Adventure Technology Could Make Extreme Climbing (a Little) Easier – Now. Powered by Northrop Grumma

A record number of climbers are venturing up the world’s tallest summits each year to test their limits. These adventurers often train for years to prepare themselves for the harsh terrains they will try to conquer. But as ecological conditions worsen, even one false step could put the most seasoned hiker in peril.

One man who knows the risks and rewards of mountaineering is Northrop Grumman engineering manager Jim Diani, who has successfully climbed all Seven Summits (the seven continents’ highest mountains). Having recently summited the world’s tallest peak, Mt. Everest, Diani shares his first-hand experience of what it’s like trekking through unpredictable situations and how technology could help save lives.

The Sherpa Way

“Sherpas are people of the land,” says Diani. They’re native to the mountainous Himalayan regions and have adapted to the high altitude, low oxygen environments that foreigners are unaccustomed to. Their job is to support expedition teams along their trek by preparing the hiking route, setting up camp, carrying gear and food, and guiding them to safety.

Lines of yaks transport heavy equipment and hay up to the forward basecamp. (Photo Credit: Jim Diani)

The Sherpa method for climbing Mt. Everest remains traditional. They use yaks to haul equipment to each basecamp, ropes and ladders are placed on the route to help people maneuver around tough peaks, and the protective clothing they use are low-tech regular mountaineering gear.

Their elite mountaineering skill....

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