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Thread: Mt. Everest ponderings

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acrophobe
    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.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    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.

  3. #13
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    Default air pressure at altitude

    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill O
    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
    Linear distance is about .6 miles, elevation gain 1600 feet, so about a 50% grade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill O
    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. 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acrophobe
    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.

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