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Exploring One Side of Mt Everest

Mt Everest is known as Chomolungma in Tibetan and Sagarmatha in Nepali. This mighty peak has an elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet). The mountain’s location marks the Nepal-Tibet border. While scaling Mount Everest is a lifelong ambition for many mountaineers, it is a difficult and perilous task requiring extensive training and planning. So today, we will explore one side of Mt Everest, the south side, which is the more popular route for climbers.

It is the main route to the peak. So, we will discuss the challenges and rewards of climbing this side of the mountain. It includes the route to the top, the necessary preparations and training, and the important role played by the Sherpas.

The South Side of Mt Everest

The south or the popular one side of Mt Everest, is also known as the Nepali side. The other side is located in China. This one side of Everest in the south is the more popular route for climbers.

The route begins in the Khumbu Valley in Nepal and follows the Khumbu Glacier up to the South Col. The mountain’s south side is known for its steep terrain, unstable ice, and high altitude. The south side is considered more challenging due to its steepness and the presence of the Khumbu Icefall. Climbers say it’s a treacherous section of the route that requires them to navigate through unstable ice blocks and crevasses.

Challenges Faced by Climbers on the South Side

Climbing Mt Everest is an incredibly challenging feat. The south side, especially, presents unique challenges that climbers must overcome.

One of the most significant challenges is altitude sickness. Climbers often experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, and even death. As climbers ascend higher up the mountain, the air becomes thinner. Similarly, the body struggles to acclimate to the lower oxygen levels.

Another challenge climbers face on the south side is the Khumbu Icefall. It is located between Base Camp and Camp 1. Icefall constantly moves and shifts, and climbers must navigate unstable routes. The Khumbu Icefall is known to be one of the most dangerous sections of the route. Furthermore, many climbers have lost their lives attempting to cross it.

The south side also has steep terrain, which requires climbers to use fixed ropes and anchors to ascend and descend safely. Climbing is physically and mentally demanding, and climbers must be prepared for long days of hiking, climbing, and camping in extreme conditions.

History of Successful and Unsuccessful Climbs on the South Side

Over the years, many climbers have attempted to climb Mt Everest from the south side. They’ve received a different level of success. In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to reach the summit using the south side route.

Since then, thousands of climbers have attempted to climb the mountain.

However, the south side of Mt Everest has also claimed the lives of many climbers. In 2014, an avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall killed 16 Sherpas, and in 1996, eight climbers lost their lives during a storm while attempting to summit the mountain. Despite the risks involved, many climbers continue to attempt to climb Mt Everest from the south side, drawn by the challenge and the opportunity to achieve a lifelong dream.

The Route to the Top

Climbers typically begin their journey from the town of Lukla in the Khumbu Valley. They fly into the Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as the Lukla Airport, which is considered to be one of the most dangerous airports in the world due to its short runway and location in the mountains.

From Lukla, climbers trek to Base Camp, which is located at an elevation of 5,364 meters (17,598 feet). Base Camp serves as the starting point for the climb and is where climbers set up their tents and begin their acclimatization process. They spend several days at Base Camp, hiking and climbing to higher elevations to allow their bodies to adjust to the altitude.

Camp 1

From Base Camp, climbers move on to Camp 1, which is located at an elevation of 6,065 meters (19,900 feet). Camp 1 is situated on a rocky shelf above the Khumbu Icefall and serves as a resting place for climbers before they begin their ascent up the icefall.

Camp 2

The next camp is Camp 2. Camp 2 is situated on a large plateau. The location serves as a staging area for climbers before they move on to Camp 3. It is located at an elevation of 6,400 meters (21,000 feet).

Camp 3

Camp 3 is located at an elevation of 7,470 meters (24,500 feet). After the plateau on samp 2, it is situated on the Lhotse Face. This is a steep section of the route that requires climbers to use fixed ropes and anchors to ascend and descend safely.

Camp 4

The final camp before the summit push is Camp 4. Camp 4 is situated on the South Col, which is a high pass between Mt Everest and Lhotse. Located at an elevation of 8,000 meters (26,200 feet), climbers make their final push to the summit of Mt Everest.

Preparations and Training

Climbing Mt Everest is a physically and mentally demanding feat that requires a great deal of preparation and training. Before attempting to climb the mountain, climbers must be in the excellent physical condition and have experience climbing at high altitudes.

Physical training typically includes endurance exercises such as running, cycling, and hiking, as well as strength training to build up the muscles needed for climbing. Climbers must also work on their cardiovascular fitness to prepare for the lower oxygen levels at high altitudes.

In addition to physical training, climbers must also work on their mental preparation. Climbing Mt Everest is a mentally challenging feat that requires focus, determination, and the ability to handle stress and anxiety. Climbers must be prepared to spend long periods of time in extreme conditions, often in isolation and with limited communication with the outside world.

Advice for Aspiring Climbers

For aspiring climbers, the most important piece of advice is to be patient. Also, for them to take their time. You can’t just climb without any thought. Climbing Mt Everest is a long and challenging journey that requires dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to adapt to changing conditions.

Climbers should also be prepared for everything. Start preparing by dedicating a significant amount of time to acclimatizing to the altitude and the extreme conditions on the mountain.

Spending time at Base Camp and the various camps on the route is suggested. Hiking and climbing to higher elevations also allows their bodies to adjust to the lower oxygen levels.

Safety Measures and Precautions

Climbing Mt Everest is a dangerous feat. Thus, ensuring proper climbing equipment, such as helmets, harnesses, and ropes, and following proper climbing techniques and protocols is a must.

Climbers must also be aware of the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness and be prepared to turn back if necessary. Its necessary to be prepared to deal with extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, snowstorms, and sub-zero temperatures.

Another important safety measure is to hire an experienced and reputable climbing guide or company. Climbing with an experienced guide can greatly increase a climber’s chances of success and minimize the risks involved. Guides are often able to provide important advice and guidance throughout the climb, as well as help with the logistics of the climb, such as arranging permits and transportation.

Environmental Impact of Climbers

Climbing Mt Everest can also have a significant environmental impact. The high number of climbers attempting to summit the mountain each year has led to a significant amount of litter and waste being left on the mountain.

This includes empty oxygen canisters, food wrappers, and human waste.

In recent years, efforts have been made to reduce the environmental impact of climbing Mt Everest. Climbers need to carry all their waste off the mountain, and there are strict rules on using oxygen and other climbing equipment.