Why Mount Everest?

Posted: January 28, 2012 by Ben Weber in Climbing, English
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

One of the questions lots of people have asked us as our project has moved forward is why Mount Everest as well as everything else…!? Isn’t life going to be hard enough and surely you need years of experience to be able to climb this mountain? Isn’t it incredibly dangerous? Is it really essential for us to complete it in order to complete the full circle of the world? – indeed, once we are in Nepal at Kathmandu, we will need to head north-east in order to get there and we will go back to Kathmandu once we have completed the journey.

What is more, by attempting to climb Everest, we are going to make the who journey last about a year longer than if we just waved hello to the people going up, because of the seasonal climbing windows for timing the North Pole, the South Pole and the Everest aspects of the expedition.

No, from the point of view of completing the circle, Mount Everest is not essential. Yes, it is dangerous and yes it is a bit out-of-the-way. There are all sorts of challenges with climbing it – not least is that of altitude sickness, with decreasing oxygen pressure as we go higher up: the world’s highest peak stands at 8,848 metres above sea level, and we generally start feeling the effects at around 2400+ metres. Exhaustion is a problem and at those heights, it takes much longer to walk even the smallest of distances. The weather on the mountain is also a massive challenge – with the cold, the altitude and the wind… you get stuck in a storm when you are exposed and… well that will be the end of your story, and you might keep in mind that there are about 150 bodies on the mountain that have never been recovered.

Well, we have the romanticism of childhood dreams; admiration of Mallory, Hillary & Tenzing, Bonnington and of course Ranulph Fiennes, and just the very thought of standing on the roof of the world. Also, after having been to base camp on the Tibetan side, and remembering how much in awe we all were of the mountain, it would be great to go back and make the ascent.

However, more importantly, one of the main points of this expedition is about facing the extreme environments that are on the Earth, and the challenges they present. This is why we are taking two and a half years to train for these challenges prior to embarking, and why we will continue training during the expedition with climbs of various mountains on the way, and why we will also work with experts who have climbed the mountain before. Also, whilst individuals have reached the two Poles and Everest, they have done so in separate projects – this will be the first to manage them all in one larger project… which would be incredible..! Just imagining the sense of achievement is quite a powerful factor. So whilst not essential for the whole 360 Extremes expedition, Everest is certainly a key point.

Ultimately, as with any climber going up Everest, we are going to have to really respect the mountain. If the weather is against us, we won’t make the ascent. One of the biggest challenges will be to know if and when we are beat, and it is the most important challenge. There will be no sense of shame in turning back as safety is the most important point and we won’t compromise this.

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