Who are the world’s best 10 record-breaking mountaineers?
And a mere salute is not enough.
Of course, only time can answer this question in totality but so far we have had some unimaginable human feat.
Since Everest’s first and prestigious ascent almost 65 years ago in 1953, almost 3900 people have made it happen.
In addition, children, women, and men have worked hard to climb the most unpredictable mountain, Mount Everest.
Due to time restrictions, though, we have picked 10 most gritty and steely record-breaking mountaineers of all time.
In The Article
- The first person in modern history to climb Mount Everest without O2 (Oxygen)
- Also, the first person to climb all the majestic 14(fourteen)8000ers minus bottled oxygen
The summits achieved by Messner
- 1986 – Lhotse (8516m), Makalu (8485m)
- 1985 – Dhaulagiri (8167m), Annapurna (8091m)
- 1984 – Gasherbrum II (8034m), Gasherbrum I (8080m)
- 1983 – Cho Oyu (8188 m)
- 1982 – Kangchenjunga( 8586m), Broad Peak (8051 m), Gasherbrum II (8034 m)
- 1981 – Shishapangma (8027 m)
- 1980 – Mount Everest (8848 m)
- 1979 – K2( 8611m)
- 1978 – Nanga Parbat ( 8125 m), Mount Everest (8848 m)
- 1975 – Gasherbrum I (8080 m )
- 1972 – Manaslu (8163 m)
- 1970 – Nanga Parbat (8125 m)
One of the most prolific mountaineers of all time, Reinhold Messner never messed with nature.
Call it love at first sight.
Messner fell for the charms of the Alps and conquered it at a very tender age, say five.
And for record purpose, he made the first successful solo ascent of the Mount Everest without any oxygen supply.
Born on 17th September 1944, this unstoppable Italian mountaineer holds the most challenging record in mountaineering history.
In reality, he has managed to summit all the fourteen 2400 m high peaks besides crossing Antartica.
Who inspired Messner?
Without Hermann Buhl, Messner would have remained just a respectable mountaineer and might not have achieved cult status.
Moreover, it was Buhl who introduced Messner to alpine-style climbing with minimal equipment and external help.
With more than 60 books to his credit, Messner was seen in Werner Herzog’s “The Dark Glow of the Mountains”.
He has also managed to climb the Dolomites more than 2500 times.
Sir Edmund Hillary
- Sir Edmund Hillary along with Tenzing Norgay marked the first team in modern history to summit Mount Everest in 1953.
Summits conquered by Hillary
- Established the Scott Base in Antartica in 56-57
Undoubtedly, Sir Edmund Hillary is a bright source of inspiration for every mountaineer who feels low and down.
In general, Hillary worked as a beekeeper while pursuing his interest in mountaineering.
How it all started?
In fact, Hillary was part of the Everest reconnaissance group in the previous years before the climb.
The team reached one of the crucial points in May 1953, the South Peak after which the star pair left for the top.
On May,29th 1953, Hillary and Norgay reached the top at around 11.30 am.
After the historic summit climb, Hillary took part in various philanthropic activities like improving the life of Sherpas.
Further elaborating on his achievements, Hillary constructed hospitals, clinics, bridges, airfields, schools in Nepal.
As a mark of national honour, Hillary worked as New Zealand’s ambassador in 1985.
Celebrating his extraordinary career and contribution to social life, he was awarded –
- Order of the Garter – 1995
- Order of New Zealand – 1987
- Polar Medal – 1958
- Padma Vibhushan – 2008
- He reached Mount Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary on May 1953
The best known Sherpa in the world, Tenzing Norgay brought instant recognition and attention when he did the impossible.
Brought up in Nepal’s Thame village, Tenzing ran into Eric Shipton when the latter was recruiting porters. Luckily, he became part of the 1935 Everest expedition.
From there on, Norgay was part of several expeditions. However, in 1947 he and his teammates failed to climb the Everest from the Tibet side due to bad weather.
But, a few years down the road in 1953, Tenzing and Hillary reached the summit in grand style.
Later, he was appointed the director of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute where he remained till his last days.
From a porter to becoming the first Asian to climb the Mount Everest, Tenzing Norgay is a master achiever.
- First woman to summit Mount Everest on 16th May 1975
- Also, the very first woman to climb all Seven Summits on every continent
- Mount Everest – Asia
- Mount Vinson – Antartica
- Aconcagua- South America
- Mount McKinley- North America
- Mount Kilimanjaro- Africa
- Carstensz Pyramid- Oceania
- Mount Elbrus- Europe
- Mount Kosciusko- Australia
Born on September 22nd, 1939, Tabei was considered a weak, frail child but her determination pushed her to join a climbing club at the age of 10.
Reflecting her passion for climbing and nature, she started the LCC in 1969.
