The spring climbing season in the Himalaya has come to an end and the climbers are now making their way back home just ahead of the arrival of the summer monsoons. It has been a very busy season once again this year, with an estimated 500+ summits on Mt. Everest alone. Amongst them were some climbers who achieved some highly notable goals, including setting a record for the oldest climber to ever reach the 29,029-foot summit.Last week, Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, who we first told you about a few months back, was successful in his attempt to climb Everest. For Yuichiro, it was the third time that he reached the summit, which is an impressive feat for any mountaineer. But what separates him from his peers is that all three of those summits came after the age of 70. In fact, Miura is now 80 and his latest successful expedition has allowed him to set a new record for the oldest person to ever climb the mountain. In the process, he has also helped us redefine what we think is possible for octogenarians.
Yuichiro wasn’t the only climber to accomplish something impressive on Everest this spring. Spanish climber David Liaño inked his name in the record books by becoming the first person to summit from both the North and South Sides of the mountain in the same year. His first summit came on May 11 when he topped out just one day after the Sherpas finished installing the ropes from the Nepali side. After descending and leaving Base Camp, he then made his way to the North Side in Tibet, nabbing his second summit on May 19. A double-summit is a rare accomplishment for sure, but to do it along both of the classic Everest routes is indeed something special.
South Korean alpinist Kim Chang-Ho reached the summit last week as well, becoming the first person from his country to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen. That alone is noteworthy of course, but in this case Kim also set a new record for climbing all of those mountains. It took him 7 years, 10 months and six days, which bests the previous record, held by Polish climbing legend Jerzy Kukuczka, by one month and eight days.
Finally, two well known climbers added to their already impressive legacies. Dave Hahn, who is the lead guide for Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. successfully summited once again this spring, bringing his career total to 15. That is the most by any non-Sherpa climber ever. Similarly, Melissa Arnot also completed her expedition last week, earning her 5th career summit. She had hoped to climb the mountain twice this spring, but poor weather kept that goal out of reach. Still, she now holds the record for the most summits by a non-Sherpani (female Sherpa). Considering she is just 26-years old, chances are we’ll see her on Everest again in the near future.
To say it was another successful year on Everest would be an understatement. It seems the Big Hill still holds an undeniable allure with the mountaineering community and the general public alike.
[Photo Credit: Luca Galuzzi]