5/18-5/22: On Top of the World

C:DCIM100GOPROGOPR0346.GPR
Osha Liang On Top of the World

Summiting Mount Everest was an overwhelming experience.  Primarily, of course, it feels like an accomplishment.  After all, it’s the culmination of an exhausting two-month expedition.  It means that I was able to overcome many situations where there were thousands of reasons to turn around, but only a few for continuing.  Experiencing a sunrise at the highest point on earth is unforgettable, the view of everything around looking tiny is incredible.  But, the cold temperatures, the wind and the lack of oxygen are painful reminders that humans are not made for this environment and that the amount of time that can be spent on top of the world is limited.  Adding to this contradiction are the numerous visible and disturbing examples of how a human life can abruptly come to an end during a summit attempt.  So, I’ve found it to be difficult to put my summit experience into words without first digesting what I’ve experienced over the last few days.  Nevertheless, the following pictures should provide an initial impression of my Everest summit rotation.

C:DCIM100GOPROGOPR0311.GPR
5/18 – From Base Camp to Camp 2: backup in the ice fall due to a long four-ladder section.  These ladders were tied together with ropes, making the entire construction highly elastic and unstable
C:DCIM100GOPROGOPR0317.GPR
5/19 – Rest day at camp 2: no, not a dead body on top of my tent; just my down suit providing some shade during the day
C:DCIM100GOPROGOPR0326.GPR
5/20 – My best friend at camp 3: the oxygen bottle.  Starting from camp 3, I constantly used oxygen
C:DCIM100GOPROGOPR0332.GPR
5/21 – Moving from camp 3 to camp 4: the summit pyramid of Everest is now awfully close
C:DCIM100GOPROGOPR0337.GPR
5/21 – Lights moving up the slopes of Everest at 8pm: we wanted to be the first team, but there actually was another team that left camp 4 at 7:30pm
C:DCIM100GOPROGOPR0342.GPR
5/22, 5am: me on the summit of Mount Everest