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04/19/2012

The world's highest political ad

A Mexican mountaineer, Leonardo Fernandez, recently reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain at 29,035 feet in elevation. Fernandez does more than just gaze out at the stunning panorama from the rooftop of the world. He records a video endorsing the presidential campaign of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

What interested me more about the video (in Spanish), though, was how deeply out of breath Fernandez appears to be. It's for logical reasons. At the top of Everest, there is only a third of the level of oxygen in the air as at sea level. Even at base camp on the Tibetan side, at a little more than 15,000 feet in elevation, oxygen levels are only half what they are at sea level.

I can attest to this personally. Click here for a video I did in 2007 of the scene at base camp as climbers prepare for the ascent. That's me about half way through the video, gasping for air and complaining how I woke up every half hour during the night.

So Sr. Fernandez, my advice is to forget about Lopez Obrador for the moment. Take some long oxygen-deprived breaths and get off the mountain. Otherwise, you'll be one more victim of the Everest "death zone" (that I wrote about here) littered with corpses.

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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