May of 2021 marks the return of several incredible Mount Everest besters and survivors, with each bringing home record-setting climbs.
It has been a remarkable month for surmounters of Mount Everest. Tsang Yin-Hung, a 45-year-old former Hong Kong teacher, just became the “fastest woman” to ever scale the infamous, deadly peak. Typically, climbers break their trip up into multiple days and hit Everest’s camps along the way. But not Tsang. She did so in an unbelievable, straight 26-hour jaunt, making her Mount Everest trip, more plainly, the quickest ever accomplished by a woman in history.
Then there’s Zhang Hong, a 46-year-old from China. Hong is the first blind man from the Asian continent to surmount Everest. He did so from the Nepal side, and is the third in the world to do so in history.
And the third? Arthur Muir, a 75-year old American lawyer, now retired. The Chicagoan became the oldest U.S. citizen to reach Mount Everest‘s 29,031-foot summit on May 23, 2021.
Upon returning, Kathmandu reporters immediately began asking the champions of their next plans. Each, however, was (understandably) far too tired to be thinking of “future climbing plans.”
“I have not decided yet,” the New York Post cites of Arthur Muir, who told reporters as much at Kathmandu’s airport. Muir has three children and six grandchildren, the trade reports, with one of the latter being born while he was on Mount Everest. What a grandfather to have!
Mount Everest Champions Comment on Their Trials and Triumphs
This wasn’t Muir’s first trip up to the summit, either. A previous attempt in 2019 saw him fall off a ladder and break his ankle. When he made it this time, he was far more “exhausted” than he thought possible. But make it he did: there and back again.
“Frankly I was surprised when I actually got there, but I was too tired to stand up … in very windy and very cold weather,” he continues. who started climbing after retirement at 68 on mountains in South America and Alaska.
As for the recent reports of a COVID-19 outbreak at Everest’s base camp, Muir was undeterred. The 75-year-old says he was vaccinated before reaching Nepal.
With his successful round trip, Muir has broken a record held by famous Everester, Bill Burke. Burke was previously the oldest American man to finish the climb at 67 when he did so in 2009.
As impressive as Muir’s record is, Tsang Yin-Hung’s is just as incredible, if not more so. Tsang reached the summit of Mount Everest in 25 hours and 50 minutes after a straight climb from the base camp. She says she did make two brief stops before reaching the peak, but that’s it.
With this near-unbelievable time, Tsang smashes the previous record of 39 hours and 6 minutes set by Nepali woman Phunjo Jhangmu Lama. Lama did so in 2017.
“I feel a kind of relief and am happy because I am not looking for breaking records,” New York Times quotes of Tsang. “I just want (to) challenge myself … so I feel relieved because I can prove my work to my friends and to my students.”
Many, many congrats to all our Mount Everest champions on their safe, remarkable returns this May.