Mt. Everest, at 29,028 feet, is the highest mountain on Earth. In the autumn of 1976, I helped organize the second American expedition to try to climb it. No American woman had yet made the ascent.
Junko Tabei from Japan, the first woman to climb Mount Everest, reached the summit on May 16, 1975.
Junko Tabei on the top of Mt Everest on May 16, 1975.
Phantog, a Tibetan woman, made the top just eleven days later.
Members of our Everest team, 1976. From left, back: Bob Cormack, Phil Trimble, Rick Ridgeway, Dee Crouch, Barbara Roach, and me. In front: Gerry Roach and Dan Emmett. Frank Morgan, Hans Bruyntjes, and Johan Reinhard aren't pictured.
As the film crew aggressively pursued the footage they wanted, some team members began to resent their typecasting us before the climb had even begun.
By hiking during the monsoon rains, we hoped to be in position to head for the top during the autumn window of stable weather.
As we made our way across lush, green, terraced fields, the monsoon clouds boiling around us, I felt fit and exuberant.
When we reached the monastery at Tangboche, the clouds cleared and we could see the magnificent peaks around us.
The local children were politely curious about us.
We trekked to the legendary Everest Base Camp, a relatively level spot at 17,600 feet on the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier.
First we had to blaze a safe path through the formidable icefall of the Khumbu Glacier, historically the most deadly place on the mountain.