South West Face Route

Nothing can really express the emotions one feels after having just finished establishing your base camp. This is when you can take the time to gaze out at the surrounding landscape and allow your eyes to wonder heavenward. You may take in the surrounding landscape for what seems like an eternity before it suddenly hits you; you’re looking at the highest mountain in the world!

This is the feeling one must think Dougal Haston and Doug Scott, lead by Chris Bonington from the United Kingdom, must have felt as they began their ascent of Mount Everest with their team in 1975. Interestingly the route they chose to take was a previously unknown and unexplored by any mountaineer at that point. However today there have been over 15 summits recorded and over four fatalities. The route now has a 27% chance of death occurring during ascent or descent of Everest.

For a period of four years the Nepalese Government banned all climbing within the Nepalese Himalayas from 1966 to 1969. It reopened in 1969; however Tibet was still inaccessible which meant that the southern approach was the only route available. This made an interesting challenge which was lapped up by top mountaineers. What makes the South west face so demanding is its vertical cliffs which are over 600 meters in height and limit most progress.

The South West face has two routes which you can choose from; both routes are termed as Class 5 and so both are extremely difficult because they involve severe altitudes. The original route taken by Haston, Scott and Bonington was termed as route four and it allowed them to reach the summit by sunset. However, during descent they were forced to stay overnight near the South Summit – again emphasizing the ever changing nature of the mountain and the need to be fully prepared and aware if you wish to survive.

Fascinatingly enough, Mount Everest has at least eighteen paths that have been officially recorded to date. Regardless of whether you have experience as a professional climber who has organized numerous expeditions or you are still somewhat of an amateur who wishes to take part in a commercial outfit, it is vital to understand the potential dangers that you could come across whilst attempting a climb up Mount Everest. The risks inherent in such a trip should be a foremost consideration when deciding whether or not to attempt such a climb as these dangers become very real possibilities the day you arrive at the Mount Everest base camp.


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