To reach the summit of Mount Everest is no easy task. Many things can go wrong with some being totally out of your control.
Here I have listed seven tips to keep you safe while ascending to the top of the world.
1. The Weather
The weather on Mount Everest can change from being fine to having white out conditions in a matter of a few minutes. Snow, cold and wind can become a life and death situation. Bad weather can lead on to snow blindness, frostbite and hypothermia, but you can avoid this.
Always check the latest weather forecast, your expedition leader will have updates via computer or phone from a paid service. Ask your leader what it says and make sure you understand it. Also keep an eye on the weather around the mountain as an unexpected change may take place.
Be prepared for a change in the weather, just because Base Camp is warm with the sun does not mean Camp 1 will be the same.
Be patient and wait for the right time.
2. Clothing and Equipment
Having the right clothing and equipment can be life saving but only if you know how to use it in the correct way. Make sure you have worn and tried out your clothing, boots and equipment before heading off to Mount Everest. Double check your oxygen apparatus and mask, make sure it fits properly and you know how it all works. Every single piece of clothing and equipment is as important as each other.
Knowing your own limits is a must. Only you will know when you are not feeling too great or can go no further. The higher you ascend up the mountain the less oxygen there is, everybody reacts differently when the brain is starved of oxygen, it is very important that you are able to recognise these signs.
How would you cope in a dangerous situation? Will you take charge, panic or freeze to the spot not knowing what to do? You need to have an idea how you would cope.
4. Mountain Conditions
It would help if you have some knowledge on how to spot potential avalanches or bad snow conditions. Keep to the well trodden path, this will help you avoid unexpected crevasses and keep you away from other dangers. If you spot a hidden danger let others know, it may save their life.
5. Food and Drink
Eating and drinking while climbing a high altitude mountain is very important. The climb is very hard work and you will burn a lot of calories, to replace these you need to eat and drink as much as you can. Higher up drinking is more important than ever, it will stop you from getting dehydrated and very often help keep away high altitude health problems. Eating at high altitude always seem to be a problem but a little of something is better than nothing at all.
Always clip into the ropes that are available to assist you up and down the mountain but make sure the ropes are the right ones and not an old one that has been there for many years. Use supplementary oxygen to give you that little bit more of a chance of reaching your goal. Try not to climb alone in case you end up needing help in some way. Take your time and do not rush. It takes time to acclimatize and to prepair your body for the higher altitude.
7. Have the Last Word
When in a team on the mountain it is important to remember that you have the last word for your own health and safety. If for some reason you do not feel safe or happy about any situation then say something to your leader or even turn around if necessary.
It’s your life, the mountain will always be there for you to have another attempt.