Vanessa at the summit.
To quote Vanessa after she safely arrived back at base camp, "My summit day was exactly as Ed Viesturs described - too high winds and terrible accumulation of snow - but I remembered every word he said about Scott Fischer living in the present and Ed worried about the future and accumulation of snow. It was the hardest thing I have ever done."
This year, weather was a factor again as O'Brien's was the only expedition to reach the top - heavy snowfall and unstable weather sent the bigger teams back, including Russell Brice's revered Himalayan Experience (HIMEX).
O'Brien climbed Mt. Everest, the world's highest peak at 29,035 feet, in 2010 en route to becoming the then-fastest woman to climb the Seven Summits - highest mountain on each continent - plus ski the last degree to the North and South Poles, doing all in just 11 months.