This morning at 6.45am GMT Leo Houlding reached the summit of Everest via the NE ridge. Leo was joined on the summit by Conrad Anker, quickly followed by Gerry Moffat and Kevin Thaw. The climbers are part of the Altitude Everest Expedition that is recreating the ill-fated Mallory and Irvine expedition of 1924 in an attempt to see if it was possible if Mallory and Irvine could have reached the summit.One of the main difficulties that Mallory and Irvine would have faced is the infamous crux ´second step´ which is a 30m rock feature (thought to be around VS but at 29,000ft). This difficulty was eased by the addition of a fixed ladder that was placed by a Chinese expedition in 1975. As part of this expedition, the ladder was removed to mimic what Mallory and Irvine would have faced. This morning Leo and Conrad free-climbed the second step with Conrad Anker declaring in an understated way ´that was hard´.

The ´Second Step´ crux (30m / 100ft) on NE ridge of Everest

While on the summit Leo managed to phone his mother to inform her of the success. The phoning of family and friends has been a regular occurrence this season as the Chinese have placed a telephone mast at Base Camp on the North side (as part of preparations for the Olympics next year). The Altitude Everest Expedition is creating a feature documentary about the ascent with camera crew following the whole progress. Indeed the summit push this morning was followed by two cameramen and supported by 18 sherpas. You can read more, see video and follow the whole account of the expedition at the Altitude Everest Expedition website and at the DMM website