Mountain Zone EVEREST HOME
What It's Really Like to Climb the World's Biggest Mountain

The Adventure Continues
After you've finished exploring our fully archived Everest '97 cybercast, we invite you to join The Mountain Zone as we return to Everest. Click below for our 1998 and 1999 cybercasts.

The Mountain Zone returns to Everest with two world-renowned climbers leading two separate, simultaneous expeditions: Eric Simonson leads the North Ridge Route in Tibet and Pete Athans leads the South Col Route in Nepal.

The Mountain Zone joins Wally Berg on his fourth summit of Mount Everest as he leads a scientific expedition with climbers Eric Simonson, Greg Wilson, and Charles Corfield on the South Col Route.

High Altitude Physiology
Charles Corfield examines what happens to the human body at altitude. Includes a discussion of Acute Mountain Sickness, Cerebral and Pulmonary Edemas, as well as symptoms, treatments, and tips for acclimating from Stephen Bezrucha.

Through the Khumbu Ice Fall
Universally terrifying, it is the most dangerous part of the southern route on Everest. Climbers on the Everest '97 team describe their experiences in the legendary Khumbu Ice Fall.

Cleaning Up Everest
Empty oxygen bottles and over 20 years worth of climbing debris litter the South Col. By paying sherpas for the empty bottles and strictly enforcing current expeditions, climbers are working to keep Everest clean.

Exclusive Interview with Anatoli Boukreev
Just days before he led the Indonesian team to the summit of Everest, world famous Russian climber Anatoli Boukreev talked about climbing, guiding, and the 1996 tragedy with Mountain Zone correspondent Peter Potterfield.

The Gear on Everest
Click here to see the gear used to climb on, trek to, and cybercast from Mount Everest. Explore everything from crampons and fixed ropes to sleeping bags rated at -40°F, as well as the latest in satellite phones and digital cameras.
Summit Science on Everest
Hear an interview with mountain-science legend Bradford Washburn and read Fred Blume's description of the GPS and Radar experiments planned to measure Everest.

Everest '97 Cybercast
Unlike any other expedition, an attempt on the world's highest mountain catches our attention and imagination. Join The Mountain Zone as we go along with Todd Burleson and his 1997 Alpine Ascents International team to climb Mount Everest. We hope to explore what a high-altitude, big-mountain expedition is and use the full extent of our technology to share it with you.

We'd like to bring you the details. The rhododendron forests on the trek-in, Sherpas with the speed and strength of world-class climbers, and what it's really like day-to-day on Everest. What we don't intend to do is ask why. If there is a point where human striving meets the abyss of unchecked risk, high-altitude climbing is it. The summit of the world's highest mountain is at 29,028 feet -- in the jet-stream -- over 5 miles up, where the atmospheric pressure is about a third that at sea level. Each breath takes in a third of the accustomed oxygen, each step is a struggle, and the smallest decision could have serious consequences. What drives people there to risk themselves and the peace of those who care for them touches on the essence of human nature.

One of America's most experienced Everest climbers, Burleson gave up his expedition last year to take a leading role in the search and rescue efforts of the 1996 tragedy. This year, he will head-up an unusually strong team of climbers on the classic South Side/South Col route. The purpose of this climb is not just to reach the summit, but to also take up equipment that, with radar and GPS technology, will map the true rock summit and measure change in the Everest massif itself.

So, join us this spring as one of the greatest adventures of our time begins anew. For on Everest, nothing is certain. The mountain can challenge climbers in unforeseen ways, and skill alone is not always enough.

Tom Hornbein, who made an alpine style traverse of the mountain 30 years ahead of its time, said it all: "people will always be drawn to Everest."

-- Peter Potterfield & Anya Zolotusky, Mountain Zone Staff

Todd Burleson guides the summit ridge on Everest

Mount Everest
Just the Facts

Elevation: 29, 028'; five miles up; the world's highest summit is at about cruising altitude of a jet

Local Names:
Sagarmatha (Nepal)
Chomolungma (Tibet)

First Ascent: 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary, NZ and Tenzing Norgay, Nepal

Because it's there: in 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, GBR, were last seen going strong for the top. It is unknown if they reached the summit before disappearing.

First Oxygenless Ascent: 1978, Reinhold Messner & Peter Habeler, AUS

Wind: climber Dave Breashears has compared the ominous sound of evening winds on the upper mountain to that of a 747 jet taking off endlessly.

Narrow Window: weather on Everest permits reasonable climbing only in May and October between winter snows and summer monsoons.

As good a reason as any: "Expeditions are good spacers -- time and distance for weighing and evaluating life back home as well as beginning to understand somewhere new." -- Pete Boardman, 1975, from "Everest the Hard Way"