High-altitude sickness

2009 climbing season, Bhutan, David Breashears, Ed Viesturs, high altitude sickness, Himalayas, Jon Krakauer, Mount Everest, mountaineering, pushing human limits, Reinhold Messner, world's highest peak,

While flying to Bhutan on a crystal clear day, we flew past the summit of Mount Everest. That was it – that one brief encounter – and I was mesmerized. The power and the majesty of its 29,035 feet were undeniable.

Since then, I have climbed the South Col route of Mount Everest and summited many times – virtually that is. I have followed the adventures of mountaineers such as Ed Viesturs (summitting yet again this year without supplemental oxygen) and discovered the controversial climber Reinhold Messner, the films of adventurer David Breashears and writings of Jon Krakauer, in addition to reading about the history of mountaineering and the world’s greatest peaks.

Could an Everest summit be in my future – not likely. I do aspire to hike through the Khumbu region to Everest’s base camp one day. At 17,000+ feet, that would be the equivalent of my summit. Whether it’s realized or not, the Himalayan climbing season remains a fascination and inspiration. Everyone needs an “Everest” to remain excited, engaged and challenged in life.

With the 2009 climbing season wrapping up, check out some of the highlights.

  • 300+ summits: recorded for both north and south routes
  • Sherpa Mingma Tenzing: the first person to summit in 2009
  • David Tait: the first westerner to summit in 2009
  • Bill Burke: at age 67, the oldest American in history to summit/descending at this writing
  • Johnny Collinson: at age 17, the youngest American in history to summit/return
  • Darija and Iris Bostjancic: the first non-Sherpa sisters in history to summit together and first women to summit in 2009

Watch videos of the 2009 season here. Discover Team Eddie Bauer here.

While Mount Everest is reportedly not the most beautiful or most challenging summit in the world, it is THE HIGHEST point on earth.

What is your Everest, realized or not?

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