Birth of Sea To Summit


“Summiting Everest is great and all, but you didn’t really climb all of Everest…if you didn’t start at the sea!” A friend pointed out to him at a pub in Australia one night after his return from his first ascent of Everest.

It was after this conversation in 1986 that the planning began to ascend all of Mount Everest’s 29,029 feet. In February of 1990, he took off. The gear he used and lessons he learned on the three-month, 700-mile journey inspired Macartney-Snape and a friend, Roland Tyson, to create the gear brand Sea to Summit. The brand is thriving today and its name honors the first and only ascent of Mount Everest in its entirety.

Bay Of Bengal: 1990

A brief swim in the Bay of Bengal cued the start of his expedition across the country of India and up the tallest mountain in the world. He would go on foot, followed by a small film crew across the Gangetic plain, over the border of Nepal, and to base camp. Then he would take on the summit, alone.

Through tropical rainforests, dense jungle, and countless river crossings he eventually reached Nepal — 375 miles (600km) from his starting point. At this time, local conflict shut down the border crossing he planned to use.

Needing to make it to basecamp in time for climbing season and to allow for proper acclimatization he sought an alternative route. He heard that 185 miles (300km) south another border was open.

After a quick calculation, he started running. It simply wasn’t an option to sit and wait for a border crossing that may never open. Though, running nearly a marathon a day for five days to get through the open border and back to the spot he intended to cross, was an option, so that’s what he did.

Reaching Everest Basecamp

He made it to basecamp in early April and spent the next four-to-five weeks acclimatizing before making a push for the summit.

The original plan was to summit via the west face. Inclement weather shut down that option leaving Everest’s most popular route as his next choice.

On May 11, Macartney-Snape made it to the summit of Everest carrying a super 8 camera and all of his gear.

Over three months, he traveled 745 miles across and 29,029 feet up, thus concluding a true sea to summit ascent of the world’s highest peak. A feat accomplished entirely without oxygen or a support team to haul gear. To this day nobody has repeated his endeavor.


Article by: Gear Junkie

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