Research, Technology

Why do people go crazy being in the "death zone" of Mount Everest

Everest is the highest mountain in the world -every self-respecting climber considers it his duty to conquer its summit. Over the entire history, more than 10 thousand people have climbed it, and the number of such daredevils is growing every year. According to them, most of the climb is nothing particularly dangerous - people feel relatively well and can afford to take a break. However, after some time, climbers find themselves in the so-called "death zone", where at least a couple of people die every year. Having risen to a certain height, people begin to see hallucinations, temporarily lose their sight and feel terrible. What is the reason for this phenomenon?

Everest has a "death zone" that does terrible things to the human body


  • 1 The most dangerous part of Mount Everest
  • 2 Consequences of oxygen starvation
  • 3 Pulmonary and cerebral edema on Everest
  • 4 Why do people die on Everest

The most dangerous part of Mount Everest

The human body is designed in such a way thatonly works well at sea level. At this altitude, there is enough oxygen to saturate the lungs, brain and other internal organs. But as soon as a person rises to a height of more than 8000 meters (the beginning of the very “death zone” of Everest), his body begins to slowly die - there is very little oxygen under such conditions and the cells of the body die one by one. Climber Shaunna Burke, who summited Mount Everest in 2005, likened being in the "death zone" to a time trial. The longer a person stays in conditions with a minimum of oxygen, the less chance he has of survival.

Mount Everest is 8,849 meters high

Most people in the "death zone" died in2019 - 11 climbers died. At that time, the weather was very good for climbing, so there were a lot of people who wanted to conquer the famous peak. In total, there were 250 people in line for the summit, so many people stayed at a deadly height for too long, which caused their death. In normal times, climbers climb the summit for seven hours, take photos, and descend back for twelve hours. In 2019, due to the long queue, the deadlines were greatly delayed.

Photo taken at the top of Everest

There is very little in the "death zone" of Mount Everestoxygen, we already understood that. But what happens to the human body when it is deficient, and are there other dangers? All this was described in the publication Business Insider.

Conquer Everest: how to get to the highest point in the world

The effects of oxygen starvation

At sea level, the air contains the maximumenough oxygen for life. At the top of Everest, the situation is completely different - there the oxygen concentration is 40% less. According to climber David Breashears, in such conditions, climbing Everest, even with oxygen tanks, is comparable to "training on a treadmill and breathing through a straw."

Deadly traffic jam at the top of Everest

Physician Jeremy Windsor, whoclimbed to the top of Everest in 2007, took blood samples from climbers. It turned out that the concentration of oxygen in their blood is the same as in patients who are dying.

When the oxygen concentration in the bloodfalls, first of all, the heart rate rises in a person - it reaches 140 beats per minute. This condition greatly increases the risk of a heart attack.

Climbing Everest increases the risk of a heart attack

During the ascent uphill, the body beginsproduce more hemoglobin, a protein that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It could help avoid oxygen deprivation, but it only thickens the blood, making it harder for the heart to pump it around the body. This can lead to stroke or fluid buildup in the lungs.

At high altitude, the human body begins to produce more hemoglobin, which thickens the blood

You will be interested: Everest turned out to be higher than previously thought. What is the height of the highest mountain?

Pulmonary and cerebral edema on Everest

Accumulation of fluid in the respiratory organsclimbers often develop pulmonary edema. If you listen to a person breathing with a stethoscope, you can hear squelching sounds. With pulmonary edema, a person often and strongly coughs - while a white foamy liquid comes out of the mouth. The cough sometimes becomes so severe that the person risks breaking their ribs.

Severe coughing can cause rib fractures

With a lack of oxygen, it starts stronglysuffer brain. With oxygen starvation, edema also occurs in it, which causes nausea, as well as difficulty with thinking. In this state, climbers can forget where they are and what they are doing. Sometimes it comes to the point where people become delirious, take off their clothes and talk to imaginary friends.

When climbing Everest, the brain can be severely damaged

See also: A huge glacier on Everest lost half of its ice before it melted - where did the water go?

Why do people die on Everest

Severe cough and deliriumother dangers. The aforementioned mountaineer Seanna Burke said that her persistent cough made it impossible for her to sleep. Nausea and vomiting that occur with pulmonary and brain edema lead to loss of appetite - people begin to expend energy and lose weight. In addition to all this, the glare of snow-white snow sometimes causes temporary blindness. At a minimum, blood vessels rupture in front of people's eyes.

Neither oxygen cylinders nor special clothing can save from the harmful effects of the "death zone"

Do not forget that the temperature at the topEverest does not exceed -20 degrees Celsius. Because of this, any open area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe body quickly freezes - often it comes to the fact that a limb is amputated. Due to the confusion of thoughts and frostbite of the limbs, climbers who are in the "death zone" risk falling down, which means instant death.

Any mistake on Everest can cost a life

Ultimately, it turns out that the most dangerouspart of Mount Everest is the "death zone", which begins at an altitude of 8000 meters. Climbers want to overcome this section as quickly as possible, reach the top of the mountain and descend just as quickly. As romantic as the idea of ​​climbing Everest may sound, it is a very extreme activity. For some people, the first such trip becomes the last.

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Finally, it is worth noting that Everest is notlifeless place. Some species of animals live there and plants grow. You can read more about living creatures on the highest mountain in the world in this material.