Climbing Mount Everest, aka "the top of the world," is no small feat. Those who complete the harrowing expedition see and experience the awesome gift of nature that few of us can imagine. Photographer Elia Saikaly knows—he's completed the journey to the top of Mount Everest several times. During a recent ascent, he attempted to document the challenging feat in words and images, which he used to create a stunning time-lapse video of Mount Everest at night.
The result of his documentation is an insight into just what it means to be a dedicated explorer. In a blog entry, he recounts just how close he came to abandoning his quest:
It’s 9 p.m. on May 20th and we’ve been in the death zone, the world above 8000M, for just over five hours. Life is not meant to exist here. In the death zone, we are all transient beings. I lay in my sleeping bag with a new oxygen mask strapped to my head, devouring each artificial breath of life as though it were my last. Something is wrong. My heart is racing, my palms are sweating and I’m coughing up green phlegm uncontrollably. You see, last night my oxygen mask failed at camp 3 and while all others slept with the gift of artificial o’s, I froze and drifted in and out of consciousness. This is not the way to begin an attempt on the highest mountain on Earth! Certainly not when you are the only cameraman and are 100 percent responsible for a 1M dollar reality television series.\n
He goes on to talk about the sub-zero temperatures and harsh conditions he (and his crew) endured en route to the top of the Himalayas. The challenges are so many, you almost wonder why anyone would put themselves through such the test of climbing Mount Everest. But then you watch Saikaly's video—comprised of thousands of photographs—and it all becomes clear. And if there was still any doubt, the adventurer himself sums it up beautifully:
I undertook the challenge of scaling the world's tallest peak to inspire you to take on challenges in your own lives. The purpose was for each of you to realize the capacity within yourselves to reach incredible heights. That doesn't mean you need to aspire to climb Mt. Everest, but rather the Mt. Everest that exists in your own lives. Think about it. What challenges in your life could you take on to reach a new level?\n
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Image via Elia Saikaly