ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Climbing mountains for longevity

Updated on June 20, 2012

Genetics probably play the largest part in longevity. but there is evidence that people can live longer at high altitudes than at sea level. At Vileabamba, a Peruvian village about 2750m (9000ft) up in the Andes. birth certificates show nine people out of 819 aged more than 100. In the United States the average is three per 100,000.

Mountain people, medical researchers have found, are less likely than lowlanders to suffer from leukaemia, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and high blood pressure. On the other hand, they get more tuberculosis, bronchitis and pneumonia.

The first man known to have climbed a mountain for no reason other than that it was there was Antoine de Ville in 1492. Charles VIII of France ordered de Ville, his chamberlain, to take a party to the top of Mont Aiguille, a 2097m (6880ft) peak near Grenoble. De Ville is said to have been so impressed with the view and his achievement that he stayed up there for six days. The first serious Alpine climb was made by a geologist named Jacques Balmat and a physician. Michel Paccard. They climbed Europe's highest mountain, Mont Blanc, in 1786.

Mountaineers wanting to climb Everest - named after Sir George Everest (1790-1866), a British Surveyor-General in India - have to book their turn up to seven years in advance. Only two expeditions are allowed to take place at the same time, and each has to use a different route. In addition, Himalayan weather conditions mean that there are only three periods a year when a climb is practicable: in April and May before the monsoon rains; in October just after the monsoon; and in December and January during the winter. Since Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, first climbed Everest in 1953. more than 130 mountaineers have made it to the top, including five without oxygen and four women. But by the early 1980s about 50 climbers had died on the mountain.

Black bears do not actually hibernate in their mountain habitats. They doze away the winter in a state of lethargy, rousing from time to time, but not eating. In autumn, after fattening them- selves up, they eat indigestible roots and pine needles which form a plug in their intestines. They cannot eat until the plug is passed in spring - which may account for their short tempers at that time of year.

At high altitudes humans adjust to the lower level of oxygen in the air by producing more red blood corpuscles which contain haemoglobin, the substance that absorbs oxygen into the blood stream. Most native mountain-dwellers have also developed other physical advantages to cope with the thin air and lower temperatures. The Quechua Indians of the Andes in South America, many of whom live at heights of around 3650m (12,000ft). have short, squat bodies that minimise heat loss, and bigger hearts and lungs than normal to enable them to carry 20 per cent more blood. In addition, their hands and feet have extra blood vessels which speed circulation so effectively that the Indians can walk barefoot on ice and snow without getting frostbite.

The world's tallest flower spikes-4.5 to 6m (15 to 20ft) high-bloom on an Andean plant. Puya raimondii, which has a sturdy trunk with a globe-shaped rosette of spiky leaves, may take up to 150 years to reach its full height of 10. 7m (35ft). Then it throws out its spike of blooms, as many as 800 on a single stalk.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)