On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to summit Mount Everest. At 29,029 feet about sea level, Mount Everest is the highest point on the Earth’s surface. The atmospheric pressure at the top of Everest is about a third of sea level pressure or 0.333 standard atmospheres (337 mbar), which means that only about a third as much oxygen is available for you to breathe. If you had been taken from sea level and placed on the peak of Mount Everest, you would lose consciousness in 2-3 minutes. That’s because your body would not be able to get enough oxygen into your blood. It takes 40-60 days to adjust to the low atmospheric pressure, so climbers proceed slowly and spend time at base camps to allow their bodies to acclimate.
It’s not just high, it’s also cold. In January, it can be as low as -33F. At the summit, the temperature is never higher than 0F. When the human body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures, blood vessels close to the skin constrict to prevent the loss of too much body warmth as the warm blood cools as it travels through the skin. Over a period of time, this protective strategy reduces the blood flow to dangerously low levels, leading eventually to the freezing and death of skin tissue in the affected areas. Climbers must scrupulously guard against exposing their skin to the cold and wind, or they could face the potentially debilitating, life threatening, and/or limb losing effects of frostbite.
Climbers also face the dangers of ice, snow, storms, and wind. If they survive to reach the final base camp, it takes most climbers up to 12 hours to walk the final 1.07 miles to the summit. Are you reading this and wonder WHY??? Why would anyone do this? Great question!
Sir Edmund Hillary returned to London after being the first person to successfully summit, the press asked, “Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?” He famously replied, “Because it’s there.”
Because it’s there. Because I can. Why should you give? Give, because when you don’t feel like you have enough or don’t know where and how to give, giving can feel like an insurmountable task. But if human beings are capable of accomplishing the daunting task of climbing Mount Everest just to show we can, then there’s nothing we can’t do. There is no financial, emotional, or mental obstacle that can stop us from giving. Compared to summiting Mount Everest, giving is easy.