Training Workshop on ‘TopOut’ Oxygen Mask Conducted by Ted Atkins
Ted Atkins who has designed and built ‘TopOut’, a new high altitude oxygen delivery system which is fast gaining popularity among high altitude climbers, conducted an orientation workshop and demonstration at the premises of Explore Himalaya’s store. The workshop was held on 25th March and was well attended by Explore’s climbing sherpas.
The workshop kick started at 9:30 a.m with a brief introduction by Ted Atkins.Without much ado he proceeded to elucidate on how TopOut oxygen delivery system works much better in high altitude climbs like Everest, then the old Russian Piosk mask.
Ted Atkins explains how TopOut works
According to him, the mask as well as the oxygen hose is made of silicon, a material which does not harden and remains flexible in high altitude conditions. The mask is fitted to a working resevoir bag(a plastic bag which is fited inside a transparent plastic bottle) that allows one to inhale a higher concentration of oxygen for every breath. .There is no wastage of oxygen during expiration (breathing out) as the flow is directed into the resevoir bag. So when one is climbing using Topout there is no wastage of oxygenYour lungs are taking in the optimum amount of oxygen without wasting any , thus enabling you to think clearly and travel faster, and reach the summit in less time.
Ted with the mask & the reservior bottle
Ted added that the mask, which comes in 2 sizes medium and small, has a snug fit. As the mask fits snugly, there is improved visibility. It does not push up to your goggles obstructing your vision while you are climbing. The mask has three valves.One is for the hose fitted to the oxygen bottle and the reservoir bag,one is for the exhalation valve to stop the cold air from getting inside the mask.
Another excellent feature of the Topout mask , which the sherpas agreed , is that the holes meant for the valves are interchangeable. It means that if one is right handed, one can fit the valve meant for the oxygen hose on the left side keeping the right hand side free and ‘unhampered’ to work on (and vice versa for the left handed).
The mask is washable( just wash with warm soapy water and rinse it thoroughly with clean water and it is germ, plus infection free!) and reusable.According to Ted, in order to assure the clients that the masks are servicable after it is being used, he test it and puts a stamp of approval on the reservoir bag( for the whole system: mask , valves , hose).
After explaining how Topout works,Ted let all the sherpas try out the masks,from the fitting in and to taking out the valves to the masks.
The meeting and handling was excellent. Everything worked! Good tents and facilities (dining & toilet tents). For young mountaineers I suggest an extra day/camp between Kyangjin Gompa and High Camp, some where around 4,400m.