I saw a documentary recently on the climbers of Mount Everest. What I never understood before that makes the journey such a huge risk outside of weather, accidents, running out of supplies, etc. is this: The Death Zone.
Every minute a climber spends above 26,000 feet to the summit at 29,000, the body is dying. The telling line is “Humans aren’t built to function at the cruising altitude of a 747.” So, to get to the summit and back down below 26,000 feet, you have to fight to stay alive. You have to not die.
As a result, approximately 200 climbers are dead and frozen along the path to the top. The extreme cold preserves the bodies and the effort to bring someone down is simply too much work and risk.
Ironically, when many are asked why they would pay the amazing amounts of money and face the incredible threats to climb Everest, they answer something to the effect of: “I want to truly live, to feel alive by achieving such an awesome goal that few have experienced.”
But to “live” this adventure, you must also enter death.
We love the blessing of the Christian “life,” but every day the real adventure of climbing with Christ is found when we die to ourselves. His life is found in The Death Zone. But once here, you actually find new life and get to the summit!
If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it. —Matthew 10:39 CEV
If anyone wants to keep his life safe, he will lose it. If anyone gives up his life because of Me, he will save it. —Matthew 16:25 NLV