Posts Tagged ‘mountain’

Just Because It’s There, Doesn’t Mean I Have to Climb It: On Not Climbing Everest

They paid to do this. A mule train of mountaineers searching for their peak experience on Mount Everest.

Mount Everest is 29,000 ft. tall, but assaulting the summit actually begins at Base Camp which is at 18,000 feet. So in reality it’s an 11,000 ft. climb. But please, do not think I’m trying to diminish this redoubtable feat. Far from it. Successfully summiting Everest involves a mighty confluence of endurance, planning, money and oxygen. And let us not forget that even though Base Camp is at a lofty 18,000 ft., airplane oxygen masks drop down at 14,000 ft. – that is, “in the unlikely event of cabin depressurization.”

 

And not too diminish the majesty of Mount Everest; but due to a geologic quirk in the earth’s Jello-ey innards, Everest is not even the highest point on earth. That distinction belongs to Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, sticking up at a pedestrian 20,703 ft. So even though Mount Everest has a higher cardinal altitude, Chimborazo has the distinction of being the “highest mountain or point above Earth’s center,” because Earth is not a sphere. It’s an oblate spheroid and bulges in certain areas (like most of us do) rendering Mount Chimborazo “closer” to outer space than Mount Everest.

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