You look at pictures of mountain climbers and see they are slightly tired, but have a huge smile on their faces. They seem larger than life, standing at the top, filled with pride and satisfaction. Seem like the success made them even taller than they are in real life. You see that and think “how glorious it must be to climb a high mountain – they must feel like they are on top of the world”. Maybe you even wish you were in their shoes and could sustain that climb yourself.
While it certainly is a glorious task, climbing to the top of any mountain that’s 8000 high, is also an extremely difficult task, and most people don’t feel glorious during the climb, at all! The experience is hard enough when you use supplemental oxygen, not to mention when you don’t! Peter Hackett, the founder of the Institute for Altitude Medicine in Telluride, Colorado, confirms that. He says, climbers often experience difficulties holding on to oxygen in their lungs even if they have their oxygen mask on. It’s almost impossible to get enough air in order to feel good and strong to continue the climbing, according to Hackett. As we all know, oxygen is a primary source of life for most living things. Without it (or without a sufficient amount of it), our bodies begin to deteriorate. Because of hypoxia, (the medical term for lack of oxygen), climbers experience a whole range of side effects.