Issue 34

Flashbacks in the Death Zone: Bay area climber recalls his nor cal roots on Everest ascent

Flashbacks in the Death Zone: Bay area climber recalls his nor cal roots on Everest ascent

By Robert Chang Editor’s Note: The following is from a longer work in progress by climber and guide Robert Chang on his life-long adventures and efforts to promote cancer awareness through climbing high peaks throughout the world. 8:10 a.m. May 31, 2005 Summit Ridge, Mount Everest, Nepal Himalaya My labored breathing gives way to astonishment; my heart rate monitor is pegged at over 200. I peer to my right, looking over the precipice of an 8,000-plus foot drop from the knife-edge cornice I am climbing on. Ahead of me lies the last 80 feet to the summit of Mount Everest – the highest point on earth. The fixed ropes end, so this final 80 feet will be free-solo; no ropes, not connected to anything or anyone, except the 12 sharp points of my crampons on each of my feet and the pick end of my ice axe clanking onto the...
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