Jon Gupta’s recipe for Everest success
Earlier this week (Tuesday 16 May), Team Montane mountaineer Jon Gupta guided 26 year-old British climber Mollie Hughes to the summit of Mount Everest from the north side.
Whilst many people every year summit the tallest mountain in the world, what was special about this particular expedition was that both athletes had previously summited Everest from the south side already, making Mollie the first British woman and Jon the youngest British man to successfully scale the peak from both north and side sides.
Jon has been a core member of Team Montane’s nucleus of mountaineers and alpinists since joining in 2012. In that time, Jon’s prowess as a mountaineer has gone from strength to strength as he attempts ever bigger, ever more ambitious, ever bolder expeditions, from ski-descents of a series of 7,000m peaks to the notoriously difficult Snow Leopard Award and even participating in the 430 mile Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra. He also runs his own guiding company, Mountain Expeditions.
With a wealth of experience behind him, Jon all too well understands that having the right kit can be critical to an expedition’s success and even personal survival, whether it’s clothing, packs or hardware. Indeed, a 2014 expedition to Peak Pobeda saw a helmet save Jon’s life when he was knocked unconscious by a large rock to the head.
“I have used Montane kit in some of the harshest and most challenging mountain conditions in the world. It was adaptable, precise, well made and reliable, and it kept me warm and dry which allowed me to concentrate on the climbing and staying alive.”
For his Everest expedition with Mollie, Jon put together a carefully selected layering system of Montane items to cater for active and static scenarios on the mountain. Here are some of his kit highlights:
Primino 140g Zip Neck
Versatile Primaloft® / merino expedition baselayer
Allez Micro Hoodie
Versatile super lightweight, warm and breathable
Power Up Hoodie
Technical super warm mountain mid-layer
Fusion Alpha Jacket
Unique alpine climbing hybrid jacket
Versatile Power Shield® mountain softshell
Terra Guide Pants
Winter mountain stretch pants
Super warm mountain beanie
Mollie’s Montane kit highlight is the Women’s Prism Jacket
Precise selection of apparel and equipment by Mollie and Jon enabled them to concentrate fully on the summit attempt and all the experiences that came with it, which Jon described on Facebook:
“For years, months, we had been preparing to attempt to reach the summit of Everest – which I’m pleased to say we did at 04:45am on 16th May. It was a perfect summit night – calm, cold & clear. We set off at 20:30pm & made great progress through the steep exit cracks & on the North East Ridge proper – which was absolutely mind blowing! We ticked off well known features such as 1st step, mushroom rocks, (the legendary) 2nd step & the 3rd step just before reaching the final summit slopes!
“Sunrise was just beginning as we reached the roof of the world & although very cold (around-30 plus wind chill) we were lost for words from the view at the beginning of a new day. During the night I often paused on rock & looked out over the moon lit summits & clouds all around. Normally stars are above you but for the first time in my life I looked out horizontally at them! What a feeling!
“It’s difficult to explain the feeling of standing at the top at the time – there is almost too much happening & I was conscious of the cold & where we were! We spent 20 mins or so enjoying the special moment before we began our descent.
“The release from coming off the final abseil, striding out across the glacier & looking back at where you have been is absolutely huge. For the first time in days my mind could relax knowing we had done it. Successfully & safely. The wave of relieve & 1st thought of what you have actually achieved is enough to push some tears to roll down your cheeks & the first smile of achievement to stretch across your face. It feels amazing.
“Congratulations MOLLIE – now the Youngest Brit to climb Everest from both N & S…1st English woman ever!! You have shown determination, commitment & perseverance beyond your years & an impressive about of reliance to some pretty extreme conditions! Thank you for trusting in me & what I do. A never ending & heartfelt THANK YOU to Lila & Lhakpa for everything you have done. You are the most humble, selfless & modest gentlemen I have ever climbed with.
“Finally – I would like to dedicate my summit to Ueli Steck. He was a huge inspiration to me & many worldwide. RIP.”
We at Montane would like to congratulate Mollie and Jon on their epic achievement! #FurtherFaster.