“File:Everest – Polish International Mt Everest expedition 99.jpg” by Ryszard Pawłowski is licensed under CC BY 3.0
We all know that Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary were the first mountaineers to conquer Mount Everest (8,848 m), and many of us will have heard that Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the first British pensioner to make the summit in 2009. But there are always new records being set and new challenges being launched from Everest Base Camp. It seems everything about this historic staging area is dramatic: the determination and the accomplishments of the people that pass through Base Camp, and Everest’s spectacular form towering above.
There’s an unusual long distance traveller on the move right now that has a close association with Mount Everest. Curiously, the traveller is not a person but a moon rock. The lunar sample, collected from the Sea of Tranquillity during the historic Apollo 11 landing, will be a passenger on a journey back out of the earth s atmosphere as part of a 2010 NASA launch to the International Space Station.
The long travelling rock will be partnered with one collected from Mount Everest and made part of a display in the ISS, so that both the Moon and the Earth will be represented in the space station that floats between the two celestial bodies. It is a simple gesture that demonstrates our ingenuity and determination to overcome great distances and difficulty in the name of exploration. The moon rock was with the astronaut Scott Parazynski when he climbed from Everest Base Camp to the mountain s summit in May 2009 and will be united in orbit with the Everest rock early in February 2010.
Records set in Stone
The following month, Everest Base Camp will become home for a young man with big ambitions. At the age of just thirteen, Jordan Romero from California aims to become the youngest person to climb the highest peaks in seven continents. Everest will be the last mountain on his list to climb to complete the prestigious Seven Peaks Challenge.
Jordan will be following in the youthful footsteps of the current record holder, Johnny Strange, who began his series of seven mighty climbs at the age of twelve, and completed the Seven Peaks five years later in June 2009, setting a world record in the process. If all goes well for Jordan Romero, he will better Johnny’s record by a full three years, which he says will make him feel “super stoked”.
The Seven Peaks Challenge is no mean feat, and it has taken the teenager all over the world. Jordan has climbed the highest mountains in the Andes and Australia; he has traveled to the hard to reach Vinson Massif (4,892 m) in Antarctica, and has conquered Mt Kilimanjaro (5,892 m), Elbrus (5,642 m) in Russia, and McKinley (6,194 m) in Alaska. Jordan’s seventh expedition in the series will begin with a gradual acclimatization along Everest Base Camp trek, following on from a number of preparatory climbs he has already made to get his body used to the high altitude. Then Everest is waiting.
Jordan has estimated that he will have to make a number of training runs up the mountain from Everest Base Camp before he will be ready for a summit bid, a process which could take as long as two months to complete, weather permitting.
By: Jude Limburn