Death zone of Himalayas- The High peak of the Himalayan Range
The Himalayas are the mountain ranges that lie in the south and east of Asia. This mountain range separates the Tibetan plateau and Indian subcontinent. The Himalayan ranges consist of some of the most astonishing mountain ranges in the world. The range don not only belongs to one country or one region but passes through various countries and regions. China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan are the countries from where the range passes.
In Nepal, the range lies in the northern part of the country. The range separates Nepal and China in most parts of the country. There is an interesting part in the Himalayas, that only a few mountains consist. Many of the average people even do not know about this segment of the Himalayas. This segment is the death zone of Himalayas. The altitude above the 8000m range is called the death zone. All of the mountains that have a death zone lies in Aisa or more specifically in the Himalayan range. So, this is also called the death zone of Himalayas.
Death zone of Himalayas inside and outside Nepal
There are 14 mountains in the world that has death zone. All 14 of them lie in the Himalayan range. The Himalayan range has some of the highest peaks in the world. Aside from the death zone mountains, the top 7000m also lies in the Himalayas. The death zone in the Himalayas lies in various countries. The above 8000m mountains are divided among the few countries here Nepal, China, and Pakistan.
Death Zone of Himalayas in Nepal
Nepal is the country with the highest number of top 10 mountains in the world. Among the top 10 highest mountains in the world 8 lies in the small country. Eight among the fourteen peaks belonging to the same countries is not that something. The peaks are distributed all over the country and are the major tourist attraction sites.
Death zone of Himalayas outside Nepal
Outside Nepal, Pakistan has six mountains and Tibet has one mountain with the death zone of Himalayas. The most famous mountain of Pakistan with the Death zone of Himalayas is Mount K2. It is the second tallest peak in the world standing at an altitude of 8611m from sea level. It is second to none other than Everest itself. K2 is also not just one of the highest peaks in the world with a death zone, it is also one of the most challenging mountains to summit due to its topography and harsh slopes.
Mountains of Nepal
Nepal has 8 mountains that cross above 8000m from the sea level barriers. Among the death zone of Himalayas and all peaks around the world, Mount Everest sits at the top. It stands at the amazing height of 8848.6m from sea level. It has 884m in height more than what passes the standard for the death zone. Due to which Everest is truly the king of the mountains of the world which every mountaineer dream to conquer.
Aside from Everest, there are seven mountains in Nepal that have the Death zone of Himalayas. Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna, are the peaks of Nepal with death zone in serial order with respect to their altitudes.
The death zone of Himalayas is possessed by all of the mountains here. However, their altitude defines how much they are higher than the death zone standard. As we mentioned earlier the highest being Everest while the lowest among these giants is Annapurna with an altitude of 8091m above sea level. It stands just 91m above sea level, however, despite this, it is considered one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. It also has the highest death rate which is 32%, to put it into simple terms for every three-person who summits the peak one person dies. That is dangerous in Mount Annapurna.
History of Death zone (Death zone of Himalayas)
Death zone the concept was first time introduced in the year 1953 by Edouard Wyss-Sunant. It was first named the lethal zone by him but in time it became more commonly known as the death zone. Edouard Wyss-Sunant named the altitude above 8000m as the death zone or lethal zone because it is the condition where human beings cannot survive and the chances of losing life are extremely high. The atmospheric pressure at this altitude is 356 millibars which are extremely lethal.
The human body and Environmental factor to Survive
The human body is the assimilation of the complex system, where each system and organs work in a coordinated manner to make the body work. If one of the systems stops working or does not complete the task it is supposed to perform all the body suffers its consequences. The human body aside from its systems also depends on lots of factors that are outside of the body to function properly. Like we can say air, water, are not part of our body but we constantly need them to function the body properly.
The human body aside from its systems and basic needs also is dependent on various things to keep it alive.
Pressure, temperature, altitude is some of the things that also determine the life of people. The human body is not designed to survive in such extreme conditions. At conditions where the temperature is average, the climate is good, oxygen in the air is in good amount, the topography is not maximum and is around the average sea levels this is the condition in which the human body thrives. The death zone of Himalayas is one of the most difficult spots on earth, as humans are not designed to perform or even be alive in that condition. If not for the gears and other protective goods, humans will not survive long there.
Also, the death zone of Himalayas is located 8000m above so to get there the climbers need to put in an extremely high amount of effort. When the climbers will get there their bodies will be under a lot of stress from the 7000m climb which further makes the death zone of Himalayas dangerous.
