Adrian Ballinger, left, and Cory Richards, right, will attempt to climb Everest via the mountain's north side this season
Adrian Ballinger, left, and Cory Richards, right, will attempt to climb Everest via the mountain's north side this season (Photo: Gabe Rogel/Renan Ozturk)

Why Cory Richards and Adrian Ballinger Are Snapchatting Everest

Two experienced mountaineers want to show the world what it really takes to climb the world’s highest mountain—and capture the whole thing on Snapchat

Uncurated storytelling of what climbing Everest is really like.

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A lot of the stories and images of Everest you’ve seen have been carefully curated by the storytellers to show the rad and beautiful parts of the mountain. This year, photographer Cory Richards and I aim to change that.

This month, the two of us are going to Snapchat various parts of our journey to and up the north side of Everest. (My guide company, Alpenglow, moved to the north side of the mountain after the 2014 incident in the Khumbu Icefall that killed 16 Sherpas.) Along the way, we’ll post short videos and photos in real-time to depict an unfiltered look at an unfiltered climb during a crucial season on a changing Everest. We chose Snapchat because “snaps”—unlike posts to Instagram or Facebook—must be posted immediately from a phone’s camera. If we’re successful, you’ll have a complete chronicle of our journey.

We’ll show various points of view by handing the camera to Sherpas, guides, climbers, an expedition doctor, and a philanthropist during our climb. Our goal is to share our perspective and encourage dialog on both the positive and negative sides of climbing Everest. Ultimately what we want is a positive future for Everest, and for those who work and recreate on the mountain. Getting there will require thought, discussion, and effort from everyone involved. We hope our story can help to illuminate some of the issues, and possible solutions.

While over 7,000 ascents of the mountain have been made with bottled oxygen, only 193 have been accomplished without, and Cory and I are going to try going without, too. While I’ve summitted six times, I've always done while guiding—and always with supplemental oxygen. Cory has climbed Gasherbrum II and Lhotse without oxygen, but has yet to reach the top of Everest. 

To see our journey unfold, follow @EverestNoFilter, and mine and Cory’s personal Snapchat accounts: @adrianjb and @crichardsphoto.

Lead Photo: Gabe Rogel/Renan Ozturk