May has been a busy month on Mount Everest, with an unprecedented number of climbers making their way up the mountain. The world’s highest peak even received a visit from This Is Us star Mandy Moore, who hiked to Everest base camp over the weekend, CNN reports. She made the journey with a group of friends as part of Eddie Bauer’s #WHYIHIKE campaign. They were led by guide Melissa Reid, the first American woman to summit and descend the mountain without supplemental oxygen.
“There is so much magic in these mountains.” Moore wrote on Instagram after reaching base camp. “They represent adventure in the grandest form and in a language all their own.”
This isn’t her first time tackling a high-altitude climb. Last fall, she summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. To do it, she spent a week living in a tent on the mountain, even though she had never camped before. In our Q&A with her from September, she told us that the trip had a profound effect on her, and she was looking forward to her next adventure. With this Everest trip under her belt, it seems Moore may have caught the climbing bug.
Unfortunately, Moore’s climb on Everest comes at a troubling time for the mountain. The peak is littered with refuse from past expeditions, and there has been unprecedented overcrowding on the summit this month. That has created long lines and made an already dangerous journey even more fraught. So far, 11 climbers have died on Everest, making this climbing season one of the deadliest on record.
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There’s no way to distill this experience down to a few sentences. There’s no way to encapsulate what coursed through our veins and brains living in the mountains this past week. It will come in time. I think I’m slowly learning that I feel most like me when I’m outdoors. It’s couldn’t be any more outside my every day realm and yet there’s something entirely refreshing about being tasked with nothing more than breathing and slowly putting one foot in front of the other. One thing I know for certain is that this trip was what it was thanks in large part to the company. Being able to adventure alongside those you love deeply (@streicherhair, @chaseweideman, @thejendaltonshow) and new friends alike (@starfire_reid, @julianapse, @tyler__reid, @sherpatseringdolker), is an absolute gamechanger. We shared everything: laughs, toilet paper, snacks, skincare, the silly songs that got stuck in our heads, milk tea, selfies, the “happy naturals”, etc…. all the makings of a quality trip to the most remarkable place any of us have ever been. I’m also left inspired by the collective perseverance this group had to help each other every step of the way and to watch as we all met this shared goal of reaching base camp together is something I’ll never forget. Thank you to our friends at @eddiebauer for making this happen! And to the true MVP of this trek, @melissaarnot: thank you for sharing such a substantial piece of yourself and this second home of yours with us. It’s every bit as magical as you described: Your expertise, your stories, your wisdom, your belief in us…. set the tone for this entire experience…. The funny thing is, Melissa kept mentioning this idea of meditating and making goals while we were in the midst of the “pain cave”. It’s easy to daydream and make big plans when you’re down at sea level but it’s a much taller order to do it while in the grips of something truly difficult. Message received. I dug deep while in the midst of all of those pressure breaths and made a mental list of things that scared me but I was anxious to tackle. Now that I’m back on solid ground, I can’t wait to home and get to it. #whyihike #ebpartner
One issue on the mountain is the presence of inexperienced climbers attempting to reach the summit, which creates dangerous situations for other mountaineers and the Sherpas who guide them. Moore and her crew, however, stuck with a more manageable trip to base camp, located at an altitude of about 17,600 feet. But that doesn’t mean it was easy. Reflecting on the journey in an Instagram post, she wrote about mastering the art of “pressure breathing” to make the most of limited oxygen and the importance of pushing through even when things got difficult. Following Reid’s advice, she used the experience as a chance to meditate and center herself.
“I’m slowly learning that I feel most like me when I’m outdoors,” she wrote. “There’s something entirely refreshing about being tasked with nothing more than breathing and slowly putting one foot in front of the other.”
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