If one of your goals on your bucket list is to scale Mount Everest, then you are not alone.  In fact, the act of trying to make it to the top of the world’s highest mountain is something that hundreds of people try to do each year.  Most attempts take place in the late Spring thanks to the change in seasons and the milder conditions.  In addition, May comes before the summer monsoon season when the jet stream is further north allowing for reducing the speed of the winds at the highest elevations.  Some attempts are also made in the fall after the monsoon season, but the weather can be unpredictable and dangerous.  Despite when climbers go, Mount Everest is one the most remote places in the world and it is not easy to get to and not easy to communicate with others once there.  As a result, mountain climbers have to rely on satellite communication as the only way to get information to their base camp and to loved ones back home. 

At 29,029 feet, Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world.  At the end of the 2010 climbing season, there had been 5,104 ascents by 3,142 individuals from around the world.  However, Mount Everest has also claimed some 219 lives with eight who died in one 1996 storm, alone.  In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first two people to make it successfully to the top of the mountain.  There are two main routes to get to the top of Mount Everest including using the southeast ridge from Nepal or the northeast ridge from Tibet.  There are a few more minor routes, but the southeast is by far the more popular way to try and make it to the top. 

No matter which route is chosen, climbers will have to spend a considerable amount of time on the side of the mountain in order to get their bodies to acclimate to the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere.  This means making occasional climbs up the mountain to an advanced camp and then back down again for a few days.  This pattern continues until the final push to the summit.  As a result, climbers have a long time to be away from their friends and family.  This is where communication by satellite becomes very important.

There is absolutely no way to run any type of wires up the side of Mount Everest.  As a result, communication has to rely on satellites.  Before this technology was in place, climbers would build certain monuments out of snow to communicate back to their base camp.  Now, however, climbers can place a call, tweet and update their Facebook status all from the top of the world.  Climbers can take with them either a satellite phone or a tablet or laptop computer (provided it doesn’t freeze) to relay information back to their base camp and to tell others when they make it to the top of the mountain.  Satellite technology is certainly making the world a smaller place.

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