Mount Everest is 8,848 meters high. Getting to the 8,000-meter level is hard certainly, but, barring weather, most expeditions do make it this far.
But that last 800 meters is another story. Known as the ‘death zone’ – it is so high, and the air so thin, that even with oxygen, humans struggle to survive. Climbing – and descending – the death zone has claimed many lives. It is a sobering experience to scroll through the list of fatalities in Wikipedia and see just how many have perished when they had, to all intents and purposes, almost reached their goal.
It is easy to make the mistake of seeing progress as a linear progression, a steady ticking off of milestones towards a certain well-defined completion point. But, as with mountain climbing, it’s often the last part of the journey where the most hazards lurk.