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mk10
11-15-2007, 10:37 AM
I did some quick, crude calculations and found: the average rate of ascent from the North Col up to the summit (a horizontal distance of approximately 2.5 mi) is about 2500 ft/mi.

Breaking this distance up into two:
- the first half (from the North Col up to the point where the northeast ridge portion begins) has a rate of ascent of about 3100 ft/mi.
- the second half (the northeast ridge portion which consists of the first, second, third steps and ends at the summit) has a more moderate 1900 ft/mi.

I guess I never realized the actual steepness of this route. This really puts the effort required to climb the mountain, especially at altitude, into perspective.

Mike D
11-15-2007, 11:48 AM
To my mind, this is what separates bona fide climbing (which is not required on any of our White Mountains), from simple hiking (certainly not to be trivialized).

There is a certain threshold where the slope is just too great to be conquered by the feet nature gave us.

Bill O
11-15-2007, 12:44 PM
Its only a 50% grade, around 22.5 degrees.

Since its mostly on snow each footstep is likely on a flat surface.

I'm not saying its not hard, I just don't think this is the best way to represent how hard it is.

mk10
11-15-2007, 07:33 PM
Maybe I should have stated that a hike up a 50% grade for 2.5 miles, considering oxygen levels are 30% of those found at sea level (and particularly after being weakened from weeks of acclimatization to avoid AMS/HAPE/HACE, eating yak meat and other strange Tibetan cuisine, enduring bouts of diarrhea/upper respiratory tract infections/other illnesses), really puts the difficulty of this climb more into perspective.

Bill O
11-15-2007, 07:57 PM
You forgot the bitter cold, and minimal sleep. Most nights you just lie in bed wondering whether or not you are going to stop breathing.

Doesn't that snow slope between camp I and II look like such an easy walk though? 3 to 5 hours to climb, probably only 20 minutes to stomp your way down.

spyboy
11-15-2007, 10:06 PM
I feel like a flatlander saying this, but when I went snowboarding out at Ruidoso, New Mexico, I was totally sucking wind for the 2 days I was out there. The place we stayed at was at 7800 feet above sea level, and the base lodge at Ski Apache is at 9500, with the peak at 11500. I felt like I ran a marathon with bronchotis, just walking from the car to the ticket booth. Meanwhile people were walking by smoking cigarettes.

Up on the slopes, I took a wrong turn (expert trail, not a big deal for me, but I had 2 beginners with me) we had to stop and hike about 150 feet up a hill to the easier trail in knee deep snow. I kept thinking about Everest and how those guys do it.

K



Maybe I should have stated that a hike up a 50% grade for 2.5 miles, considering oxygen levels are 30% of those found at sea level (and particularly after being weakened from weeks of acclimatization to avoid AMS/HAPE/HACE, eating yak meat and other strange Tibetan cuisine, enduring bouts of diarrhea/upper respiratory tract infections/other illnesses), really puts the difficulty of this climb more into perspective.

Magpie
11-16-2007, 12:28 PM
Everest Hum
My brother has tried twice
http://alpineascents.com
Very stressful for our family
Trained in New Hampshire

I posted here but the reply keeps disapering. I had a real reply but cant retype it now.

Bill O
11-16-2007, 12:35 PM
Alpine Ascents runs a great operation. I've used them before.

Why doesn't he try from the north side? Its much cheaper and there's no icefall. You also don't have to sleep on the Lhotse Face.

Mike D
11-16-2007, 01:43 PM
I posted here but the reply keeps disapering. I had a real reply but cant retype it now.

Your posts should not have disappeared. Did you have to log back into the forums after submitting?

Acrophobe
11-16-2007, 02:11 PM
Sure would be fun, though, wouldn't it? That's something I hope to do sometime before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Maybe WHILE I'm shuffling off this mortal coil...;)

One thing I was wondering about was the Bends. When divers return too quickly to the surface from a deep dive, they can get nitrogen bubbles in their bloodstream from the rapid depressurization. Is that a concern for Everest climbers? As if they don't have enough to worry about...

Bill O
11-16-2007, 03:00 PM
One thing I was wondering about was the Bends. When divers return too quickly to the surface from a deep dive, they can get nitrogen bubbles in their bloodstream from the rapid depressurization. Is that a concern for Everest climbers? As if they don't have enough to worry about...

From breathing compressed oxygen or from descending?

It doesn't matter because the answer to both is no. For one, as they descend they are going into increasing air pressure. Secondly, the compressed air they breath is not significant. It only lowers their effective altitude by a few thousand feet. They are still extracting air from the atmosphere. Divers get 100% of their air from the tanks.

Also, the differences in air pressure are nothing compared to the pressure under water. There's as much pressure under 15 feet of water as there is in the entire atmosphere.

Mike D
11-16-2007, 04:41 PM
You can see "The Bends" in action by opening a soda bottle and observing the gas bubbles form out of seeming nothingness. Under high pressure, the nitrogen goes into solution in your blood. With rapid depressurization, the bubbles form, which can be very bad. I'm no doctor, but that's my understanding of it.

The pressure change while climbing is too gradual to have a similar effect.

climbabout
11-16-2007, 06:08 PM
Speaking of air pressure - last time on the summit of Rainier I finished a nalgene bottle of water and closed it tight. When I got down to the base at 5000ft at Paradise the bottle was crushed due to the difference in air pressure. While climbing Mckinley we had to keep cracking open the fuel containers periodically to equalize the pressure as well.
Tim

mk10
11-16-2007, 08:38 PM
Doesn't that snow slope between camp I and II look like such an easy walk though?
Here's a photo of this particular slope (and yeah, it does look inviting): northc1toc2.jpg (http://www.alanarnette.com/images/everest/northc1toc2.jpg)
Linear distance is about .6 miles, elevation gain 1600 feet, so about a 50% grade.


3 to 5 hours to climb, probably only 20 minutes to stomp your way down.
Or, if you're Tim Medvetz, 6-10 hours to stomp down:D. I just don't get why it takes the guy so long to descend? I know he's had some previous injuries, but that can't be the only reason he climbs down so slow.


One thing I was wondering about was the Bends. When divers return too quickly to the surface from a deep dive, they can get nitrogen bubbles in their bloodstream from the rapid depressurization. Is that a concern for Everest climbers?
The world's fastest Everest ascent (BC to summit in a little over 8 hours) wasn't even remotely rapid enough to cause the bends. Now if there was a rocket ship that launched from BC and quickly deposited it's passengers on the summit then yes, the bends might be a problem.