Top Ten Greatest Achievements In Mountaineering HistoryThere you are, standing on top of a mountain, covered from head to toe in wool and down coats, looking at the view of the world below. You take off your oxygen mask and feel the bite of the cold air as it licks your face. A thought crosses your mind but before you can examine it, you feel the tip of your nose start to burn. It stings for a few seconds, then goes numb. The frostbite has started to set in so you put your face mask back on and take a deep breath of life-giving air - grateful that you made it to the peak and you can now start your descent.
Since Hillary first conquered Everest with the help of his porter Tenzig Norgay, mountaineering has been chasing bigger and better achievements. From scaling the 14 peaks above 8000 meters (26,246 feet) to summiting quickly and/or without bottled oxygen, to reaching the highest peak on each continent, someone has either succeeded in doing it or dreamed up the logistics of pulling it off.
Below are the top ten greatest achievements in mountaineering history. Not every first ascent is categorized as "great"... Sometimes there are extra points for style.
Up until his landmark ascent, no mountaineer had summited Everest without hundreds of pounds of supplemental oxygen. Messner believed that any external aid was a disrespect to the mountains and made all his summit bids alpine style.
As with his Everest ascent, Messer scaled all the tallest peaks without needing oxygen - a feat few have met.
While he was the first, he doesn't deserve top honors due to the month it took him and hundreds of pounds of gear carried by dozens of porters.
These days Everest is standing room only. You can see trails of hundreds of climbers walking in each other's footsteps. Messner did it alone.
Talk about enduring the cold... He reached both poles with teams but was the first person to reach both.
Talk about getting around, the 14 tallest peaks in the world, the tallest mountain on each continent and both poles. More than most people dream of.
Westerners often get accolades for their climbing achievements but the locals who make the trek to the roof of the world on a daily basis are completely amazing.
Men dominate the mountaineering scene but there are still plenty of women doing amazing things in the high altitudes.
This is such a feat that it took till 1985 for it to be completed. Travel, cost, and the climbing aspect make this one noteworthy. Oh, and he did it without supplemental oxygen.
Though he is blind, he climbed the highest point on earth and made it back down successfully. I'm not sure what he thought of the view up there but, being a motivational speaker, I'm sure he got some good material out of it.