Kim Hess, Chhiring Dorje Sherpa reach Everest summit
May 24, 2016
Steamboat Springs mountain climber Kim Hess reached her goal at 5:04 a.m. Sunday, stepping foot on the summit of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
Her expedition announced the news to the world, and she shared it on Facebook.
"As the sun peaked above the horizon and the full moon went to sleep in the west, I found my happy," she wrote in the post. "I danced on the summit of Mt. Everest. I pushed my body further than I knew possible and after patiently waiting for the stars to align my soul touched the sky."
Hess was one of two Steamboat Springs climbers to reach the summit this season. Chhiring Dorje Sherpa reached the top Thursday morning, his 13th trip to the summit.
Summiting Everest has been part of a long journey for Hess. It's one part of her plan, with her brother Steven Hess, to climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each of the world's seven continents.
That plan was seriously derailed during Hess's first attempt to take on Everest. She was midway up the mountain, at Camp 2, last year when a devastating earthquake shook the region, killing thousands around the nation and nearly two dozen climbers and support crew members at the mountain.
She had to wait days to be helicoptered down to safety, but had already made up her mind about coming back, even before she was truly out of danger to safety.
"I even said at Camp 2, 'If this is it, I'll see you here next year, right back here to do it again,'" she said, speaking this winter before leaving for the 2016 climbing season. "A lot of people struggled and didn't want to go back, but I knew in my time, and if I don't do it now, I don't know that I'll want to come back.'"
She said this winter that she relishes her role as one of the relatively few female climbers to attempt such feats.
At a younger age, she was motivated to keep up with her brothers, but has moved beyond that. Still, she said, she's often been overlooked in her Seven Summits quest.
She's now ticked off her fifth mountain, with only Australia and Antarctica remaining.
"I feel honored to represent the female gender," she said this winter. "If my story is inspiring to a young girl who's thinking of climbing or skiing or whatever, that’s awesome."
There's no overlooking her accomplishment on Everest.
She filled her days between expeditions working as many jobs as possible to pay for the trip. Even once she was at the mountain, she found her patience tested. Weather delays pushed back her expedition’s plans on several occasions before, finally, they got their shot.
"Thank you Mount Everest for opening your door, inviting me in to visit, and letting me stay awhile," she said on Facebook. "Thanks for all the love, support and prayers. Mission accomplished!"