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Sport: Climbing: Mt Everest
Mt Everest Slide tubes   (+8)  [vote for, against]
No one brags about Descending Everest anyway.

Huge amounts of effort, money and risk go into climbers ascending Mt Everest. Once they've summited, they smile, take a few pics then begin the much less glamourous, but still extremely dangerous, descent back to Base Camp.

I propose an international effort to install plastic slide tube as commonly found in children's playgrounds from the Summit to Base Camp. Complete with loop-de-loops to burn off extra speed.

The tired mountaineers can then pop themselves into the tube, avoiding the snow, wind and rockfalls, to quickly find themselves back at Base Camp. On alternate Thursdays, the tube can be designated as a rubbish chute for returning empty oxygen bottles, food containers and frozen corpses hence cleaning up a mess which would otherwise be left on the mountain or humped out on the backs of overworked Sherpas.
-- AusCan531, Jul 22 2021

Could use something like this?
Inspired by [AusCan531]'s anno. [neutrinos_shadow, Jul 23 2021]

Mountain Zorbing
Fatality. [AusCan531, Jul 23 2021]

Also useful for rapid evacuation. Add on a device to move supplies up using the energy gained descending, and charge by the kilogram. Although I guess all the REAL billionaires have moved on to space these days.
-- Voice, Jul 22 2021

Some typical plastic tube slides cost maybe $100 per foot. Let's estimate $200 per foot since it needs anchoring, cold weather performance, and thermal expansion gaps.

The length of the hike one way is approx. 40 miles, or 211,200 feet.

So, the cost to build a plastic tube slide up Mt. Everest is (as a wild guess) $40 million dollars.

A neat way to assemble it would be to pressurize it and shoot the parts up it like those pneumatic document tubes at drive thru banks back in the '90s. Then at the end of the workday the tubes could be launched back down the slide, and possibly even personnel could go down this way (though they would need an emergency escape out of the tube).

If we up the budget to $400 million, it might be sufficient for a giant "Project Babylon" cannon.
-- sninctown, Jul 22 2021

About space, it's easy to spend money and it's hard to make it economical. Building the space megastructures isn't a matter of throwing billions of dollars at it. It's a matter of finding a way (e.g. reusability) to make it massively cheaper. SpaceX made reusability actually happen. If the other builders want to win, they should stop copying Musk and use their own unique approach to find a new angle, and they should personally verify their basic idea before delegating it to the smart employees. Here are some guesses:
-- SpaceX should keep doing what it's doing, which is working great.
-- Blue Origin should crowdsource their entire system architecture to the Kerbal Space Program community, should build their rockets entirely out of Amazon stock items, and should assemble them using their normal warehouse staff. This is terribly inefficient, so they should make their rocket 50x the size of Elon's to compensate (benefitting from scaling laws) and win using the massive scale of Amazon logistics. Yes, this means building rockets the size of an Amazon warehouse, and blowing them up to help the Kerbal guys tune their models.
-- Virgin Galactic should make their rocket nuclear powered. Branson's narcissism can cut through the red tape and win using this vastly superior fuel source. NB: may need to launch from an ocean platform in international waters and/or kerguelen island.
-- Zuckerberg should just build a giant floating eye of sauron and tell his "fact-checkers" to ban people who claim that the giant floating eye is not actually in orbit
-- Actual billionaires in non meme industries should consider a career in engineering, where their spreadsheets can mean something original
-- sninctown, Jul 22 2021

My guess would be $2500 per foot. You need to stabilize it against shifting ice and vicious winds. You also need to get the materials up along one of the most challenging areas in the world. Add in environmental factors, lawsuits, feeding and supporting the work crew, international bureaucracy and bribes, and probably about a dozen things I haven't thought of. This isn't a Sunday stroll through the forest. Indeed a cannon and catcher would probably be cheaper and safer.
-- Voice, Jul 22 2021

On second thought, I would agree with [Voice]. A better cost estimate is probably "slightly cheaper than Bay Area Housing", so a bit less than $3000 per 3ft area (1ft length) of slide.
-- sninctown, Jul 22 2021

Economy of scale. Yes its expensive laying the tube all the way up Mt Everest. but if this kind of tube were to be laid everywhere all over the surface of the earth, then the cost per unit length would drop considerably.
-- pocmloc, Jul 22 2021

+ Who cares how much it costs, this is the hb.
-- xandram, Jul 22 2021

I love it when someone worries more about the cost and is not so worried about how many might be killed or maimed. That's the bakery for ya.
-- blissmiss, Jul 22 2021

Yes, love it!

