All weekend, we’ve waited for word of Nicholas Gibson 13A as he made the climb up to the summit of Mt. Everest. With a live GPS tracker monitoring his every move, we watched as Gibson scaled to 28,020 feet. What an incredible achievement!
The USAF Seven Summits blog reports, “Just received the call we’ve all been waiting for from Major Rob Marshall, leader of the USAF 7 Summits team, reporting that he and three other team members reached the summit of Mount Everest at approximately 0520 Nepal time. Fifty years after the first American boots stood on top of the world, the first American military team has followed in those footsteps. They report very cold temps and windy, but not a cloud in the sky. They will unfurl the Star and Stripes and the USAF flag on the summit, and we’ll post that photo just as soon as we get it.
“Two of the climbers, Captain Colin Merrin and Staff Sergeant Nick Gibson, turned back earlier. Colin had been fighting a respiratory infection and just didn’t have the energy reserves to summit safely, and Nick was risking frostbite in his toes. These guys deserve a huge amount of credit, as they made one of the toughest decisions a climber can make, turning around short of the summit. Both made a good decision to turn back, and they are already safely back at Camp 4.”
The USAF Seven Summits blog also reports that “Hundreds of people climb Everest in a typical year, but these guys did it for all the right reasons: to promote esprit de corps in the Air Force, to honor their fallen comrades, and to raise awareness of risk management in saving lives and preventing injury. Please continue to spread their positive message to other!”
Bravo, guys! Your USAF Seven Summits blogger said it best: “Everyone who has climbed as part of the team has shared the sentiment that the time spent in the mountains is good for the human spirit, and the idea of inviting Wounded Warriors to join them on the trek to Everest Base Camp was born out if that sentiment.”