Climbing Mount Everest, nonetheless successfully summiting the peak, is one of the most dangerous things a human can do. It takes intense training, a lot of faith in yourself, perseverance, and a whole lot of luck. Every year multiple people die in the attempt or come very close to not leaving the mountain due to altitude sickness, hypothermia, or injury. Already this season three people have perished and even more remain missing somewhere on the trail. Even with all that danger in mind, two climbers decided this year that they would try and Snapchat their way up the entire mountain. Yes, that is correct. Using phones that can barely make it through a standard Minnesota winter, the duo of Cory Richards and Adrian Ballinger tried to document their ascent via millennial’s favorite form of communication.
Despite already having to care many pounds of safety and climbing equipment during the trip, Ballinger and Richards added more than 15 additional pounds of technology gear (including multiple satellites to access wi-fi and a ton of charging accessories) to accomplish the task. That’s basically carrying a newborn baby or two up a 35,000 foot mountain just so you share your frostbite with the digital world. To each their own of course, but that sounds downright miserable. All that extra weight looks like it was worth it though, as the footage the pair gathered is stunning.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t difficulties though. Summiting Everest straight up doesn’t happen without a fair share of difficulties. Once the guys got close to 30,000 feet their phones stopped working all together. Shocking, I know. Ballinger ended up not being able to summit and had to descend back to the final camp to recover from his altitude sickness.
“The day became much more real or desperate than I think we hoped for,” Ballinger said.
“On a perfect day, we both would have been up there in leather gloves and would have had the time and flexibility to play with our technology and try to get it back from the cold, from the depths. And instead, I was down and fighting pretty hard health-wise.”
The struggle definitely paid off, as even though only Richards made it to the top (without supplemental oxygen!) both men got the chance to share a unique and unparalleled experience with people all around the world. And they did it with the phones in their pockets and some ingenuity rather than an entire crew of documentarians. The capabilities of technology are a magical sometimes, and this is no exception.