This raises the question: if this is so hard, why do it, and why do it without the oxygen?
Well, first of all, you have to be an enthusiast, no question!. If you’re not, there is no point in even trying to climb half the mountain, not mention reaching the top. When you have got that drive, and have a certain amount of experience as a climber, you develop a peculiar honor code that goes with it. According to Viesturs, adding extra oxygen feels like cheating the mountain. Since the mountain is there as it is, not making conditions easier or harder to the ones climbing it. Viesturs and other enthusiasts, feel they have to keep natural as they are – as a sign of respect towards the mountain. Giving that respect to the mountain, makes the whole experience much more powerful. Besides, as he states, the oxygen mask made him feel claustrophobic. So the feeling of claustrophobia and the feeling that he’s cheating the mountain would have made the whole experience less than it should have been.
There had been a terrible earthquake in Nepal last year that had killed 24 people on Mount Everest, and thus had closed the climbing season. Because of that, no one had tried to conquer the mountain ever since. And that’s what makes Ed Viesturs even more victorious for being the one to do so these days.