25 August 2006

Climb Every Mountain?

Just because it exists or because it is there? That's the reason you often get from seasoned mountaineers when you ask them why they climb mountains. Sadly, I still don't get their logic, and you may think I'm a wuss because I also dread riding rollercoasters and those "magic-mountains" on famous theme parks. Well, let's put it this way: my idea of fun is being happy. I won't pay a good sum of money to put my life in danger, or get that thrilling feeling of being near something risky. I know, I know...you might have a different opinion about it. I hear you. As they say, different strokes for different folks.

A doctor has recently climbed Mt. Everest, and he was "shocked" when he knew that the number of altitude-related illness and the climbers’ ignorance about it.
"From being there, I saw there were a lot of people with considerable mountaineering experience, but who were fairly naive in some ways about the extreme altitudes they were going to face."

"In my view, climbers are not climbing beyond their ability but instead beyond their altitude ability. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get experience of what it is like climbing above Camp 3 (8,300 metres) without climbing Everest. Climbers invariably do not know what their ability above 8,300 metres is going to be like. The longer you stay up there, in the death zone, the greater the chance you have of dying."

While most deaths are caused by injuries and exhaustion, there is also a large proportion of climbers who die from altitude related illness. High altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) and high altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) are both forms of altitude sickness which cause a potentially fatal build up of fluid in the brain or lungs.

[SOURCE: BBC News, 25 Aug 2006 ]

That's my point. Climb every mountain? I say choose the mountains you climb, and do not do something out of some blind urge. Know the facts first. It can save your life.

10 reactions:

xingkit said...

Hi, Doc Emer!

Climb wisely is what I always say. Before climbing, proper training and preparation should be done, e.g., stair climbing while wearing your filled-up backpack to build endurance. There is also a need to study the mountain that you will climb to prepare yourself for it -- what gears to bring, etc. It also pays to have a good physical check up to see whether you are fit enough for the rigors of mountain climbing.

One concern I have with pinoy (only?) climbers is the habit to bring alcoholic beverages up. Mountain climbing requires physical health even if it's only a 3-hour climb, IMHO climbers who get themselves drunk up there risks not only their lives (they still need to go down the mountain) but those that are with them during the climb.

Jules said...

same goes for roller coasting, deep scuba diving, and all extreme sports....

different strokes for different folks i guess...

bayi said...

Among the first Malaysian team members to conquer Mount Everest, one came back less a few fingers because of frost bite. This is not an illness but very much a danger among those going high altitude climbing.

duke said...

I used to like mountain climbing when I was younger. I don't do crazy stuff though. There's this certain rush and sense of satisfaction when you reach the top of the mountain and see the view. I guess it's an ego thing. Feeling you've conquered it by being on top.

Ate Sienna said...

ako man, hindi mo mapapasakay ng roller coaster or horror houses or whatever na makakalaglag-puso. ewan ko ba, sila na nga ang babayaran ko, tapos tatakutin pa nila ako. wah na!

Jet said...

Minsan lang talaga we have to recognize and acknowledge kung hanggang saan lang ang kaya ng katawan natin and respect it. Hindi lang sa altitude. The same goes for other factors playing in environmental conditions: heat, cold, humidity, rain, wind. Kaya nga sa heirarchy of needs, shelter is among the basic needs. It's because the human body can only take so much and therefore it needs protection. That's how it was wired.

Or else we'd all be super heroes, and we're just not.

ipanema said...

lol Ate Sienna. That's true you know. :)

Sometimes it's the thought that overwhelms people. Even if they practise year in year out, when they're faced with the humungous truth in front of them, it's late to back out, so climb they must.

With the many unsuccessful climbs and deaths met on the way, few people don't realise the dangers ahead.

Prayer flags and the spirit of Chumulungma are the only witnesses to man's risky attempts.

Emer said...

XINGKIT: Lack of oxygen 'upstairs' is already a difficult challenge as it is. To get inebriated during the process of climbing is, I think, courting more trouble and inviting unncessary risks. Thanks for giving additional pointers to those who plan to climb. Thank you also for gracing my blog a visit. :)

JULES: You read between the lines again, my friend. :)

BAYI: Frost bite is another terrible problem to contend with.

DUKE: Interesting insight. An ego thing, huh? Too costly, I think. It might mean losing one's life.

ATE SIENNES: Magkakasundo talaga tayo. :)

JET: And if people still want to mountain-climb in spite of obvious limitations, they should at least arm themselves with foresight and correct information. They can also acclimatize first.

IPANEMA: Like a moth drawn to a flame... ;)

eye said...

nung umakyat kami ng kota kinabalu last year, sobrang bagaaaaal ko na pagdating ng 4,000 meters (lam mo naman, may hika tayo hehe!). yung ibang kasama ko na pasaway, niratrat yung peak kaya ayun, may 2 nasusuka pagdating dun. di ko naabutan yung sunrise, pero mabuti na yun kaysa itakbo ako pababa pag bigla akong nahimatay/mountain sickness :)

Dr. Emer said...

Ingat ka lagi, Eye! :)