'Everest still challenging and demanding'

It's been thirty years since the first Soviet expedition made it to the summit of Mount Everest. The 70 climbers, who conquered the world's highest peak have been honored in Moscow.

­Over the centuries, Everest beckoned thousands of mountaineers – experienced and amateur.

The peak was first climbed by a British expedition in 1953 and it took a further 29 years for Soviet climbers to conquer its summit.

However, they did it in style, choosing the hardest route on the South-West ridge and, to this day, no one has yet repeated this feat.

“For us, it was a dream come true, the peak of our climbing careers,”
Kazbek Valiev, member of the 1982 Soviet Everest expedition, told RT. “We didn't know what to expect as we hadn't had any experience of reaching peaks higher than seven-and-a-half kilometers. It was a real challenge for us, and for all the climbing community, as we climbed via one of the hardest routes, and that was all thanks to our great teamwork. Back home, we were cheered like Olympic champions.”

Even though more than four thousand people have climbed Everest so far, there are still thousands more who dream of doing it and, as the mountaineers themselves say, once you've done it – you dream of repeating it.

“Not only Everest but all mountains tempt you to come back. I was lucky to reach the top three times and I'd love to get there again,” climber Ivan Dusharin explained.

“It's like an addiction. Once you've been somewhere up in the mountains you always think of coming back. When I started mountaineering, the idea of climbing Everest began to haunt me,” Karina Mezova,the  fifth Russian woman to conquer Everest, added.

Despite technological improvements in weather forecasting, climbing equipment and physical fitness, which has made it slightly easier to reach the world's highest peak it's still impossible to predict everything in the mountains. And Everest can present some extremely unpleasant surprises.

“The mountain remains the same – very challenging and demanding,”
Valiev stressed. “A lot of proper preparation is needed before attempting it. It's extremely dangerous – and mistakes are not forgiven. In 1996, seven mountaineers died in one failed expedition, as Everest showed its deadly nature.”

And it's because of such huge risks scaling the world’s highest peak will always be a symbol of supreme courage, which would be needed now as much as it was in 1982 if the Soviet feat is to be repeated.

The route of Soviet mountaineers, who climbed Everest, the peak of the Himalayas, 1982. (RIA Novosti / Jury Senckevich)
The route of Soviet mountaineers, who climbed Everest, the peak of the Himalayas, 1982. (RIA Novosti / Jury Senckevich)
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