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Phil Ershler Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Everst Climb

American Climber and founding member of International Mountain Guides (IMG), Phil Ershler, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his epic ascent of the North Side of Everest.

Phil Ershler on the North Col of Everest 1984
Phil Ershler on the North Col of Mt. Everest, 1984
photo courtesy of International Mountain Guides

Phil is one of the world’s most renowned climbers with a career that spans almost four decades.  His achievements are simply awe inspiring – including being the first American ascent of the North side of Everest (solo ascent), more than 400 summits of Mt. Rainier, 25 summits of Mt. McKinley, being one of a handful of climbers to summit the highest peaks on all seven continents and the first to do it twice!

Bridging cultural divides in Ecuador, 2008
photo courtesy of International Mountain Guides

We have had the honor of working with Phil and are amazed by his achievements and his humble demeanor. AMK would like to congratulation Phil and are excited to work with him for years to come….

Below is a post from the IMG blog from fellow mountaineers and IMG founders George Dunn and Eric Simonson in celebration on the 25th Anniversary of the Everest climb.  Visit the IMG website for more information on Phil, more photos and other news.

25 Years Since Ershler’s First Everest Summit

We started guiding with Phil back in the early ’70’s on Rainier and have watched him navigate through the mountains of life. October 20, 2009 marks 25 years since Phil made the first American ascent of the North Face of Everest.

Leaving the high camp near the top of the Great Couloir, on the 20th of October (very late in the season) Phil climbed through the Yellow Band with John Roskelley, who turned back at this point. Phil continued solo on steep terrain to the top, where his one and only bottle of oxygen ran out.

Phil Ershler descending from the top of Everest 1984

Phil Ershler descending from the North Face of Mt. Everest, 1984
photo courtesy of International Mountain Guides

He then descended without oxygen back to the camp, and down from there. It was a remarkable accomplishment, executed superbly, and firmly based on his experience of two previous Everest expeditions and many prior years of mountaineering under his belt.

Phil was on the cutting edge of high altitude mountaineering in those days. He led Bass and Well’s ’83 Everest trip, reached the summit of Kangchenjunga from the North in ’89, climbed to within a few hundred feet of the summit of K2 in ’90 w/o O2 (via the remote North Ridge). As members of several of those early American teams that ventured to the Himalayas, we remember clearly what it was like back then: no other teams on the mountain, no fixed ropes unless we put them in ourselves, no sherpas, no tourists, no sat phones, no rescue, no nothing!

Everything has changed so much now, the boundaries have been pushed back so far. We celebrate the democratization of mountaineering, but also remember the old days fondly. Back then, going to Everest was like going to the moon or something, it was surreal.

Phil and Susan Ershler at Everest Base camp after completing the 7 summits

Phil and Susan Ershler in Everest base camp after summiting Everest and becoming the first couple to climb the Seven Summits, 2002
photo courtesy of International Mountain Guides

In the years that followed those exploits, Phil has continued to distinguish himself as a remarkable mountain guide, who has personally led well over a hundred expeditions around the world and inspired a whole generation of guides and customers. All of us who have climbed and worked with him are continually amazed by his perseverance, good humor, even keel, and great judgment. He is a real asset for us here at IMG. Way to go, Phil!

—Eric and George



One Response to “Phil Ershler Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Everst Climb”

  1. Emiko Says:

    I wish you both all of the best on this amazing anerdtuve. You are wonderful, caring and strong human beings to be taking this hike for a greater cause. Every step counts in the world and you are taking huge strides for everyone!Steve I am really proud of who you are, thinking of you during the anerdtuve. XO Mel

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