WASHINGTON (May 2, 2012)—Following an emergency evacuation from Mount Everest on April 28, National Geographic photographer and The North Face global athlete Cory Richards decided, along with his climbing partner, expedition leader Conrad Anker, that he will not return to the National Geographic/The North Face expedition to summit the mountain via the West Ridge.
Sherpas walk a sick Cory Richards into Camp 1. (Photo by Andy Bardon)
Richards was evacuated from Mount Everest suffering respiratory distress. He is healthy, and all tests to date have been inconclusive regarding the exact diagnosis. Richards is currently in Kathmandu, Nepal, and will return to his home in Boulder, Colo. In addition to being a The North Face athlete-climber, he was on assignment for National Geographic magazine, shooting real-time coverage of the expedition and a feature article for the magazine planned for early next year.
A decision has not yet been made about whether Anker will continue with the West Ridge climb. The expedition also includes a second team of The North Face climbers, National Outdoor Leadership School instructor Phil Henderson and National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins, who will attempt to summit via the Southeast Ridge. That climb will continue as planned.
“We were concerned for Cory’s health, and it was very sad to see him go. It was in his best interest to not risk further injury and to leave the expedition,” Anker said. “Going forward, I look forward to seeing the success of the South Col team; all of them are acclimatized and doing well. My overarching duties as expedition leader with Mayo Clinic and Montana State University are still there. And should I find a partner, it’s still my dream to climb the West Ridge.”
“Cory is incredibly talented, and we look forward to many more opportunities to work together,” said Chris Johns, editor in chief of National Geographic magazine. “We completely support his decision to put safety first and are grateful the expedition continues under Conrad’s expert leadership.”
“While we know what a disappointment this turn of events is for Cory, our main focus is for him recuperate. We’re relieved to know that he is in good hands,” said Aaron Carpenter, The North Face vice president of marketing. “Cory is an incredibly accomplished climber and photographer, and we look forward to seeing him back on the mountain soon.”