Wim Smets wants to climb Makalu (8.5 km) without an oxygen bottle

The new year also brings new ambitions for the Rumstse mountaineer Wim Smets (46). “In April I want to climb the Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,463 meters. If I succeed, I will be the first Belgian ever at the top, I will raise my total number of '8,000 people' to six and I will improve my own Belgian record ”, it sounds.

"The Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world and is located in Nepal, close to the border with Tibet, right next to Mount Everest. In 2015, we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of this mountain, which has been climbed less than 400 times. Never before has a Belgian reached the summit, and I am going to try it without the use of oxygen bottles. This is an extreme challenge. For safety reasons, my Sherpa will carry an extra oxygen bottle so that I can get down safely in case of an emergency. In the end that is the most important thing, but climbing without oxygen is still a bit more difficult and I want to take on that challenge," says Smets.


Altitude tent

"I want to increase my chances of success by sleeping in an altitude tent for the next few weeks, starting in the middle of February. In such a tent you can regulate the oxygen percentage of the air, so that I can get used to the reduced oxygen content up to 6,400 metres weeks in advance. Moreover, such an altitude tent also has an impact on my condition: it should improve significantly during my last weeks of training because the body produces extra red blood cells. This extra energy is used immediately during the climb itself, but with such a high altitude tent I give myself an extra energy shot. The chance of illness and fatigue is reduced, the chance of success is increased."

Read on through hln.be

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