In the early hours of May 21, British Mountaineer Kenton Cool stood on the summit of 8,516m Lhotse and became the first climber to summit Nuptse, Mt. Everest and Lhotse in one single push. The three peaks make up the Western Cwm, a horseshoe-shaped group of high-altitude peaks with Everest at the center. Lhotse is the fourth-highest mountain in the world, and Nuptse is the 21st-highest.
A few climbers have summited Lhotse and Everest in one push, and some in less than 24 hours, but no one had ever attempted all three peaks before Cool and his Sherpa partner Dorje Gylgen.
Nuptse itself is rarely climbed, but this year, Sherpas placed fixed lines to the summit of Nuptse for a group of guided clients, which may have made the climb easier, if they used the fixed lines. The men’s first attempt at climbing the three peaks was a week prior, but a storm on May 11 forced them to retreat from Everest. A week later, Cool posted a message to Facebook, announcing the climb was on again: “The ultimate 3 Peaks Challenge has begun. Nuptse has been done a few hours ago. Now in the South Col.”
Cool summited Nuptse, without Gylgen, at 6am on May 19, and Everest at 2am May 20, Cool’s 11th time on top — in complete darkness. After their May 21 summit of Lhotse, the men returned to Base Camp at 11am May 21. Cool, an 11-time Everest summiter and one of Britain’s most successful mountaineers, said on Twitter on May 21 that it was one of the hardest weeks he’d ever had as a climber: “Back down in BC totally shattered like never before after a week in high mountains.” Cool quickly returned to England, where he got in touch with our team to provide a couple of the exclusive images you see here.
Meanwhile at 9am May 23, 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura became the oldest man to climb Everest. Miura is famous for being the first person to ski down Everest on May 6, 1970 — and he also summited Everest in 2003 when he was 70 years old, and again in 2008 when he was 75 years old. Miura takes back the title of oldest summiter from Min Bahadur Sherchan, the 82-year-old Nepalese man who left Base Camp May 26 for a summit attempt.
Also on May 23, American Chad Kellogg abandoned his speed climbing attempt at 8,305m, after 14.5 hours of climbing from Base Camp. Kellogg was attempting to break the record for a non-supplemental oxygen ascent of Everest from Base Camp to summit: Marc Batard’s 1990 fastest known time of 22h 29m. Kellogg said without supplemental oxygen, he would not be able to continue in the 65 kph winds without frostbite, although he was on a pace to summit in 21h.