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Freediving the height of Mount Everest in 100' (30.5M) dives...

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growingupninja

Lance (@socalspearit)
Mar 20, 2011
712
161
83
2020 meant no dive travel for myself and most of my friends, despite the blessings of good health. So, we had to get creative and decided to do a freedive Everesting challenge in our local waters. To keep it interesting we went with 100ft (30.5M) dives, which means that if traveling 200ft on each dive (counting both descent and ascent since CWT we are working both directions) it would take 148 dives in a day to make the height of Everest:
EDIT: I finished up this more detailed write-up on my blog.. https://www.socalspearit.com/single-post/freedive-everest-first-ascent
 
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xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
158
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You are crazy:ROFLMAO:
Seriously though was it tougher on the mind or body?
 

growingupninja

Lance (@socalspearit)
Mar 20, 2011
712
161
83
You are crazy:ROFLMAO:
Seriously though was it tougher on the mind or body?
It was way tougher on mind. The dedication and enthusiasm of my safeties kept me going, and then when we finished there was a little bit of celebration energy, then it was time to bring the boats back in the harbor and drive home. At that point I WAS VERY TIRED, too tired to really even eat much (I had been gone through about a gallon of high calorie protein fruit smoothies and protein keto coffee throughout the day). Once the sun started going down I just really wanted to push out the last dives ASAP so I ate less on break and quit worrying about deco (we'd run out of O2 for the underwater deco at that point anyway and so I just had a DAN bottle to do a few puffs out of during the last couple breaks), all this caught up with me about an hour after the last dive. It was long day but after a night's sleep, then breakfast of two burritos, chocolate cake, half pot of coffee, then 2 hour nap that afternoon I felt normal and ready to dive again. My legs weren't sore. DCS was the real worry--a hit would likely be sudden and the day was pretty deep into uncharted freedive DCS territory, the planned day was already way outside of recommendations which are generally quite conservative but still. I was fine but in retrospect should have had somebody stay with me when I was taking the borrowed boat back into the slip and driving home. That would likely have been when a hit would have happened.
 
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xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
158
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Its really a demonstration of how adventurous and bonded a group you are guys.
Still its not like everesting in cycling i dont see this becoming a trend in freediving.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,006
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Congratulations are in order; that was quite a feat. I'm surprised you did not have DCS issues. How much oxygen were you using?

My friends think I'm nuts, wait till I show them this.
 
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growingupninja

Lance (@socalspearit)
Mar 20, 2011
712
161
83
Its really a demonstration of how adventurous and bonded a group you are guys.
Still its not like everesting in cycling i dont see this becoming a trend in freediving.
As far as a trend, who knows? It does capture the imagination, and I have had a few people who heard about it express interest in doing it. I think it might be fun to do one CNF in warmer waters. Experimentally it's interesting and risky because of the DCS component. But yes, the day was a testament to teamwork. All the safeties were friends whom I have trained, played, and dove with for years and my part was only possible because I had so much faith in their abilities. The attempt came together very last minute, I started putting it together only about a week from the attempt after checking water and air temps (69F at the surface and 63F at 30M). Then that weekend we had our winter cold snap, and water temps dropped suddenly to 59F-54F. In the video I keep cutting back to the Facebook chat of their coordination--I had no idea how hard they were all working on the day to keep me diving without interruption or task load.
 
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growingupninja

Lance (@socalspearit)
Mar 20, 2011
712
161
83
Congratulations are in order; that was quite a feat. I'm surprised you did not have DCS issues. How much oxygen were you using?

My friends think I'm nuts, wait till I show them this.
I purposefully kept the last 10M of ascent very relaxed and came off the plate usually on the quicker side to minimize time spent down there, plus we freefall fast in the 5mm suits by 30M. The way I was diving on that day I was in complete freefall usually by 18M. But yeah, DCS was actually the big elephant in the room and unknown for the day. I had a big pony of pure O2 but we had regulator issues. Bloody regulator was in freeflow all day so to use it had to crack the valve and just sip O2 very slowly then exhale fast. The O2 rig came together very last minute from Pacific Wilderness--I basically walked in and told the guys what I was intending and asked if they could make me an O2 clean reg with a 15' hose, and fill that tank with pure O2. I walked out with the rig a few days later and never even tested it. The guys at the shop really are top notch and I know they tested and do the best work in the city but there is always that 1 in 1000 chance that something gets knocked loose or whatever in transit and I guess that's what happened on our day!

