Social Media

Payoffs and perils of snapping at top of the world: EverestNoFilter climbers

Mountaineers' Snapchat climb to top of the world
Mountaineers' Snapchat climb to top of the world

Explorer Adrian Ballinger and photojournalist Cory Richards, professional climbers chronicling their no-oxygen trip to the top of Mount Everest on social media, told CNBC on Friday they chose Snapchat as their primary storytelling vehicle because of the real-time aspect of the service.

"One of the reasons we chose Snapchat was because it is a fairly easy platform to use. But more than that, it's just a very un-curated look at the way a whole Everest season and expedition unfolds," said Richards, an "Eddie Bauer Alpine athlete" along with Ballinger.

"In the moment, it can actually be quite difficult to take your mittens off and ... use your phone," Richards told "Squawk Box," during a phone interview from an advanced base camp at more than 21,000 feet.

We had to stay up all night ... digging the tent out of hundreds of pounds of snow.
Adrian Ballinger
Alpenglow Expeditions founder

Ballinger, a high-altitude mountain guide and founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, said: "This is totally rewarding for us. At this point, we're just getting hundreds of comments and videos sent back to us every day, wishing us good luck and asking questions. The two-way street is part of the beauty of [Snapchat]."

The climbers, on Friday morning, were about four days of climbing away from making an attempt on the Everest summit, the world's tallest peak. Ballinger expects the temperature on summit day to be negative 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

"The hardest part so far [was] probably last week," Ballinger said. "While we were climatizing ... at about 25,000 feet, we got hit by a wind storm that almost destroyed the tent we were staying in. We had to stay up all night with our full mountain gear on ... digging the tent out of hundreds of pounds of snow for a few hours. It was a brutal night."

But it made for a good snap on their EverestNoFilter Snapchat.

Ballinger described the process of uploading their content to Snapchat. "First and foremost, we have to keep our iPhone warm. We use those to take the snaps. And then we set up a Wi-Fi hot spot, using a satellite internet connection powered by solar."

"Hopefully get the snaps out. It can be a little bit of a frustrating process sometimes," he said. "Taking the snaps is easy. Sending them, every 10-second snap might take 10 minutes or more to get out."

Climbers on Mount Everest
Source: Adrian Ballinger, Cory Richards

So far, it's been a good year on Everest, with climbers reaching the 29,035-foot summit, after two years of disasters. The 2015 earthquake in Nepal, which killed more than 8,700 people, claimed 19 climbers in an avalanche, leading to the closure of the mountain. In 2014, 16 Sherpa guides were killed by an avalanche above base camp, resulting in nearly all climbers to abandon their attempts.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.