The beauty and dangers of climbing the “Roof of the World”

Roger McMorrow

On the 24th May 2007, at 8am, in minus 40°C, Dr. Roger McMorrow reached the summit of Mount Everest the world’s highest mountain from the South side.

In this episode we find out what it’s like to stand on top of the world, the difficulty in getting back down, find out what is the ‘death zone’, the very real possibility of dying, controlling fear, the psychology of mountain climbing, bodies on the path, how to cross a 50 meter-deep crevasse, setting up the world’s highest medical laboratory on Everest’s South Col, rescuing a young Nepalese woman on the mountain, how long it takes to climb Everest, Sherpas, the Himalayas, Nepal, attitude to risk and much, much more.

This podcast was recorded a day before news broke that Seamus Lawless had fallen and went missing on the decent after summiting Everest on May 14th.

After discussing this with Rodger we felt that it was right to release the podcast as it highlights one person’s journey to summit Everest. It also highlights the beauty and dangers of the mountain and some of the specific challenges that climbing Everest holds, as well the the dedication and efforts of those that climb the highest peak in the World.

Our condolences go out to the families of Shay Lawless and Kevin Hynes who tragically died climbing Everest this year. May they rest in peace.


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2:40 Introducing Dr. Roger McMorrow

3:30 The origins of his love of mountaineering

6:25 Always higher

8:35 The pros and cons of Everest

9:15 Roger’s team’s scientific studies

12:20 Why Everest?

13:20 The study’s findings and the science of low oxygen levels

15:58 Logistics of the climb

19:41 Preliminary physical training

24:37 Learnings from Cho Oyu

26:42 Weight gain and weight loss

28:49 Choosing to ascend the South side

30:27 The challenges of the climb

35:27 Risk-taking in Roger’s professional life

36:55 Medical responsibility

40:42 The Sherpas

45:12 “Summit fever”

48:17 Unpredictable weather

51:32 Rescues

58:45 Challenging areas

1:02:47 Summit day

1:05:47 Nourishment

1:06:42 Acclimatization to altitude

1:09:20 Serious health risks

1:14:47 The effects of age

1:16:00 Summit night

1:25:15 The descent

1:27:17 Next time

1:28:42 The legacy of the climb

1:30:12 How his family deals with risk

1:31:57 Climbing with his wife Sarah