Single file on the highest mountain in the world!
This season (soon to end) 408 foreign climbers got permits to climb Mount Everest. And year after year it seems that climbing 8,848 meters in the Himalayas has become a popular sport. Wind speeds can reach up to 80 meters per second, despite temperatures up to minus 50 °C.
Is climbing the summit still something special? Or are you now being pulled up the mountain with the help of Sherpas?
BILD approached extreme athlete Anja Karen Blacha (30). The Bielefeld woman was the youngest German woman to climb Mount Everest in 2017 – and she is now also in “single file”.
Build: Ms. Blacha, how much strength do you really need to reach the top of the mountain?
anja blacha: “It all depends on what style and with how much support you climb the mountain. At what altitude should I use bottled oxygen? How much bottled oxygen do I use (total volume and flow rate in litres/min)? Do I use the support of Sherpas, and if so, from how many Sherpas? Do I set up my high camps on the mountain myself or do I have Sherpas set them up? Do I follow the regular route with fixed ropes or do I climb the mountain in an alpine style on a different route? Do I use helicopter support to get up and down from High Camp?
And it also depends on what the conditions are, which can vary greatly between seasons as well as between years. What about snow, wind, air pressure, temperature, etc.? How have the route conditions been changed by other climbers? For example, are there tracks in deep snow? How’s my health going? With Covid, the question has certainly taken on a whole new meaning again this year. “
Okay, so there are a lot of factors that will affect progress. But can you practically pull yourself up, as it already looks in the photo?
anja blacha: “Aside – yes. This year, for example, the Khumbu Snowfall, which separates the base camp from the higher camps, was relatively long and challenging to traverse and some climbers made their way to Base Camp and Camp 2 with helicopters. Beech decided to fly up or down. It certainly saves a lot of strength, but it also means that officially it no longer counts as a full mountain climb. That ‘pull in the most drastic measure’ ‘ is.
The Sherpa-climbing ratio also appears to have increased. For example, more climbers decide to start the day of the summit with two individual Sherpas, and thus have more support to carry oxygen bottles or other items.
Particularly with high-end expeditions, greater bottled oxygen and higher oxygen flow rates are provided, meaning that “perceived altitude” (besides air pressure) remains low for the body and minimal ascent. Possible pre-optimization time and thus less effort.
On the other hand – no. There are still many climbers who climb to the summit and climb with the same or less support for many years. Everyone should keep taking every step. Especially in the higher stages of the summit, it is hardly possible for anyone to help anyone up or down.
Conversely, queuing traffic can make the climb more difficult, as the stages have longer exposure times.
The exertions of an expedition such as weeks of living at high altitude (even the base camp is much higher than the highest peak in the Alps), tents, wind and weather (two cyclones this season, one avalanche that hit the camp kills 2) wears you body down, as well as the inevitable dangers of passage such as cracks and ice break. “
BILD: Despite all the help available today, is there anything special to climb this mountain?
anja blacha: “Everyone has to answer the question individually and in my opinion a lot depends on the pre-requisites and conditions under which one climbs this mountain. The fact that people manage to climb Everest without bottled oxygen, for example, is still so rare as to pose a great challenge, and even top climbers such as David Gottler and Kilian Jornett This season too has given up on his efforts.
Of the 408 permits for international climbers, this year only an estimated 195 result in successful climbs (as well as climbs of Sherpas). Most of the queues have Sherpas who bring oxygen, tents etc to the higher camps, climb with the climbers or go to the summit for themselves/with a team.”
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