Mount Everest, at 8848 m, is the highest mountain in the world. Located between Nepal and China, in a region called Tibet, it has been historically and is a symbol of great and impossible achievement for the climber. While names differ from "goddess of the sky," "holy mountain" it is apparent that this the size, beauty, majesty, and pure magnitude of this mountain are not to be underestimated.
Today I intend to climb this mountain, to reach it's peak, conquer the world's highest task. Such a task is not easy, the physical preparation, fitness, and mental mindset that one needs before taking on the worlds largest peak, are so intense, that few have the guts to do. Everest is about 1000ft taller than the 2nd tallest mountain k2. It is so high that the climber is faced with extreme temperatures, treacherous terrain, and lack of oxygen. It is these aspects that make climbing everest such a difficult climb. Looking back at the history of man climbing Everest, I don't find it surprising that man hasn't had success with climbing it until recently with the help of modern technology such as the type of clothing, climbing equipment, and oxygen tanks that haven't been available until the 1900s.
started gaining serious interest in everest in the late 40's and
early 50's. Although not the first attempt to scale the mountain, the
first to reach the to summit, on May 29th 1953 at 11:30
am, were two British climbers, Tenzing and Hillary.
The first Americans on everest ascended in 1963, Americans also were
the first to make the peak using the west route. In the 50 years
since then, the techniques of climbing Everest have changed a bit,
but the great amount of training, dedication, and pure audacity
needed to climb everest has stayed the same.
The greatness of everest also brings a good deal of debate. Is mount everest a piece of nature that should stand and be left alone by man, to climb it would be to commit an immoral injustice to nature? Or is it there for man to fight it and conquer it, and a great accomplishment for man? It is debated over whether or not it is sportsmanlike to use oxygen while climbing? Scientific evidence has shown that it is very hard for a human to react quickly with a lack of oxygen, and therefore a tank is a necessity for climbing everest. Critics say that it is the perfect reason why men should never be there in the first place. I go today with the opinion that climbing everest is nature's biggest test, and to overcome nature's dare, one must climb it, which is exactly what I plan to do.
Not just any climber can climb everest. I've put a great amount of preparation into this climb. I had to train for 6 months training my body for extreme endurance. I've had several years of mountain climbing training, climbing up some intense mountains. I also have a permit from the Nepalese government which cost about $25000, and more money on top of that for my traveling expenses, food, and gear. Everest is not for everyone. An extreme amount of physical preparation, previous experience with mountain climbing, the finances to cover such and expedition, extreme tolerance to cold, the ability to make life-threatening decisions quickly, and an extreme stubborn heart set on reaching the summit is needed to beat this mountain. I will be taking oxygen along to assist me at high altitudes, but I'll make sure that if I do come down, the oxygen will too. (The pollution that the oxygen bottles cause is a big reason that people are against oxygen use.)
I've also arranged
with the trekking company in Kathmandu (the capital of Nepal) to have
some help with my journey. The local people residing in the Khumbu
valley, which is the base grounds of Everest, are a people called the
Sherpas. They have a long heritage of being mountain climber and more
resistant to extreme lack of oxygen than normal men due to their
constant exposure to low oxygen conditions from packing up Everest.
They can be hired to help a climber carry his oxygen, food, supplies,
or whatever may be a burden during the climb. The best Sherpas, who
have had success with summiting, and are most helpful in climbing
cost more than the novice, inexperienced Sherpas I have checked with
other climbers, and the trekking company, and hired the best Sherpas
for my expedition.
These extensive precautions are necessary for survival because of Everest's conditions. It is the highest peak in the world, and since it is a significant height above sea level, for much of the climb the oxygen level is much lower than what a human needs to think straight, and while some hikers have climbed everest without oxygen, it is extremely hard to think when you are at that high of an altitude, making bottled oxygen a necessity for most. Also, most of the intense part of the hike is above tree level, and very cold, any part of the body exposed to the air has a potential for frostbite, and the very cold weather will impair hiking and judgment. The terrain of Everest is very rough, with many cliffs and edges that will cost one his/her life if he/she is not careful. The inability to think at such a high altitude makes choosing the right path, the right place to place your foot, even a more difficult challenge.
Everest is a very great and majestic mountain. To conquer it's summit is nature's dare to any climbers brave enough to attempt an accent. Climbing it is indeed one of the roughest tasks that man can be put up to, which must be taken with much care, planning, and preparation. Climbing everest is not for everyone, years of climbing experience is needed, and those with health problems, or not enough money to pay for the journey need not apply. Even out of the people who do meet the strict physical and financial requirements, only the bravest of souls that are persistent enough, that are willing to put forth the effort, training, and time into preparation, are truly qualified to embark on such a move. Those mentally unqualified for the dangerous terrain, and freezing temperatures, who have laughed at the mountain thinking they could conquer her without the proper preparation, could slip and fall off a snowy drop off, or take one confident, uneducated move, never to be seen again.
Looking up at the mountain now, I reassure myself that I am qualified to to this, that I
have taken the proper precautions and I have enough durability and enough mental judgment to make it to the summit. I have climbed several hard mountains and am an avid climber. I have all of the right gear, clothing, and oxygen for the journey. I've hired the best Sherpas to guide me and assist me in my journey. Pride and ego will be saved after the climb and I will not let it get in the way of sound judgment. Everything is set in place so that I should have a perfect shot at the summit, but patience, humility, persistence and planning are what I need to concentrate on now. If I become too anxious or hasty, and try to rush the summit and make one wrong move, it will be the end of me. By understanding this I hope that this knowledge will help me to succeed. Will I ever be able to forgive myself if I get injured or killed over this? Is the summit worth the possible risk of death? Looking up at the huge mountain I wonder if this is one of the things better left unknown. What will happen when I start my journey is sure to haunt me the rest of my life.