“For the stone from the top for geologists, the knowledge of the limits of endurance for the doctors, but above all for the spirit of adventure to keep alive the soul of man.” ~ George Mallory
When you are in inhospitable terrain like near the Everest in Nepal, communications becomes the key to survival. This was most evident when avalanche hit the slopes of Himalayas when Nepal had the massive 7.8 earthquake last week.How #Internet Connectivity helped at Everest Base Camp after Nepal Quake #technology Click To Tweet
Dan Mazur tweeted and sent pictures of the devastation at the Base Camp soon after the avalanche wiped out so many camps and lives there.
The service to connect the climbers on the slope of the Everest has been difficult to implement and has taken years and some great work.
Mountaineer Adrian Ballinger’s company, Alpenglow Expeditions, provides clients with 18 hours of wifi a day at altitudes where atmospheric oxygen drops to dangerously low levels.
They have 36 solar panels powering eight generators and climbers are able to charge 40 devices at the same time.
“Climbing used to be this solitary experience, but people are very interested in sharing their journey now, whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp,” Ballinger told AFP.
“The big difficulty is managing the power supply — we use solar power but we also need to carry these bulky batteries and systems as we go up mountains,” he said.
As well as the ability to send an SOS call, wifi provides better access to weather forecasts and opportunities for climbers to attract sponsorship deals in a crowded marketplace.
In October 2010, U.S. adventurer Eric Larsen became the first person to tweet from the roof of the world when he sent out the message, “Everest summit!” with a reference to his sponsor — satellite communication company DeLorme.
Soon afterwards, Nepalese telecom group Ncell set up a station providing a high-speed third-generation (3G) phone network at an altitude of 5,200 metres, offering Internet services to anyone with a smartphone.
This time however, it has helped focus efforts of the relief teams to get people out of the Base Camp area due to the sketchy but working internet connection!
Featured Image source: Flickr (Everest Base Camp)