Mon, May 24, 2010
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Man swims at base of Mount Everest

2010-05-24 10:51:11 GMT2010-05-24 18:51:11 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Enviromentalist and endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh puts his body to the test in thin air and cold water to highlight shrinking glaciers in high mountain ranges.

For Lewis Gordon Pugh swimming in near freezing waters is nothing new.

The endurance swimmer and environmental activist has braved both poles and holds the record for the coldest water a human has ever swum in.

Now the king of the polar bear club has taken his swim to a whole new level, rather altitude, in shadow of Mt. Everest.

At nearly 5,300 metres high Pugh braved the one kilometre swim in nearly freezing waters of Lake Pumori.

That altitude and temperature makes staying alive a balancing act says Pugh.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) ENDURANCE SWIMMER LEWIS GORDON PUGH SAYING:

"This swim was by far the hardest swim I have ever undertaken because, I had to balance. If I go too fast then I can't breath and there is a possibility of even drowning in a place like this and if I go too slow I can get extremely cold, hypothermia, so you had to get the balance right.

After 22 minutes and 51 seconds he finally finishes.

Plucked from the lake, a team of doctors now work to bring up his body temperature.

But Pugh says today's swim was more than about pushing the human body to it's limits.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) ENDURANCE SWIMMER LEWIS GORDON PUGH SAYING:

"I was inspired to do this swim because of the melting of these glaciers. If you look behind us you will see the Khumbu glacier and see that extending all the way up to Mount Everest. And throughout the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush region you've got these glaciers and they're beginning to retreat and when they are retreating it becomes a situation where you don't have a constant water supply downstream."

This year Pugh's achievements have been recognized by the World Economic Forum.

They appointed him as a Young Global Leader for his commitment in shaping the world.

(Reuters)

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