the decision will be like gambling red or black in Las Vegas. Your odds of the correct move just as poor. Going too soon will mean wearing yourself down, having to climb back all the way to BC and your chances lost until you regain strength for a new attempt. Waiting too long means happy Summiteers greeting you on their way down while the weather is turning worse on you.
Image Above - EXPLORERSWEB the Routes of Mount Everest - by Pete Poston - Expeditions sometimes share weather reports, subscribed to from various meteorologists. Daily weather reports are costly and therefore more frequent close to the time of the summit push. ExplorersWeb now provides daily customized weather reports free of charge. Expeditions download them on satellite phones and distribute them to those without computers.
Whilst weather reports can be quite accurate, there is a local weather system on the mountain that they can't foresee. Therefore, a day with reported mild wind conditions could very well turn into a blowing frenzy, or reported strong wind nowhere to be seen.
The best way to read weather reports has always been to look for extended changes in the weather pattern. 4-5 following days of high or low figures is often a good chance of good or bad weather. Use the information to rest or to climb.
Image Above - Clouds flowing over Mount Everest - When not to climb
The Jet stream is the main concern on Everest weather. This westerly wind will have a large impact on your choice for a summit day.
We have experienced C2 in total calm, while the jet wind roared at the summit with a force of more than 100 miles an hour (50 m/s). In these conditions, the sound is that of a jet-engine and gusts drop down at 50 mph (25 m/s).
Sometimes, the jet wind will rise and give a short period of calm and a summit attempt might be possible. A summit bid in these conditions is however hazardous. You will encounter people making the summit in perfect calm one day, while the next day others hardly make it above C4.
Image Above - Jon Krakauer is played by Michael Kelly (centre) in the film 'Everest', which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal (left) as Scott Fischer and Josh Brolin (right) as Beck Weathers - The 3D blockbuster Everest, which tells the story of the disaster that unfolded on the mountain in 1996, has been strongly criticised by the author Jon Krakauer. Krakauer, 61, is one of the survivors of the terrible storm which led to the deaths of eight people, and wrote an account of the tragedy, Into Thin Air, which became a bestseller in 1997. In an interview with the LA Times, Krakauer dismissed the film as "total bull", adding that he was not approached by its director, Baltasar Kormákur, for his take on the story. Krakauer had travelled to Everest to write a piece for the American magazine Outside, and was embedded with Adventure Consultants, a group of climbers led by New Zealand guide Rob Hall, who died in the disaster.
Image Above - Jon Krakauer Says Climbing Mount Everest Was The 'Biggest Mistake' Of His Life - The writer said in the interview that he was dismayed at his own portrayal in the film, in which he is played by the actor Michael Kelly. The film suggests that Krakauer was approached by a Russian guide, Anatoli Boukreev, to help with rescue efforts, but that he refused on the grounds that he was snowblind.“I never had that conversation,” Krakauer told the newspaper. “Anatoli came to several tents, and not even sherpas could go out. I’m not saying I could have, or would have. What I’m saying is, no one came to my tent and asked.”
Life of Rob Hall Born January 14, 1961 Died May 11,1996 - In the year after the disaster, Krakauer and Boukreev clashed over their differing versions of what happened on the mountain that day. The main point of contention was Boukreev's decision to descend from the summit, leaving his clients behind, despite the fact that he later re-ascended the mountain to save several climbers. Boukreev was killed in 1997, caught in an avalanche during an ascent of Annapurna, but not before he published a rebuttal of Krakauer's criticisms in his own book, The Climb. The film's director said that his portrayal of Krakauer was not intended to be "malicious." “Our intention in the tent scene that Mr Krakauer mentions was to illustrate how helpless people were and why they might not have been able to go out and rescue people," wrote Kormákur in an email to the LA Times.
Image Above FROM LEFT TO RIGHT - Anatoly Bukreev and Vladimir Balyberdin at basecamp. by dan_2 (1) Kormákur added that he had sought the advice of people on the mountain during the disaster, among them the American climber David Breashears, who was making an Imax film about Everest when the storm hit. “The writers and I tried to look at things from a fair point of view without choosing sides,” he said. Krakauer went on to say that he regretted ever having taken part in the expedition. “Everest is not real climbing," he said. "It’s rich people climbing. It’s a trophy on the wall, and they’re done... When I say I wish I’d never gone, I really mean that.”
Image Above - A Sherpa fetches ladders for climbers attempting to summit Mount Everest. Tashi Sherpa/AP hide caption - At times the jet wind is gone, but the weather is still unstable. At the time of the 1996 accidents there were just those unstable weather patterns. Dark blizzard clouds emerged from the valley. One of the strongest teams on the mountain (the IMAX) actually returned from C4 that day, only to meet a large group of people going up in the high winds and deteriorating weather. Well, the rest is history.
Don't climb if the weather forecast is jumping back and forth and/or there is snow and strange cloud formations. Use common sense. Don't climb if it is snowing. Sherpas go back to sleep if there is a heavy snowfall, and so should you.
Image Above - Big rush: 800 Everest hopefuls waiting for weather window. Climbing permits and successful ascents. When to climb
What we primarily look for is a prolonged period (4-5 days) of stable weather with the jet far away. This is called "the window".
During our four Everest expeditions the window has come every year at about the same time, around the 23rd of May and has lasted for about a week. To find a window, it is valuable to look for the Monsoon starting to move north in the Bay of Bengal. The weather report will tell you when that occurs. This powerful weather system will pressure the jet wind to the north and create a period of perfect weather.
Image Above - Kathmandu Nepal - Don't wait too long though. As the Monsoon hits the Khumbu valley with heavy snowfalls, you should already be back in Kathmandu.
A problem with waiting for the window could be other climbers. Most expeditions schedule their attempt for the 10th of May, and by the 23rd at least half of the expeditions will have returned home. Most commercial expeditions have an end date around the 20th. When you plan for your expedition - make sure you have the resources to stay until the permit ends (1st of June).
KATHMANDU, NEPAL - JUNE 2013: Everyday scene, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Before Earthquake - Sometimes there is a period of weak winds and good weather in the beginning of May. You should be ready for summit attempt already from the 1st of May to take advantage of this. If you don't summit on this first, early attempt, there will be plenty of time to go down the valley for a week's rest, and then head back up for a new attempt in the end of the month. The wind force forecast should definitely not exceed 40 mph (20 m/s) when going for the summit. You could maybe make it in 50, but then you are extremely exposed for the wind-chill and exhaustion. In these conditions you will hardly make the summit without frostbites - or worse.
Look for less than 20 mph (10m/s). Even if that doubles, you will have a good chance of making it.
Flying above Kathmandu, Nepal. Aerial view of houses. Boudhanath stupa roof is seen on the background. In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top 10 travel destinations on the rise in the world