What are the long-term effects of climbing Mount Everest?

What are the long-term effects of climbing Mount Everest?

Long-Term Effects of Climbing Mount Everest

Mountain climbing, such as the challenging feat of Mount Everest, is an adventure that attracts thousands of climbers from around the globe. From amateur enthusiasts to experienced mountaineers, the thrill of scaling the world’s highest peak is irresistible. However, the long-term effects of this adventure on the human body are not often examined and need significant attention.

Physical Impact of the Climb

Respiratory Problems

The harsh conditions at high altitudes can cause climbers to experience some degree of Hypoxia— a condition resulting from a drop in oxygen levels in the body. Prolonged exposure to hypoxic conditions could have long-term effects like pulmonary and cerebral edema, impacting the climber’s breathing even after descending from the mountain. Though temporary elasticity loss can be regained in few weeks, sometimes the damage may lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).

Cardiovascular Strains

The extreme physical exertion required to climb Mount Everest can lead to a higher risk of heart conditions. Conditions like high altitude pulmonary hypertension and increased strain on the right ventricle can be a consequence of high altitude acclimatization, which can persist even after returning to sea level.

Muscles and Joints

Climbing affects the musculoskeletal system too. The hard physical labor can lead to long-term joint pains, arthritis, bone density reduction, and muscle atrophy due to a lower amount of oxygen reaching the muscles.

Mental Aspects of the Climb

Phycological Trauma

Along with the physical damage, the harsh and unforgivable conditions of Mount Everest can strain one’s mental health. The climbers might have to deal with gruesome sights, the fear of frostbites, death, avalanches, and crevasses which can lead to severe mental trauma.

Brain Damage

Sustained exposure to hypoxic conditions may lead to mild brain damage. Though the impact is usually subtle and affects complex functions like coordination, memory, and decision-making power, it’s not something to discount.

Life After The Climb

Besides health impact, climbing Mount Everest changes one’s life considerably. The exhilarating achievement of summiting the highest peak of the world leaves a huge impression. The climber gains not only physical strength but also a great deal of mental resilience. The life-threatening risks and harsh climatic conditions make the climber resilient and can lead to personal growth. The pride of overcoming these tremendous difficulties can boost self-esteem and confidence levels.


Climbing Mount Everest, or any high-altitude mountain, should not be taken lightly. Thorough training, guidance, and understanding of the long-term impact it could have on your body are essential. The triumph is well worth the effort, but also entails taking proper precautions, being physically and mentally prepared, and being aware of the lasting effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can the damage from climbing Mount Everest be reversed?

Answer: It depends on what kind of damage it is. While some are short-term effects that may reverse with time, the risk of severe issues like stroke, heart diseases, and lung damage may persist.

2. Are there cases of death while climbing Mount Everest?

Answer: Yes, there have been many documented deaths on Everest. In many cases, severe health problems, injuries, avalanches, or falling have been the cause.

3. Can anyone climb Mount Everest?

Answer: Technically yes, but they need to be extremely physically fit and mentally prepared. It requires strenuous training, guidance from professionals, and understanding the risks involved.

4. Can Mount Everest be climbed without oxygen?

Answer: It is possible but very risky and requires excellent physical conditioning. Even experienced mountaineers can struggle without supplemental oxygen due to the extreme altitude.

5. Is it worth climbing Mount Everest?

Answer: This is subjective and depends on the individual. The learning, mental growth, and sense of achievement are life-changing experiences. The potential dangers, however, warrant careful consideration.