Because it's There
Spirit of the Explorer II
Mountaineer George Mallory was asked:
"Why do you climb Mount Everest?"
He replied simply: "BECAUSE IT'S THERE"
On 29 May 1953, two men fired with extraordinary determination were the first to reach Mount Everest’s 8,848-metre summit. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, members of a British expedition led by Sir John Hunt, achieved the goal that dozens of other earlier expeditions had tried to reach: to stand on the top of the world.
Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.
14 x 8000
Ed Viesturs is the USA’s leading high altitude mountaineer, and has climbed many of the world’s most challenging summits, including ascending Mount Everest seven times. In 2005, he completed an 18-year project christened Endeavor 8000 to reach the summits of the 14 highest mountains in the world – all those whose summits exceed 8,000 metres or 26,240 feet.
And Viesturs climbed all 14 without using supplemental oxygen. For Ed Viesturs, the key to keeping going is to break up the climb into tiny stages.
Swiss-Canadian climber and sailor Jean Troillet obtained his qualifications as a mountain guide in 1969. He has climbed 10 8,000‑metre peaks, all in alpine style and without oxygen. He embodies that common characteristic of all explorers: perseverance. Troillet can no longer keep track of the expeditions in which he had to turn back in the face of danger and abandon a challenge. “At least 10 times,” he says, “maybe a dozen.” But he has always gone back: the mountain will still be there.
The Three Poles
Before the age of 32, Norwegian adventurer Erling Kagge had sailed across the Atlantic alone twice, sailed to Antarctica and back, become one of the first two men to travel to the North Pole (with Børge Ousland) without outside assistance, reached the South Pole alone and unsupported (also a first), and climbed Mount Everest.
He became the first person in history to reach the “Three Extremes” – the two poles and the highest mountaintop.
THE LONGEST MARCH
Norwegian adventurer Rune Gjeldnes became in 2006 the first and only person in the world to succeed in crossing the three big ice sheets – Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica – unsupported. In November 2005, Gjeldnes started on “The Longest March”, a three-month, 4,800 km solo ski trek across the South Pole which he completed in February 2006. He now holds the records of the longest ski journey without resupply and the longest ski journey generally.