Pete Athans

Rock Climber

Peter’s name has been synonymous with the exploration of Mt. Everest for nearly three decades. He has led numerous expeditions to the mountain and has summited seven times. Peter is a strong proponent of Sherpa culture and has documented their talents at high altitude in books and films.He is Program Director with the Khumbu Climbing Center and works to improve the competence and safety of all Nepalese high altitude climber-professionals. But Everest is only one of Peter’s achievements.

With more than three decades of Himalayan exploration behind him, he has taken a strong interest in the exploration of both the physical and cultural landscapes of Tibet and Western China, their untrammeled peaks and unique cultures. He is a board member of the Himalayan Cataract Project, which brings eye care to cataract patients in Nepal. Concurrently, Peter and his family began the work of encouraging literacy in Nepalese children with the “Magic Yeti Library” project. They have bi-lingual libraries operating in six villages in the Everest region and in the restricted, mythical Kingdom ofUpper Mustang in North Western Nepal.

In addition to filming and writing, Peter studies Himalayan Archaeology and has been working with the Nepalese government in exploring ancient cave dwellings in North West Nepal. His work with National Geographic Television and PBS on archaeological discoveries in Nepal’s Kingdom of Mustanghave been seen by tens of millions of peopleglobally.His third film in the Mustang series, “Cave People of the Himalaya”, premiered on PBS February 15th, 2012. Moreover, National Geographic Magazine will feature a prominent article on the caves project discoveries in December of 2012. He is an accomplished speaker and has contributed to dozens of books, periodicals and films featuringexplorationin the Himalaya. His children’s book about climbing Everest will be available in the summer of 2012.

Nickname: Seven

Known For: Mountaineering, Film Making and Author

Favorite Destination: Sayulita, MX

Favorite The North Face® Product: The Welded Omega Jacket. I used it weekly climbing in Russia nand mountain biking in Northern California. It’s extremely light and waterproof and the fabric is soft and supple.

Proudest Moment: Working with Saneluk Ruitl, G. Jabia and The North Face® to bring eye care to the Himalaya, and the birthdays of my daughter and stepson.

Cause(s): The Himalaya Contract Project, the Khumbu Climbing School, and the Magic Yeti Library.

Words To Live By: Only the weak brain cells die.Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Favorite Cook and Dish: Conrad Anker makes great morning cruel gruel.

Favorite Moment In History: Anything by Joseph Rock, National Geographic 1921-47, Joseph Rock 1921 White Openings, and the discovery to Minya Konka.

Most Recent Epic: My daughter Cleo, born August 26, 2004.

Ambition: Climb all the 14 highest mountains.

Dream Vacation: To Sayulita with my family, or the Everest region with my family and KOS instructor.

16 expeditions in 18 years to the Mt. Everest massif; seven summits of the peak, more than any other climber of non-Sherpa ethnicity.

  • Awarded The Explorers Club Tenzing Norgay Award, 2005.

  • David A. Sowles Award: Granted by The American Alpine Club, this award is given to climbers who distinguish themselves by accepting great personal risk and sacrificing their own objectives to assist fellow climbers who are in distress. In 1996, Peter exhibited great compassionand selflessness in the rescue of Beck Weathers and Makalu Gau duringone of Mount Everest’s most lethal climbing seasons.

  • Columbia University-DuPont Golden Baton Award for Journalism: The production team for Everest: Into the Death Zone was awarded this prestigious prize for their efforts on Everest throughout the spring of 1997.

  • The Vision and the View (Light in the Himalayas), Himalayan Cataract Project/The North Face®/ Rush

  • Surviving Everest: 50 Years of Exploration,National Geographic special program. Peter assisted in the writing,filming, high-altitude videography and editing of this film.

  • The High Route to Tibet:National Geographic film documenting 30 years of adventure and exploration by Joseph Rock, . Tibet and China’s foremost explorer. Peter starred in the film and worked with the production team.

  • Explorer on Ice:National Geographic film highlighting the exhilaration and fear that accompanies travelers through Everest’s notorious Khumbu Iicefall. Peter assisted the production team and talent.

  • Everest: The Mountain at the Millennium, NBC and American Adventure Productions in collaboration with The North Face® . This program documents a small team of scientists and climbers measuring Everest’s height and movement. Peter led the expedition, served as talent and assisted the production team.

  • Everest: Into the Death Zone:Peter recorded high-altitude video for this award-winning program,produced with WGBH of Boston for Nova, which investigates the difficulties of climbing at extreme altitudes throughout the course ofa two-month expedition to Everest.

  • Seven Years in Tibet: Mandalay Productions’ feature-film adaptation of the classic tale ofexploration and self-discovery written by Heinrich Harrer in 1953.Peter worked with the second-unit film team on location in Tibet.

  • The Dark Side of Everest:This film by Great North Productions (for National Geographic in GreatBritain) examines the ethics and interactions of climbers in the “DeathZone” on Everest.