The summit of Mount Everest is one of the most preferred locations for climbers or travelers. Every people in the world love traveling and, more specifically, expedition or mountaineering. People who do not want to walk to such high altitudes but still want to reach the summits can reach the summit of different mountains via helicopter ride, but have you ever noticed that no direct helicopter ride package reaches the summit of Everest?
If you have never thought about this, take a break and think about it briefly. Have you ever heard of someone reaching the summit of Everest via a helicopter? No, because helicopters can not reach the Everest summit at all. There are several factors behind this, and by reading this blog, you will understand why helicopters can’t fly on Everest.
The highest any helicopter can go on the Everest
But before we start with that, let’s learn about the highest altitude on Everest, where helicopters can land. Because of the flat terrain for landing, a normal helicopter can successfully land up to 6,400 meters, the second base of the Everest expedition. The helicopters that reach that high are normally rescue helicopters, which are very important for the safety and rescue of the climbers heading to the summit. However, even these helicopters can only go up to the second camp.
This is also one of the reasons why so many climbers have lost their lives around the summit of Everest. As the helicopters cannot go above the second base, the rescue operation is slowed automatically, which makes the people stuck above the second camp lose their life because of the delay in the rescue operation.
Has anyone ever flown a helicopter over the summit of Everest?
Some people in the world are known for making the impossible possible. Out of so many such people, here we will talk about Didier Delsalle, a fighter and helicopter test pilot, who landed a helicopter on the summit of Everest (8848 meters) for the first time on May 14, 2005.
Before that, two more helicopters had flown at 12,442 meters (Aerospatial SA 315 Lama) and 12,954 meters (Eurocopter AS350 B2), but none landed on the summit of Everest. Even Didier could only stay at the summit for 3 minutes and 50 seconds, and then he had to return to the base. Landing a helicopter on the summit of Everest is a challenging and nearly impossible task. Besides, there is a valid science behind helicopters’ inability to land on Everest, and we will discuss that in the next topic.
Helicopters can’t fly to the Everest: What is the Science behind this?
One of the major things that climbers should know is that the air level is very low at the summit of Everest, and for helicopters to fly, the air is one of the most important factors. As the air level is very low at the summit of Everest, the helicopters cannot fly there. Talking about the landing part, after we cross the second base, there is no plain land on Everest’s surface, which means there is no space for the helicopters to land.
Going deeper into the scientific justification of why helicopters cannot rescue anyone on the summit of Everest, it is because the air pressure at the summit of Everest is only about 1/3 as much as that at sea level, which means that the air density is very thin in the summit of Everest. As a result, the helicopter cannot produce enough lift to pull any human being, making it impossible to rescue anyone.
Effect of Harsh Weather on Helicopters at the Everest Summit
We all know that the weather in the Himalayan region is unpredictable and harsh, which means that the weather at the Everest summit also changes randomly. Therefore, the summit of Everest has heavy snowfall, thick cloudy weather, and extreme temperature. All these aspects act as negative agents for the flying and landing of the helicopters at the summit of Everest.
The temperature at the summit of Everest is freezing throughout the year, which means that even in the summer, the climbers can experience sudden climate change, snowfall, extreme weather, etc. Due to these factors, landing a helicopter at the summit of Everest becomes difficult and nearly impossible.
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Staying safe while climbing the Everest summit
All climbers must be careful while ascending the summit of Everest as there are very low chances of rescue because rescue helicopters cannot fly at such altitudes. Even though many climbers might know how to stay safe at higher altitudes, here are a few of the most important steps to be safe at the Everest summit.
Proper Acclimatization and Prior Training
Being at the summit of Everest means being 8848 meters above sea level, and not to mention the level of oxygen is also very low. Therefore, the climbers must be well-prepared and acclimatized for a safe ascend to the summit of Everest.
Aside from acclimatization, the human body also requires adequate training to climb over successfully such high altitudes by crossing many obstacles and difficult paths. Therefore, we suggest all climbers properly train when planning the climb of Everest.
Hydration and knowledge of the necessary equipment
One of the most important that your body needs while walking at such a high altitude is an adequate amount of liquid. Therefore, all the climbers are suggested to carry enough liquid with them and keep drinking repeatedly to protect their bodies from dehydration.
Protecting the body from dehydration is not enough while climbing the Everest peak. The climbers also need to use several pieces of equipment. With the proper knowledge of all the equipment and gear, reaching the summit of Everest is possible.
Knowing the limits
This heading refers to how much you ascend at once or the altitude you can cover. The climbers must always know their potential and where they should stop. Never let your determination to reach the peak of Everest make you forget your capacity, as that might lead to your body weakening and failure of your dream to reach the peak of Everest.
We suggest all the climbers understand the entire trip before starting the journey and follow their guides properly to reach the highest altitude in the world.
Who was the pilot that landed successfully on the summit of the Everest?
Didier DelSalle was the first-ever pilot to land the helicopter named Eurocopter AS250 Squirrel on the summit of Everest, and he did so in 2005.
Is a rescue operation by helicopter possible on the summit of Everest?
No, the rescue helicopters can only serve the rescue operations until the second camp of Everest, i.e., 6,400 meters.
How many people have died on the summit of Everest?
According to the latest update on the Himalayan database, 310 people have lost their lives around the summit of Everest, and around 200 bodies remain in the snow.