The Ascent of Olympus - An Everest Anniversary Perspective

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C.S. Cockell (2004), JBIS, 57, 103-107

Refcode: 2004.57.103
Keywords: Olympus, Everest, mountaineering, Mars, summit

Olympus Mons, at 21,183 m above the Mars gravitational equipotential, stands just under 2.5 times the height of Mount Everest. Symbolically, as the highest construct in the Solar System, it is the most important feature to be climbed. Despite its powerful symbolism, the mountain presents one of the most tedious long distance expeditions on Mars - a ~300 km journey up a near constant 5 degree slope. Only at the beginning and the end of the expedition do the scarp and caldera cliffs present impressive climbs. In almost all respects Olympus presents environmental challenges much worse than Everest, apart from the lack of fatal storms, perhaps the only environmental factor in which Olympus is an improvement. Similarly to Everest, Olympus presents scien- tific questions of immense interest. In this mini-review I compare Olympus and Everest as exploratory and scientific challenges.

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