Everest Expedition by numbers

Everest Expedition by numbers

77 days in the Himalayas

Climbing Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, 3x 7100 m

More than a year after my first Himalayan mountain climbing, I look at mountain climbing from different perspectives. One way to understand the scale of the trip is to tell about it in the light of numbers. It wasn’t about one extended weekend trip, nor a three-week hike to an altitude of 5,000 meters.

Preparation – hard to give figures, but I will try to tell something

30 years of endurance sports, competitive skiing and endurance running, strength training, carrying a backpack and climbing. Survival training and self-learned skills in the arctic wilderness of Finland, Sweden and Norway and several years in the Alps. Thousands of hours of equipment tests in various conditions. Mentally boiled in too much broth.

After that I started the actual preparation. Hundreds of hours of supervised nights searching the USA and Europe for the world’s best mountaineering equipment. Emails to the Scarpa factory in Italy, equipment tests in the Alps in winter snowstorms above the tree line. Sometimes I slept nights in the car in the winter when I had to save money. Inside, I used a -40 C sleeping bag when there was no electric heating in the lodge in winter. Compared to that, a couple of nights at Geneva airport under the seats was already luxury. New friends and wonderful trips in Italy, southern France and Switzerland. 2020 – 2022 every week 60 hours a week of some kind of preparation. If nothing else, surfing the Nepalese government’s website or modifying hacks for a training trip. Keeping a risk diary in the Alps, 6b gliding in the rain, 5b solo climbing and long five-hour running hikes with Tatsu in the Alps. A couple of times I learned to walk again after an injury. Lots of unforgettable stories and good moments with mountain climbing friends. Lots of sports, survival exercises and equipment tests in arctic conditions.

Oxygen uptake capacity 73 ml/kg/min

Half a year before climbing Everest, I took a mat test where my MAX VO2 was 68 ml/kg/min (with running poles at a high angle). The mass at that time was 79 kg. When I was lugging a backpack like a worker ant on the slopes of Everest, I got 20 to 30 hours of endurance exercise every week and my weight dropped from 79 kg to 68 kg during April and May. According to my estimate, my oxygen uptake capacity was around 73 ml/kg/min in mid-May, and my body was tuned to carry the backpack on the uphill.

According to a study from the 1980s, without supplemental oxygen MAX VO2 has a high correlation with Everest summit probability without supplemental oxygen. 68 ml/kg/min should be enough, and 73 ml/kg/min already good. The success of other factors, and luck, are also necessary for peaking.

Big logistical challenges

A hooded trailer of mountaineering equipment in cargo from Finland to the Alps in 2020, mountaineering boots and hunting from Scarpa factories, and sending camping food to France, insurmountable freight costs in 2021 and the breakdown of the car at the H-moment to the port of Vuosaari in February 2022.

Finally, after six days of preparation, the 190 kg air cargo left France for Nepal in 2022, with the intention of climbing two two-ton mountains. Of the seven 25 kg giant mountaineering bags, two ended up in Qatar and one returned to Chamonix. Fortunately, I got them a month later on Jakki oxen to Everest Base Camp, just before the construction of the upper mountain camps started.

Logistical challenges were also the disappearance of goods in Nepal. 150 backpacks of trekking food in Kathmandu and some of the valuable summiting equipment were lost at 7100 meters in a snow hole, probably by someone. Coming down the mountain, it took a couple of tents three weeks to come down.

Health in Nepal

7 times sick in Nepal, of which the easiest 4 times were food poisoning from water, the most difficult was probable Covid according to my own diagnosis, 39 C fever and vomiting for 7 days at an altitude of 5000 meters. It pulled the juices out of the man into the yard, but didn’t have to land at all. Acclimatization at 5000 m altitude improved all the time and I got sick at the right time at the right altitude in terms of acclimatization. The oxygen saturation (oxygen content of the blood) when I was sick was right all the time, I had been infected by a hiker in the same accommodation at the Italian Pyramid weather station. This does not include mountain cough, which slowly develops in anyone who spends long enough in the upper mountains at an altitude of 6,500 meters. Fortunately, the mountain cough didn’t break the ribs. In my case, the mountain cough gradually turned into inflammation of the right bronchus, which was contributing to the fact that I did not reach the top. Nepal is one of the most difficult countries in the world to stay healthy.

