Lukas Furtenbach, a major mountaineering expedition guide company and is now a top supplier of supplemental oxygen systems to all teams climbing Everest. He partnered with Neil Greenwood of Summit Oxygen to create Everest Oxygen focusing on supplying supplemental oxygen to the mountaineering industry.
His Austrian-based Furtenbach Adventures offer global climbs, including most of the 8000-meter mountains, the Seven Summits, the Volcanic Seven Summits, and Ski Mountaineering. However, they have made a name for themselves with their “Flash Expeditions,” which takes only three weeks to climb Everest, compared to the classic style, which takes six to eight weeks.
One of his secrets is using an altitude tent, aka a hypoxia chamber, that acclimatizes his clients to 7,00 meters (23,000 feet) at home. This reduces the number of rotations required before the summit push and reduces the overall time spent at base camp. It’s not really a secret as anyone can rent or buy a tent, and other companies like Alpenglow out of Lake Tahoe, California, also specialize in rapid expeditions. However, Furtenback’s team out of Innsabruk closely monitors their client’s progress over the eight weeks they sleep in the tent, making daily changes to optimize the process.
Lukas is also investing in advanced technology to remotely monitor his customer’s health while climbing and evolving the oxygen regulator, the brains of the system that manages flow rates, to allow for an unprecedented eight liters per minute (lpm) flow. He only uses this high flow rate for short sections, for example, on the Hillary Step, to allow the climber to move faster. Otherwise, they run at today’s traditional two, four and six lpm rate.
In this Podcast, we explore the evolution of using supplemental oxygen, Lukas’s approach and several other Everest topics. We cover:
- 2:24 – The Chinese closure of Everest for the past four years, and will they open in Autumn for 8000ers?
- 4:45 – Will COVID be a factor for Everest 2023?
- 5:55 – Furtenbach Adventures Carbon Neutral approach to mountaineering
- 10:02 – Climbing Everest in three weeks vs. six to eight weeks
- 11:35 – Pre-acclimatizing at home using altitude tents
- 22:13 – The history of altitude tents (In France in the late 1970s)
- 25:52 – Is using supplemental oxygen cheating?
- 29:54 – Everest Oxygen supplies systems to other teams
- 30:04 – Understanding the Oxygen Delivery System
- 30:37 – Oxygen Cylinders
- 31:43 – Oxygen Regulators
- 39:29 – Oxygen Masks
- 42:15 – System Reliability
- 45:15 – Sherpas using Oxygen
- 47:22 – Types of Delivery Systems
- 47:32 – Constant Flow
- 47:41 – Pulse Dose
- 49:41 – On Demand
- 52:14 – Remote Monitoring of a Climber’s Health
- 56:17 – Everest 2023 Predictions
Memories are Everything
The Podcast on alanarnette.com
Everest 2023: Interview with Lukas Furtenbach – The Evolution of Oxygen Delivery Systems on Everest
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