The Summit

The goal of climbing on Mount Everest is to try and reach its lofty summit standing at 29,028ft high. You spend all you’re hard earned money and it can take you up to a month climbing the highest slopes in the world.

So what can you expect the summit to be like?

The highest part of the summit is about the size of pool table where only around half a dozen climbers can stand at any one time. Nearly all climbers tag this high point and then sit or stand a little lower down where there is more room to move around to take that exclusive summit photograph and to take in the stunning view, providing the weather is on their side.

Depending on what route you arrive from at the summit you will find that the angle at the top of the world is anywhere between 30 and 80 degrees, steep, but there are no fixed ropes to assist you up those last few feet.

The summit itself is covered in snow and ice with no bare rock showing. The temperature at the summit never rises above freezing, averaging -32F (-36C) in winter and -2F (-19C) in summer. If there is any wind then this will make it feel considerably colder with the wind chill.

If your summit day is in perfect weather then do not expect to have the top of the world to yourself. There could be dozens of climbers on the summit, making it even more of a dangerous place to be. Why? Because there is more risk of being nudged or tripping over someone’s rucksack etc.

Apart from other climbers what else could you expect to find there?

Well, the summit is covered in prayer flags, these are left by climbers and Sherpa’s to thank the gods for their safe ascent, you will also find flags from many different countries, banners from sponsors, photographs of loved ones and other small gifts for the gods.

The main item you will see on the summit is 6 foot metal tripod to represent the true summit. The tripod was left there in 1975 by a Chinese expedition, since then everyone acknowledges this as being the high point. Many climbers also use it to tie flags etc to it to stop them being blown away.

Mount Everest Summit
© Grant Rawlinson

What does the summit mean to you?

Upon reaching the highest point on earth you will find that everyone reacts in a slightly different way. Some will become emotional, some stunned and speechless at what they have just achieved, others become excited while some become fearful of the descent they still have to make.

The one very important thing you must remember on reaching the summit of Mount Everest is that you are only half way, you still have a very long descent to make before you.

Of course, you don’t climb all the way up the highest mountain in the world to see what is there ‘on’ the summit. You are there for the awesome views and the thrill of knowing you had reached your goal and made your dream come true.

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