Death zone of Himalayas and science behind it
At the beginning of the 8000m, the atmospheric pressure is 356millibars while the atmospheric pressure needed for the body to be in perfect condition is around 1013millibars which is present in the ideal plains. When the altitude increases from the ideal altitude after significant altitude atmospheric pressure decreases and oxygen content in the air also decreases.
The body responds to this by acclimatization. It is the process where the body tries to automatically adjust to the surrounding. This is the very reason climbers spend more than months of time in the mountains while the time of the actual climb is of days. However, there is a certain limit to this acclimatization. There is a region to which the body can push itself and cannot go beyond that. The death zone of Himalayas is that region where no human can push their limit.
When a human body enters the Death zone of Himalayas the body starts to die. It is not getting weak by the climb; you are not tired but the body just starts dying. The goal of the climbers when they reach the death zone is to summit the mountain as fast as safely possible and return from there. Spending too much time in that area can be very lethal.
Changes in the body due to the Death zone of Himalayas
Lack of oxygen and the complications behind it
The most obvious thing that occurs in the death zone of the Himalayas is the lack of oxygen. When the body lacks oxygen, the body tries to compensate for it by increasing the heartbeat. Also, the body starts to take breath fast and fast to increase the oxygen into the body. The increased heartbeat increases the chances of a heart attack.
Another key role is played by oxygen deficiency against the climbers in the death zone of the Himalayas. When oxygen lacks in the body the body produces more hemoglobin to increase the efficiency of oxygen supply to the body cells. More hemoglobin than a certain limit thickens the quality of the blood. The heart will find the thickened blood exceedingly difficult to pump. This may be the result of the stroke.
The thickened blood due to the presence of high hemoglobin is also harmful to the lungs and fluids can get filled in it, further complicating the situation.
Loss of body function
The body systems start to fail at that condition. The most prominent of loss of body function is that of the digestive one. The digestion at that altitude and temperature almost becomes zero. The stopping of the digestive system is a huge problem as it is the reason, we are alive. Digestion and the process after digestion give power to our bodies. Other changes also happen at that altitude like slow cellular regeneration and cell production, extreme tiredness.
Climbers and researchers say that the body starts to deteriorate. The body parts and body start to fall out of order one by one. So, the journey needs to be completed before that has the chance of happening.
Swelling of the brain
The brain may start to swell at the death zone of Himalayas due to the lack of oxygen. The condition is Hypoxia and it happens when the oxygen circulation to the brain is low. Lack of oxygen triggers the swelling of the brain and when that happens other things also start to happen one by one. Like losing the thinking and reasoning capacity, vomiting and swelling may also lead to permanent damage.
Other conditions and situations
Inability to sleep, muscle failure, snow blindness, nausea, and vomiting are the things that can happen to the body in the Death zone of Himalayas. these can happen while climbing other mountains also, however, due to having more altitude than others the chance and the severity here is increased.
Death is the greatest of the risk that may happen up there. Many climbers have succumbed to death in the death zone of Himalayas when climbing the 14 mountains with an altitude of above 8000m. Also, when the person dies in such high altitudes it is impossible to take back the body. The difficult terrain was going and coming out oneself may become impossible sometimes, it is impossible to bring back the dead body. It is so common in that some of the bodies are used as the landmark to get into the peak of these mountains.
Also, some bodies get lost in the snow, and no traces of it can be found ever. However, climbers say that more bodies are resurfacing as global warming is melting the snow of the mountains. Experts suggest that if that is the case more bodies are likely to remerge. Death is a possible outcome when climbers go to the death zone of Himalayas. They know it but they go to find the thrill and adventure.
Who should attempt the altitude of the Death zone of Himalayas?
It is a quite common answer that people without mountaineering experience cannot attempt the climb to the death zone of Himalayas. People who have lots of Mountaineering experience under their belt only dare to go to the death zone of Himalayas.
People when attempting a normal average mountain also take months to prepare their bodies and confidence. The death zone of the Himalayas is the highest spot on the earth so people need to prepare them more seriously. A considerable time is needed for that preparation. The death zone of the Himalayas is as much a mental thing as the physical. So, the climbers also need to prepare mentally for going to the death zone of Himalayas.
Climbers generally start low to gather the experience and confidence to go to the highest altitude and the higher mountains. The climbers that generally attempt the mountains like Everest, prepare for it by climbing the 7000m and 6000m peaks. They are below the death zone, safe, and provides the experience, confidence, and courage to go to the higher places.