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 it Mount Everest. In 2015 we are just celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of this mountain, which was conquered less than 400 times at that time. Never before has a Belgian reached the top, I will immediately try it without using oxygen bottles. That is an extreme challenge, for safety reasons my sherpa will carry an extra oxygen bottle so that I can safely get down again in an emergency. Ultimately that is the most important thing, but climbing up 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 chance of success by coming from mid-February in one in the coming weeks altitude tent to sleep. In such a tent you can control the oxygen percentage of the air, so that I can get used to the reduced oxygen level up to 6,400 meters for weeks in advance. Moreover, such a height tent also has an impact on my condition: this should improve considerably during my last training weeks because the body produces extra red blood cells. You use that extra energy immediately during the climb itself, but with such a height tent I give myself an extra energy shot. The chance of illness and fatigue decreases, the chance of success increases. "

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