Thursday, May 12, 2016

NEVEREST III Archive


Everest is teamwork manifest. Everything that happens on this mountain is backed by cooperation (albeit with a bit of heated debate at times), but teamwork none the less. As @adrianballinger and I had our best day on the mountain yesterday, we climbed up as 15+ Sherpa descended past us in the heavy wind, having carried loads for commercial clients as high as 27,000 ft. Tho the skies were clear, the wind was vicious and every one we passed was operating as a team...looking out for each other, checking in, and extending that to everyone else they encountered on the mountain. A lot of people have a lot to say about Everest. Opinions are fine...we've all got them. But until you've seen the incredible power of this mountain first hand, and experienced the massive human effort and coming-together that it requires, I think it's hard to pass any judgement. I've been guilty of this in the past...and I was wrong. This mountain is powerful no matter how you slice it...and I feel privileged and humbled to be in the company of such a massive effort. It's never been about conquering for me, but more so about engaging. I'm only now realizing now how much willful engagement it requires to be here...and I only have respect for all participants and the mountain. As teams get ready to summit, and weather becomes more and more of a guessing game, here is wishing safety and success to all. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer For an inside look, check out EverestNoFilter on Snapchat
A photo posted by Cory Richards (@coryrichards) on

A photo posted by Cory Richards (@coryrichards) on

A photo posted by Cory Richards (@coryrichards) on

These are the moments that matter. When the only thing that is going right is the person you are sharing the rope with. After a sleepless night at 25,000 ft. @adrianballinger scrambles amidst the chaos of a collapsing tent to put his crampons on. It's in the moments when it all seems to be falling apart that a partnership's collective cool matters most. Last night was rough. We arrived at our camp in the debilitating Himalayan heat that is so often underestimated. Our tent was pitched on a manufactured ice platform jutting out from a firm 35 degree snow slope. A common home on mountains like this. Thankful to be out of the sun, we ate and drank as much as our altitude affected bodies would allow until night fell. Neither of us had noticed the stiff breeze gathering force from the west. By 10:00 pm, my side of the tent was almost fully collapsed under a hundred pounds of drift snow and Adrian's side was being not-so-gently pushed off the platform. Pieces of gear were lost in the fold created by the weight and the nylon wall hung just a few inches from my face. The poles were bowing to their maximum endurance. It was time to crawl out into the darkness and dig our little shelter out. And this happened with little discussion or alarm. I was more concerned than Adrian. It was a clockwork effort with the exchange of few words. We crawled back in 20 minutes later, covered in melting snow, and laughed. The night passed, the wind persisted, and as it always does, morning came. The winds too high to go up, the only option was down. It was an imperfect end to an imperfect night. And sometimes, imperfect images...fog on the lens, poorly exposed, and way too much motion blur....sometimes those images best describe the moments that matter most. @eddiebauer #liveyouradventure Visit snapchat EverestNoFilter for a play by play of our No Os attempt of Everest's North Side.
A photo posted by Cory Richards (@coryrichards) on



It's great to hear that for the first time in three years, the summit of Everest has once again been conquered! A team of 9 Sherpa have reached the summit, making way for more attempts this year. After two disastrous years for Nepal, I hope the restart of climbing on Mount Everest can kick-start the tourism and spark that adventurous flair that has made Nepal such a fantastic destination. It has been great to follow the work of @coryrichards , @AdrianBallinger and Pasang Rinji Sherpa on the #EverestNoFilter tag. I wish them, the climbers in basecamp and the rest of the people of Nepal a disaster-free year. This photo is from one of my many trips to the region in 2012, working on the Saving Mount Everest documentary. #instagoodmyphoto #justgoshoot #exploretocreate #peoplescreatives #visualsoflife #passionpassport #theoutbound #worldtravelbook #neverstopexploring #JustBackFrom #WYMTM #earthfocus #awesomeearth
A photo posted by Martin Edstrƶm (@martinedstrom) on


A photo posted by CBS This Morning (@cbsthismorning) on



Today was an auspicious day on the Buddhist calendar...and as such, a perfect day for a Puja (Buddhist blessing ceremony) at our Advanced Base Camp on Everest's north side. Pujas are a time for the team to come together and engage, spiritually or otherwise, with each other and the mountain. The blessings written on the prayer flags hung from a juniper pole are released as the wind blows...and whether or not you believe in the religious basis of the ceremony, it's impossible to believe that something much bigger is not present. Some Pujas are super formal, others like ours, are more low key. Today we celebrated as a family vs a climbing team....and it felt good, and quiet, and present. Couldn't have asked for a better day and a better partner for this our No Os attempt this year. Here is wishing every team a sound and uneventful climb. Respect and love for the mountain rising behind the birds and above the prayers and clouds. @adrianballinger @eddiebauer #liveyouradventure #everestnofilter
A photo posted by Cory Richards (@coryrichards) on



