Everest 2009: 24 Hours on the Summit

For most people who climb Everest, the summit is a fleeting experience. You spend weeks acclimatizing and preparing to go up, then several days on the summit bid itself, with the last day stretching for hours, only to spend a few minutes on top of the world, and then heading back down.

That scenario will not be the case for Pemba Dorje Sherpa, Nima Gyalzen Sherpa and Phurba Tenzing Sherpa, three brothers from Nepal, who intend to summit the mountain this spring, then spend 24 hours on top in prayer. They intend to carry a statue of Buddha with them and promise to remain at the summit regardless of the weather conditions.

Between the three of them they have 16 successful Everest summits, and when the reach the top this time, they’ll set up a small tent, straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet, and go inside to conduct their prayers. The don’t intend to sleep at all, and will instead be concentrating on praying for peace in not only their home country, but the World as a whole.

The current record for staying on the summit is currently at 20 hours, set by Babu Shiri Sherpa. Out of respect, the brothers did not want to go after the record while he was alive, but he passed died on the mountain in 2001, so they felt the time was right now.

Obviously they’ll be facing a number of issues with being at the summit for so long, but the Sherpas are notoriously strong at altitude, which leaves the raw elements for them to deal with. High winds and very cold temperatures will most likely be their most pressing concerns. Hopefully they’ll choose their summit date wisely come spring.

Read more about the attempt in this article from the BBC, and thanks to the Outside Blog for the heads up on this story.

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on “Everest 2009: 24 Hours on the Summit”

  1. This sounds incredibly dangerous. It’s very difficult to stay alive above 26k. Surviving at 28k for 24hrs sounds impossible. But if anyone can do it, it’s a Sherpha.

  2. Yeah, it will be dangerous, but like I said in my post, I’m more concerned with a storm brewing up or something. That would be incredibly dangerous. But, these three have a lot of experience, and I’m sure they’ll be cautious. *fingers crossed*

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