Leaving your mark on Mount Everest these days requires a lot of
dough ($65,000 to $80,000), a few trusty Sherpa guides and one
good publicist. For the carabiner-and-crampon set, it's no
longer enough to simply ascend the 29,028-foot peak; you have to
descend with a made-for-TV tale. This was particularly true last
spring, which witnessed the first blind mountaineer to stand
atop Everest (Erik Weihenmayer), the youngest climber to reach
the peak (16-year-old Temba Tsheri of Nepal) and the oldest
climber to summit (64-year-old Sherman Bull of New Canaan,
Conn.). Here are a few of this year's most hyped expeditions.
CLIMBERS: Kimberly Clark, 35; Marjorie Cross, 58; Alison Levine,
35; Lynn Prebble, 49; Jody Thompson, 39
THE SKINNY: Five women are attempting to become the first
all-female team from the U.S. to summit.
TRAIL CRED: All but Prebble have climbed Alaska's Denali (20,320
feet), the tallest peak in North America. Levine, the most
skilled of the group, needs Everest to complete the Seven Summits.
April 28, 2002
CLIMBER: Jeff Mathy, 23
THE SKINNY: Aiming by year's end to be the youngest climber to
scale the Seven Summits.
TRAIL CRED: The Californian has climbed four of the seven in the
last three years. After Everest, he'll head to Elbrus in July and
Carstensz Pyramid in September.
CLIMBER: Albert Hanna, 72
THE SKINNY: Gunning to become the oldest person to summit.
TRAIL CRED: Chicago banking executive has climbed six of the
Seven Summits and got within 1,000 feet of Everest's peak in 1995
and 2000, the most recent of his three attempts.
CLIMBER: Sean Swarner, 27
THE SKINNY: Once given two weeks to live, the Ohio native is
hoping to become the first known cancer survivor to reach the
TRAIL CRED: Has climbed several of North America's highest peaks,
including Mount Rainier and Gray's Peak, but has yet to climb any
of the Seven Summits.