The Three Pinnacles are a formation of steep rocks along the northeast ridge on Mount Everest. They were one of the longest unsolved challenges in high-level mountaineering, but have now been successfully climbed.
Mount Everest, known in Nepali as Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) and in Tibetan as Chomolungma (ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ), is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The international border between Nepal and China runs across its summit point.
Mountaineering is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, hiking, skiing, and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are usually considered mountaineering as well.
The rocks are located at around 7,800, 8,100 and 8,200 metres above sea level (height of base of pinnacle) and are therefore already in the death zone, in which people cannot usually recover, even at rest.
The normal routes on Everest avoid this area; the normal northern route leaves it to the left.
A normal route or normal way is the most frequently used route for ascending and descending a mountain peak. It is usually the simplest route.
During the various attempts to conquer the pinnacles and open a new route along the entire northeast ridge, there were frequently serious problems and fatalities. In 1982 Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker died in the first serious attempt to climb in groups at grade 5 within the death zone. In 1992 a joint Japanese-Kazakh expedition crossed the Pinnacles but were unable to continue to the summit. They found a body beyond the second pinnacle at approximately 8,200m on the Rongbuk side of the ridge. Photographs taken by Vladimir Suviga and sent to Chris Bonington confirmed that the body was that of Peter Boardman. Joe Tasker's body has never been found.
Peter Boardman was a British mountaineer and author. He is best known for a series of bold and lightweight expeditions to the Himalayas, often in partnership with Joe Tasker, and for his contribution to mountain literature. Boardman and Tasker died on the North East Ridge of Mount Everest in 1982. The Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature was established in their memory.
Joe Tasker was a British climber, active during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Rongbuk Glacier is located in the Himalaya of southern Tibet. Two large tributary glaciers, the East Rongbuk Glacier and the West Rongbuk Glacier, flow into the main Rongbuk Glacier. It flows north and forms the Rongbuk Valley north of Mount Everest. The famous Rongbuk Monastery is located at the northern end of the Rongbuk valley. Mount Everest is the source of the Rongbuk Glacier and East Rongbuk Glacier.
In 1988, Russell Brice and Harry Taylor successfully climbed the Three Pinnacles, but they were so exhausted after climbing the third pinnacle that they abandoned their original plan to continue along the normal route to the summit. Instead, they crossed the normal route along the north ridge and descended to the North Col.
Russell Reginald Brice is a New Zealand mountaineer. He is also the owner/manager of Himalayan Experience Ltd., a climbing expedition company. He has summited Cho Oyu seven times, Himal Chuli and Mount Everest twice, as well as Manaslu in October 2010, which was his 14th summit of an 8000 m peak.
Harry Taylor is a former British SAS member, mountaineer and security advisor. He founded ‘High Adventure’ with Loel Guinness, an extreme sports company specifically designed to set records in climbing, paragliding, and skydiving. His team set a world distance flight record for a paraglider at 150.6km in Namibia. In 1991, with close friend Charles "Nish" Bruce he made a tandem skydive with oxygen from 27,000 feet over Badajoz in Spain. Taylor did a tandem paraglider flight from Cho Oyu 8,201m Tibet and was also the 1st British paraglider pilot to fly from Denali, Alaska.
The North Col refers to the sharp-edged pass carved by glaciers in the ridge connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet. It forms the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier.
Not until 1995 did a team from a Japanese university, supported by a group of about 35 Sherpa porters, climb the entire northeast ridge route, including the Three Pinnacles in both directions. In order to facilitate the expedition, the Sherpas had covered virtually the entire route with fixed ropes. Only after the ropes were in place did a group of Japanese go to the top.
In mountaineering, a fixed rope or fixed line is the practice of fixing in place bolted ropes to assist climbers and walkers in exposed mountain locations. They are used widely on American and European climbing routes, where they may be called via ferrata routes, but are not used in "Alpine style" mountaineering. Many guided expeditions to any of the eight-thousanders normally set up fixed rope on steep or icy sections of the route. For example, on the Hillary Step of Mount Everest, fixed rope was used to reduce the bottleneck of climbers that typically results from climbing this technical section just below the summit.
Even today this part of the vast mountain is almost always avoided, too great are its difficulties that range from the Pinnacles themselves to the weather, the extreme cold, the winds and the altitude as well as the arduous terrain.
Almost all the mountaineering challenges on Mount Everest have now been overcome, but there remain two routes with extraordinary difficulties: a direttissima climb up the avalanche-prone East Face – the only yet unclimbed direct route on Everest, and ascent of the north pillar on the East Face over the (according to George Mallory) so-called "Fantasy Ridge". This ridge ends at the centre of the northeast ridge – below the Three Pinnacles. A climber wishing to climb up the Fantasy Ridge on his way to the summit would have to negotiate the east ridge and then climb the Three Pinnacles on the northeast ridge.
K2, also known as Mount Godwin-Austen or Chhogori, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level, is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). It is located on the China–Pakistan border between Baltistan in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China. K2 is the highest point of the Karakoram range and the highest point in both Pakistan and Xinjiang.
Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer, adventurer, explorer, and author from the trilingual Italian province of South Tyrol.
Gaurishankar is a mountain in the Himalayas, the second highest peak of the Rolwaling Himal, behind Melungtse (7,181m). The name comes from the Hindu goddess Gauri, a manifestation of Durga, and her Consort Shankar, denoting the sacred regard to which it is afforded it by the peoples of Tibet and Nepal. The Buddhist Sherpas call the mountain Jomo Tseringma. The Nepal Standard Time (GMT+05:45) is based on the meridian of this mountain peak.
Imja Tse, better known as Island Peak, is a mountain in Sagarmatha National Park of the Himalayas of eastern Nepal. The peak was named Island Peak in 1953 by members of the British Mount Everest expedition because it appears as an island in a sea of ice when viewed from Dingboche. The peak was later renamed in 1983 to Imja Tse but Island Peak remains the popular choice. The peak is actually an extension of the ridge coming down off the south end of Lhotse Shar.
Tim Macartney-Snape is a mountaineer and author. On 3 October 1984 Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer were the first Australians to reach the summit of Mount Everest. They reached the summit, climbing without supplementary oxygen, via a new route on the North Face. In 1990, Macartney-Snape became the first person to walk and climb from sea level to the top of Mount Everest. Macartney-Snape is also the co-founder of the Sea to Summit range of outdoor and adventure gear and accessories, a guide for adventure travel company World Expeditions and a founding director and patron of the World Transformation Movement.
The Hillary Step is, or possibly was, a nearly vertical rock face with a height of around 12 metres (39 ft) located very high on Mount Everest at approximately 8,790 metres (28,839 ft) above sea level, near the summit. It is located on the southeast ridge, halfway between the "South Summit" and the true summit, and is the last real challenge before reaching the top of the mountain via the southeast route. The Step is named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first known person, along with Tenzing Norgay, to scale it on the way to the summit.
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. It is situated in the Himalayan range.
Green Boots is the name given to the unidentified corpse of a climber that became a landmark on the main Northeast ridge route of Mount Everest. Though his identity has not been officially confirmed, he is believed to be Tsewang Paljor, an Indian climber who died on Mount Everest in 1996. The term Green Boots originated from the green Koflach mountaineering boots that are on the feet of the corpse. All expeditions from the north side encountered the body curled in the limestone alcove cave at 8,500 m (27,900 ft). In 2006, a different climber, David Sharp, died during a solo climb in what is known as "Green Boots' Cave".
The 1996 Mount Everest disaster occurred on 10–11 May 1996, when eight people caught in a blizzard died on Mount Everest during attempts to descend from the summit. Over the entire season, 12 people died trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest season on Mount Everest before the 16 fatalities of the 2014 Mount Everest avalanche and the 22 deaths resulting from avalanches caused by the April 2015 Nepal earthquake. The 1996 disaster gained wide publicity and raised questions about the commercialization of Everest.
Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineering guide, climber and porter, best known for his work as the climbing Sirdar for Scott Fischer's Mountain Madness expedition to Everest in Spring 1996, when a freak storm led to the deaths of eight climbers from several expeditions, considered one of the worst disasters in the history of Everest mountaineering. Notwithstanding controversy over his actions during that expedition, Lopsang was well-regarded in the mountaineering community, having summited Everest four times. Lopsang was killed in an avalanche in September 1996, while again on an expedition to climb Everest for what would have been a fifth ascent.
Ueli Steck was a Swiss rock climber and mountaineer.
The Three Steps are three prominent rocky steps on the northeast ridge of Mount Everest. They are located at altitudes of 8,564 metres (28,097 ft), 8,610 metres (28,250 ft), and 8,710 metres (28,580 ft). The Second Step is especially significant both historically and in mountaineering terms. Any climber who wants to climb on the normal route from the north of the summit must negotiate these three stages.
The Hornbein Couloir is a notable narrow and steep couloir high to the west on the north face of Mount Everest in Tibet, that extends from about 8,000 to 8,500 m elevation, 350 metres below the summit.
The 1975 British Mount Everest Southwest Face expedition was the first to successfully climb Mount Everest by ascending one of its faces. In the post-monsoon season Chris Bonington led the expedition which used rock climbing techniques to put fixed ropes up the face from the Western Cwm to just below the South Summit. A key aspect of the success of the climb was the scaling of the cliffs of the Rock Band at about 8,200 metres (27,000 ft) by Nick Estcourt and Tut Braithwaite. Two teams then climbed to the South Summit and followed the Southeast Ridge to the main summit – Dougal Haston with Doug Scott on 24 September 1975, who at the South Summit made the highest ever bivouac for that time, and Peter Boardman with Pertemba two days later. It is thought that Mick Burke fell to his death shortly after he had also reached the top. British climbers reached the summit of Everest for the first time in an event that has been described as "the apotheosis of the big, military-style expeditions".
The May 1996 expedition by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police to reach the summit of Mount Everest happened in the background of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and resulted in three members of the expedition dying.