There is no better therapy than the tranquility of the hills. To even envision a sight of residing on the peaks amongst the soft intangible touch of the clouds gives birth to a feeling of adventure. Imagine waking up one day at an elevated height, amidst snow-capped mountains, wrapped in a chill chillier than the cold winds of winter, away from the hustle bustle of city life. Imagine the dedication required for climbing a high range Himalayas. Will that effort not be worth it?
A hike of such value is not executed in the blink of an eye. It takes detailed planning and tons of courage to even think of reaching such heights. At 8848 meters, the Mount Everest prides itself as the tallest mountain in the world. A prior knowledge about a hike of such magnitude will only come handy during the most critical parts of your climb. Here is an insight on how long does it take to climb Mount Everest and a few other tips that go hand in hand with it.
What is the height of the Mount Everest?
At 29,029 feet the world’s highest mountain clad in mystery straddles between the borders of Nepal and Tibet. Most hikers choose to climb the Everest from Kathmandu, in Nepal. The Everest base camp from here is situated at 17,500 feet.
The hikers take a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, then trek to this base camp which takes around ten days. Most mountaineers spend up to weeks here during spring and try to acclimatize themselves to such a rise in the altitude alternating between some rest and short day hikes. This process is actually a wait for the route to the summit to open during May.
How long does it take to climb the Everest?
The real question we are dealing with over here is how long it takes to climb the Everest and a lot of factors go into answering this question. Even though this mostly depends on your stamina and to what extreme you can push yourself out of your comfort zone, it mostly takes two months to complete an expedition to the Everest.
Hikers commence their journey and start reaching the base camps in late March. The base camp on the south side lies on the foot of the icefall at approximately 5300 meters. This is the first major stepping stone. The Himalayan guides are known as sherpas. While most hikers can go through this maze of ice, that keeps shifting, for a maximum of two to three times, the sherpas have aced it by doing it up to thirty times. Talk about practice, eh?
Then comes the second camp from the hikers climb further to the third and fourth camps located on the South Col. The third Camp is very dangerous as it is frequented by rock falls. The time in mid-May when the temperature is the warmest and mild winds blow is known as Summit day.
A summit day starts around midnight. Hikers aim to reach the summit by morning so that they have ample amount of sunlight to guide them during their retreat before nightfall. The entire climb sure is adventurous, but it has its share of difficulties too.
Most hikers carry supplements of oxygen to deal with the lack of it in high altitudes. No wonder they say, it’s about the journey, not the destination. A climb of such magnitude requires a lot of caution and prior knowledge of the details.
With every ascent from one camp to the other, the obstacles keep increasing and only calls for more caution. This is one of the major factors that go into deciding how long it will take to climb the Everest.
What is the result of extreme altitude on the body?
Even though avalanches and sudden storms result in a number of deaths, but the primary danger starts with high altitudes. The height beyond 26,000 feet is termed as the ‘death zone’. It starts from Camp 4 and leads up to the summit. The term explains the brutal weather and thin air surrounding this region.
With every ascent in the altitude, the amount of oxygen keeps decreasing and many lungs have given up due to the lack of it. This is the main reason why most mountaineers use supplemental oxygen.
Altitude, however, is just the start and its mere effects include exhaustion and headaches. Inching towards the death zone, the situation becomes very critical. Confusions, impaired speech, hallucinations and even lack of muscle control haunt the death zone. Hypothermia, snow blindness, and frostbites are peak threats in this region.
The first ascent as we are all aware of was achieved by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary who reached the summit on the historic day of 29th May 1953.
Since then many hikers have tried to achieve this height almost half of which have succeeded. Kenton Cool holds the record of having made numerous ascents. He reached the summit 11 times out of which two were made within a week.
The oldest person to have made the ascent hailed from Japan. Yuichiro Miura, of an experienced age of 80 reached the summit in 2013.
The youngest person to have achieved this height was an American. At a tender age of 13 years, Jordan Romero completed his climb in 2010.
Climbing the world’s tallest mountain is not a child’s play, or maybe it is as evident from the records. But what it surely is not is a weak heart’s desire. Survival of the fittest holds most true when you are out of the comfort of your house in a place where comfort is the least of your concerns. It takes a lot of courage to even think of climbing a mere hill, let alone the Everest. But with the right knowledge, a considerable amount of time in your hands and a mandatory fit body, you can sure go ahead with your plans. So, pack your bags and set foot on the most coveted climbs in the history of mountaineering.