Mountaineering is an outdoor sports activity. Climbing a rock, hills and mountains, all come under mountaineering. Mountaineering is a dangerous activity. Only a physically and mentally fit person has a chance of success in climbing a mountain. Very few of them are able to scale the highest peaks in the world.
You may have heard about the Mount Everest. It is the highest peak in the world. Mount Everest is in Nepal and it is called Sagarmatha in Nepali. The height of Mount Everest is 8848 meter. Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal were the first to reach the peak of Mount Everest. They achieved this success on 29th May 1953.
Avtar Singh Cheema was the first Indian to climb Mount Everest. He achieved this feat in 1965. Bachendri Pal was the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest. She achieved this feat in 1984.
There are many institutes which give training in mountaineering. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was set up in Darjeeling in 1954. Tenzing Norgay was the first Director of this institute.
The highest peaks from each continent make this group. Following table shows the Seven Summits of the world.
|Continent||Peak||Height (in m)|
|North America||Mount Denali||6194|
|South America||Mount Aconcagua||6961|
Richard Bass from America was the first person to scale all the seven summits. He achieved this feat in 1985.
There are many risks in mountaineering. These risks are because of the difficult terrain, ice and bad weather. Climbing a mountain is not an easy task like walking in your garden. You need lot of physical strength in your legs to climb a mountain. A mountaineer needs to carry heavy luggage during climbing. You must have faced difficulty while climbing the stairs, with your schoolbag slung on your back. You can easily imagine the difficulty faced by mountaineers who climb and carry huge load on their backs.
Getting a foothold on slippery ice or even on a rock can be highly difficult. Mountaineers use many tools to get a grip while doing this. Climbing on slippery ice is dangerous. Ice can crumble and give way without notice. If the weather becomes rough, then situation gets out of hand. Many mountaineers die because of extreme cold weather. Many die because of falling from a height. Only the lucky ones survive to tell the tale.
When you go to high mountains, there is less oxygen in air. Air pressure becomes very low. Low air pressure and less oxygen in air make it difficult to breathe. Mountaineers carry oxygen cylinders so that they can breathe properly.
You will not reach a peak at one go. Mountaineers need to stop in between for taking rest and for sleeping. For this, they carry tents and stoves. Tents and sleeping bags help in keeping the body warm. Stoves are used for heating water and food.
There are numerous tools for mountaineering, and it is a long list. Let us know about some basic tools.
Rope: Ropes are highly valuable for mountaineers. Ropes are attached to anchors which are fixed to the rock. After that mountaineers use the rope to climb higher. Rope climbing requires an immense level of teamwork.
Ladders: Ladders are also used for climbing and for crossing small gaps between rocks. People cross the ladder one by one.
Ice Axe: These are used for chopping off ice. These are also used for getting a hold on the icy rock while climbing.
Snow Shoes and Crampons: These tools help in getting a grip on ice. These tools help in walking on ice.
Helmet: A helmet is used for protecting the head.
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