Ketchum’s Melissa Arnot has become the first American woman to successfully summit the 29,028-foot Mt. Everest in Nepal without using supplemental oxygen.
Early this morning, May 23, about 1:30 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, Eddie Bauer guide Arnot also broke her own record for most Mt. Everest summits by a Western woman.
The 32-year-old professional mountain guide and high-altitude climber has now summited the world’s highest peak six times. She first broke the record for times summited by an American woman in 2013 at the precocious age of 29.
Arnot attempted to climb without oxygen from the South Col (Nepal) in 2015, but her trip was cut short by the devastating earthquake.
While her previous Everest summits have been made via the South Col route from the Nepal side, this year was her first successful summit traveling the north side, from China.
“This has been an emotional journey, to say the least,” said Arnot in press release from Eddie Bauer.
She added, “Everest is an incredible mountain that continues to challenge and intrigue me. I never anticipated that I would be lucky enough to summit once, let alone six times.
“Climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen has been a goal of mine for a long time. When you succeed at reaching your goal, it makes you reflect on the hard days, the work, and lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m incredibly fortunate to have this experience.”
Her April 2015 attempt to summit Mt. Everest without the aid of oxygen support, from the South Col, was interrupted by a 7.9-magnitude Nepal earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people and left more than 21,000 injured.
According to the press release, Arnot has devoted much of her time to helping rebuild the South Asian country through the charity she co-founded with fellow climber David Morton in 2010, called The Juniper Fund.
Arnot first moved to Ketchum in 2009 and has lived and trained here since.
“We are extremely proud of Melissa for another record-breaking Everest summit. An accomplished athlete and professional guide who inspires others to live their adventure, Melissa embodies everything our guide program stands for,” said Mike Egeck, Chief Executive Officer of Eddie Bauer.
He added, “Melissa is also a person who both respects the culture of climbing and has committed herself to helping the people of Nepal through her work with The Juniper Fund. We are happy she is back safe and we look forward to celebrating her next adventure.”
Raised in Colorado and Montana, and a professional mountain guide since 2004, Arnot has guided on three continents.
She has summited Washington’s highest peak, the 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier, a total of 104 times starting in 2001 at the age of 18.
This summer, she will attempt to climb the highest peak in all 50 states in 50 days.
Arnot plans to embark on the “50 Peaks Challenge” from about June 30 to Aug. 20, 2016, with mentee Maddie Miller.