Mountain Climbing: Up to the Gods

Compared to Mount Everest, the Sahara is a sultan's garden and the Amazon jungle is a farmer's meadow. At its summit, the highest point on earth, 29,028 ft. above sea level, spores have trouble surviving. The hardiest of mountain creatures—the snow leopard, the lammergeier vulture—stay clear of its bitter cold (down to —50°F.) and raging gales (up to 150 m.p.h.), and even the Abominable Snowman—whatever he is—confines his ambulations to the Tibetan plateau, 12,000 ft. below. Transported suddenly to its upper ridges, without an oxygen mask, a healthy man would die within hours—of physical deterioration. Tibetans...

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