Fifty years ago, Americans summited Mount Everest for the first time. To celebrate this anniversary, climbers Conrad Anker and Emily Harrington, writer Mark Jenkins, and naturalist Alton Byers meet to discuss the history and future of the world's highest peak.
Conrad Anker is captain of the North Face Athlete Team. On Everest in 1999, he was first to locate and identify the remains of George Mallory, a pioneering climber lost in 1924. Anker serves on the board of the Conservation Alliance and the Leadership Institute of Montana State University. He is vice president of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.
Alton Byers is a mountain geographer and climber specializing in applied research, alpine conservation and restoration programs, climate change impacts, highland-lowland interactive conservation, and mountain photography. He received his doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1987. He joined The Mountain Institute in 1990 and has since lived and worked in Nepal, Peru and West Virginia directing various programs for the organization. He is the recipient of the Association of American Geographer's Distinguished Career Award from the Mountain Geographer Specialty Group, David Brower Conservation Award from the American Alpine Club, and Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal from the Nepali NGO Mountain Legacy.
Emily Harrington never thought she would climb Everest. Even as a volunteer instructor at the Khumbu Climbing Center in the shadow of Everest-which teaches Nepali climbers technical skills in rock and ice climbing, as well as safety and leadership-the thought did not occur to her. The 26-year-old is a woman on the rise the sport climbing world. She is driven to climb the hardest lines she can. And Everest's Southeast Ridge is basically "a walk-up" ... some 29,000+ feet to the rooftop to the world. But the alpine conditions will be a whole new challenge. Follow her on Instagram (emilyharrington). Below, Harrington tells us about why she's attempting Everest, how she's expanding her horizons, and where she loves to climb.
Mark Jenkins is a seasoned climber and contributing writer for National Geographic;
his story "Last of the Cave People," ran in February 2012. His books include A Man's Life: Dispatches From Dangerous Places; The Hard Way: Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure; To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger; and Off the Map: Bicycling Across Siberia.