0
$\begingroup$

Why aren't permanently pressurized camps being built at Everest and any 23,000'+ mountain, and perhaps a pressurized enclosed platform at the very summit, to no longer have to bother about altitude sickness, HAPE and HACE, with necessary climbing equipment being in the camps already, and permanently inhabited similar to the ISS?

Everest Camp II a.k.a. Advanced Base Camp is at 21,000' elevation which is still somewhat adaptable to without serious risk or effort if you're careful in acclimatization. Everest Camp III is at 23,500' which is at the very boundary of the adaptable zone (formerly, altitudes above were referred to as the Death Zone, today it's defined above 26,200'). I would suggest making Camp III and Camp IV (South Col at 26,000') pressurized and permanently inhabited by Sherpas/Rangers who exchange in periods similar to the crew on the ISS, about six months. Possibly one could establish a pressurized building at Everest's peak from where scientists may perform experiments, measurements and other stuff. On the neighbouring Lothse (27,940') one could build a pressurized observatory.

The pressurizations could work similar to those on airliners. Why hasn't the above been realized as yet? Why is it so hard to realize it step-by-step?

$\endgroup$
19
  • $\begingroup$ Technically it would be possible, but how much will it cost & who is going to pay for it? The other thing to consider is pressurized cabins need electricity. How will that be supplied? What happens if someone want's to establish a hotel styled establishment instead of just functional cabins? During the climbing session, Mt Everest can be crowed, will such cabins entice even more to people to crowd the slopes of Mt Everest & can the environment cope with so many people and their wastes? $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Dec 3, 2021 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred A hotel has a limited amount of rooms, and would only allow as many people as they have beds. Electricity they can have solar one, perhaps from wind as well considering the altitudes. The cabins and a possible pressurized gondola may be government-run (as the entire area is already) and money intake would come from the climbers who are to visit the summit. The Lothse observatory would be owned by those who sponsor the astronomers there (e.g. the US government as on the Rubin observatory) and as I said Everest's peak would be used for science as well. $\endgroup$
    – Giovanni
    Dec 3, 2021 at 17:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is not a question about earth science at all, but about economics, so perhaps it should be moved to the economics SE. In the end it gets built if somebody pays for it, so either you convince Elon Musk that is better than Mars or you have to make an economic case that enough visitors will come and bring enough money to make it economically viable. In any case this is not something any earth scientist can answer, you need to ask economists. $\endgroup$
    – uUnwY
    Dec 3, 2021 at 23:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the only earth science aspect in the question is your remark about "scientists may perform experiments, measurements and other stuff". But what would scientists actually want to do there that requires a permanent base? You set up automatic instruments and otherwise do expeditions for specific purposes. Antarctica is different because it's much more remote with no other options for doing research, and scientists need the bases as starting points for expeditions. $\endgroup$
    – uUnwY
    Dec 3, 2021 at 23:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To test how far you can see is not a question for which scientists would want an expensive base on Mt Everest, instead we just ask any commercial airplane pilot, they spend hours every day looking out of a pressurised cabin at that height. Or we set up an automated camera which sends images back. From a scientific point of view I really can't think of anything interesting on Mt Everest that would require permanent presence. $\endgroup$
    – uUnwY
    Dec 4, 2021 at 14:58

1 Answer 1

2
$\begingroup$

The Nepali government is extremely sensitive to the notion of climbing their mountains as "sport" and understand that all elements that undermine the sporting nature of climbing, particularly on Everest, are to be restricted. For example, they have recently outlawed any on-line posting of photographs that show long lines of climbers snaking their way to the summit. They have imposed a minimum age requirement of 17 years old; after all, who'll want to climb a mountain that an 8 year old can climb.

Undoubtedly, placing "safety cabins" on the mountain would eliminate much of the danger in getting to Everest's summit, and vastly reduce the allure of the adventure, and cut into the cash-cow that is climbing Everest (climbing solo, or unguided, is also largely forbidden). As a very poor country, Nepal is extremely dependent on these climber dollars. Additionally, the tourist route is already saturated with climbers, their gear, and their poop, and could in no way support even more people.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Do they rather want to risk climbers' death than provide for cabins that could be life-saving? Hand in hand should go that they require climbers to wear oxygen masks above Camp III, for you wouldn't be able to acclimatize otherwise when leaving a pressurized cabin. OTOH they could raise the price for a summiting permit. $\endgroup$
    – Giovanni
    Dec 3, 2021 at 18:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.