Is it true that you can't make a decent cup of tea up a mountain?

You might think that mountaineers have other things to worry about other than whether they can get a decent cup of tea, but apparently not. As you ascend a mountain, the air pressure decreases and you find yourself gasping for oxygen as well as a nice cuppa. Unfortunately, as the pressure decreases, liquid water finds it easier and easier to turn into a gas, in other words to boil. At sea level, water boils at 100°C but by the time you’ve reached the top of Everest your kettle will boil at just 72°C.

Whilst this is not nearly hot enough to make a decent cup of tea, weight-conscious mountaineers can console themselves with the fact that they weigh less than when they are at the bottom of a valley. Weight is the force acting on us due to gravity and this force decreases the further we get from the centre of the Earth. So, at the top of Everest, you would weigh approximately 0.28% less than you do at sea level. Ok, it’s hardly noticeable and you will still have the same mass, but at least it’s a start!

Find more websites about what it’s like up a mountain with physics.org.

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