Boscobel native Jeff Glasbrenner became the first American amputee to summit Mt. Everest when he and his team from Madison Mountaineering of Seattle reached the top of the world’s tallest mountain last Wednesday, May 18.
“Never hurts to dream big! Awesome journey to the top of the world,” the 42-year-old Glasbrenner wrote on his Facebook page after reaching the summit last Wednesday.
Glasbrenner lost the lower half of his right leg in a farming accident when he was seven years old. Since that time he has gone on to become a world champion wheelchair basketball player, paralympian, and Ironman competitor, including eight in one year.
Glasbrenner and his team began their Himalayan adventure on March 31 following back-to-back Everest disasters—the 2015 Nepali earthquake and a massive avalanche the year before that killed 13 Sherpa guides. This year, hundreds of mountaineers returned for the two-month weather window of April and May to reach the top of the 29,035-foot summit.
More than 250 people have died on the mountain since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary summited in 1953, including four since last Thursday. Even though winds and temperatures on the mountain are more moderate in April and May, temperatures still range between -31 and -4 Fahrenheit.
Faced with high winds and blowing snow last Tuesday, the team waited to ascent until the following day. Last Wednesday the skies were calm and clear and the team made its move.
The following dispatches are from the Madison Mountaineering Facebook page last Wednesday:
Just minutes ago our climbers departed Camp 4 at 7,950m (26,085ft) and began their 2016 #Everest #summit bid. The team spent the night at the South Col after battling heavy winds on the ascent yesterday. Now well rested having been on oxygen all day, they are ready to begin their push to the top of the world. We will be up all night monitoring the team's progress throughout the ascent.
Yesterday we had very unusual weather here at #Everest Base Camp, snowfall with heavy winds accompanied by a thunderstorm. Our wifi network was knocked offline until early this morning. Tonight the conditions are looking great for our team with low winds and no precipitation on the forecast. We are very excited here. To the top!
“We are very proud of our climbing Sherpas who have contributed to the rope fixing effort high on Mount Everest, alongside a few other well equipped teams on the mountain. While there are about 20 teams on the mountain this year, it’s only a small few that are able to set the route. Our team of climbing Sherpas has been working hard carrying loads and fixing ropes up high on the mountain, they will be climbing with us over the next few days.”
Just moments ago our full climbing team successfully summited Everest at 8,850m (29,035ft)! It is a spectacular day (May 18) here with no wind or clouds in sight. Fifteen Sherpa, seven climbers (Jim, Joel, Stuart, Nick, Lisa, Ankur, Jeff) and five guides (Garrett, Billy, Conan, Fred, Brent) are together at the top now. The sun is shining bright and we are so very happy that our climbers have made it to the top of the world. Our team will take in the views and enjoy the moment before making the descent back down to Camp 2.
Glasbrenner and his team made it down the mountain safely with no injuries. He flew out of Nepal on Tuesday of this week and his on his way back to his home and family in Little Rock, Arkansas.