Video: Life Advice From The First American To Climb Everest

A Life Well Lived | Jim Whittaker & 50 Years of Everest” from eric becker on Vimeo.

As the first American to climb Everest, Jim Whittaker knows a thing or too about living life to the fullest. He was part of the historic 1963 expedition that broke new ground on the world’s tallest mountain, which would be enough adventure for most people. But even now, at the age of 80, Whittaker continues to be active and pursue his passion for the outdoors and inspire others to do the same.

In the video above, Whittaker shares some advice on how to embrace everything that life has to offer, saying, “If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” Those are words of wisdom for all of us and a good reminder of why we travel. To live life on the edge, experience new things and embrace foreign cultures. We might not all climb Mt. Everest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find adventure in our own way.

80-Year-Old Climber Summits Everest

Yuchiro Miura on Everest
AP Photo

Yesterday, 80-year-old mountaineer Yiuchiro Miura successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest, setting a new age record in the process. Miura, who has climbed the mountain on two previous occasions, is now the oldest person to ever stand on top of the tallest mountain on the planet. But just how long he’ll hold that distinction remains to be seen.

There were some concerns about the weather conditions heading to the summit, as the forecasts had called for high winds. Bad weather could have scrubbed Miura’s summit attempt, but fortunately the predicted shift didn’t come. As a result, it was a good day for climbing and although it was cold on the summit, the Japanese alpinist and his son Gota managed to reach the top in a safe and timely fashion. They spent roughly a half-hour on the summit celebrating their accomplishment and calling home to their support team via satellite phone before heading back down.

We told you about Miura’s quest to climb Everest a few weeks back, noting at the time that he was vying for the title of the oldest to achieve that feat with 81-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal. Sherchan has yet to begin his climb as a stomach ailment has kept him in Base Camp in recent days. He says that he is feeling stronger now and hopes to make a summit bid next week. If he is successful, he’ll wrest the title of oldest Everest climber away from his Japanese rival. In 2008, at the age of 76, Sherchan topped out one day ahead of Miura, nabbing the record that has stood for the past five years.

Sherchan will have to have a little luck go his way, however, as the weather forecasts indicate the current summit window will close in the next few days. It is unclear whether or not another window will open before the end of the month, which traditionally sees a shifting of the jet stream that signals the arrival of the seasonal monsoons. When that happens, no one will be able to climb Everest until the fall at the earliest.

Raha Moharrak Becomes First Saudi Woman To Climb Mt. Everest

Raha Moharrak
Raha Moharrak

Raha Moharrak has become the first woman from Saudi Arabia to climb Mt. Everest when she made it to the summit yesterday after a grueling climb.

The 25-year-old climber first had to convince her family to allow her to make the attempt, and then had to undergo rigorous training to climb the world’s tallest peak. She was part of a four-person team called Arabs on Top of the World. The team also includes Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, the first Qatari, and Raed Zidan, the first Palestinian to make the attempt. Masoud Mohammad, an Iranian, is also on the expedition.

The team is working on a rotation system with other expeditions, so the men are currently trying to make the ascent.

The team isn’t only making history; they’re also making a difference. They’re trying to raise $1 million for educational projects in Nepal. A donate button can be found on their website. This is a cause near and dear to Moharrak’s heart. She’s currently a graduate student in Dubai.

Summit Day Arrives On Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest from the South Side
Kraig Becker

It has been a long and wild climbing season on the world’s tallest mountain. Over the past few years, Mt. Everest has been widely criticized for being an over crowded stage for publicity seekers and tourist climbers who have no business being on the mountain. That hasn’t changed much this spring, but when you add in the recent brawl between three European climbers and a mob of angry Sherpas, not to mention the death of a very well known Russian mountaineer earlier this week, the 2013 season has been a strange and difficult one indeed. But for most of the climbers, the end is now in sight. After nearly two months away from home and weeks of acclimatizing at altitude, all of their preparation is about to pay off. Summit Day has arrived at last.

The summit of Everest has remained an elusive place thus far this spring. A week ago two teams of Sherpas completed the job of fixing the ropes to the top of the mountain from both the North Side in Tibet and the South Side in Nepal. A couple of daring and experienced climbers followed closely behind and were able to top out just before a system of bad weather moved in. Since then, high winds have kept the summit out of reach and challenged the patience of the other teams waiting to make their ascents. Over the past few days, a number of those teams attempted to reach the top, but most of them were turned back by persistent bad weather. Today the skies cleared, the winds have calmed and temperatures have even warmed a bit making it a perfect day to climb to the top.Most of the climbers launch their final push to the summit from Camp 4, located just below the so-called “Death Zone” at approximately 26,000 feet. It will take them hours to reach the 29,029-foot summit where they’ll stumble onto the ridge with a mix of exhaustion and exhilaration. They’ll have just a few minutes to enjoy the view and savor their accomplishment, because any mountaineer will tell you that the summit is only the halfway mark. They’ll still need to descend back to their starting point at C4, where they’ll get some much needed rest before continuing further down tomorrow.

The biggest challenge the climbers will face on their way to the summit will be the incredibly thin air. Most will use bottled oxygen to help them breathe at high altitude and to stave off the effects of altitude sickness, which can be deadly at such heights. Long lines will also form at a couple of strategic points on the mountain as the exhausted mountaineers struggle to overcome a few technical challenges just below the summit. While standing in those lines the thin air and cold temperatures will have an opportunity to conspire against the climbers as well, making frostbite a real possibility.

For many, Summit Day is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and focus. Today, and over the next few days, dozens of climbers will see their sacrifice pay off at last. Those who do make it to the top will enter an elite group of men and women who have stood at the top of the world.

80-Year-Old Climbers Vie For Record Of Oldest To Summit Everest

Min Bahadur Serchan looks to remain the oldest to summit Everest.Two octogenarians are preparing to go head-to-head to determine who will hold the record for the oldest to summit Mt. Everest; 81-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal and his 80-year-old rival Yuichiro Miura of Japan are both currently in Everest Base Camp on the South Side of the mountain. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the two climbers will set out for the 29,029-foot summit as they both look to fulfill a dream of climbing Everest in their eighth decade. Setting a new mark for the oldest person to accomplish that feat would simply be icing on the cake.

Sherchan is the current record holder, having previously climbed Everest in 2008 at the age of 76. He managed to reach the top of the world’s tallest peak exactly one day before his Japanese counterpart, who was 75 at the time. That was Miura’s second successful summit as he also climbed the mountain in 2003 at the age of 70.

Unsurprisingly, the rivalry between these two climbers is a bit one-sided. Sherchan says that he hasn’t returned to Everest in an effort to keep his record but instead he simply wants to attempt to climb the mountain in his 80s. Miura on the other hand is quoted as saying, “records are meant to be broken.” Clearly he would relish the opportunity to claim this crown for himself. In order to do that, however, he must first reach the summit and then hope that Serchan does not.

The two men will soon get the opportunity to prove that they still have the strength and skill to pull off this difficult climb despite their advancing age. If everything goes as planned, the Sherpa team charged with fixing the ropes up the mountain will complete their work tomorrow. That will clear the way for the commercial climbing squads to begin their ascents once they get a clear weather window that will provide access to the summit. The forecast calls for high winds over the next few days, but things should start to improve early next week. After that, the two men will have their duel on the slopes.

[Photo Credit: Yuichiro Miura]