Is Mount Everest Getting Easier to Climb?
With all of the advancements in technology, communication, and equipment quality these days, it would be a good assumption that to climb up the tallest mountain in the world has gotten a lot easier in recent years. To give some perspective, every climbing season Mount Everest sees many hundreds of would be summiteers, some here for their first time while others have returned to try again. It is not an easy climb to make, and only the bravest climbers in the world usually attempt this major undertaking. Standing at 29,028 feet high, the first ever attempt made to reach its lofty summit didn’t happen until 1921. But since then, many more attempts have been made to reach the top of the world.
Back in the mid to late 1900’s, climbers didn’t take much more with them than some heavy warm clothes, leather boots, large ropes, ice picks, oxygen tanks, and basic food and living essentials. If you aren’t familiar with the climbing advances of late, you may think that’s all you would need, even for a climb in today’s standards.
The good news is, is that the gear and supplies available to climbers in the last 10-20 years has improved exponentially, making a large climbs like this less burdensome and dangerous.
One of the biggest advancements in today’s climbing and cold weather gear is the efficiency to which it’s made. Equipment these days are made with materials that are much more light weight and easy to carry. In the earlier days, it was thought that heavy, bulky clothing and supplies aided in more warmth and durability, but experts have found a way to combine heavy duty and light weight into efficient safety equipment and clothing. Not only is the lightweight equipment more functional, but it is much safer. When you can navigate and move up on the mountain at greater speeds, that will in turn create a safer, quicker climb to the top.
The new lightweight and efficient gear options can range from clothing, ropes and climbing gear, improved ice picks, and even the type of food you carry. Even the oxygen tanks have decreased in size and weight. In the older days, tanks could weigh up to 20 lbs, now they have been improved to weigh less than half that. They are also much more adapted to the air supply needs of the higher altitudes. Having all of this new and improved equipment available, allows even the less experienced climbers an opportunity to attempt the climb. If they are accompanied with an expert, of course.
Another crucial, but possibly overlooked advancement is our ability to read and interpret weather patterns more effectively. We now have very advanced satellites, radar, and computer systems, and mobile technology that can be easily communicated to climbers on the mountain. It’s also great for preparation purposes as well since many forecasts can be predicted up to 15 days in advance. That way, it will allow climbers to prepare for any current of upcoming weather issues that come up during their climb.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that large improvements have been made in not only equipment, but technology and communication for climbers to stay the safest they can be while on their dangerous climb to reach the summit of Mount Everest.