Summit Day on Everest!

After several false starts, over the past week or so, Summit Day has finally arrived on Mt. Everest, with dozens of climbers reaching the top of the highest mountain on Earth earlier today. Summit Day is the culmination of weeks of preparation that includes a process of acclimatization that prepares the climbers for their final push to the top.

Typically, Summit Day begins late at night, with the mountaineers setting out from Camp 4, located at 26,000 feet, around midnight or so. They’ll climb throughout the night, hoping to top out the next morning, reaching the summit in daylight. Once there, they’ll spend 20-30 minutes at the summit, taking photos, resting, and enjoying the view, before turning back down the mountain. They know that getting to the top of the world is only half the journey, and a successful climb isn’t complete until they are safely down.

Amongst the climbers who reached the summit of Everest today are Ed Viesturs, whose return to the mountain we wrote about awhile back, and Peter Whittaker of the First Ascent Team. For Viesturs, this is his seventh trip to the summit of Everest, and adds to his already impressive resume that includes him being the only American to reach the summit of all fourteen 8000 meter peaks, doing so without the use of supplemental oxygen. For Whittaker, this is his first Everest summit on his third attempt.

Congratulations to all the climbers for a job well done!

Update: The summit teams from earlier today are all safely down the mountain and resting at Camp 4 before completing their descent to base camp. More teams headed to the summit today.