…a room full of electronics

The music piece by Leevi and the Leavings has its place in the base camp of the expedition. Romance is at home in a mountain tent far away when you need to charge your power banks to read the weather forecast. Fortunately, in January 2020, I did the physics calculations at one in the morning, how many power banks (mAh), what high power bank USB-C/A/M/L port flow rates they have, and how many solar panels I would need for 70 days in the Himalayas. The answer is 30 electronic devices, 4 to 5 power banks (100mAH in total), with 15W of power (at the flow rate of the USB port) and two new lightweight solar panels.

They enabled mountain climbing at night, communication connections from the upper mountains in the middle of a blizzard to Sodankyla and the Alps with a satellite phone and satellite transmitter, and the use of a computer at Base Camp. The laptop in particular is the one that takes power, but it was worth taking with you to the base camp. Fortunately, the sun shone practically all the time before the monsoon season, except for snow storms. I was able to download everything and get some work done.

Acclimatization went well

70-day acclimatization 15.3. – 25.5. My intention was to acquire 100 days of acclimatization starting in January-February with acclimatization climbs to an altitude of 4,000 meters, but the situation in the world caused me to wait in Finland. Acclimatization started after I flew on 15.3. to Kathmandu (1400 m) and 20.3. Lukla (2800 m). Acclimatization was not completely finished when the season started on 10.5., but on 17.5. according to my oxygen saturation and feelings, I was ready for the summit attempt, when the short weather window had already closed.

55 days at an altitude of over 5,000 meters. I arrived at the Italian Pyramid weather station on 23.3. and to Everest Base Camp on 1.4. I left Base Camp after the end of the mountaineering season on May 26. as the monsoon rains roll in.

25 days at an altitude of over 6,500 meters, of which the longest continuous time was 14 days, when I waited for a short weather window in the middle of turbulent weather. In retrospect, it would have been worthwhile to wait lower and move in the days between 4000 and 6000 meters in the neighboring mountains. However, it is a 2-3 day journey from Base Camp to the top, so you don’t always have time to go up to the top and back during a short weather window.

Medidyne’s Nonin Wrist Ox2 wrist pulse oximeter was in test use in the Alps and Himalayas. In the picture, the sensor is on the index finger. I had set limits for myself in the upper mountains. If even once the oxygen content of the blood drops below a certain reading, I immediately go downhill. During the first rotation, I went straight down from C2 when the reading was 49, which was immediately helped by the descent of 500 meters of altitude. One month later, at the same altitude, the oxygen saturation was 80. An interesting observation was to observe how the weather, i.e. low and high pressure, affected the oxygen content of the blood.



Solo climbing and carrying goods like Sherpas over the Khumbu

5 Khumbu icefall climbs from Base Camp (5350m) to Camp 2 (6500m). On the Nepalese side, the Khumbu icefall is, along with the summit ridge (8000 – 8850 m), the most dangerous point of climbing Everest. The third challenge on the Nepal side of the route is the Lhotse Wall (6800 – 8000 m) 45 degree ice wall, the conditions of which vary considerably from blue ice to snowy steps depending on the weather and the climbers’ movement.

You can tell from the size of the backpack that you didn’t go with a small backpack. I carried 20 kg of luggage all the time (pictured), 30 kg at the Khumbu icefall the first time was too much, because with the icefall you have to climb up along big ice blocks. The first time I had underestimated Khumbu as a glacier like Mont Blanc. Fixed ropes prevent falling, but do not facilitate the amount of energy required for climbing. Likewise, there is no protection from them when the seracs fall. Then everything leaves and the ropes break.

The weight dropped in the upper mountains by 11 kg, a kilo per week

I weighed 79 kg when I left for the Everest trip and 68 kg when I returned (/188 cm). After the plane landed in Helsinki-Vantaa, I was like a squirrel in a dry summer. The appetite had completely disappeared after 6 weeks in Nepal. The food just didn’t go down in the mouth anymore, especially at an altitude of 6,500 meters. At Base Camp, the food tasted good, but I didn’t get enough energy. During the trek, I had carried a 30 kg rucksack for 60 km to Base Camp for training purposes, constant illnesses in Nepal and in the upper mountains (5350 – 7100 m) 10-hour climbing days with a 20 kg load every other day raised the energy consumption higher than I had thought. Jumping onto the scale in Kathmandu was a surprise for me. You have to be light on the day of the summit, but if you’ve already dried off all the excess three weeks before, you don’t have the energy to climb. In Everest peak climbing, energy is first taken from carbohydrates, but often especially downwards (1/3 of the time) comes with pure fat metabolism, in which case you have to find that extra 200 grams. In the final stages, the stomach bag was so small that it could no longer fit a man’s normal portions. After the trip, I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that I’m no longer a dry summer squirrel. Finnish food is delicious!