Her crowning glory came when she and her all-women Japanese team scaled Mount Everest on 16th May 1975.
In the year 1992, Tabei was officially the first woman to ascend all the recognized “seven-summits” located in different continents.
She went on to complete the Masters at the Kyushu University in the year 2000.
As a result, Tabei emphasized on clearing the garbage accumulated on Mount Everest.
2001 – A first solo climb of Mount Eiger under 10 hours
2008 – A fastest solo climb of Mount Eiger in less than 3 hours (2h:47m)
2012 – Ascended Mount Everest without oxygen supplies
2013 – The Fastest ascent of Annapurna I in 28 hours
2015 – A record-breaking climb of 82 mountains in 62 days
Born in the year 1976, in Langnau, in Switzerland, Ueli Steck became known as the “Swiss Machine”. He gained widespread popularity with the film “Swiss Machine” which released in 2010.
His ascent of one of the most dangerous mountains in the world ‘Annapurna I’ was recognized as an achievement.
Moreover, during his solo Annapurna ascent, he fell 300 mts but successfully descended the peak and later succeeded on his third try.
Recipient of the famous Piolet d’Or Award twice, he first received it in 2009 and once again in 2014.
He was also a trained carpenter, paraglider, and participated in marathons.
- The second person in history to officially summit all the known fourteen 8000 ers.
- Jerzy Kukuczka was a pioneer in mountaineering. He scaled all the fourteen 8000ers and that too three of them during winter.
- In fact, he created ten new climbing routes and climbed all the fourteen within a time span of eight years.
It’s a well-known fact that Kukuczka did odd jobs and was once caught ascending the Gasherbrum I without a valid permit.
However, to sustain his passion for climbing, he painted chimney roofs.
Unfortunately, he died while climbing the Lhotse South face in 1989.
In 1988, the IOC declared both Kukuczka and Messner as honorary athletes. Jerzy accepted the award while Messner rejected it.
- First person to scale Mount Godwin-Austen in 1954
- Summiting Bonatti-Ghigo in less than 18 hours in 1951
- Cima Scotoni – Dolomites- 1952
Italian mountaineer Lino along with his partner Achille Compagnoni became the first pair to scale K2 on July 31st, 1954.
Interestingly, Lino trained under Luigi Bibi Ghedina in his teenage years.
How Lacedelli became popular?
He achieved international fame with his ascent of Bonatti-Ghigo along with his mentor Ghendina in 1951.
Using the Abruzzi Ridge, Achille and Lino reached the top of K2 in 1954.
- The first mountaineer to finish “True Explorers Grand Slam”
A man whose enduring passion and drive made him a cult figure, the sincere Korean Young Seok lost his life during a climbing expedition.
In general, Park achieved a terrific feat of climbing all the fourteen 8000 m high peaks and also the seven summits.
Remarkably, he had even crossed the North and South Poles. Especially, Park Young Seok basked in the headlines as an accomplished Asian climber creating a new chapter in the already Western dominated industry.
Notoriously determined climber
Born in the 60s, Young conquered the Mount Everest in 1993 without an extra oxygen supply.
Later, he went on to ascent all the massive fourteen 8000 ers in a record time of 8.2 years.
His name features in the Guinness Records for summiting six 8000 m high peaks in a calendar year.
In the year 2009, he designed a new route called as the “Korean route” for fellow Koreans to follow in Mount Everest southwest face.
- First Australian climber to successfully ascent all the 14 8000 ers
- Climbed 13 peaks without extra oxygen supply except for Mount Everest
- Successfully finished six Australian ascents followed by four solo ascent
Not to mention, Lock’s style of climbing includes ascent in small teams.
Moreover, he is often called as a “gritty” person and also popular for his self-depreciating manner.
Unbelievably strange for a hard-core mountaineer, Lock has saved all his fingers from frostbite.
Some of his remarkable milestones include climbing Mount Everest twice and have made at least four solo ascents (8000 ers).
Andrew received a medal of Australia in 2011 for his remarkable mountaineering career and also Defense Service Medal.
In addition, Lock has also been honoured with National Medal of Australia.
- The second woman to successfully ascend all the 14 – 8000ers using extra oxygen supply.
Wise people often say everything appears more sensible on a mountain.
Some are lucky to reach the top and return to narrate your experience, but some don’t.
And Edurne Pasaban knows what another woman of her age might not know. That climbing is life-threatening.
How Edurne Pasaban ventured into mountaineering?
When Edurne turned sixteen, she got an opportunity to climb Mont Blanc. Then, a year later, Pasaban headed straight for the Andes and climbed seven new peaks.
In 2001, she first conquered the Everest and in 2004, due to frostbite lost two toes.
In addition, as a reward for her remarkable dedication and success, she was awarded the prestigious Queen Sofia Prize in 2011, and the Gold Medal (Sporting Merit).