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Monday, April 4, 2011

21 Times to the Top of the World - Lessons About Mount Everest

The spring Himalaya climbing season is starting to get underway. This evening the Adventure Blog had a story about Apa Sherpa attempting to summit Mount Everest for the 21st time. I'm sharing this story because it reminded me of some good resources for teaching about Mount Everest that I've found over the years.

The Rest of Everest is a video podcast series for learning about the Mount Everest region. For their fifth season The Rest of Everest is releasing all of their episodes in 3D video. According to their site, this is the first 3D footage recorded in Tibet.  And unlike a lot of documentaries about Mount Everest, this season of 3D footage was recorded on the infrequently visited east or Kangshung face of Mount Everest. You need nothing more than a cheap pair of red and green 3D glasses to view the footage.

Google Earth has an excellent Google Earth tour of the South Col climbing route. The South Col route is the route that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay used on the first successful summit climb. The South Col route is also the most commonly used route and the route used in the third season of Discovery's Everest: Beyond the Limit.

To accompany Everest: Beyond the Limit, Discovery has developed a number of interesting and educational web resources. On the Everest: Beyond the Limit website you will find interactive Sherpa-cams, puzzles, games, and climbers' blogs. The Sherpa-cams give you perspective of what a climber sees has he or she ascends Mount Everest.

National Geographic Expeditions has a lesson plan for middle school students about the history and development of climbing Mount Everest. The lesson plan also touches on the physical challenges posed by high altitude mountaineering.

A physical education teacher at the River Valley Middle School in Grand Bay Westfield, New Brunswick developed an extensive lesson plan about the physiological demands of climbing Mount Everest. The lesson plan is titled the Mount Everest Challenge. This lesson would be a great way to incorporate science, physical education, geography, and history into an interdisciplinary project.

If you're looking for an inspirational story to watch for yourself and or to share with your students, they don't get much better than this one. In 2001, Erik Weihenmeyer became the first blind person to summit Mount Everest. His book Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Storywas a bestseller.
The story of his climb is told in the one hour movie embedded below.
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