It was cold and windy but we made it happen with no issues. The Southeast Ridge is a beautiful ridge, a great climb, a respectful ascent and descent. Back in 1953, there were no fixed lines on this ridge, only pure alpine climbing techniques and skills, there were no lines of people, only 2 men reaching this rock gendarme, on a day that they must have known would be their summit time. Amazing to reflect back at history and know it for what it is, all good. My team at the same time were in the position to have our own history made.
After the 3 hour wait, we quickly climbed through the Hillary Step to gain the final summit ridge. In the distance I saw the prayer flags of the summit of the world. Tashi was out front getting some photos, I came up next and just stood there, for several moments I just enjoyed the NOW, I knew I could not take another step higher, I just could not take another step higher even if I wanted to, anywhere on this planet. This was a very cool feeling, since I was 15 years old I was guiding people in the mountains and I always had another step to make on the earth. Now that Everest was under my own mind and body, soul and spirit, I do not have any different thoughts and feelings….I still feel the same, which means I am balanced before this powerful summit. The only thing changed is that I am dedicated to my climbing, skiing and guiding my special clients 100% more than ever. I know where I was at that very moment in time while on the summit of the world and this calling was stronger than ever before and I gave thanks and will do forever and ever. While looking down the North Face and the North Ridge I was reminded of my first expedition to Everest. See one of the photos that looks down the final steps of the North ridge. I was hired by Russell Brice back in 1994 to be his first Him Ex guide and we were given a permit for the first ascent of the NE Face of Mt Everest. This means that I was to lead 1000 meters of virgin rock, snow and ice to camp 1. And this means that our 8 clients had to ascend these 1000 meters, like jumaring up El Capitan to get to sleep for the night. (For non climbers, jumaring, also referred to as jugging, is where the second climber (the one who belays the lead climber on the route) uses ascenders to climb the rope instead of climbing directly on the rock.) Who does a new route on Everest with 8 novice clients these days??????? We ended up being threatened by avalanches and moved off this new route to the North ridge. I was with one client at 7,900 meter camp ready to leave for the summit when I got the call to rescue Michael Reimburger and Mark Whetu. My client and I forfeited our summit to help these people. Unfortunately, Michael passed away that night and we ended up helping Mark back down to ABC.
Unfortunately, this happened sooner than we wanted. We saw several climbers hurting badly. I knew inside that some of these people were not going to make it down; from my guiding and rescue professional experiences I could see this…..I guided and rescued many people around the world on the highest mountains and was able to help some of these people live another day. But I had the responsibility towards my own clients to make sure that AB and George would return safely back to the Col this night. Tim reconfirmed this direction and action. Yes, you all will read about the tragedies on Mt Everest from news organizations…right now there are 8 climbers on the south side of Everest and 3 climbers on the north side of Everest that have passed away. I am not here to write about these people and what happened. Mt Everest will always be a huge challenge to climb on this earth. Yes, it is like all other mountains, it is life threatening and dangerous, everyone knows this when they sign up for these 8000 meter expeditions. No one puts a gun to your head and tells you to climb the highest mountains on this planet. I will let you know that our team was solid and I was comfortable guiding my clients down the SE Ridge.
Since there was not much winter snow this season, the Triangle Face above the Col had a lot of exposed stones and unfortunately some came down while we were descending. I was hit by a bowling ball size rock in the left boot area, it stopped me for a few seconds to rethink how much damage happened. Upon a quick check, it hurt but nothing more….thank goodness for La Sportiva Boots. We got back to our tents by 1930 hours and just crashed into our sleeping bags. What a day, what a journey in life and what a life to live. We all gave thanks for these experiences. The next day we were off to Camp 3 and then to camp 2. With a great sleep at camp 2 and having a good time with the others of the team during the next morning, AB, George and I took off for Base Camp.
Thanks for following us on this journey upon Mt Everest. If interested, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and see if you want to join me on another great adventure somewhere on this earth. Also, please keep following www.peakfreaks.com for I will be joining Tim and Becky again next year for Everest as well as for Lhotse, next to Everest and being the 4th highest mountain in the world. All my best, Cheers, Marty. PS, Many , many thanks to Becky and Tim and Peakfreaks for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful family.
Climbing Mount Everest Dispatch
Reaching New Heights With Technology
Nikki Nash is a Marketing Manager at Intel by day and the Editor in Chief of The Rising Professionalista, a fashion and lifestyle site for career women, by night. Prior to Intel, Nikki worked at Starcom-MediaVest where she managed print media for a number of Kraft Foods brands and at magazines such as Travel + Leisure and InStyle in sales and marketing. She has also completed consulting projects for global companies based in China and India. Nikki earned her B.A. in English from St. Joseph’s University and her M.B.A. from Howard University. To hear more from Nikki, you can follow her on Twitter @NashNikki.