Today is May 1st, start of a new month – and given we had another rest day today and the fact that on our next rotation we will be bringing oxygen masks up the hill in addition to our regular kit – Jon gave us a demo of how to use the masks and oxygen tanks – which are a critical part of our equipment above C3.

As a reminder – on our next rotation we will climb to C3 & stay the night – all without oxygen. I am told this overnight at 23k+ feet will be quite uncomfortable. After that – on our summit push – we will climb from C3 to C4 (high camp on the South Col) with oxygen, sleep at C4 with oxygen – and finally, make our way to the summit using oxygen.

For those of you that scuba dive, concept is somewhat similar – actually easier, if anything. We all received our masks and took turns hooking up to the ranks and using – trying our best not to do a lame Darth Vader (Starwars) or Bane (Batman) impression! Jon also instructed me to keep the mask on for a while to get extra oxygen – a great healer at this altitude – and sure enough, my ribs hurt just that bit less after – if only temporarily.


To pre-empt the question: All of our team are using oxygen. Some folks from other teams have opted to try without – and that is their decision. Statistically speaking, only a tiny fraction of people who have summited Everest have done so without using supplemental oxygen. The likelihood of success is so much less while the risk of injury or death is so much greater that there simply was no question for me.

To anticipate other questions: the oxygen tank itself weighs about 18lbs and I will carry one in my packpack at all times, switching out for a fresh tank later in the ascent on summit day, which will then stay with me until my return to C4. During that time, I expect to use an oxygen flow of 2-3L/min.

On a bright note – that’s yet another previously unknown variable now addressed – another piece of the puzzle in place, which is only a good thing! I suppose as with everything else – one thing to do a demo down here at EBC, a whole other thing to use in anger up high – but one thing is for sure… oxygen is my friend!

On an even lighter note – given it is Monday – I need to remember that a Monday in the mountains – even with sore ribs – is probably still better than a Monday back at work 🙂

7 thoughts on “Oxygen is my friend

  1. Rooting for you from sea level and 80 degrees! (I’d still prefer yak traffic to Los Angeles traffic any day of the week:)
    Thanks for keeping us updated on events on the mountain. Miss you guys!

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    • Thanks Lisa! As you know – not talking specifically about team members – but I can make an exception to let you know Ryan doing great and I believe heading up on his third rotation with Josh early tomorrow (Weds) AM.

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  2. Justin- Once again, thanks for taking time to update us. I’ve got a guy at work following the blog (come to think of it, will have to make sure he ponied up a donation!), he sent me an email Friday that said “This dude provided inspiration for me today”. Even half a world away, you’re making a difference. We’re all rooting for you!

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    • Thanks Ram! My ribs still bothering me but I think I should be good to go back up the hill tomorrow. Saving your Killian Jornet book to read next – will help with passing time here at EBC. Best wishes to everyone back at CS and huge thanks for all the aippprt!

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  3. Amazing achievement! Love reading your updates…the good, bad, and the ugly. Cheering you on and sending good juju from Michigan! Safe climbing. Time to pull out the Mantras.!

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