Originally Posted by hercules
There may be an alternative to climbing Everest in the near future. A couple months ago I read of a new world record for highest landing by a helicopter. Appearantly, a helicopter(I think it was a Twinstar) landed atop the summit of Everest, thus setting the record. I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future someone attempts to capitalize on that heli's ability by providing heli flights to the top. I find it hard to imagine it being any more dangerous than climbing that beast. Also, I wouldn't even venture a guess as to the cost for a lift up to the top. On the positive side, it is definately quicker!
Actually, I think that flying a helicopter to the summit of Everest and stepping out would be signifigantly more dangerous then trying to hike up. I've heard that the air on the summit is so thin that a non-acclimatized person would be unconscious in about 5 minutes and dead in about 10.
The summit of Everest is well into what climbers call the "dead zone". I forget where the "dead zone" is generally considered to begin, but essentially it refers to the point at which you start using more energy simply trying to breathe then you gain from getting fresh oxygen. i.e., breathing becomes an anerobic activity! Put another way, if you were to go to sleep, you'd wake up more tired then you were when you went to sleep (assuming you woke up at all).