“I woke up and I asked the sherpa why it was happening and what caused it, and he explained it was because of the altitude and blood flow, and he said it was pretty common.”
Also known as “Altitude Thickness” the phenomena of getting boners with changes in atmospheric pressure has long been known but rarely discussed aspect of climbing Mt. Everest. Apparently lower pressure due to altitude gain can cause blood to flow directly to that region of the male body and induce erections. It also happens on airplanes and in which case its referred to as an airplane boner. Everest summit alum, Srinath Varma, spoke with VICE News about it in an article aptly named “Why Climbing Mt. Everest Gives People Weird Boners”:
Okay and um, did you get an erection?
Yes, it happened to me just after I crossed 4,500 meters [2.8 miles]. I think it depends on the climbing experience though, I’m sure it’s different for everyone. For me I only ever got boners during the morning.
Walk me through your first Everest boner. What happened?
Well I wasn’t prepared for it, I didn’t even know it was a possibility. I woke up and I asked the sherpa why it was happening and what caused it, and he explained it was because of the altitude and blood flow, and he said it was pretty common.
Why did it only happen in the morning?
Given the environment, your body isn’t working normally during sleep, your temperature isn’t stable, and your blood pressure is increased. So apparently, it’s normal to wake up with a boner.
Did it happen to other people you were with too?
Yes, it did. I didn’t ask them about it though.
I mean, they probably had no idea why it was happening either. And I assumed they’d be embarrassed about it. It’s not something you have to point out you know. The boners were just there, everywhere in plain sight, in the freezing cold.
Did a boner make it difficult to climb?
No, I don’t think it made much difference. It was difficult to hide though, obviously, so if you’re self-conscious it could have an impact on your climb. My mind was already playing tricks on me with the lack of oxygen, so being worried about how I looked wasn’t beneficial.
So, having a boner didn’t affect your mood at all?
Well, I mean, it wasn’t comfortable. I was wearing tight clothes and it was at least -20 [-4 degrees Fahrenheit] degrees. But it is not even close to the most difficult thing about climbing Everest, so I just had to carry on until it went away.
What a trooper! How long did it last?
About two hours per day, I think. I just had to drink a lot of water to speed up blood circulation, and also keep my body warm and constantly moving. It’s a patience game.
Just remember, perfectly natural, nothing to be ashamed of, carry on. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE
images from Everest