14 eight-thousanders


8.848 m

“My first eight-thousander, a dream come true. It was beautiful, but I thought I would be more excited, that I would cry upon reaching the summit. However, the truth is I was disappointed, maybe it was because I found a mountain which had become overcrowded.”

The roof of the world

Ranking: 1 Elevation: 8.848 m
First conquered: 29th of May 1953, by the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and the Nepali sherpa Tenzing Norgay, on the expedition led by the Britain John Hunt.

The roof of the world was the first peak over 8,000m that Edurne Pasaban climbed. In 2001 the legendary Everest was the first hurdle for the girl from Tolosa on her quest to complete the 14 eight-thousanders.

Its 8,848 metres are what makes the mis-named Everest the most famous mountain on the planet – it’s the highest peak on earth. In Tibetan it’s called ‘Chomolungma’ (The Mother Goddess of Abundance), and ‘Sagarmatha’ in the language of the Sherpa (this ethnic group who inhabit the Khumbu valley, which lies at the foot of the mountain). Every spring, hundreds of men and women attempt to reach the summit – maybe too many: the progressive commercialisation of the mountain has given rise to a growing controversy.

Very few attempt to climb it without supplemental oxygen, and almost nobody ventures outside the two ‘usual’ routes, which are painstakingly prepared – all this despite the fact that there are actually 18 routes up the mountain, some of which are still to be successfully climbed.

In all other aspects, Everest is not technically a very difficult mountain. However, almost 9,000 metres in height mean it’s a battle against tiredness and the ravages of cold and altitude. Underestimating it can be a very costly mistake.

Everest claims most of its victims during their descent, and not so much due to accidents but to exhaustion, failures with oxygen systems and exposure to extrema altitude.

Everest was Edurne’s first eight-thousander: she climbed it in 2001 with the aid of supplemental oxygen. In the future, she would consider attempting it again without the help of this bottled gas.


Summit reached by Edurne Pasaban on the 23rd of May, 2001.