Weather window – was it?

Weather window, what is it? The name Sääikkuna is used for the better (freezing effect -30 C) weather period that opens in the middle of the challenging weather conditions of the Himalayas, and also of other mountains. It is too cold in the Himalayas in winter (in Jet Streams = in peak flows Chill = frost effect may be as low as -60 C degrees) and in summer the Asian monsoon season pushes the rains towards the north. First to the more southern Nepalese tons, then to Pakistan and China. That is why the weather window in Nepal opens in spring, the weather window in Pakistan and China in mid-summer. Monsoon rains come as snow above 5,000 meters, greatly increasing the risk of avalanches and blizzards that end the climbing season. On Everest, the weather window between the winter and monsoon season is usually 4 to 11 days, with the best day falling on average on the 23rd of May, according to himalayandatabase.com peak statistics. In this case, peak readiness must be reached by 10.5. by, so that you have time to rest in the base camp at C4 (8000 m) for 7 – 10 days after setting up the camp. Often at the beginning of May, in addition to the larger weather window, there is a smaller weather window of 2 to 4 days.

In the spring of 2022, the monsoon season came two weeks earlier from 10 to 15 May. I had been in Kathmandu for five days after the snowstorm, recovering and eating more energy and weight into my body. After returning from Food Camp, I immediately went up after hearing about the opening of the weather window. Acclimatization was good, but due to the snow storm, my two upper mountain tent equipment were at 7100 meters (Camp 3). If I had headed straight to the top, I might have succeeded, but I decided to set up all the upper mountain camps (C2 – C3 – C4) first and go to the top when the actual weather window opens in the second half of May.

In the spring of 2022, there was a five-day weather window, which came two weeks earlier than normal due to the monsoon season, but the actual weather window at the time according to the peak statistics never came. After an early weather window, the weather became thrombic, unstable, during which the German David Goettler summited solo without supplemental oxygen. My own health situation and the turbulent mountain weather influenced my decision-making, and I decided to go to the summit later in the weather window, which never came.

The highest height does not say everything

3 x 7100 meters was the highest altitude I visited. A bit like three times at the starting line of the prestigious competitions without the final. The first time on 28.4. I climbed without supplemental oxygen with a 20 kg load to an altitude of 7100 meters (Camp 3) and everything went according to plan. The intention was to peak only on 22.5. The second time two days later on 30.4. I carried a similar load up, pitched the tent and got into a big snowstorm (more than 1 m of snow/ 4 h, wind 80 km/h). I fought the storm at night in the tent and dug a 4-meter snow cave in the new soft snow, where I escaped the storm. Before digging the snow cave, I had sent the last messages with my satellite device to my children and my closest friends. The next morning I climbed back down to Camp 2. The third time I came back to 7100 m only around 20.5. so the climbing speed from Camp 2 (6500 m) to Camp 3 (7100 m) was really good (3 h with a backpack without supplemental oxygen, with supplemental oxygen the recommendation is 6 h without a backpack). However, the mountain cough started to strain the right bronchus and the weather was throbbing, unstable, and some of my mountaineering equipment had been stolen after the storm, so I decided to turn down.

Last attempt 25.5. ended with another blizzard below Camp 1 (6000m) with new snow up to the waist. Usually you can climb 1500 m up from the highest sleeping altitude, so for me it would have meant an altitude of 8600 meters on 30.4. After that, acclimatization continued for another 20 days at an altitude of 6500 meters, so for that I would have very likely reached the top. However, mountain climbing is about several different variables, hence the nickname of mountain climbing, complex game. In my case, mountain weather and health prevented me from peaking: two really big snowstorms, the arrival of the monsoon season two weeks earlier than normal and tropical weather, as well as the development of mountain cough into inflammation of the right bronchus.

