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TR: Khan Tengri, Central Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan 3-Sep-2014 At 9:51:48 AM Damo666
On 3/09/2014 kieranl wrote:
>Looks like a mountaineering myth.

That's an interesting link but is not the theory that I was going on in my comment above. There has always been talk that Denali, in particular, and Aconcagua, are more like much higher mountains in terms of how thin the air is (low O2 pressure) and so how high they feel. Mostly this is just marketing - Argentines are annoyed they don't have an 8000m peak and Americans are annoyed their mountain is not the biggest - to bolster visitors and prestige.

Years ago the Alaskan climber and scientist Terris Moore did experiments and concluded that, at most, the effect was around 10% in the case of Denali. Denali is at 63N and Khan Tengri is 42N. Quite a difference. It was Moore's work that was often referenced with regard to Denali feeling much higher.

I've climbed Denali, Aconcagua (2x) and Vinson (3x), Peak Lenin (7134m) and half a dozen other 6000ers and to 6800m on G1. Personally I think Vinson at 78S 'feels' higher than 4892m but Denali, Aconcagua and Lenin feel right about what they are. Denali does not feel like 7000m. Of course there are plenty of physiological and on-site / climatic variations that make this almost hopelessly incomparable. If you calibrate your Suunto wrist altimeter low down then summit Vinson it reads around 5200m or so (I've tried it a few times), as that is going on its barometer (air pressure).

The South Pole is around 2800m but those stationed there will all tell you it really feels like 3000m as that is what the maths are meant to show. The US often put their people on Diamox to fly them in there from sea-level.

A quick Google will reveal some seemingly conflicting theories, which is surprising. Polar high pressure areas caused by cold air descending (and cold air being denser) is the opposite of what we're talking about above. Others will say that the rotation of the Earth causes the air to 'thin out' at the poles, which I've heard for years, causing the low pressure / high-altitude feel the pole residents talk about.

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