“It felt like some faraway place… like South Pole “- Søren Smidt of 7 Summits On Everest
EH had the opportunity to talk at length with Søren Smidt of 7 Summits, on the 29th of May, about his Everest summit and their (his & Henrik’s plans and future goals). Here we reproduce the excerpt from the interview.
We spent a very short time on Everest .We were there for just 20 days. Some of the climbers spent 60 to 65 days and that’s very tiring to be in this environment. For us it was a short and fast climb. We meant to do Mera peak and Lobuche but we did not do it. There were some regulations for the Olympic torch by the Chinese so the Nepalese authorities put some regulations and in the end we dropped our climb on Mera peak and our climb on Lobuche. During the time the climbing was banned we went to Russia and climbed Mt. Elbrus. It was very cold and windy .Just managed to get back safely.
On the Day they summitted (25th May ’08)
We had a very good summit day, the weather was good and there were few people and good Sherpas helping us. Our Sherpas were very good, technically great. We are grateful to them because they helped us in many ways. When I arrived at the summit there was no wind. Henrik came a little later and already it was becoming windy. But we faced no problems going down. We had a weather report which actually said that it would be stormy. So the whole time we climbed during the night we were afraid that the wind would pick up and when we looked up around midnight all we could see were clouds forming on the summit. So we thought the weather report may be right but luckily there was no wind. During the climb there just a little wind when Henrik arrived.
At the summit, I would say that we feel very vulnerable .I felt very vulnerable in the summit area and at the whole summit bridge. It really felt like some very faraway place on earth , like South- Pole .You know if the wind picks up, if you get a lot of precipitation you may lose your life easily. The balance between living and dying is very thin. Jamie McGuiness tried to rescue some climbers. He did a great effort, more then I would have done. It’s very sad that some people do not realize their own limits and endanger other people’s lives because responsible people will try and rescue other people who are in need of help.
About 7 Summits
Henrik is on a mission to create a world record. He has already summitted all the highest peaks in the 6 continents, only Denali in North America is left. I think this will generate a lot of attention and interest towards our company, 7 Summits. After he has made the record we will use our knowledge of the seven summits to make a profitable business.
We have not started selling any of the products. Let Henrik make the world record and afterwards we can use our knowledge of these peaks to sell our products. Henrik has just to climb Denali in Alaska, the highest peak in North America to make his record. Only sickness or an accident will prevent him from completing this feat. Originally the goal was to climb in 130 days. The current record is 155 days .Due to bad weather we were delayed on Denali and Elbrus. This will be Henrik’s second effort to climb Denali. In 7-13 days, he will have the record.
“Henrik has gone from being businessman to mountaineer, while I will go from being mountaineer to businessman.”
I make the program for his training. Before we started the 7 summits I have been giving a crash course because Henrik is a businessman who is interested in climbing mountains. I gave him the basic technical abilities and understanding of how it works when you go climb and how you behave in a mountain environment both in summer and winter. So this program started half a year ago before and since now has been sufficient. Henrik has gone from being businessman to mountaineer, while I will go from being mountaineer to businessman.
About climbing in Nepal
I have been to Nepal 15 – 20 times. I have climbed for 30 years. I started climbing in Nepal in 1986, when I did the solo Island Peak climb in the winter time. That was my first peak in Nepal. But I have also done Mera Peak and some of the known peaks.
Everest is a very big mountain and even if you think it’s easy its not. The ascent of the 77 year old man can give an impression that climbing the peak is easy but it’s not true. Its a big mountain and its also dangerous and you have to be very well prepared. You have to think very carefully about what you are doing. You have to have a good staff around you and you have to have the right equipment and enough oxygen to help you.