Photo: Andy Bardon
Earlier this month we wrote about Conservation Alliance board member and The North Face icon Conrad Anker's preparation for his third summit of Mt. Everest. As the weather improved and the summit attempt date drew closer, it was exciting to follow Conrad and his team, online, courtesy of The North Face and National Geographic Society.
On Friday, May 25th, Conrad summated, without oxygen, via the South Col route, along with National Geographic/The North Face expedition members Kris Erickson, Sam Elias, Emily Harrington, Mark Jenkins, and Hilaree O'Neil.
This year was one of the deadliest seasons on Mt. Everest. Ten people died on the mountain. Lines of climbers caused traffic jams on May 19th, when over 300 people crowed the upper slopes of Everest's southeast ridge. Alpine climbing is inherently dangerous. So why do climbers continue to risk their lives to climb to the world's highest point?
Mark Jenkins, a member of Conrad's expedition team said well in his most recent post to National Geographic's Everest Blog:
Climbing Everest is not curing cancer. It is a narcissistic pursuit, not a noble one. But, there is grandeur in the endeavor. A common goal of magnificent difficulty, with everyone sharing in the brief moments of pleasure and extended periods of pain, binds heart to heart more strongly than the rope itself. Because Everest is so high and so indifferent, it calls upon every mountaineer, at some point during the climb, to rise to his or her better self-that person inside us all who has unquestioned courage, who will sacrifice without doubt, who will commit without complaint, who will put life on the line. This is the answer to the inevitable question: Why? Because: The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, expects of you, demands of you, to reach for the highest qualities inside yourself.
Congratulations to Conrad and his team!