Everest is the reference point for success for everyone. It’s more like a symbol. Not only in climbing, but in every aspect of everyday life, the word top is so familiar to all of us, the picture of success. To reach the top of Everest, fitness is not enough.

You have to achieve a completely professional project, totally team work. How we reached the top of Everest? I had organized more than 40 mountain expeditions to the world’s largest mountain ranges but Everest was always a challenge.

As a chief of the Greek team, our expedition started on 13th of March from Nepal with a stopover in Bangkok. The program included initial climb to Island Peak (6.189m) for acclimatization and then approach the Everest base camp, from where we would start the climb to the top of effort. A true challenge of the expedition was climbing the Kumbu Icefall on April 4th, a "river of ice" which some parts move with changes in temperature, resulting to a width and depth of cracks up to 50m.

On May 11th, after almost two months stay on the mountain and 10 days standby at base camp waiting for improved weather conditions finally was given the green light for the departure of the Greek mission, attempting climb Everest from the South side (South Col route). Extreme conditions and hypoxia within the "zone of death" (more than 7.500m) make our efforts extremely difficult. The climb to the top started on Friday 14th of May and was about to be completed at 11.00am on Saturday 15th of May.

The strong winds near the summit of Mount Everest ultimately prevented the southern team to reach the top on scheduled dates, but on 16th of May, the dream became reality! All of the team, all nine members reached the top, without any loss. A great success! Facing the mountain with respect, we know that man is too small to use the word "conquest" for something as big as Mount Everest. What is certain is that there was no competition between the members of the team and that’s why climbing is a sport, not a sport in which you win a prize. The prize for us is the ascent itself.

How anyone could reach his own top? You need a vision, your vision. You need hard skills and soft skills as well. A common team goal, which in our case was 8,848m. Leadership skills and for sure to be open-minded, showing a mind receptive to new ideas. Then, build your team and the coherent bond is definitely trust. Put all things down by developing a strategy- be prepared by taking into account all difficulties. Then, take action and dare!

Panagiotis Kotronaros
Greece, Mountain Climber
Global F.I.T. Team

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