The return from the mountain took two weeks

With the onset of the monsoon season, there was already a rush down the slopes of the mountains. Getting stuck on a mountain when it’s snowing a meter in four hours, albeit with less wind this time, is a real challenge and risk. Fortunately, I was on 25.5. only at 6,000 meters, but the problem was that I was alone in traffic. For the first time I remembered the risks of solo climbing. Opening a path alone is practically really slow and takes a lot of energy, even if the direction is downwards. It’s more like swimming in the snow with a backpack. Fortunately, I knew from radio communications that there were about 50 mountaineers on the mountain above me. After an hour, a group of seven Sherpas came behind me on the tide. They seemed to be in a hurry to get home. I joined their group, and on the way I helped save another Sherpa by leaving a tent and a sleeping pad for him.

The last time below the Khumbu glacier I was so tired that I had to sleep for half an hour in the snow in order to continue the last kilometer to Base Camp. The next day and I ran with a small backpack 30 km to Namche Bazar, where I got the fourth food poisoning. After one day in between, I continued my journey, and visited Junu and his Sherpa family, whom I had met on the way back two months earlier. After a couple of days, I continued my journey to Lukla mountain airport (2800 m), where I waited for a flight for a couple of days, until I found out that all flights for the next week have been canceled due to bad weather. A 20-minute flight with seven Indians turned into a brisk 10-hour mountain walk on steep mountain paths and rocks slicked by the rain. The journey continued with a 14-hour car journey, with a bad car that was changed at times, on bumpy mountain roads. That is, instead of a 20-minute flight, a 10-hour backpacking walk in Nuuksio and a 14-hour car journey along gravel roads to Lapland and back. After arriving in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, it had taken 2 weeks to return from the mountain at an altitude of 6000 meters. Sometimes the money ran out, the phone battery ran out and the memory was full, but there are many different coping skills.

After returning from Everest, the worst was yet to come

The battle against Sepsis (blood poisoning) began after the plane landed in Finland on June 15, 2022. During the summer, I was in the hospital five times, two times in the emergency room, when I was no longer fit to drive. On the phone, they said to go to the hospital immediately. Inflammation values ​​100+ something. After being discharged from the hospital, I wandered the corridors of the Tampere University Hospital until I ran to the bathroom of a coffee shop and pastry shop to throw up all over the walls. The doctor twice ordered a total ban on sports for a month, which was mentally difficult to follow when you are used to moving. Half a year of different antibiotics, two times intravenous. In autumn 2022, I ended my sports career.

Come Back

Life is full of surprises. In February 2023, eight months after becoming ill, I felt the symptoms for the last time, after which they stopped completely. I had trained over the winter only 3-5 hours a week, 70-80% less than usual, ate AB yogurt to balance the intestines and gave my body rest. My health started to hold up and I started to do more sports. At first, I decided to gradually increase the amounts and listen to my body. I made it a goal to test my health for six months, after which I would make a return to mountain climbing if it looks good. In June-July, I have done sports tests, and to my surprise, the climbing and strength levels have quickly returned to the same level as before the Himalayan mountaineering. I need to start doing more sports in order to improve endurance, but I’m not too far from my previous level. In August, I’m going to the Alps and from there to the Rockies to diversify my skills and prepare for the next Himalayan mountain climbing.

Everest Expedition II

If you want to hear more mountaineering stories, shop for outdoor clothing and camping equipment in the online store, follow on social media, tell your friends, and participate in Trail Running in the Alps mountain running events.

Mountaineering Magazine is also getting a new start.

Finnish expeditions around the world – Top story!

It has been a pleasure to follow Finns’ expeditions around the world. Some row in the Atlantic and others ski in the South Pole, a few climb big mountains. Congratulations to Mikko Vermas and Tero Teelahti on the success of the 3 Poles – South Pole expedition!

And for the Rowing Man, cheers for the Atlantic!! (Finnish fireman Jari Saario rowed from Europe to America, and back… to Europe in 2023)

Mountain greetings,



On a long suspension bridge 200 meters above a mountain river, somewhere towards the Himalayas.


Acclimatization plan 2022. In the third week of April, blue was the realization and green was the plan. At the end of April, I climbed the mountain twice to the C3 camp (7100 m) and was able to take the C3 and C4 tent equipment there for the summit, but a big snowstorm messed up the plans and I saved myself in a snow cave. I finally acclimatized 25 days above the Khumbu glacier, but due to the thrombus weather and the onset of bronchitis, the summit was postponed until the next time. – – – Thanks to LT Heikki Karinen, who argued about mountain sickness, for several consultations before the Himalayan mountain climbing.


1 vastaus artikkeliin “Everest Expedition by numbers


Sähköpostiosoitettasi ei julkaista. Pakolliset kentät on merkitty *