MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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May 24, 2010

Shawn Dawson summits Everest!

Deana Zabaldo photo

We are pleased to announce that Mountain Madness client Shawn Dawson has reached the summit! Shawn is on a whirlwind tour of the Seven Summits in slightly more than a year. All he has left is Carstensz Pyramind, which is possible this fall with a Mountain Madness team, and Elbrus. Below is a dispatch from his climb, which was completed with Mountain Madness guide Willie Benegas and his team of climbers from Argentina- congrats to both (Willie's 10th ascent!).

"At 9:07 a.m., May 23 (Nepal time), Shawn reached the highest point on earth, the summit of Mount Everest--29,029 feet or 8,848 metres above sea level!

The final leg of the climb up took exactly 12 hours, the hardest 12 hours Shawn has ever experienced. It took another six hours to climb down out of the "Death Zone" to camp 4, which sits at 7,900 metres. During that 18 hours, Shawn was only able to drink less than half a water bottle and ate one chocolate bar. 

He called us from the tent in Camp 4, where he was trying to rehydrate with Ramen noodles and get some sleep before the two very tough days ahead of him descending back to Base Camp. Here's how he described what is universally thought to be the hardest part of the technical climb up the highest mountain in the world, the Hillary Step, a sheer cliff face at 8,760 m (28,740 ft):

"The Hillary step is really tough--imagine putting on a pair of skates and then climbing up a cliff face in them. That's what it feels like going up a straight rock face in crampons."

On the way to Camp 4, a snowstorm blew in, and several rescues needed to be performed, which slowed Shawn's descent out of the Death Zone. But the weather has cleared up and he is looking forward to getting back to the "comforts" of Base Camp in two days.

He sends his love to his family and friends, and thanks everyone for the good wishes, prayers, and encouragement.

Karen on behalf of Shawn..."