" Climbing is the lazy man's way to enlightenment. It forces you to pay attention, because if you don't, you won't succeed, which is minor -or you may get hurt, which is major. Instead of years of meditation, you have this activity that forces you to relax and monitor your breathing and tread that line between living and dying. When you climb, you always are confronted with the edge. Hey, if it was just like climbing a ladder, we all would have quit a long time ago." -Duncan Ferguson.
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TOPIC: Use of Supplementary Oxygen @ High Altitude

Use of Supplementary Oxygen @ High Altitude 6 years, 6 months ago #928

Hey Guys,

Based upon the topic for this thread, I do hope I have had the chance to catch your interest. As much information, as we have online regarding mountaineering, and more importantly, as many enthusiastic and passionate people we have in India as of date who have now ventured out into the sport of Mountaineering, I find that increasingly so, passion far out weights the science of climbing. I mean yes, its great to be passionate, and its great that we have some really strong climbers and really fit climbers, but do we have climbers who are known more for their knowledge regarding mountaineering rather than their ability to ascend and climb peaks.

I am truly glad to be a part of this small community of Indian Mountaineers and have had the chance to read and gather tremendous knowledge, thus thankful for not just what I've learn't but appreciative of the amount I don't even know about. Having read some of the posts of members like Jerry, the admin cool_climber, Satya, Skorpion, Grape Bus,Don Amit etc to name a few, I'm glad that I have an opportunity to interact with these guys.

Re: Use of Supplementary Oxygen @ High Altitude 6 years, 6 months ago #929

Taking this into consideration, I thought it would be great to actually start a thread based upon the Topic, the use of supplementary oxygen at high altitude. With all of us nursing the secret of climbing a big 8000+ ( if not Everest ), the working knowledge of selection and use of supplementary O2, becomes critical.

The inspiration came about during the course of a simple trek where a few of us suddenly started discussing the parameters of O2 Cylinders used in high altitude climbing. We soon realized that the besides the units of measurement, flow rate, weight and concentration not making sense, we actually further ended up confusion each other even more. So thus this thread.

Well in part, information for the sake of information, is cumbersome and useless. Therefore rather than a simple cut, copy and paste job, I find it prudent to define the scope of this. The scope of this thread is to attempt to cover the following.

1. The necessity of Supplementary Oxygen at High altitude.
2. Open Regulator system as opposed to a closed regulator system
3. Specs of the O2 Cylinders currently being used.
4. The proportionate units and dimensions of these cylinders
5. Measurements and Calculations required for optimum rate of flow

Interestingly, there is not a single link or website I have found ( in my limited en devour to search online) that comprehensively covers all these aspects and therefore this would function as a very good repository of information.

Look forward to reading more on this thread.

Re: Use of Supplementary Oxygen @ High Altitude 6 years, 6 months ago #930

Hi Samir

Funny you should mention this topic as I was just thinking about it. Was rereading one of my favorite books, "The Climb" and was actually wondering about the New Poisk cyclinders, manufactured in Russia, first introduced by Henry Todd on the 96 Everest Expedition.

I subsequently visited the website peakfreaks.com/oxygen.htm and was reading about the POisk systems. There was a very interesting para that I do want to share with you guys.

With our Without Oxygen debate

Many have thought of climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen mainly to set records, save dollars or weight. Many try but very few actually do. Even the sherpas use oxygen above 26,000 feet. Babu sherpa did it without oxygen and holds the record of 7 summits without oxygen and 22 hours on the summit. Keep in mind he trained for one full year prior to his first attempt and had an entire team of support people waiting to rescue him. We don't recommend anyone trying it without at least one 8000m attempt without O's under your belt.

Please for your mother's sake, don't consider this as an option.

Re: Use of Supplementary Oxygen @ High Altitude 6 years, 6 months ago #933

Hi Samir,

Interesting topic and yes not much Info available on this on the web over-all.

May not be able to contribute very much to this discussion but in my opinion , all climbers may not have the same physical capability . But yes everyone going to the mountains does have the same mental capability & intent .

Dont know what most commercial expeditions these days use above 8000 + mts expeditions , but can would certainly like to read more about it .
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Re: Use of Supplementary Oxygen @ High Altitude 6 years, 6 months ago #939


Came across this information for Himalayan Summit Oxygen Cylinder.


Apparently the usual flow rate of O2 is adjusted to 2-4 ltrs per minute thus allowing a single cylinder to be used for at least 6-7 hours.

Re: Use of Supplementary Oxygen @ High Altitude 6 years, 6 months ago #940

Also ,

Came across the following website advertising for Poisk cylinders. An exerpt from the website;

"The POISK system is designed to use two to three bottles for a summit day of 12 to 18 hours. This allows you to drop and empty bottle on the way to the summit and pick up a strategically placed bottle on the descent if needed. This way you have only one third the weight on your back as you approach the summit. The adjacent photo is a picture of oxygen cylinders the Sherpas retrieved from high on the mountain. In the past many bottles have been left behind on the mountain causing worldwide attention around the debris left behind by expeditions. Today Sherpas are paid a fee to return them for refilling.

One POISK –3 high-pressure bottles filled to 260 Bar at 20 degrees Celsius weighs under six pounds (2.7 kg). The dimensions of the bottle are 19 inches long and 4.25 inches in diameter. Four bottles can easily fit into a medium size pack. These bottles are extremely reliable and easy to use. At a 2- liter per minute flow the bottles last approximately 6.5 hours."


For More info just click on the below link

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