1996 Mount Everest: We were there, and here’s to our friends

Saving our requiem for a day of joy

Into Thin Air – with his book and title, Jon Krakauer immortalized a tragedy that unfolded 20 years ago on this day on Mount Everest.

There were victims but also a hero: Anatoli Boukreev, who fell apart in our camp a few days later, desperate he couldn’t do more. Anatoli eventually wrote his own book, The Climb, but by then the world had moved on. He died on Annapurna the year after, in an avalanche, on Christmas day 1997.

Having personally met most of the people who vanished that terrible Everest night, I know they would have wanted to be remembered by their dreams and aspirations to do more, be more, than what is usually done.

This is why Tom and I will save our requiem of 1996 for a day of joy, a day when we ourselves summited the majestic mountain after years of struggle, May 26, my birthday. Check back in for it in a few weeks but there’s actually a more interesting account to be had right now.

Following 1996 we too published memories from that dark night, and the three seasons after that on Everest south side, in a format of lessons for future climbers on a website that became the seed of Explorersweb: the Mounteverest.net guide.

Many of the reflections, 20 years old now, are surprisingly relevant still today.

Our mates would have wanted the climb to continue. We will celebrate their lives by a story about Space. Himalaya climbers mostly rotating between camps and peaks on normal routes right now, we will use the hiatus for a series in 6 parts, about the state of Space in 2016, seen through the explorer’s eyes. (Although we will follow the main events too, such as new route attempts on Manaslu and Shishapangma and a first Everest south side summit push.)

Also today we open Pythom, the inevitable step after MountEverest.net and Explorersweb, a meeting place for those of us who share the same heart.

You will need to sign up to post things but the content is open. We would also like to thank all those patient friends on here, who helped beta-test the site.

And now,

ad novos fines procedere

– to new frontiers.

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