YOU ARE NOW IN THE DEATH ZONE
Beyond 26000 feet.
After months of preparations and training. After weeks of endurance and suffering high altitude and exhaustion it finally comes down to this.
Your mind is on auto-pilot since it is difficult to think clearly at this altitude. For every step you take you have to stop and take ten breaths, even though you are breathing from an oxygen tank.
Strange white wave-formations of frozen snow engulf the summit. You have to keep climbing towards that. You see a white edge on the horizon. You reach that edge and can’t see how much further. You feel a little frustrated. Tired.
Then you reach another white edge, but this time – it doesn’t continue. Behind it, there is instead a slope down. You are peeking down at the North side of Everest. You are at the summit.
Welcome to the top of the world”
You sit down. You still won’t believe it till you’re back at Base Camp.
You take in the view. You’re speechless.
Then you take out your Samsung S2 and tweet!
The highest tweet in the whole wide world happened this year in May!
British-born climber Kenton Cool tweeted:
“Everest summit no 9! 1st tweet from the top of the world thanks to a weak 3G signal & the awesome Samsung Galaxy S2 handset!”
You can follow him on twitter @KentonCool.
Now is that ‘cool’ or what?
Not just tweet but Kenton also updated his facebook page and shared photos from that Oh-My-God height. This, quite literally, is taking technology and social media to dizzying heights.
Reminds me of that legendary line from one of my favourite movie – Star Trek.
“…To boldly go where no man has gone before.”
You do know what Star Trek is, right?
It’s really amazing the ‘heights’ to which social media and the interent have reached.
While we go through our daily grind and update our facebook status about traffic jams and more, there are these bunch of people, who defy all odds to climb up the highest mountain in the world, and are using social media up there!
They’re tweeting, they’re updating statuses, they’re sharing photos on instagram.
National Geographic partnered with Instagram to share their climbers photos and updates in real time. Check out Emily Harrington’s self portrait on the summit.
Is this the social media and tech-age equivalent of Nat Geo’s most famous ‘Afghan Girl’ portrait?
Only time will tell.
In another part of the world Gavin Bate opened up bids on ebay for the highest tweet in the world and got some superb responses.
And all this because Nepali mobile network operator Ncell has installed the first 3G base station at the base camp of Mount Everest, giving visitors, climbers and locals the ability to make calls and wirelessly connect to the Internet, even from 29035 feet.
I am right now stunned at all this. Astonished at the progress technology is making. Happy that social media is no longer about frivolous fun, but has a much larger impact on our lives.
And something tells me this is just the beginning.
And how do all of them get their gizmos to work up there?
Well, that’s a story for another day now.