Oxygen masks and Sherpas
Hornbein oxygen mask.
We learnt this week that IMG (the company that is organising all our logistics in Nepal) has purchased some new generation oxygen masks for use by all their climbers this year. These masks are called TopOut masks and were designed by Ted Atkins in 2003. Ted had attempted Everest twice without success and believed that improvements could be made to the masks that are commonly used by climbers. The result was the TopOut mask and Ted was successful in 2004 in reaching the summit, which he attributes in part to his new mask. Although they haven't been used much, its obvious that IMG are impressed with them, otherwise they wouldn't make such a significant investment in purchasing one for every climber. I recently tried one and found that the mask is provides a good seal around your face, which is important to conserve oxygen and prevent your goggles from fogging up, and it also pools oxygen in a reservoir when you are breathing out, so that more oxygen is available when you breathe in. IMG will supply us with a choice of the new mask, and both of the older, but tried and true types (Hornbein and LSE).
We are really impressed that IMG have invested in this new mask - it's early days, but to us its an indication of the levels that they will go to provide all the support possible for their climbers. Certainly all the feedback from past climbers that we have spoken to, including people that didn't climb with IMG, but observed their operations on the mountain has been nothing short of excellent.
I thought I would share with you a bit about the two Sherpa that Fiona and I are hiring for our climb. Rex Pemberton (the youngest Australian to climb Everest) climbed with same IMG unguided program last year, and he hired a Sherpa called Da Sona who is from Pangboche. Da Sona is extremely experienced having climbed Everest 6 times, and Rex highly recommended him. We have also hired another Sherpa called Mingma Ongel who is from Phortse, and is related to Da Sona. Mingma has been on over ten 8000m expeditions and has summitted Everest from both the North and South side (we are climbing from the South), and is an assistant instructor for the Alex Lowe Foundation which teach ice climbing for the Sherpas in the winter months. We feel very privileged to be able to climb with these guys and are really looking forward to meeting them and getting to know them well.
Till next time,
Posted by: Katrina Cuskelly on March 15, 2006 10:18 AM AEST
Hello there you crazy cats - wishing you both all the very best for a successful mission - take care, look after one another and travel safely love Katrina
Posted by: Baz on March 15, 2006 05:27 PM AEST
sorry i am stuck over here in america and am going to miss your going away bash. Wishing you both all the very best of luck and hoping you have a great time. Look after yourselves and each other.
Posted by: Nick on March 15, 2006 06:06 PM AEST
Great effort to get this far Paul and Fiona - Well Done - really looking forward to following the climb. Nick Grainger
Posted by: Geraldine Davys on March 15, 2006 07:16 PM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul
I read all your updates with a great deal of interest, I am totally in awe of what you are doing. If anyone can do this and succeed it's you guys- so good luck, safe trip and happy climbing and we look forward to all the stories and adventures on your return (boy and I thought having 2 kids under 3 years was hard- nothing in comparison!!!).
Posted by: Andrew and Liz on March 15, 2006 07:59 PM AEST
We heard Sue Fear last night give a talk at AG in Sydney. The thing that I got from the talk was safety and responsibility. Don't be led, you know what you can achieve and others don't. Look after youselves. The Sherpa's sound great and will be a huge help but remember you are the ones who have to get to the top!Looking forward to the updates.
Posted by: MC on March 17, 2006 05:40 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona
I love your adventurous spirit. I wish you the the very best on your climb of Everest.
I had a question regarding the TopOut oxygen mask. It sounds like a great concept but I was wondering what happens with the exhaled moist air as even in the more open Poisk masks the air tends to freeze, luckily mostly on the outside. But you still have to "empty" the mask every now and then to prevent freezing the valve.
Could you please let me know any info you have regarding this? Thanks!