I'm doing the more technical write-up today, it'll be on my blog, but I think total I breathed about 10-12 minutes of pure O2 at avg depth 4M. Original plan was 5 minute decos but I started cutting them short because I didn't like how the high ppO2 was feeling in my lungs on top of me trying to suck against the resistance of the trickling tank. I have always been lucky in that I'm not prone to lung squeeze in the slightest but there were enough unknowns in the day that I didn't want to stress my lungs with too much pure dry O2. Nowadays in competition they have us do 5 mins after a deep dive but that's only once a day. I have to look at the log but I want to say the tank ran out entirely at the deco after dive #95, so I did some puffs of a DAN surface bottle somewhere in the last 50 dives, and then again at the conclusion of everything on the way into the harbor.
 

SDS

Member
Feb 16, 2018
24
22
18
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Wow, seriously impressed by this feat, and even more so that you did not develop taravana, did not squeeze, and that you were able to keep on equalizing your ears and sinusses during this massive challenge. A testimony of your talent, skills, perseverance, knowledge, and hard work (as well as from the team). Hats off!
Very interesting to see how you planned and experienced this challenge. Also interesting choice of nutrition strategy (besides CHO from the smoothies also consuming considerable quantities of fats and proteins). I would have expected greater focus on CHO, but then again, it was a really long day wasn't it :).
I personally don't think it would be wise to promote such challenges among a community of inquisitive/curious people (freedivers) always happy to test their bounderies - among who 99% are far less trained and educated about potential risks involved (and how to mitigate those) than yourself.
But again, congratulations for pulling of such a feat and having fun doing so!
 
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growingupninja

Lance (@socalspearit)
Mar 20, 2011
712
161
83
Wow, seriously impressed by this feat, and even more so that you did not develop taravana, did not squeeze, and that you were able to keep on equalizing your ears and sinusses during this massive challenge. A testimony of your talent, skills, perseverance, knowledge, and hard work (as well as from the team). Hats off!
Very interesting to see how you planned and experienced this challenge. Also interesting choice of nutrition strategy (besides CHO from the smoothies also consuming considerable quantities of fats and proteins). I would have expected greater focus on CHO, but then again, it was a really long day wasn't it :).
I personally don't think it would be wise to promote such challenges among a community of inquisitive/curious people (freedivers) always happy to test their bounderies - among who 99% are far less trained and educated about potential risks involved (and how to mitigate those) than yourself.
But again, congratulations for pulling of such a feat and having fun doing so!
Thanks, yes there are risks of course. The handsfree thing REALLY helps in the ears department as that technique is so gentle if a diver can really do it. For a practiced diver with no injury and favorable anatomy the number is incredibly high but there are a finite number of Frenzels that can be done since it is more of an overpressurization/catch-up technique as a opposed to a true EQ technique. when using handsfree it is as effortless as blinking but I'm doing it three times more often than if Frenzeling.

As for freediving DCS when doing constant weight dives, I think it's somewhat self-limiting, meaning to get into the risk zone a diver needs a certain amount of conditioning and experience to even have the stamina/technique to rack up enough nitrogen loading to be at risk. I have met and spoken with multiple competitive freedivers who have had DCS hits that were medically diagnosed and required chamber time. These were all on dives past 60M, and some of the divers discovered after the fact that they had serious undiagnosed PFO. I would put them in that category of educated divers who had more than inkling of the risks involved in their activity. In the spearing world it occasionally happens to divers without formal education, but again in every instance I have heard of (and potentially many years ago experienced) the diver understood what had happened to them and was among a very small percentage of the freediving population, and diving well outside of accepted guidelines. This isn't true everywhere but outside of very tropical waters, temperature would tend to limit a spearo's day before DCS; extended bottom times sap heat very quickly in my experience. More recently I have talked with some great and technical freedive minds who have been working on DCS tables for freediving. In their assessment currently accepted guidelines were too conservative on the shallower dives and not quite conservative enough for the deeper dives. We're also dealing with a lot of unknowns... PFO 'abnormalities' are estimated to affect as much as 25% of the population, making it hardly even an abnormality, but we do know PFO is a big risk factor for DCS.

As for carbohydrate, I did a little bit of carb loading in the two or three days prior but it takes about 24 hours for carbs you eat to get to the muscles in a usable form, so eating carbs to fuel a current activity is pointless. For freediving and hypoxic cardio in general I find that amino acid consumption (whey protein is great for this) is key though for keeping cramps at bay, and far more important than electrolytes and carbohydrate. I had expected to actually lose more weight during the attempt but I was of course forcing myself to consume a little more than I really wanted throughout the day, and while it was a lot of diving and tough to do for a variety or reasons pretty well understood, 5.68 miles isn't a marathon swim distance. Very long days of spearing hard in current I tend to lose weight, partly because I'm less diligent about replacing fluid and calories and I think because I'm doing untold miles of surface swimming, breathing hard all day. Interesting to note--and some of this can be attributed to improved technique and equipment but there are other long term changes at work--but these days I go through a tiny fraction of the water and calories that I used to, even on much harder/longer days.
 
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