In March of 2013 I joined the IMG Everest Expedition for a summit attempt via the South Col.  As is often the case with Everest, the season was riddled with controversy and tragedy. After two months of climbing and acclimatizing, I decided to take a chance on an early summit window to avoid the large crowds. 

On May 16th, 2013 at 2:37AM I was one thousand vertical feet away from achieving my dream of summiting Mt. Everest.  I could taste it. I had visualized this moment countless times over my two years of training and preparation. At 28,000 ft I was in a zen-like state of focus. So focused in fact that I didn’t realize that the weather conditions around me had quickly shifted from unfavorable to flat-out dangerous.

The cry of an anguished prayer broke my summit fever. It was the voice of Kancha, my Nepali climbing partner.  Looking at him, I realized that we had entered a cloud of rime ice that had frozen our oxygen masks and was beginning to freeze our corneas.  With winds gusting to 85 mph and the temperature hovering around -30F, it felt like we were strapped to the wing of a 747 aircraft.  And just like that I knew our summit attempt was over.  

I safely retreated to Camp 4 with minimal frostbite and a broken heart.