mountaineering

a quick intro to

  1. the ancient days

  2. the golden age of mountaineering

  3. the 8000ers

  4. why it's hard

  5. the biggest badasses in history

  6. how you too can be a badass

Mountains have always been sacred.

  • Homes of Gods
  • Close to heaven
  • Pilgrimages to summit or around base

Changing attitudes

You must ascend a mountain to learn your relation to matter, and so to your own body, for it is at home there, though you are not.

 

  • Transcendentalist movements
  • Reaction against industrialization
  • New desire to explore and conserve

Alpine climbing

Wetterhorn, 1852

Eiger, 1858

Matterhorn, 1865

The Eight-Thousanders

  • Shishapangma (26,335)
  • Gasherbrum II (26,362)
  • Broad Peak (26,414)
  • Gasherbrum I (26,444)
  • Annapurna (26,545)
  • Nanga Parbat (26,660)
  • Manaslu (26,781)
  • Dhaulagiri (26,795)
  • Cho Oyu (26,906)
  • Makalu (27,838)
  • Lhotse (27,940)
  • Kanchenjunga (28,169)
  • K2 (28,251)
  • Everest (29,029)

first ascents all between 1950 and 1964

Why are they so hard to climb?

  • Only 33 people have ever climbed all 14 peaks.
     
  • 153 people have made it up Annapurna.
  • 59 have died trying.

Mountains make their own weather.

The terrain is insanely treacherous.

Khumbu Icefall

Avalanches can happen at any time.

Khumbu Icefall

And after

all that...

Serac below the summit of K2. 
Cornices of ice could collapse at any time.

Altitude

Altitude sickness

  • High heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Incoherence
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs)
  • Cerebral edema
  • Gradual loss of consciousness
  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Death

 

  • Acclimatization allows your body to deal with this, but...

"The Death Zone"

Above 8000m, you can't acclimatize.

Reinhold Messner

Or so we thought.

  • First person to climb all fourteen 8000ers
  • Did it without supplemental oxygen
  • Alpine style solo ascents of Everest and Nanga Parbat

Naomi Uemara

  • First solo winter ascent of Denali (20,320')
  • Fast 8 day ascent
  • Winter on Denali is freakishly cold
  • Weather station near summit regularly records -100°F, windchill up to -150°F

You don't have to be as insane as them to love the mountains.

You can start close to home.

Resources

  • SummitPost.org
  • MountainProject.com (for technical climbs)
  • Wikipedia

mountaineering

By Rahul Basu

mountaineering

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