The Adventurers and Endurance – Part 1

The early adventurers all show extreme levels of endurance, both mental and physical, when discovering new lands. Many of these trips were done on a sailing ship and just to be sailing into the unknown took extreme mental strength as the voyagers did not know what was the at the end of the Ocean.

The explorer credited with exploring the Americas in 1492 was the Spaniard Christopher Columbus who actually made four separate journeys to the West Indies, South America and Central America. It has been claimed that he had said that his crew had showed remarkable bravery as they were not sure if the world was round or whether they would fall from its edge.

Yomping, Soldiers travelling on foot for long distances

This is highly debatable as physicians and scientists for centuries had a fair idea from studying the orbit of the sun that the earth was round. However, it still took great fortitude and resilience for those sailors on one of the three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Santa Clara to venture into the unknown.

Warfare often results in troops showing amazing levels of endurance and courage. This is reflected with each country’s armies being trained to a very high level of fitness. Many countries have units with the soldiers who are accepted into the units can only do so have displayed immense levels of endurance.

Sometimes missions will involve personnel having to travel numerous hundreds of miles on feet in order to go undetected by the enemy. Many battles are fought in extreme weather conditions, so training includes soldiers fighting in extreme heat and extreme cold. They are also trained to cope mentally with the arduous nature of the journeys plus the aftermath of when they are taken prisoner.

One of the earliest battles that required great endurance occurred in 218 BC when Hannibal took his Carthaginian army to attack the Romans. However, in order to do this he needed to bypass the Roman garrisons so he took the most direct route straight over the Alps.

His army included around 100,000 troops, horses and 37 elephants. Starting out in Spain the journey meant firstly crossing the Pyrenees, then Southern France and finally going over the Alps. In all the journey took around two months in which 12,000 men died and many animals were lost. Hannibal achieved many victories but was never able to conquer Rome.

Mountains have always been seen as major trophies in term of who can conquer them. The biggest prize has been to climb the highest mountain in the world and the first Man to reach the summit of Mount Everest was Edmund Hillary who managed the feat in 1953.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

The New Zealander was part of a British expedition who set out to be the first to reach the top of the mountain. It was the ninth British party that had tried to do so and on 29th May 1953 Hillary, and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, proudly stood astride the highest point in the world.

The climbing of mountains is an incredible feat as the air is so thin when the climbers get above 6000 metres above sea level. The coldness and tiredness effects the climbers and also the sheer physical task of climbing steep slopes for so long takes its toll.

Every year people try to climb Everest and the huge numbers wanting to do so has caused many difficulties for the Nepalese authorities. As well the numerous expeditions leaving behind rubbish in the fragile ecosystem it has also been of great cost to rescue climbers who get into difficulties on the mountain.

Every year many lives are lost on the mountain. The mountaineers are some of the fittest people in the world but the effects of the ascent, coupled with altitude sickness, can have devastating effects. There have been nearly 300 people who have lost their lives, and many have been needed to be rescued and air lifted off the mountain.

However, these expeditions are a good source of income for Nepal and the local Sherpa’s and suppliers. They do little to discourage new parties who want to pay over 10,000 US dollars in order to gain a permit to test their levels of endurance to the highest point.

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