Leif Whittaker on the Privilege of Climbing Mountains

Photos and story by Leif Whittaker The view from the barren promontory above Namche Bazaar in Nepal looked out on a windswept hunk of the Himalaya where the sunrise struck, bathing the world’s highest mountain in flattering gold light. Dad and Mom stood next to me, their breath white in the frigid morning. The alpine air was redolent with juniper. We talked about climbing, a favorite subject of the guides, Sherpa, and photographers who clustered around us. I listened intently to Dad’s stories about his ascent of Mount Everest in 1963 and Mom’s stories about the 1978 K2 expedition. Though they spoke of daring, superhuman feats—like descending from 29,035 feet half blind and without bottled oxygen—I heard a conspicuous tone of humility in their voices, as if they acknowledged how lucky…

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Chad Kellogg Everest 2013

Chad Kellogg is returning to Everest this spring, intent on setting the speed record from base camp to the summit and back. As he did in earlier seasons, he’ll be climbing solo and without oxygen. With two previous attempts and over six years of training, Chad is better prepared than ever to achieve his goal. The Summit Register will offer exclusive content about Chad’s attempt, including a video series, informational articles and regular updates from Base Camp. You can even follow Chad’s progress in real time on our Everest map. Join us in wishing Chad speed and safety on the mountain!

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