A photo posted by Adrian Ballinger (@adrianballinger) on

A photo posted by National Geographic Adventure (@natgeoadventure) on

@adrianballinger Every day I spend on the North Side of #Everest, I feel better about our 2014 decision to move away from the South Side. The safety advantages are stark. We live in a safe, organized and clean Base Camp (pictured) with stunning views of the mountain. We can acclimatize to over 20,000 feet directly out of BC, in our sneakers, with no hazard to us or our high altitude workers. We can move to our camp at 6400 meters (21,500 feet, equivalent to Camp 2 on South Side) without climbing through an icefall. In fact, yaks can make the trip to 6400 meters which means we can have creature comforts at that altitude, encouraging us to spend more time acclimatizing up high, without putting our Sherpa staff in unreasonable risk. Finally, a combination of Tibetan and Chinese officials are actually present, helpful, and informative. It is an notable change from working in Nepal. The fixed ropes (fixed by a professional team of Tibetan Sherpa and paid equally by all teams) are already above 7000 meters (23,000 feet) and we expect them to progress quickly with next week's low wind forecast. Now @coryrichards and I just need to put in the work and get our asses up high! Today we went to above 20k. Tomorrow, we sleep there. #everestnofilter #everest2016
A photo posted by Mount Everest (@mounteverestofficial) on


On the South Side, while rope-fixing with a Sherpa team, I became the first westerner of the season on top of #Everest in both 2010 and 2011. But that was with supplemental oxygen. This year, while listening to celebration by radio and social media of the first summits of the season, @coryrichards and I are still just in the blue-collar "meat" phase of our no-oxygen attempt. We have at least two more weeks of work, recovery, and a final push. But it all feels so right. Today we moved with heavy loads to 24,750 feet - two tents chopped into the side of the mountain - and nothing more. As the wind picks up and snowfall rate increases, it is humbling and intimidating to be here alone. Congrats to our friends - Sherpa and Westerner - who stood on top yesterday and today! #everestnofilter #everest2016
A photo posted by Adrian Ballinger (@adrianballinger) on

A video posted by Sarah Huisenga (@huisenga) on

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Aristotle I posted a similar image to this about two weeks and talked to the points of team work. That was the impersonal view...this one is about partnership. I've spent the past two months with @adrianballinger on the North side of Everest. That time Passed with a blink. His overwhelming and genuine psych, his deep level of respect and understanding of personal nuance and needs, and his true desire to act as a singular partnership are cornerstones of his personality...which has been one of the greatest experiences of partnership I can point to. Yesterday, AB made the incredibly hard decision to turn around before the summit. In some ways, I think he wanted this even more than me. But he knew that to keep going was to endanger himself and others. He also knew that as a partnership, splitting up was the best thing to do. It was a paradoxical decision that at once splinters conventional ideas of partnership, and in that moment, cemented ours forever. I couldn't be more proud of him and the decisions he made with our Doctor, Monica. It's sad to turn around after months of effort. It's my job to know that and respect that. But I'd be remiss if I didn't voice the idea that this was always a team effort and @adrianballinger is the stronger half of that team. EverestNoFilter #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer
A photo posted by Cory Richards (@coryrichards) on



John Taske in the Khumbu Icefall 18 years ago, in 1996. Every April I get a knot in my stomach that doesn’t go away until the Everest climbing season ends in June. This year is no different. The 2014 Everest season is underway and ramping up fast. The Icefall Doctors—the Sherpas who install the ladders and fixed ropes through the Khumbu Icefall—have already established the harrowing route from Basecamp to Camp I. Several friends are on the mountain this year, including Neal Beidleman (whom I first met during our trek to Basecamp in ’96), Charley Mace, Mike and Matt Moniz, and a posse of Sherpas. Even though I’m not religious, every morning I find myself chanting Om Mani Padme Hum for my compadres as I watch our tiny plastic prayer wheel spin on the breakfast table.

A photo posted by Jon Krakauer (@krakauernotwriting) on

When I was a teenager, I butted heads with my father over just about everything. By the time I turned 21 we’d pretty much stopped speaking to each other. It took me until I was nearly 40 to appreciate that I was to blame for this unbridgeable rift at least as much as he was. And it wasn’t until after he died, in 2001, that I really understood all that I owed him. One of those things was introducing me to the mountains as a kid—an incredible gift for which I will be eternally grateful. My old man took this snapshot in 1964, when I was 10, on an ascent of the North Sister in the Oregon Cascades. After his death, I carried his ashes to the summit of this peak, on a day when I happened to be the only person it. As I scattered his gritty remains to the wind, I was surprised to find myself sobbing uncontrollably.

A photo posted by Jon Krakauer (@krakauernotwriting) on