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High-altitude climbing is still a very dangerous task in spite of the availability of oxygen masks and other protective equipment, which modern climbers take with them. These, of course, are indispensable accessories of climbing, but more important than these is the stamina of the climber, which ultimately determines the success of his attempt. Throughout his journey, death is his constant companion, which he can keep at a distance only with his superb presence of mind. He has to tread every inch of the ground with the utmost care, for a false step may not only strike him a fatal blow but also bring disaster to the whole expedition. That is why all expeditions invariably take with them local guides who are experienced climbers and who have a thorough knowledge of the nature of the terrain. Moreover, a huge amount of capital is needed for financing these expeditions, and governments or rich private organisations generally provide this.
The primary object of a mountaineering expedition is to get to the top of a high mountain, which, in the past has withstood all attempts to conquer it. But it should not be presumed that the expedition is a complete failure if it does not reach its destination. Sometimes operations are temporarily suspended because of bad weather, loss of some valuable equipment or the sudden death of a very important member of the party. Every big expedition takes with it men who are interested in botany, biology, geology and various other branches of science, and these men carry with them equipment for recording their observations concerning the weather, the terrain, and different forms of life in higher altitudes. Other scientists, explorers and expeditionists utilise the fruits of their observations. Thus, every unsuccessful expedition contributes to the success of later expeditions. The British Expedition led by Colonel Hunt would have found their way to Everest much more difficult had not earlier expeditions armed them with useful knowledge about the death-dealing weather which they had to encounter in the vicinity of the summit.
To ordinary people, mountaineering need not be a fearful journey in the land of snowstorms, where the brave adventurer is always face to face with death. They can scale less ambitious heights, rest their weary limbs under a quiet shelter and feast their eyes in the distant landscape. In the company of friends, they can enjoy an outing near a waterfall or cross into the next valley with haversacks full of provisions dangling from their shoulders. All those who can afford to go to hill station should seek this innocent pleasure, for it can be had without any risk to life or limb.
Answer the following questions briefly:
(i)What are the factors that determine the success of the climbers?
(ii) With which thing the climber is always accompanied by?
(iii) What do the local climbers have?
(iv) What does the unsuccessful expedition contribute?
(v) Which type of heights can ordinary people climb?
(vi) What do ordinary people think of mountaineering?
(vii) What precautions should the climbers take during their journey?
(viii) How is an ordinary mountaineer’s experience different from that of a regular expedition?
(i)Oxygen masks, protective equipment, local experienced climbers, the climbers’ superb presence of mind and the stamina of the climbers.
(iii) Thorough knowledge of the terrain.
(iv) The success of the later expeditions.
(v) Less ambitious heights.
(vi) Without any risk to life or limb.
(vii) Treading every inch of their climb with utmost care. The should seek the guidance of local guides during their journey.
(viii) A climber of a regular expedition is always face to face with a death whereas an ordinary mountaineer can scale less dangerous heights without any risk to life or limb.
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