To get over that step, did you guys free climb it without any protection?
The rock wasn't very good and I remember getting one angle [piton] down into the rock that I couldn't pull out with my fingers. But there wasn't much protection. We were climbing, you know.
Why do you think there's so much interest in this route this year ahead of the 50th anniversary of your climb?
Any climber is always looking for a way to support an expedition, and our 50th coming up next year is a great opportunity to do that. I also think it's a good way to honor the memory of that climb.
Any messages to send along to the climbers trying the west ridge this year?
I wish them all well. Most of them in these two expeditions are friends and wonderful people and strong climbers. I just hope they don't trip over each other up there.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first American ascent of Everest and its then-unclimbed West Ridge, Eddie Bauer has sent a team of seven mountaineers to repeat the historic climbs. Outside Magazine senior editor Grayson Schaffer is currently embedded with the team at Base Camp, sending back daily dispatches, including stories, photos, and videos. A team sponsored by The North Face and National Geographic is also planning on ascending the notoriously treacherous West Ridge, a route nearly as many climbers have died on as have summitted. Schaffer will be covering both attempts, as well as everything else that happens at Base Camp, until early June.