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Everest Summit Finally Conquered For The First Time in Two Years

May 16, 2016 02:06 AM EDT
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After being closed for two climbing seasons, climbers have reached the summit of Mount Everest for the first time in two years.

Professional mountain climber Adrian Balliger and his climbing partner Cory Richards, together with a team of Sherpas are seen from about 4,000 feet from the peak of Mount Everest, as shown in their Instagram accounts.

The 29,028-foot-tall mountain was closed for two consecutive climbing seasons following a series of fatal avalanches.

The duo's Sherpas are using supplemental oxygen, but Ballinger and Richards are not, which makes their trek even more grueling. The two climbers are trailing behind as the guides forge ahead.

Ballinger and Richards have been documenting their journey on Instagram and Snapchat using the hashtag #EverestNoFilter to share the "raw inside look at what it takes to prepare for an expedition like this from our perspectives as well as from our Sherpa teammates and our expedition doctor."

The team is composed of Ballinger, Richards, who is also a photographer and was named National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year in 2012, and Pasang Ranji, one of the Sherpas who helped make the climb possible.

While Ballinger has already summited the Everest six times before, Richards has never reached the top of Everest. In 2012, however, Richards survived an avalanche during a climb in Pakistan's Gasherbrum II, and became the first American to summit the 8,000-meter peak.

Richards took to Instagram to express the emotional intensity of their adventure. "The truth is the mountains are indiscriminate. They don't care," Richards posted on Instagram.

"They shine when it's sunny and they fall when it's snowy. It's what we bring to them that defines our experience... and maybe even more important, it's how we are changed by them and what we bring home and share that matters most."

It could take approximately two weeks for the duo to reach the peak.

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