Expedition Food

High energy, appetising food is a must for climbers at high altitudes.

Repressed appetite can be a problem for climbers expending larger than normal calories while ascending high mountains in extreme cold conditions. The decrease in atmospheric pressure causes altitude sickness. Common symptoms include nausea and tiredness. High calorific foods are required but as the mountaineers need to carry food and cooking equipment, weight must be considered too.

At base camp for the K2 expedition in 1980, cooking was done on wood fires and Primus stoves and the diet comprised mainly of local staples – rice and dahl, to which omelette (made from dried egg powder) and tinned meat, fish or poultry could be added for variety. Rice porridge was a favourite for breakfast. At higher altitudes, freeze dried meals were hydrated with melted snow and accompanied with dried potato or instant soup for flavour.

The report for the Everest expedition two years later includes a piece dedicated to food. Lists show added varieties of food included tinned fruit and custard. Biscuits, chocolate, mint cake, dried fruits and nuts are items included for easy additions used to top up energy levels.