Mt. Everest still remains the tallest summit in the world, boasting an elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 miles) above sea level. Many have set out to make the dangerous climb, and only a handful have been successful. Making headlines on Monday, March 25 is the first teen with Downs syndrome to reach one of Everest’s base camps. Located in between Nepal and China, extreme weather conditions have resulted in countless deaths. However, there are a noted few who have attempted or reached the highest point in the world. Here are five of the most inspiring stories.
1. Sir Edmund Hillary & Sherpa Tenzing Norgay:
Hillary was a New Zealand native that traveled alongside the Tibetan- born Norgay. They became the first people to reach the top on May 29, 1953. Hillary was an influential philanthropist that provided medical aid and services to the mountain people of in Nepal. Hillary died at 88 years old in 2008. Norgay died in 1986.
2. Gary Johnson:
The former libertarian presidential candidate certainly has a one up on political heavyweights like Obama and Romney in the extreme sports department. Johnson reached the summit on May 30, 2003, after completing his second term as New Mexico’s governor. Johnson has also reached the peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. McKinley.
3. Reinhold Messner & Peter Habeler:
(Messner photographed with Tenzing Norgay)
These daredevils shocked the world when they reached Everest’s peak without supplemental oxygen in 1978. Fully aware of the severe mental and physical risks, the pair achieved what no one else has since been able to duplicate. Messner made the life- threatening trek once again in 1980, also without extra oxygen.
4. Jordan Romero:
The California native made history when becoming the youngest person ever to complete the ascent at just 13 years old. In May 2010, Romero beat the previous youngest climber, a 16 year old. By December 2011, Romero completed his overall goal of climbing the world’s highest summits on each of the seven continents, all while documenting his quests on his blog. It is safe to say that Romero may be the most fearless teenager on Earth.
5. Tamae Watanabe:
The Japanese woman became the oldest to make a successful Everest trip for the second time at age 73 along with her team in 2012. Watanabe completed her first successful trip in 2002. Min Bahadur Sherchan holds the title of being the oldest man to reach the top at age 76 in 2008. I suppose that is one way a person can spend their retirement.