So you want to climb 8000m?

So you want to climb 8000m?

Page Type Page Type: Article
Activities Activities: Mountaineering

8000m YEAH!!

There are 14 mountains in the world that are over 8000m high and they're all easy. At least that's what I'm led to believe if I read the blogs from the commercial expeditions. Seriously, have you read any of these expedition blogs?

"Tonight we all ate a great meal, the food really is great - healthy, tasty and lots of it".

"Yesterday all team members made it successfully to C2 and back to C1. We took loads of photos and even had time for a snowball fight at 23,000 feet."

What a load of crap. You, the reader, need to know the truth. Climbing 8000m mountains sucks and you have to be seriously deranged to try it. Here's why:

What The Heck is Going On

Reasons to never climb an 8000m peak:

1) Food
I don't care what anyone says, the food on these expeditions is terrible. There's no getting around it. Firstly the food has been carried/transported for days to get to the remote mountain basecamp and there its cooked by locals who really want to be paid the higher wages of a climbing sherpa/porter and are only cooking to get their foot in the door. Secondly your appetite has up and left. The higher you go up the mountain the less you feel like eating. Sure, you know you've got to do it, so you keep forcing yourself to eat, but really how likely are you to be enjoying the food if you're forcing yourself at crampon-point to eat it?

2) Money
There will come a time when you are sitting quietly in your tent at some ungodly altitude having a thoughtful moment when you will realize that you could have gone on 5 separate expeditions to the Andes for the cost of this one. Or perhaps 10 trips to the Cascades and paid for your friend to come along too. You'll think "how stupid is this? What a waste, just think of the fun adventures I could have had with this much money."

3) Cold
8000m mountains are cold. Now I know you think you've been cold before, but you're about to experience a new type of cold. Its called the "month-long-cold". You are going to be cold or really fricken cold for at least a month straight. Oh yes, it'll warm up a bit on sunny days, for a few hours and maybe you'll be able to take your down jacket off for a few minutes, but you're still going to wonder how many weeklong scuba-diving trips you could have had in Belize for the same cost of this trip (see 2 above)

4) Other People
Yes, you're going to be sharing the mountain with other expeditions and they're not always the nice, courteous climbers you know from home. On the contrary, some of these climbers will eat their own young to get to the summit and you'd better not get in their way. As crazy and dangerous as these people are, the worst people on the mountain are the ones in your own expedition! I'm assuming that you're climbing with a commercial company, because everybody does nowadays and your team mates are made up of a bunch of type A personalities who will get real annoying around week 6. Try not to push them down the mountain, its considered bad form.

5) Pooping
I know people don't like to talk about such a sensitive and personal subject, but you need to know the truth - so I will keep it brief. You will experience pain, soreness, possibly bleeding. Things will run freely for days and then stop for a week and you know what that means at the end of the week. You will see the worst toilets in the world and you'll be happy to be in them. You will clean yourself with at least 3 different substances, including one thats completely new to you. Things will happen that you will never speak of. Am I clear?

The Dream is Over

There is more that I could tell you about, but frankly, if you still need more to convince you not to pursue this ridiculous dream, then additional stories aren't going to change your mind.

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but someone had to do it. You were heading down a terrible road propelled by the propaganda and mis-information that's out there. Good luck with the scuba-diving, remember to raise a cocktail to me as you watch the sun set into the pacific after a great day on the reef.

For those idiots out there that read this and still want to climb to 8000m, I'll see you on the hill!

Hugo Searle

High Adventure Expeditions


Post a Comment
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Bruno - Oct 2, 2011 4:12 am - Hasn't voted

Reasons to climb 8000m peaks:

1) Mountains are wonderful, including the 8000ers
2) Altitude is a drug, the higher you climb the higher you get
3) The feeling up there is extraordinary
4) The views up there are extraordinary
5) The physical effort is a great challenge
etc, etc.

And let me disagree at the same time of some of the points you mentioned:

1) Food: food can be excellent, and you may be always hungry. The proof: I took 3kg on my last expedition!

2) Money: Go to Pakistan on a self organised expedition (or go to Nepal/Tibet on a permit share and carry your own stuff), and it will for sure cost much less than a guided trip of a similar duration in a western country.

3) Cold. Just put on one more cloth layer, and you'll be fine (OK, feet and hands apart...). If it's too hot at your beach resort, you simply can't remove more clothes once you have already taken everything off.

4) Other people. Solo climb if you don't like people, avoid Everest or go off season, and you'll be fine. Personally, I mostly met nice people up there.

5) Pooping. I enjoyed so much the latrines while climbing in Nepal. They are luxurious and extremely hygienic compared to what we have here on the northern side of the Himalaya. And what is nicer than pooping in a plastic bag at 8000m? No smell, no leakage from the bag as it instantaneously freezes.

Anyway, who is going on an expedition for the food or the comfort of the latrines? I guess it should be about the mountains.

So, as you say, see you on the hill!

Vitaliy M.

Vitaliy M. - Oct 3, 2011 3:05 pm - Voted 10/10


Why go guided?! Self organize and plan your own trip. Be own boss!


minus800 - Oct 3, 2011 4:15 pm - Hasn't voted

Just Kidding...

Hi Bruno,
While I applaud your very sensible and accurate comments on high altitude mountaineering, I wasn't expecting a "real" debate on this article. It is written firmly with the tongue in cheek. I was trying to use humor to honor the effort that all climbers expend when climbing above 8000m. I am presuming that you are very familiar with the struggles and hardships that we face when we climb very high. I think it is amazing that all these hardships are faced and overcome individually. You may love the food, but I know its a real problem for some. You may have the experience to organize your own expeditions, but most do not.

I would like readers that want to comment to applaud the efforts of climbers and honor them by finding other things about 8000m climbing that we can make fun of, such as technology on the mountains or bad gear.

Lets all not get too serious, this article is supposed to make you smile knowingly and wryly.


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