One of the numerous interesting stories to come out of this year’s spring climbing season on Everest was the success of Adrian Ballinger, who set out to summit the mountain without bottled oxygen. While Adrian has reached the summit of Everest six times throughout his career, he was determined to head back to the highest point on the surface of the Earth without using oxygen. This was a goal that eluded him last season but drove him to train harder and smarter for this year. This past weekend all of the hard work, planning, and preparation finally paid off, as he topped out in high winds on Saturday, May 27.
So what exactly did it take to get an already very accomplished and talented mountaineer to summit Everest without oxygen? That’s the subject of a story from Men’s Journal, which puts into perspective exactly how difficult it is to climb in the big mountains without supplemental oxygen, and the level of fitness needed to climb at such altitudes. It turns out, it isn’t just about training and conditioning however, but so much more.
The story takes a nice, detailed look at how elite athletes perform at altitude, or in any active endeavor really. For instance, when Ballinger was making his summit push in 2016, he suddenly got very cold and had to turn back short of the top. Meanwhile, his climbing partner Corey Richards was able to push on and top out successfully. Both had trained in a similar fashion, both with were in top shape, and Ballinger may even have more experience than Richards. But, one was able to succeed where the other couldn’t. What was the difference? As it turns out, it was about the way that Adrian eats and consume calories. Making a fundamental shift in his diet may have played a large role in improving his efficient and energy on the climb.
It is a fascinating article and provides lots of interesting tips for veteran and aspiring mountaineers alike, as well as endurance athletes who want to better understand how their bodies perform. It is also a good read for anyone who follows major expeditions like the ones we cover here at The Adventure Blog, as it gives some insights into what climbers and explorers put themselves through as they push their bodies to the limit. It may even help you to perform better on your own hikes, trail runs, and mountain biking rides.
Find out exactly what Adrian did to improve his performance by clicking here.
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