On the peak of Everest, it can take minutes just to catch your breath. That’s because, at an elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), each breath contains one-third of the oxygen found at sea level.
In May, British TV personality Ben Fogle was put to the test when his oxygen regulator exploded a few hundred meters from the summit.
One of his mountain guides, Ming Dorjee Sherpa, was able to sacrifice his oxygen mask, regulator and cylinder and descend to a lower camp without supplemental oxygen.
Then, on the Hillary Step, less than 50 meters from the summit, Fogle’s second regulator and bottle exploded on his back.
“It was pretty terrifying. My heart just sank, because I couldn’t really see a way out,” Fogle said.
“It’s a bit like going to Mars in a space suit and imagining what happens when you unzip it.”
Thanks to the heroic acts of the Sherpas and expedition leader Kenton Cool, who gave Fogle his oxygen supply, the team reached the summit on May 16.