In honor of the 50th anniversary of Hillary and Tenzing's historic first Everest summit, we're opening the vaults to bring you the best stories ever written about the planet's tallest mountain. From Jon Krakauer's groundbreaking article, "Into Thin Air," to Brad Wetzler's account of sex, death and bad behavior at Base Camp, a collection of Outside's
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Into Thin Air (September 1996)
Though many aspire to reach the summit of Mount Everest, few can imagine the enormity of the challenge. And therein lies the problem. A no-holds-barred account from a man who survived the deadliest day ever on the roof of the world.
By Jon Krakauer
Everest A Year Later: False Summit (May 1997)
In 1996, Jon Krakauer did what 12 others on the mountain could not: He escaped with his life. A year later, as this conversation with Krakauer revealed, the aftereffects of that episode were still being felt—both by those who were on Everest, and by the families who waited and watched from afar.
By Mark Bryant
The Good Company of the Dead (August 1999)
George Mallory’s disappearance high on Everest begat mountaineering’s greatest mystery: Did he reach the summit 29 years before Hillary? The recent discovery of his body offers up another tantalizing mystery: Who was the man behind the legend?
By Mark Jenkins
The Man Who Knocked the Bastard Off (October 1999)
On a sunny day in 1953, a tall young New Zealander named Edmund Hillary became the first human to stand atop the world’s highest mountain—and, thereafter, a paragon of grace and bonhomie for explorers who would follow.
Q&A with Sir Edmund Hillary
Ghosts of Everest (October 1999)
It took 75 years for Everest to loose its frozen grip on George Mallory, and an instant for the news to rocket around the globe. In the months since the 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition returned to sea level, the team leaders haven’t told the full story of their mission on the brutal North Face, nor have they revealed the provocative key evidence they found enshrouded there. Until now.
By Jochen Hemmleb, Larry Johnson, and Eric Simonson
Base Camp Confidential (April 2001)
An utterly unofficial oral history of Everest Base Camp, from Sir Edmund Hillary and Jim Whittaker to ShoSho the man-eating dog.
By Brad Wetzler
He Ain’t Your Sherpa (April 2001)
He’s short, fat, semiliterate—and truly phenomenal. He’s fast becoming the best Himalayan alpinist of this or any generation. He holds the mark for the quickest ascent and the longest visit to the highest point on earth. And this season, he could break the record for the most summits of Everest ever. With daring and flair, he defies the myth of Sherpas as silent types—the all-but-invisible iron men who’ve been saving Western mountaineers in the Death Zone for decades. His name is Babu Chiri Sherpa.
By Eric Hagerman