Image via Instagram/adrianballinger
It takes strong will to even attempt to climb Mount Everest, as the tallest mountain in the world demands both physical and mental toughness to conquer. And while most of us could never even imagine inflicting that type of stress on ourselves—it really is a matter of life or death—two hikers, Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards, seemed to have some fun in their recent journey up Everest.
As both Ballinger (who's a world-class mountaineer and ski alpinist) and Richards (an alpinist and photographer for National Geographic) set off on their journey together with a 14-pound satellite system that was supposed to provide cell service as they made their trek up the 29,029-foot mountain, they documented most of their trip on social media, sharing some incredible footage.
At nearly 25,000 ft, walking is a humbling task. The somewhat hysterical part is that @adrianballinger and I still have 4,000 ft of climbing without the use of supplementary oxygen to go. It will take another two weeks at least before our bodies are ready. Today was the kind of climbing day you dream about. Calm skies, no wind, perfect temps...I climbed in a T-shirt all the way to a little tent dug into the ice. Meanwhile, friends stood on top having climbed from the South side. The wind has since picked up and it's snowing a bit....but for the most part, all seems in place as Adrian settle in for a little high altitude pain. #liveyouradventure @eddiebauer #everestnofilter
Rest days are the best, but these days are better. @coryrichards climbing in stellar conditions above 23,000 feet. One day down at Base Camp, and the fire is already burning to get back up. Before we go though - Facebook Live with @natgeo today at 9:15est. Join in and ask us some questions. We'll stay on as long as the satellite internet allows! #everestnofilter #everest2016
Unfortunately, the satellite crapped out on them due to technical difficulties—which didn't allow them to get the summit of Everest—but, nonetheless, they were able to put together this fun video.
After failing in his attempt to reach the top in 2012, Cory Richards was able to accomplish the feat this time around, while Adrian Ballinger—who had completed the hike six times before with oxygen—opted to turn back with about 1,000 feet to go, as he was trying to make the trek without oxygen. Talking to CBS News afterwards, Ballinger said, "I wondered, could I take my body and my emotional strength to this extreme."
Today was a hard day. We moved to 25,250 feet, a climb we've already done this season. What made it different? Most likely a night without sleep. Cory and I stayed up all night at 23,000 feet supporting @alpenglowexpeditions summit bid. The good news: Alpenglow's entire team summited this morning - 100% success with 7 climbers on top, and all the way back down to ABC this afternoon. The other good news: @coryrichards and I recovered throughout the day, even as we climbed. Regular @Soylent breaks above the clouds helped as well. #fueledbysoylent #everestnofilter #everest2016
Literally thousands of comments and well-wishers have reminded me about the proud and hard decision I made to turn around just a couple of hundred meters from #Everest's summit without oxygen. And I appreciate and internalize them all. They made a dark morning easier. But I failed at my goal. And it hurts and that's ok. I don't need a participation award. I tried my damnedest and I came up short. In my next project I will work harder, train harder, and maybe the cards will play out in my favor. @coryrichards didn't fail. He set his goal, worked incredibly hard on his mind and body, came to the Himalaya ready, formed an incredible, mutually giving and receiving, partnership with me, and damn if on summit day he didn't make it look easy to stand on top of Everest without supplemental oxygen. 8 hours up (unheard of) and then all the way down (2400 meters/8000 vertical feet) the same day. His climb was impeccable, just like his spirit and stoke throughout. I am so inspired, Cory. Congratulations. #everestnofilter #everest2016
It's easy to convince ourselves that environments have moods...and certainly there are belief systems that would hold to that. I tend to think that we bring our emotions to the mountains...and the mountains themselves are the planet's greatest mirror. Today, we climbed through snow and cloud. The heat caused by the convection cycle triggered repeated small avalanches that would rumble over seracs obscured by a thick fog on either side. This day, and the mood that I was brining to it was reminiscent of a not so good day I had in the mountains several years ago when one of the distant rumbles became not so distant and engulfed my partners and I. My neuro-chemistry has never recovered. Today I was looking in the mirror at a fear that I've never overcome. And today, because I was angry, the mountains were angry. As I climbed the slope beneath the seracs (which are almost as safe as they come), I felt my heart rate increase and my breathing become labored. I was scared, and that made me mad. But the truth is the mountains are indiscriminate. They don't care. They shine when it is sunny and they fall when it is snowy. It's what we bring to them that defines our experience...and maybe even more important, its how we are changed by them and what we bring home and share that matters most. @adrianballinger @eddiebauer #liveyouradventure for an inside view into the full expedition of Everest without Os from Tibet follow EverestNoFilter on Snapchat
Climbing over 20,000 feet, the two were able to keep things real on social media, providing viewers to see what it really feels like under some of the most extreme conditions on the planet, where one mistake could cost one his or her life.