It's pretty safe to say that making it to the summit of Mt. Everest—the highest peak in the world and the seriously dangerous white whale of the climbing world—is a big effing deal.
Thousands have tried and failed to reach the summit, and hundreds have died in that pursuit. Last year was the deadliest on record for the majestic Himalayan mountain, and in just the last four days, four climbers have died trying to make it to the peak.
So when a climber does reach the high-risk summit, the world tends to pay attention—especially when the summit is a record-breaker. Today, Melissa Arnot, an Eddie Bauer guide and experienced mountaineer, became the first American woman to successfully complete the climb without the help of supplemental oxygen—no small feat considering that the oxygen levels at the top of Mt. Everest are only about 33 percent of what we breathe at sea level. Imagine making the most strenuous climb of your life and only getting to take one out of every three breaths... (P.S. Meet Rock Climbing Champ Sasha DiGiulian, the First Woman to Conquer "Murder Wall".)
Arnot also smashed through another record with today's summit: She now officially holds the title of most Everest summits by an American woman. Ever. Damn girl.
BREAKING NEWS: Melissa Arnot sets Mt. Everest Summit Record! Congratulations to Eddie Bauer Guide @melissaarnot on becoming the first American woman to successfully complete a Mt. Everest climb without supplemental oxygen. She also sets the record for most Mt. Everest summits by an American woman. #liveyouradventure