'Above the Clouds'- My 14 Peaks Project
My latest project begins in March this year. To climb all 14 of the world’s 8000m mountains, without the use of additional oxygen, to the true summits, in the world’s fastest time.
The 8000ers are located in the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia. Summiting all 14 peaks without the use of additional oxygen, is regarded as a serious achievement in the mountaineering world. Currently there are only two men in the world that have reached the true summits of all 14 peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen.
My goal is to complete the summits of all 14 peaks over the next two and half years. Climbing without the use of additional oxygen in the death zone is a dangerous feat. I minimise this risk by climbing with the support of a highly experienced Sherpa climber. The Sherpa were born in the high mountains of Nepal. They are the strongest climbers in the world at high altitude. Whilst on the journey to complete my project, I aim to inspire people of all ages and walks of life that they are capable of more. It is never too late to dream big and take steps towards our highest version of ourselves. We don’t know what our true potential is until we break out of our comfort zone.
What are the 14 Peaks?
The "14 peaks" is a term commonly used to refer to the 14 mountains in the Himalayas that are over 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) in height. These peaks are considered to be some of the most challenging and dangerous in the world to climb, and are a popular goal for mountaineers. Here is a brief summary of the 14 peaks:
Mount Everest (8,848 meters / 29,029 feet) - the highest peak in the world, located on the border between Nepal and Tibet.
K2 (8,611 meters / 28,251 feet) - the second highest peak in the world, located on the border between Pakistan and China.
Kangchenjunga (8,586 meters / 28,169 feet) - located on the border between Nepal and India.
Lhotse (8,516 meters / 27,940 feet) - located on the border between Nepal and Tibet, connected to Everest by the South Col.
Makalu (8,485 meters / 27,838 feet) - located on the border between Nepal and Tibet.
Cho Oyu (8,188 meters / 26,864 feet) - located on the border between Nepal and Tibet.
Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters / 26,795 feet) - located in Nepal.
Manaslu (8,163 meters / 26,781 feet) - located in Nepal.
Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters / 26,660 feet) - located in Pakistan.
Annapurna I (8,091 meters / 26,545 feet) - located in Nepal.
Gasherbrum I (8,080 meters / 26,509 feet) - located on the border between Pakistan and China.
Broad Peak (8,051 meters / 26,414 feet) - located on the border between Pakistan and China.
Gasherbrum II (8,035 meters / 26,362 feet) - located on the border between Pakistan and China.
Shishapangma (8,013 meters / 26,289 feet) - located in Tibet, the only peak among the 14 that is wholly within China.
Climbing these peaks is a major challenge due to their extreme altitude, unpredictable weather, and technical difficulties, and requires careful planning, physical fitness, and mountaineering skills.
What is the difference of climbing on 8000m peaks without additional oxygen?
Climbing an 8000-meter peak without supplemental oxygen is significantly more challenging than climbing with the use of oxygen. The main difference is that climbing without oxygen requires the body to function in an environment with significantly lower levels of atmospheric oxygen, which can cause a number of physical and mental challenges.
At high altitudes, the air pressure decreases, which reduces the amount of oxygen available to breathe. On an 8000-meter peak, the oxygen levels can be as low as one-third of the levels found at sea level. This makes it difficult for the body to function normally, and climbers may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. At extremely high altitudes, these symptoms can progress to more severe conditions, such as high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), which can be life-threatening.
Climbing without supplemental oxygen requires the body to adapt to the lower oxygen levels by producing more red blood cells to transport oxygen more efficiently. This process, known as acclimatization, takes time and requires the climber to spend several weeks at progressively higher altitudes before attempting the summit. Climbers also need to be in excellent physical condition, have strong mountaineering skills, and possess the mental fortitude to withstand the challenges of climbing at high altitude.
In addition to the physical challenges, climbing without oxygen also requires careful planning and preparation. Climbers need to bring more gear and supplies to compensate for the additional energy expenditure required to climb without oxygen, and they need to be able to move efficiently and quickly to minimize their exposure to the extreme conditions.
In summary, climbing an 8000-meter peak without supplemental oxygen is a significantly more difficult and dangerous undertaking than climbing with the use of oxygen, and requires a high level of physical fitness, mental fortitude, and mountaineering skill.