Summit success! I reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 23 at 5:45 am, reaching not just the top of the World, but also completing my dream of summiting the highest mountain on each continent - the Seven Summits Challenge!
Extremely grateful to my guides and all the Sherpa who supported our expedition on Everest. The long time on the mountain and all the objective hazards make working on Everest extremely difficult. These brave men and women risk their lives daily to pursue their passion and earn a living. Huge respect!
Our Everest Summit Day was very windy the entire night and winds picked up even more on the descent. Winds were blowing between 50-80 mph the entire time which made the risk of frostbite very real, definitely lost feeling in toes and fingers at a few points during the climb, but the upside was we had the entire mountain to ourselves. No crowds, we didn't see or pass a single person on the way up, it was a gorgeous clear night but for the wind. A most magical half-moon illuminated our way up to the summit until the sun finally arose when we were right before the "former" Hillary Step spot, making it a truly happy emotional experience to see the beautiful Himalayas from the highest point on Earth and to be a little bit warmer even if for a few minutes.
Despite the bad weather, we were able to make fast progress, leaving Camp 4 at the South Col at 9:30 pm and coming back to our Camp 4 shelter by 8:50 am the next morning. I am told that less than 12-hours round-trip for a summit day is pretty good for Everest's South Side route. Our team was the first to reach the summit from the South Side that morning, making for a spectacular experience. It was impossible to stop for a rest for more than a few minutes due to the cold and wind, plus my down suit zipper froze shut so couldn't get to my snacks. In the twelve hour push, I had one Stinger gel, one Stinger waffle on the way up and a few sports beans at the South Summit on the way down, hunkered behind some rocks from the wind. Maybe a half liter of water total. Those were our only breaks that night.
I feel fortunate to be able to accomplish this amazing challenge and to join less than 500 other women who have summited Everest! This small number definitely encourages me to support other women pursuing this and other daring goals! And of course I am so immensely grateful to family and friends who have inspired me, supported me, and worried about me while I was pursuing my own daring dream.