What happens to the body in Everest’s ‘death zone’


Climbers pass the Hillary Steps on their way to the summit of Everest.STR/AFP via Getty Images

  • Climbers who climb above 26,000 feet on Everest enter the “death zone.”

  • in this regionthe oxygen is so limited that the cells of the body begin to die, resulting in poor judgment.

  • Climbers may also experience heart attack, stroke, or severe altitude sickness.

The human body works best at sea level. Here, oxygen levels are sufficient for our brains and lungs. At much higher altitudes our bodies cannot function properly.

But if climbers want to summit Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters or 5.5 miles) above sea level, they must contend with what is known as the “death zone.” This is a region where the altitude is over 8,000 meters, where the oxygen is so low that the body begins to die minute by minute, cell by cell.

In the death zone, the climber’s brain and lungs are starved of oxygen, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes and rapidly deteriorating judgment.

Everest climber Shauna Burke, who climbed Everest in 2005, told Business Insider: “It becomes a race against time.”

2019, At least 11 dead on Everest, almost everyone spent time in the Death Zone. In recent memory, he has become one of Everest’s most dangerous seasons.

Some expedition companies believe that the peak full of climbers In the rare good weather when people were trapped in the Death Zone for too long. On May 22, 2019, 250 climbers attempted to reach the summit. Kathmandu Post reportedand many climbers had to queue for the ascent and descent.

These extra, Unscheduled time in Deathzone could have put 11 people in It’s difficult to pinpoint the specific cause of each death, but it’s those who died at higher risk.

One climber said climbing Everest is like ‘running on a treadmill and breathing through a straw’

traffic jam mount everest

Everest suffers from deadly traffic jams as climbers have to wait in the “death zone”.Twitter/@nimsdai

At sea level, air contains about 21% oxygen. However, at altitudes above 12,000 feet, 40% drop in oxygen levels.

Jeremy Windsor, the doctor who climbed Mount Everest in 2007 Caldwell Extreme Everest Expedition, Everest blogger Mark Horrell said: Blood samples taken from four climbers in the death zone revealed that they were surviving on just a quarter of the oxygen they needed at sea level.

“These were comparable to the numbers seen in patients on the brink of death,” Windsor said.

At 5 miles above sea level, the air has very little oxygen, so even with a supplemental air tank, you’ll feel like you’re “running on a treadmill and breathing through a straw.” According to climber and filmmaker David Breeshers.

Climbers must acclimatize to lack of oxygen

A lack of oxygen poses a myriad of health risks. When the amount of oxygen in her blood drops below a certain level, her heart rate rises up to 140 beats per minute, increasing her risk of heart attack.

Climbers must give their bodies time to acclimate to the lung-pressing conditions of the Himalayas before attempting to climb Everest. Expeditions typically climb the mountain at least three times from Everest Base Camp (which is 17,600 feet taller than nearly all European peaks), gaining several thousand feet in each successive run before attempting to reach the summit.

During weeks at high altitude, the body starts making more hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body). It can lead to stroke and fluid buildup in the lungs.

A condition called high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is common on Everest. A quick check with a stethoscope may make a rattling and ticking sound of fluid leaking into the lungs. Other symptoms include: Fatigue, impending choking at night, weakness, persistent cough with white, watery, or frothy fluid. Coughing may be so severe that the ribs may crack or separate.

HAPE climbers are constantly short of breath, even at rest.

In the death zone, the brain begins to swell, which can lead to nausea and some forms of psychosis.

Acclimatization to death zone altitude is simply not possible, says high altitude expert and doctor Peter Hackett told PBS.

One of the greatest risk factors at 26,000 feet is hypoxia. This is the lack of adequate oxygen circulation to organs such as the brain. When the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it begins to swell, causing a condition called high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). Essentially, it’s his HAPE in the brain.

This swelling can cause nausea, vomiting, and difficulty thinking or reasoning.

With the brain starved of oxygen, climbers may forget where they are and fall into delirium, which some experts consider a form of delirium. high altitude psychosisHypoxic climbers have poor judgment and are known to do strange things, such as removing their clothes and talking to imaginary friends.

Other possible hazards include insomnia, snow blindness and vomiting

Mount Everest

When you climb into the “death zone” your brain receives a quarter of the oxygen it needs.Lhakpa Sherpa

Burke said he suffered from constant, constant coughing during the climb.

“Every two or three breaths, your body gasps and wakes up,” she said.

The air was too thin for her to sleep properly.

“Humans will start to decline,” added Hackett. “Sleep becomes a problem. Muscle wasting occurs. Weight loss occurs.”

Nausea and vomiting from altitude sickness such as HAPE and HACE can also cause loss of appetite. The endless glare from snow and ice can cause snow blindness, including temporary vision loss and ruptured blood vessels in the eye.

Death Zone temperatures never exceed 0 degrees Fahrenheit. “Exposed skin freezes quickly,” Burke said.

Loss of blood circulation in a climber’s limbs can cause frostbite, and if the skin and underlying tissue die, it can cause gangrene. gangrenous tissue Often it has to be cut.

All this physical weakness and blurred vision can lead to accidental falls, and fatigue is always present, says Burke.

“It takes everything to put one foot in front of the other,” she said.

Poor decision-making can result in climbers forgetting to fasten safety ropes, straying from routes, or failing to properly equip life preservers such as oxygen tanks.

Climbers climb the Death Zone in a day, but sometimes have to wait in lines for hours

Lhakpa Sherpa on top of Mount Everest

Climbers have only 20 minutes at the summit of Everest before descending.Lhakpa Sherpa

David Carter, an Everest climber and member of the 1998 NOVA expedition, describes climbing the Death Zone as a “living hell.” told PBS.

Climbers aiming for the summit usually spend as little time in the death zone as possible before returning to a safe altitude, attempting to climb and descend in one day. But this frenetic push to the finish line comes at the end of weeks of climbing.

Lhakpa Sherpa has reached the summit of Everest 9 times (more than any other woman on the planet) previously told Business Insider The day the group attempts to climb Mount Everest is by far the most difficult time of the trek.

Everything has to go well for the climb to be successful. Around 10:00 pm, the climber leaves Camp 4 at 26,000 feet. The first part of their climb takes place in darkness, lit by starlight and headlamps.

Climbers typically reach the summit after about seven hours. After a short celebration and photo-filled break, the expedition turns around and safely returns for the 12-hour trek, arriving (ideally) before nightfall.

Read the original article at business insider