Mt. Everest: Inside the Death Zone

There is an area, above 8,000 meters elevation, where your body will no longer replenish its oxygen store. No matter how much you breath, no matter how much you have prepared, with an oxygen concentration only 1/3 of that which is at sea level, you have at most 48 hours before you run out. Only 14 mountains in the world allow you to step past this elevation, called the death zone. Everest is one.

Because at this elevation each individual climber is struggling for their own existence, most climbers reach a realization that if anyone is injured, they will have no way to help. An even more sobering realization is that if you make any mistakes, no one else will have the strength to help you.

Since Mt. Everest was first summited in 1953, more than 200 people have met their demise on the mountain. Because of the incredible difficulty in recovering bodies, about 150 still remain remarkably well preserved as grim reminders to those who dare to challenge the mountain.

Demonstrating the harsh dry climate on Everest, the picture below shows the corpse of mountaineer George Mallory, lost on the Mountain in 1924. This is the state in which it was found in 1999 after 75 years exposed.


Contributions to this article made by Paul Caridad

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