Amazing Performance: Lewis Gordon Pugh Swims Across Lake Pumori At The Foot Of Mount Everest

On May 22, 2010, Lewis Gordon Pugh swan 1 km across Lake Pumori at the foot of Mount Everest.  This swim took place at 5,300 meters of altitude, in water that was 2 degrees Centigrade, and lasted for 22m and 51s.  Pugh did this to raise public awareness of the receding glaciers in the Himalayas and the potential destabilizing impact both environmentally and politically of diminishing water resources in the region.

The Rough Cut From Reuters

On Average How Long Can A Person Survive In Cold Water?

Water Temp Time To Exhaustion Survival Time
(°F) (°C)
32.5° 0.3° < 15 minutes 45 minutes
32.5–40° 0.3–4.4° 15 – 30 minutes 30 – 90 minutes
40–50° 3.3–10° 30 – 60 minutes 1 – 3 hours
50–60° 10–15.6° 1 – 2 hours 1 – 6 hours
60–70° 15.6–21.1° 2 – 7 hours 2 – 40 hours
70–80° 21.1–26.7° 3 – 12 hours 3 hours – indefinite
> 80° > 26.7° Indefinite Indefinite

Table: Minnesota Sea Grant

Mind Shift

Pugh, considered one of the best cold water swimmer’s in the world, had to radically change his mindset to successfully complete this swim.  His preferred aggressive mental approach combined with a strong freestyle stroke led to exhaustion and near drowning.  With a calm mind and employing the more subdued breast stroke, he was able to complete the swim.

The TED Talk

More About Lewis Pugh

For more information about Lewis Pugh, you should check out the web page Lewis Gordon Pugh Time to Believe and his blog at posterous.  You may may also enjoy his 2008 Business Innovation Forum talk Utilizing Extremes.



Vertical Blue 2010

How to Live to be 100+


3 responses to “Amazing Performance: Lewis Gordon Pugh Swims Across Lake Pumori At The Foot Of Mount Everest

  1. Great timing Adam – I was watching Lewis’ TED talk last night. Fantastic swim.

    The points he made about the swim (and the changes he had to make after his first attempt) were certainly thought-provoking. Nice one.

    • Thanks – his comments reminded me a lot of the state of mind necessary to succeed with an underwater swim for distance. Some things, you can’t force…you have to stay relaxed and calm and find the natural pace to be successful. Others, if you don’t really push yourself aggressively, you won’t succeed. Good points to keep in mind, when trying to determine the right approach for a new project.

      • Someone thinks this story is ha80sattic&#o23-;This story was submitted to Hao Hao Report – a collection of China’s best stories and blog posts. If you like this story, be sure to go vote for it….

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