There were four of them and they had set themselves a goal that couldn't be higher: the summit of Mount Everest, at 8,850 meters the highest mountain in the world.

And that on a new route, from the Tibetan East, through the extremely dangerous Kangshung Wall - more than 3300 meters high, steep, remote, exposed.

Heavily glaciated and endangered by avalanches, notorious for the extreme changes in the weather, initially considered by many to be impossible to climb and has hardly been attempted to this day.

So here, in 1988, the American Ed Webster set out with three other mountaineers to the summit, in the purest style, in the most puristic way: without oxygen bottles, without helpers or porters, even without working radios.

The wall had only been climbed once before, in 1983, by an American team,

Bernd Steinle

Editor in the department "Germany and the World".

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Five years later, the four climbers actually reached the South Col at about 8,000 meters, where their route met the normal route to Mount Everest.

Canadian Paul Teare was immediately relegated due to health problems.

Webster, Briton Stephen Venables and American Robert Anderson set off for the summit.

Webster and Anderson turned back at about 8,700 meters, Webster was already hallucinating and kept losing consciousness, as he later reported.

Venables was the only one to get through, but had to bivouack outdoors on the way back, completely exhausted, at 8,600 meters.

Webster and Anderson stayed at the South Col.

"That descent became the fight of our lives."

The next morning they found the half-frozen Venables and the three of them began the perilous descent through the Kangshung Face.

"We could hardly move," Webster later recalled.

"This descent became the fight of our lives." For three and a half days they struggled through fog and cold, deep snow and extreme danger of avalanches.

Her food was long gone.

They made it, just barely.

But the price was high.

Webster, Venables and Anderson lost several toes to frostbite, and Webster, who had taken photographs while climbing the summit, also lost several fingertips.

Born in Boston and raised in the state of Massachusetts, Ed Webster had previously made a name for himself as a first-class rock climber, with first ascents and most difficult routes.

He has received several awards for his mountaineering achievements, including from the American Alpine Club after saving the life of an expedition member.

He has also won awards as a photographer, and his pictures have appeared in the Rolling Stone and the New York Times, among others.

He supported many young climbers as a mentor.

The 1988 route on Everest, Venables wrote on Facebook these days, was Webster's idea.

The American once said he was often asked whether the price wasn't too high.

"For the four of us it was the adventure of a lifetime," he wrote.

Everyone has the right to do something completely crazy once in a while.

"The trick is to get away with it.

We were lucky.” Stephen Venables announced that Ed Webster died last week after suffering a heart attack at the age of 66.