A Tale of Two Sides: Climbing Mount Everest

Holly climbed to the summit of Mount Everest on May 22nd 2017. She climbed as a two man team, spending a total of 47 days on the mountain. Her and her climbing partner were rewarded with blue skies and the summit to themselves for thirty minutes. Their descent was a very different story.

“It’s well known that many have perished trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest and this was confirmed when I saw row upon row of memorials at Base Camp. It’s pretty sobering how many there were. As I was climbing towards the summit on the north side of Everest, I’m settled into a rhythm, making good progress up the steep slope, one step at a time.

In my peripheral, I glimpsed a dark patch in the snow. I glanced to my right to see a body lying there, still attached to the rope I was on. I stopped to draw breath, trying to quieten my mind. Stepping over his body had a profound effect on me. It kept going round in my head that this climber would more than likely remain there, forever. It was a stark reminder of how fine the line between life and death was in this unforgiving place. This was the first of a few perished climbers I saw on my way to the summit.”

Holly climbed to the summit of Mount Everest on May 22nd 2017. She climbed as a two man team, spending a total of 47 days on the mountain. Her and her climbing partner were rewarded with blue skies and the summit to themselves for thirty minutes. Their descent was a very different story.

“It’s well known that many have perished trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest and this was confirmed when I saw row upon row of memorials at Base Camp. It’s pretty sobering how many there were. As I was climbing towards the summit on the north side of Everest, I’m settled into a rhythm, making good progress up the steep slope, one step at a time.

In my peripheral, I glimpsed a dark patch in the snow. I glanced to my right to see a body lying there, still attached to the rope I was on. I stopped to draw breath, trying to quieten my mind. Stepping over his body had a profound effect on me. It kept going round in my head that this climber would more than likely remain there, forever. It was a stark reminder of how fine the line between life and death was in this unforgiving place. This was the first of a few perished climbers I saw on my way to the summit.”

“I climbed Everest as part of a two man team. We enjoyed the rare privilege of having the summit to ourselves, for 30 minutes!

I sat down, buzzing, trying to take it all in, trying to savour and imprint this picture in my mind. It was a long slog getting to this point, with an endurance of 47 days on the mountain above 5000m the whole time. I felt a mixture of emotions, I felt ecstatic, exhausted, optimistic and a bit sensible too. I was very conscious that I was only half way! Getting down is always a dangerous part of any climb as you have to keep your wits about you. No time for popping open the bubbles just yet, it’s a long way down. It was a wonderful bluebird day, with a calm and a stillness. Quite in contrast to the day before and indeed a few hours later, when the storms raged. Grey clouds started to appear to my right, a sure sign it was time to wrap this party up and start heading back down.”

“I climbed Everest as part of a two man team. We enjoyed the rare privilege of having the summit to ourselves, for 30 minutes!

I sat down, buzzing, trying to take it all in, trying to savour and imprint this picture in my mind. It was a long slog getting to this point, with an endurance of 47 days on the mountain above 5000m the whole time. I felt a mixture of emotions, I felt ecstatic, exhausted, optimistic and a bit sensible too. I was very conscious that I was only half way! Getting down is always a dangerous part of any climb as you have to keep your wits about you. No time for popping open the bubbles just yet, it’s a long way down. It was a wonderful bluebird day, with a calm and a stillness. Quite in contrast to the day before and indeed a few hours later, when the storms raged. Grey clouds started to appear to my right, a sure sign it was time to wrap this party up and start heading back down.”

“As we summited later in the day than most, a planned strategy as an agile two-climber team to avoid the queues, we hoped to get back down to the North Col by dark. Ordinarily this would have been possible but Mother Nature had other ideas. The wind was aggressive and bitterly cold. It took us several hours battling to stay upright just to get down to Camp 3 (8300m), an inhospitable and exposed campsite. There is no helicopter rescue on the north side of Everest due to strictly controlled air space. This makes the whole climb more challenging as even a sprained ankle could be disastrous. Miraculously our tent was still standing from when we had left it many hours before, we crawled in, exhausted and we waited.

12 hours later the winds showed no sign of relenting. I can honestly say it was the scariest night of my life. I felt like a sitting duck who was about to be picked up and spat out over the edge of the mountain in my ripstock yellow coffin.”

“As we summited later in the day than most, a planned strategy as an agile two-climber team to avoid the queues, we hoped to get back down to the North Col by dark. Ordinarily this would have been possible but Mother Nature had other ideas. The wind was aggressive and bitterly cold. It took us several hours battling to stay upright just to get down to Camp 3 (8300m), an inhospitable and exposed campsite. There is no helicopter rescue on the north side of Everest due to strictly controlled air space. This makes the whole climb more challenging as even a sprained ankle could be disastrous. Miraculously our tent was still standing from when we had left it many hours before, we crawled in, exhausted and we waited.

12 hours later the winds showed no sign of relenting. I can honestly say it was the scariest night of my life. I felt like a sitting duck who was about to be picked up and spat out over the edge of the mountain in my ripstock yellow coffin.”

Hear the full story

Holly’s Climb Deconstructed

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