Hello Moto..It’s Me I’m On The Top Of Everest

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Motorola has scored a world first after a British climber became the first person to make a mobile phone call from the top of Mount Everest.

Mountaineer Rod Baber, 36, removed his oxygen mask to make two calls from the mountain’s north ridge. In the first call to a special answerphone set up by sponsors Motorola he said: “It’s amazing. The Himalayas are everywhere.”

Mountaineer Rod Baber,

The feat was made possible by China Telecom which set up a base station at Rongbuk, about 8km from their base camp and 16km  from the summit.

Telecommunications on the mountain had been restricted to shortwave radio, which has a limited range, and satellite telephones, which are expensive and can be disrupted by bad weather. Before radio the best form of telecommunication on Everest was Morse code, transmitted between base camps along copper wires laid by the ill-fated Mallory-Irvine expedition of 1924.

 

The advent of relatively cheap mobile telephone calls on the world’s highest mountain marks another milestone in the relentless expansion of cellphone networks around the globe. While some may lament the mobile’s intrusion into one of the planet’s great wildernesses, many mountaineers welcome it as a potential lifesaver. “In terms of improving safety, any way you can improve communications could help to alert base camp in an emergency,” said Alun Richardson, secretary of the British Association of Mountain Guides, who has been on Everest twice.

After first calling Motorola Mr Baber from Cirencester in the UK  then called his wife, braving high winds and temperatures of -30 degrees.

Making the 40 second call between deep breaths of oxygen he said: “Hi, it’s Rod making the world’s highest phone call on 21st May.

“I’ve got no idea what time it is. It’s 5.37. It’s about minus-30. It’s cold. It’s fantastic. The Himalayas are everywhere. I can’t feel my toes. Everyone’s in good spirits. It’s amazing. I cannot wait to get back.” Mr Baber also set a separate record for sending the world’s highest text message from Everest’s north ridge.

“One small text for man, one giant leap for mobilekind – thanks Motorola,” read the message.

 

The new records are the latest in a long line for Mr Baber who, at 29, became the fastest man to scale the highest peaks of every European country in 835 days. He also holds the world record for climbing more of the world’s highest points than any other person.

“I was originally on schedule for six months, which would have meant one peak every four days – but because of the war in Kosovo and Kurdish rebels in Eastern Turkey, there was an enforced two-year gap,” he said in 2002.

“I’ve already climbed to the highest point in every country in Europe, so it was a natural progression to want to climb to the highest point in all the other continents.

“I want to be the first person to climb to the highest point in every country in the world. Fifty years ago, when Everest was first conquered, mountaineers couldn’t even contemplate the kind of multiple challenges that we are setting ourselves today.

“With all the new equipment and advanced climbing technology, the impossible is now within our grasp.”

A Motorola spokeswoman said the adventurer, who spent seven days climbing to the summit of Everest, had reached it in clear but windy weather.

Although bulky satellite phones have been used on Everest for some time, this is the first time anyone has made a mobile phone call from the top of the mountain.

The record only became available last year when China installed an antenna 12 miles from the peak, allowing line-of-sight transmission with the summit. Special batteries for Mr Baber’s handset were taped to his body to ensure they stayed at a high enough temperature to power the phone.

Mountaineers typically only stay on Everest’s summit for 15 minutes because of the extreme conditions.

Mr Baber and his team will now make a gradual descent down the mountain side.

 

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