Would users need Kevlar/asbestos trousers to cope with the friction?
-- Frankx, Jul 22 2021

Pre-assemble somewhere convenient (eg: Kathmandu) into manageable (for some value of "manageable"...) lengths, then lift into place with a hot-air or helium balloon.
-- neutrinos_shadow, Jul 22 2021

In a nod to the quite sensible annos above concerned about cost, perhaps great sections of it could be constructed of Lay-Flat hose - say 500mm in diameter. Outside pockets filled with water/rocks for weight and away you go!

(Note: Away 'you' go cuz I'm not getting in the bloody thing).
-- AusCan531, Jul 23 2021

^ Indeed. The rest of us will descend using our Zorbs.
-- whatrock, Jul 23 2021

Is there something wrong with your toboggan?
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 23 2021

[whatrock]; extreme alpine Zorbing - now THERE'S an idea! (In fact, I'm surprised it isn't already a Thing here in New Zealand...)
-- neutrinos_shadow, Jul 23 2021

Mountain Zorbing is a thing. See [link] but be warned there was a fatality.
-- AusCan531, Jul 23 2021

OK here is a serious question. Thinking about costing and price, would it be cheaper in the long term to tunnel up through the mountain, than to build a surface-mounted tube? The tube has the problems of extreme climate and installation and stability referred to above. Tunnelling would seem more expensive but mitigates these issues.
-- pocmloc, Jul 23 2021

//that’s boring// Genuinely, the UK phone book used to have a section

Boring: see Engineering

Original idea [+], tubes, hoses, tunnels all good…

What about an Inflatable tunnel? I’m imagining something that ‘unfurls’ length-wise, so you could start at base-camp and ‘pump’ the outer end of the tunnel up to the summit.
-- Frankx, Jul 23 2021

Ooh, that gives me an idea for space-towers…
-- Frankx, Jul 23 2021

//it might be sufficient for a giant "Project Babylon" cannon.//

Good to see we're putting in the work on 8th-style contributions.
-- bs0u0155, Jul 23 2021

If you trained pigs to tunnel their way up that would really be boaring.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 23 2021

I would like to think that a new boring technology using water-jet cutters to extract neat little wedge-shaped chunks of rock might make it easier.
-- sninctown, Jul 23 2021

// Mountain Zorbing is a thing. See [link] but be warned there was a fatality //

A fatality? Just one? Pah. Not enuf data, Shirley. We need dozens of climbers to descend in their Zorbs to prove that this is the manner every climber should opt for to get down to hi-ox within the hour.

Going up takes too damn long. Maybe a Babylon Cannon?
-- whatrock, Jul 24 2021

//If you trained pigs to tunnel their way up that would really be boaring.//

South African pigs - Boers.
-- AusCan531, Jul 26 2021

Boer Constructors would be no good for tunnelling but they could build the support infrastructure.
-- pocmloc, Jul 26 2021

How do you keep the top end clear of the snow and ice? I'm thinking a wind turbine at the top is needed so you can bleed off the power to an electric heater system in the tube. That way people can climb the tower for turbine maintenance every couple of days. While they're up there they can clear out the ice and snow that the electric heater system didn't catch, and ride the tube back down. See, it's all self- contained... How much to sherpas know about wind turbine maintenance? Think we have budget for training?
-- RayfordSteele, Jul 26 2021

I have slid down a 20-foot plastic tube in cold weather. I can imagine this as being somewhat akin to being struck by lightning continuously for an hour or so.
-- lurch, Jul 27 2021

Power source!
-- RayfordSteele, Jul 29 2021

random, halfbakery