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Everest Reflections

This thoughtful blog was written by guide Zeb Blais two days after their successful summit of Mt Everest. Enjoy the report. 

The last few days have been full of triumphs and tragedies on ‪#‎MountEverest‬. Lots of summits by climbers, guides and ‪#‎Sherpa‬ with and without oxygen. Lots of deaths and injuries.

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Trudi and Bryan heading down from high camp after the summit. Photo: Zeb Blais

The triumphs have come through hard work, perseverance, patience and good decision making. I’m proud to say our @alpenglowexpeditions team made it, 100%, without frostbite, major altitude sickness or injury.

Solid preparation helped us overcome unexpected obstacles. The biggest of which was the failure of two, brand new, top of the line oxygen regulators above 28,000′ in total darkness on our summit push.

One of the failed regs was mine. When it happened I felt like a deep sea diver with a severed air line. I knew the seconds mattered. I was not acclimatized to breath 28,500′ air for long. I scrambled to get my pack off and dig out our team’s second spare mask and regulator. @chadpeele helped me get the mask on and set the flow.

The experience really set the tone of the climb for me- we had swam into the deep waters of the ocean and swimming back was entirely up to us. We had prepared well, bringing two extra regulators on a climb where cutting ounces matters, and it paid off.

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Summit celebration in the early morning light. Photo: Zeb Blais

I can’t speculate on the tragedies of this ‪#‎Everest‬ season to the same extent. Even the best prepared teams can have accidents that can be severe. What’s unfortunate is the large number of people who come unprepared and push themselves well beyond their limits to summit the world’s highest peak. It puts them and those who seek to help them in serious peril.

I understand that pushing limits is what this is all about. But in this high stakes card game, you must know your hand. @coryrichards and @adrianballinger played their hands today like the professional climbers they are. I’m impressed with both of their hard decisions today.

Congrats to Cory on an incredible summit without oxygen. Cheer’s to Adrian for making what is I’m sure one of the toughest decisions he’s made in the mountains.