Earlier this week, British mountaineer Kenton Cool, along with his Sherpa guide Dorje Gylgen, completed an impressive Himalayan hat trick. The two men, who were climbing on the South Side of Mt. Everest in Nepal, managed to ink their names into the history books when they bagged three big peaks on one continuous climb – a feat of endurance that has never been accomplished before. The 39-year old Cool is no stranger to Everest having climbed the world’s tallest mountain on ten previous occasions. Over the past decade or so, the Brit has become a fixture in Base Camp where few were surprised to find him once again this spring. But many were caught off guard when he announced the ambitious plans for his expedition, which included climbing Nuptse (7861 m/25, 790 ft), Everest (8848 m/29,029 ft) and Lhotse (8516 m/27,939 ft) in a single push. Bagging any one of those mountains in a single season is quite an accomplishment and a few very strong climbers have even managed to successfully summit two of them. No one had ever bagged all three before.
In order to pull of this feat of endurance, Cool knew that he would need a little luck on his side. The weather forecasts indicated that conditions could be a bit dicey up near the tops of the mountains, with high winds making climbing problematic. If those winds didn’t subside as the forecast indicated, Cool and Gylgen might not be able to climb to all three summits. Fortunately the weather did improve and last weekend, Cool launched his assault on the three Himalayan peaks.
Prior to launching their climb, the two men got themselves into position in Camp 2 on Everest. When it became clear that the weather was improving, they set out on their record breaking endeavor, reaching the top of Nuptse early Saturday morning. From there it was on to Everest, topping out on that peak early Sunday morning. That left just Lhotse undone, but on Monday morning that mountain was climbed too.
By Tuesday Cool and Gylgen were back in Camp 2 and getting some much deserved rest. They descended back to Base Camp on Wednesday, which meant their expedition took seven days to fully complete. That’s outstanding considering how much strength and focus must go into a single climb of this nature.
While successively knocking off three Himalayan peaks in three days is indeed impressive, it should also be noted that Cool managed to earn his 11th summit of Everest along the way as well. That puts him into some incredibly rarified air in the mountaineering community and easily makes him the most accomplished Brit in the history of Everest.
[Photo Credit: Kenton Cool]