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Old February 4th, 2013, 04:10 PM
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Default Thin Atmosphere

I came across this in Roy Chapman Andrews book, Camps and Trails in China, covering his 1916 expedition to China for the American Natural History Museum in New York. Andrews is view by some to be the basis for Indiana Jones. I have posted it elsewhere, but thought that it might be of interest to the community at large.

He was in a mountainous area, at between 8,000 and 12,000 feet in altitude, which I would think probably put him in what Traveller would regard as a "thin" atmosphere. He and his party, used to much lower, near sea-level elevations had much more trouble than the natives of the area. It might be something that you would want to consider in running an adventure or campaign.

We had nearly crossed the open slope and were standing on the edge of a deep gully when the dogs gave tongue and as soon as the hunters were sure they were coming in our direction we hurried to the bottom of the gorge and began the sharp ascent on the other side. It was almost straight up and before we had gone a hundred feet we were all gasping for breath and my legs seemed like bars of lead, but the staccato yelps of the dogs sounding closer and closer kept us going.

When we finally dropped on the summit of the hill I was absolutely done. I lay flat on my back for a few minutes and got to my knees just as the goral appeared on the opposite cliff.
Emphasis is added.

In line with the thought on atmosphere, I was wondering how it would work to include "cold" as one of the atmospheric taints, as cold, dry air is extremely hard on the lungs. Having been in Alaska and out at 62 below zero Fahrenheit, which is minus 52 Celsius, I can attest to how it feels. You have to have either a mask or scarf or muffler of some kind over your mouth, or it feels like you are breathing fire.

Edit Note: Just came across this in the Andrew's book, and it nicely illustrates my ideas. Note the 15,000 foot altitude.

Late in the afternoon the exhausted men and animals dragged themselves to the summit of the mountain, for it was not a pass. In a few hours we had come from autumn to mid-winter where the ground was frozen and covered with snow. We were at an altitude of more than 15,000 feet and far above all timber except the rhododendron forest which spread itself out in a low gray mass along the ridges. It was difficult to make the slightest exertion in the thin air and a bitterly cold wind swept across the peaks so that it was impossible to keep warm even when wrapped in our heaviest coats.
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Last edited by timerover51; February 4th, 2013 at 04:19 PM.. Reason: Added Material
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