To be standing at the top of the world is a place that many people feel they can go in their mind. After getting a new job, finding the love of your life, or standing on a sandy beach may make you feel like you are on the top of the world. But for some that may not be enough, and for the ones who want to literally stand on the top of the world they set their sights on Mount Everest. According to climber George Mallory some climb “because it’s there.” However, just because it’s there doesn’t mean its for everyone. Here are the brass tacks about Everest, it’s history, and what it takes to conquer it.
Towering at 29,035 feet or 8,850 meters above sea level its the tallest mountain on Earth that we know of. According to Howstuffworks.com, a Bengali mathematician and surveyor named Radhanath Sikhdar determined in 1852 that “Peak XV” was the highest ever recorded. It got it’s well known name by Surveyor General Sir Andrew Waugh, who decided to call it Everest after Sir George Everest, the original surveyor of Peak XV.
Foreign climbers would not be allowed to explore Everest until 1921 when, after much diplomatic negotiations, Tibet opened up it’s border to the British and the first of many expeditions began on the mountains north side. Since then over 2,200 people have made the journey and 200 have lost their lives trying.
Having the right gear
Shoes: Hikers need several pairs of socks, including trekking, wool, and liner socks. Lightweight hiking boots and plastic lined climbing boots will be necessary. Shoes should fit slightly larger than the foot to prevent frostbite.
Clothing: Layers of clothing are key. You will need both lightweight and expedition weight underwear. A fleece or synthetic jacket, plus an expedition weight down parka, and a Gor-
Tex shell jacket with a hood will keep your body warm. Insulated pants made of synthetic material, down pants, and Gor-Tex pants will be good for your legs.
Climbing tools: Clipped to your hiking boots are step in glacier cramptons and a spare set should be brought in case one breaks. You will wear an alpine harness over your clothes. Other things needed are locking and stationary carabiners, a left and right assender, a belay device, and prussiks. You will also need ice picks with leash and a glacier rope.
Camping supplies: You will need two high quality down sleeping bags, two self inflating pads, and one thermal pad to sleep on. You will want multiple tents, one larger for base camp, then a smaller more lightweight one for higher elevations. A compass or GPS will help you find the summit. For cooking supplies you will want to have two titanium heating units to ensure one is working when you need it. Two or three lightweight pots with lids and plastic mugs and a thermos will help you cook will you are on your journey. Make sure you have enough matches and lighters for cooking. A chemical water purifier can help reduce the amount of fuel you would use and prevent boiling your water. You will need two water bottles and one with a wide mouth for urinating.
Electronics: A camera is essential, because who is going to believe you made the accent if you don’t have photographic evidence? Also walkie-talkies can come in handy.
Getting up there the right way
For less experienced climbers guided tours can be the way to go. There are several tour companies with specialized climbers and Sherpas (locals the areas high in the Nepalese Himalayas). The average cost of a guided tour is about $65,000 for a hike up the south side and $40,000 up the north. International airfare, insurance, and personal gear will accrue additional costs. Gear can cost about $8,000-$15,000 for all the right stuff.
Training to make the climb
Swimming, biking, running, and making other climbs are all good ways to condition your body and build your stamina for your trip to Everest. Some climber try to gain some weight before they go to prepare for the weight loss they may experience on their journey.
So should Everest be on your bucket list? Make sure you do your homework and know there are also so many other options to get your view from the top.
Photo Credit: Mahatma4711