Thinking Citizen Blog — Mountains of the World (III): Himalayas, Karakoram, Annapurna

Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day

Today’s Topic — Mountains of the World (III) Himalayas, Karakoram, Annapurna (and the “death zone”)

There are 14 mountain peaks in the world above 8000 meters (26,000 feet). All are in Asia. All are in the Himalayas (9) or the Karakoram (5). The Himalayas separate the Indian sub-continent from the Tibetan plateau. The Karakoram are an adjoining range to the north and east. All fourteen are marked by little red triangles in the map below. the highest peak outside of Asia is Mt. Aconcagua (22,838 feet) in the Andes in Mendoza Province, Argentina. Anything above 8000 meters is in the “death zone” — an altitude at which sustained human life is impossible without supplementary oxygen. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

HIMALAYAS — 9 of of the 14 “eight thousanders” — all at or near the Nepalese-China border

1. “The first person to summit all 14 eight-thousanders was Italian Reinhold Messner in 1986, who completed the feat without the aid of supplementary oxygen.”

2. “In 2010, Spanish Edurne Pasaban became the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders, but with the aid of supplementary oxygen.”

3. “In 2011, Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner became the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders without the aid of supplementary oxygen.”

NB: “On 29 October 2019, Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja, set a new speed record by climbing the 14 eight-thousanders in 6 months and 6 days.”

KARAKORAM — 4 of the 5 highest peaks are all along the Pakistan-China border

1. Five peaks over 8000 meters. The highest of which is K2 — the second highest peak in the world, at 28,250 feet.

2. Fifteen of the highest peaks of the Karakoram are in Pakistan.

3. The photo features a view from the Baltoro Glacier, one of the longest in the world.

NB: K2 has the highest death rate of the five highest peaks in the world with a death rate of 1 in 4 attempts. It is the only one of the five that has not been climbed during winter. Do not confuse “Karakoram” with “Karakorum” (the ancient Mongol capital).

THE ANNAPURNA MASSIF — North-Central Nepal — deadliest of the “eight-thousanders”

1. Has one peak over 26,000 feet, 13 over 23,000 feet

2. “The Annapurna peaks have been among the world’s most treacherous mountains to climb with the particular case of the extremely steep south face of Annapurna I Main — a wall of rock that rises 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) — making it one of the most difficult climbs in the world.”

3. “By March 2012, there had been 191 summit ascents of Annapurna I Main, and 61 climbing fatalities on the mountain. This fatality-to-summit ratio (1:3.1, or 32%) is the highest of any of the eight-thousanders.”

Himalayas

Eight-thousander

Annapurna Massif

Karakoram

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YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change or the environment. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.