By Lukas Eberle
He takes off his oxygen mask and takes a couple of careful breaths. His throat quickly begins to constrict. The air is so thin that Aydin Irmak, 46, feels as if he were suffocating. He quickly puts the mask back on. Then he looks around. Is this the place, he wonders? Irmak is walking across a slightly sloping area of ice, under a deep blue sky. He sees a small glass case with a Buddha statue inside. Yes, this is the place. Irmak is standing on the summit of Mount Everest.
The date is May 19, 2012, the temperature is minus 37 degrees Celsius (minus 34.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and the wind is icy. The highest point on earth, at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), is a godforsaken place. Irmak is the last of 176 climbers to have reached the summit on this day. The others are already making their descent. When he encountered a group on his way up, one climber shouted to him: "Turn around!" But he kept on walking.
Edited by questionmark, 06 October 2012 - 03:20 PM.