Close to 360º pano of EBC. Click for larger view

It’s hard to do Everest justice with a photo.  The mountain is just too big, too unreal, and much too temperamental to simply hand out good images.  My previous experiences with Everest only left me with memories of an annoying disappearing act – only seeing the summit ever half hour or so through a break in persistant sub-content clouds.

This time around it initially appeared that Everest was playing the same game.  All day the mountain was covered in clouds.  Luckily, around 5pm the mountain cleared up and we all headed out the door (read: tent flap) to set up for sunset.  Two hours later, freezing my butt off at 17,600ft (can I say “literally” here?), I called it quits.  I had some nice, cloudless, images of the whole mountain that I hadn’t gotten before – I was happy.  I headed back to the tent to grab some dinner and try to feel my hands and feet.  Thirty minutes later – one of our guides rushed into the tent and announced, “Um, you should go outside!”  I walked outside to quite positively one of the most breathtaking scenes I ever expect to see in my life.  Everest was putting on a show.  In fact, the guides and drivers (you know, the guys who go to Everest 20-30 times a year) said this was the second best sunset they’d ever seen over Everest in a decade.

Right place at the right time I guess.

Everest 2011 – Images by Brian Hirschy