The spring climbing season on Everest is still two months off, but as I write this there are hundreds of climbers around the world who are preparing to leave for the Himalaya in a few short weeks. While they still have plenty of time to get ready, there is always lots of gear to buy and organize, training to conduct, and daily affairs to get in order before leaving for Base Camp for two months. It is a busy, hectic, and exciting time for many of them, with a major challenge looming on the horizon.
Awhile back, mountaineering blogger Alan Arnette posted a Personal Letter to Everest climbers for 2017, in which he posed some serious questions for them to think about before they go. In that letter, Alan urged anyone who was considering making the climb to think long and hard about whether or not they were ready for such a challenge, as he pointed out that most of the deaths on the mountain since 2000 were due to lack of experience. As a follow up to that post, Alan – who has been on Everest numerous times – answered the very questions he posed, providing some insight into what you should know before you go.
One of the most common questions that people have is how high should they have climbed previously before trying Everest. Alan says that it depends on the person of course, but he recommends having at least one other 8000 meter peak under your belt before heading to the Big Hill. But, that is just one of many very specific questions on this list, which includes Alan’s thoughts on regulating the flow of oxygen on the way to the summit, what kind of foods you should eat while on the expedition, how long to give fresh snow a chance to settle before moving up, and more. The blog post talks acclimatization strategy, physical conditioning, dealing with fatigue, and lots of other issues that climbers deal with on Everest.
This is one of those blog posts that provides a ton of insight from someone who has been on the mountain. While you can often read about the experience, or even watch it unfold in videos and movies, it is hard to pick up these pearls of wisdom from those sources. The questions and answers that Alan provides are useful on a different level, sometimes addressing minute details that are only learned through years of experience. That makes this an interesting read for those of us who follow the Everest climbing scene closely.
To read those insights for yourself, click here.