On the South Col side of the mountain, a challenging and crowded climbing season still granted Eddie Bauer First Ascent guides Dave Hahn and Melissa Arnot access to reach the summit on May 26th and set Everest records in the process. With calculated patience, Hahn earned his 14th summit of Mt. Everest, setting a new record by most non-Sherpa summits of the world’s tallest peak. Melissa Arnot claimed her fourth summit, setting a new record for the most summits for any Western woman. As part of the Eddie Bauer South Col team, Leif Whittaker retraced the record-setting steps of his father Jim to the summit.
“It was a slightly surreal day, as always, hanging out at 8,000 meters,” Hahn says in his characteristically understated tone. But in a season that once again presented challenges from avalanches, rockfall and tragedy to long lines of climbers on prime summit days, Hahn was called the ‘King of Patience’ for his efforts in leading the team to a safe and successful summit. “I never thought I would be lucky enough to summit Everest once, let alone four times,” Arnot summarizes. “The experience has given me a sense of gratitude grounded in the idea that anything is possible.”