I never imagined I would appear in a Mount Everest photo—but here I am wrapped in a down suit and oxygen mask, 400 feet below the summit.
This may sound like an unlikely admission for a professional climber who’s spent the past two decades pursuing summits all over the world. Many consider a selfie from the highest point on the planet to be the ultimate trophy. To get it, more than a few people have risked everything—including life savings and relationships—and, tragically, many have died on the descent, with their precious images still locked in their cameras.
But over the years, the idea of an expedition to Everest repelled me. The mountain came to represent the opposite of everything that I loved and respected about climbing.