Friday, May 20, 2011
Everest Summit Report: Solo On Top Of The World!
So you want to know what it is like to climb the highest mountain on the planet, and stand on top of the summit, all alone? Then look no further than this story from Climbing.com. It was written by climber Brian Dickinson, who is with the Mountain Gurus team on the South Side of Everest, and the article chronicles his epic climb to the summit last week.
The story is very well written and does a great job of conveying what it is like to go up the mountain. Brian talks about the difficulties of climbing in weather conditions that include extreme heat, high winds, heavy snow, and more. He shares his emotions as he completes each stage on the way to the top, and then finally gets there, all by himself. On the way up, his support Sherpa took ill and was forced to head back, and as a result, Dickinson had the opportunity to stand on top of the world, completely alone. He even says that he spent an hour on the summit, by himself, taking it all in, and while he laments the fact that there was no one there to share it with, it had to also be very moving to have the place all to himself for so long.
As many mountaineers will tell you however, the climb isn't over until you get back down, and that was something Dickinson discovered first hand. His descent was a wild one, made all the more challenging because his broken glasses continued to fog up and ice over, making it impossible to see much of anything along the way. Throw in issues with his oxygen bottles, and exhaustion setting in, and you have a harrowing tale that everyone should read.
The article is a great indicator of what climbers face on Everest. At various times, Brian encountered 50-70 mph (70-110 km) winds, mini-tornadoes, and whiteout conditions, all the while dealing with challenging rock climbs above 26,000 feet, and a solo push to the summit that had to have been surreal.
Excellent read. I definitely recommend this one.