Many deaths occur in the high Himalayan mountains due to lack of oxygen. Though mountaineers or their sherpas carry supplementary O2 while climbing, heading up to the summit carrying a heavy load of supplementary O2 canisters is nothing less but cumbersome. Many climbers choose to throw the used canisters away, adding to the litter on the mountain.
According to a report on Explorersweb, Summit Air a Vancouver based company has developed a system where oxygen will be pumped up Mt. Everest from a camp in the Western Cwm above the icefall, enabling mountaineers who reach the South Col to breathe oxygen from a source other than bottled O2. The oxygen pipes used by the company for the system has been developed by NASA and used by astronauts during their space-walks. They have used an advanced form of technology in developing a high pressure pipe for the purpose which remains supple even at -50 C but when punctured by a crampon will self-seal without leaking.
After the pumping station has been set up at the first camp above the icefall, the company will employ sherpas to carry thousands of feet of pipeline up the mountain to the South Col. Once the system comes into operation, climbers will have 24 hour access to breathable oxygen. Those who want to use the system will have to pay for the O2 and a special attachment hose and mask.
It is near impossible to climb Mt. Everest- the highest peak in the world without supplementary oxygen.
Our tour guides and drivers in Lhasa and the rest of Tibet did an excellent job. They were friendly, knowledgeable, good humored and we had a feeling that they did their best to make it a very good trip!