People had been trying to climb Mount Meru, a nearly 21,000-foot-tall mountain in the Garhwal Himalayas, via the Shark’s Fin route for 30 years. Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk finally made it to the summit in 2011, but it took them two tries. In 2008, they had to turn back less than 400 meters from the top. The route was named for the final 1,500-foot, overhanging stretch of sleek granite on the northeast face. But before you even get there, there’s 4,000 feet of highly technical ice, rock, and big-wall climbing—all of which you have to navigate in temperatures that drop dangerously below zero the closer you get to the top.
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