What do they Eat on Everest?

May 16, 2012, 4:40 pm National Geographic Magazine On Everest Field Test blog

Climbing Everest is not backpacking - there's not a dehydrated meal in sight! It's quite the contrary, they eat like kings. Here's an except from the National Geographic magazine "On Everest Field Test" blog, which gives you an insight into the diet of adventurers during their journey to the highest point on Earth.

What do they eat on Everest?

The team gathers for dinner in the mess tent. Photo by Andy Bardon/National Geographic

At Base Camp and Camp 2, Sherpas do all the cooking. At Camp 1 and Camp 3, you cook for yourself, but the food—often fresh dal baht (rice and lentils) or fried potatoes—is still transported in by the Sherpas. It’s really only at Camp 4, on the summit push, for at most two days, where dehydrated food is eaten, or simply ignored.

Snack Foods
At most camps, snack foods of all kinds are available 24/7 including:

  • Yogurt-covered raisins
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Gummy bears
  • Crackers
  • Pringles chips (everyone’s favorite!)
  • M&Ms

At Base Camp, we have every drink imaginable!

  • Coffee
  • Tea - black tea, milk tea, herbal tea
  • Powders: Protein powders, electrolyte powders, chocolate powders, milk powders
  • Soft drinks: Coke, Sprite, Fanta
  • Alcohol: San Miguel beer and your choice of Scotch: single malt or blended.

Too much?
It might seem excessive, but the goal is to keep climbers and Sherpas eating and drinking as much as possible for as long as possible. Extreme exercise, bad sleep, and high altitude inevitably tear the body down, and above 20,000 feet (6,096 meters), there’s no possibility for recovery.

A climber simply becomes weaker and weaker. Above 23,000 feet (7,010 meters), many people lose their appetite completely, whereupon the body begins feasting on itself, rapidly consuming both muscle and fat.

The Everest Diet
Call it the Everest Diet: Eat everything in sight, eat as much as you possibly can at all times, and lose at least two pounds a week, every week, for as long as you’re willing to stay at high altitude.

Read the full article

This is an except from National Geographic Magazine's 'On Everest Field Test' blog. To read the full article and for more Everest blogs and photo galleries, visit the National Geographic Magazine "On Everest Field Test" blog site.

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