Ridlon sent over this photo from the summit of Cho Oyu at 26,900 ft. As you can see it was a crystal clear, blue bird kind of morning. He said there was very little wind. An ideal day to be at the top! He was the first to make the summit and he thinks that at that time, he was the highest person in the world (airplanes and drugs excluded of course!). There is a woman in Kathmandu who records that kind of information so he is waiting for confirmation on that.
I am very happy that he made the decision to use oxygen on the summit bid. There was another one in the group who did summit without oxygen but he doesn’t remember most of it. Can you imagine a Herculean effort to get to the top and then not remember??? As well, there was a climber in our team on another 8000m peak (we split into two groups on two mountains) who abandoned his ice axe and crampons sometime around midnight on the summit attempt and it took 3 men and lots of rope to get him to safety. Up there in those elevations, you are TRULY on the edge….
Ridlon said the experience was so emotional that on the way down he stopped, sat in the snow and cried. When I spoke with him after the fact from Kathmandu, he talked for about an hour on the experience….magical! He is traveling again on his way to Malaysia to meet me for a dive expedition. I hope during his layover in Seoul, he will have an opportunity to post and tell you himself about this accomplishment.
By the way, that’s Mt. Everest in the backround. Remember, there are only 5 peaks in the world higher than he is!!
Enjoy your day everyone and happy adventuring!