Tuesday, September 22, 2015

RANDOM FACT #8 - The "EIGHT-THOUSANDERS" Is the TERM Given To the 14 Independent MOUNTAINS...

All eight-thousanders are located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia. They are the mountains whose summits are in the death zone -  altitudes above a certain point where the amount of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life.

The world’s tallest mountains are perilous containing towering blocks of ice that can crush climbers in seconds. They are known for their tremendous avalanches of rock and snow that can wipe out entire expeditions. And they are home to spider webs of ice crevasses that swallow humans whole. Even during the summer, average daytime temperatures are frigid. And, hurricane-force winds are common.

(The 2 photographs below are from the International Space Station and shows Annapurna and Manaslu (top) and the central Karakoram, the highest concentration of 8,000-meter mountains on Earth. (Astronaut photographs ISS025-E-011510 and ISS037-E-017916 courtesy NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth))

The lack of oxygen; at 5,000 meters (16,404 feet), the atmosphere contains about half as much oxygen as at sea level. By 6,000 meters (19,685 feet), the air is so thin that full acclimatization is no longer possible. No matter how fit, climbers begin to slowly suffocate. By 7,000 meters (22,966 feet), survival times plummet and lucid thought becomes difficult. By 8,000 meters—the so-called “death zone”—even the strongest climbers can survive for a few days at best.

The three most dangerous of the eight-thousanders—Annapurna, K2, and Nanga Parbat—claim the life of about one climber for every four who reach the top. The fatality rate for Annapurna, the most dangerous mountain in the world, is over 30 percent. Bottled oxygen and guided climbs have made Mount Everest much safer than it was decades ago, but the world’s tallest mountain still takes lives regularly. Nine people died on the mountain in 2013. Ten in 2012.

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