back to top

These Guys Actually Documented Their Everest Climb On Snapchat

Definitely a first.

Posted on

Meet Cory Richards (left) and Adrian Ballinger (right), two professional climbers who recently returned from Mount Everest, where they live documented their two-month journey on Snapchat.

Both men attempted to climb to the summit of Everest — the highest mountain in the world, at 29,029 feet above sea level — without using supplemental oxygen, a feat only 193 people have ever accomplished before. (For context, 7,000 people have climbed to the top of the mountain with oxygen.)

Richards, 35, who is also a filmmaker and photographer fellow for National Geographic, made it to the top, a first for him after a failed attempt in 2012. Meanwhile, Ballinger, 40, who's summited Everest six times in the past with supplemental oxygen, accomplished something equally admirable: He decided to turn back at around 28,000 feet (just about 1,000 feet away from the peak), likely saving his own life.

"It sounds funny to be like, 'Oh, I was cold,' but it was real cold, and I started to lose basic functions, and I was slurring my words and couldn't form full sentences," he told BuzzFeed Travel.

The two men were the first to ever document the Everest journey live on social media, posting anywhere from 20 to 40 snaps a day under their shared account #EverestNoFilter.

Check out this highlights video of some of their most memorable ones:

View this video on YouTube

FYI, the basecamp has cell service, but to get service the rest of the time, the duo used satellite internet technology. "We carried a dish, external batteries, and solar panels to charge the batteries. The whole system weighed about 14 pounds," Ballinger says.


They also shared plenty of incredibly gripping moments, like when they had to dig their tent out of the snow during a snowstorm at 25,000 feet ...

View this video on YouTube

... and when they reunited after Richards came back down after summiting.

View this video on YouTube

"A lot of people told us it was the best live TV they'd watched all season," Richards said, laughing. (In an unfortunate twist of fate, his phone malfunctioned when he got to the top of Everest, so he was not able to snap the actual summit.)

Each one of their snaps garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and some teachers even incorporated their daily posts into their curriculum.

"My sister is a teacher, so I really found that fact super heartwarming," says Ballinger. "Every few days, kids would write us questions, and we'd answer. I love that our story had so much value."

"And I loved that it was such a teachable moment," adds Richards. "Everest gets so much media attention: 'Everest is done,' they'll say, or, 'Everest is dirty.' People have formed so many opinions about it. But I don't think as many younger people know about Everest, so it felt great to get their attention, too, and to be able to teach them what we were doing."

But perhaps the most inspiring storyline of all? Their teamwork.


"Ours was an easy partnership, which is super rare in the mountains. It's strange because it's a really high-stress situation: You're making decisions together that directly impact each others' lives. And as someone who struggles with anxiety, it was a relief to have a partnership that didn't cause anxiety, but cured it," says Richards.

So let's give it up for Richards and Ballinger (who, btw, told BuzzFeed Travel he will "absolutely" try summiting again without oxygen)!!!


For more adventure travel inspiration, follow Cory Richards on Instagram and Twitter, and Adrian Ballinger on Instagram and Twitter.