They said it would never be done. It’s improbable for people to successfully reach the peak of Mt. Everest on foot, and physically impossible to reach it by vehicle. Since the first British expedition up the mountain in 1921, dozens of lives have been lost attempting to ascend this Himalayan landmark. Why so much death and carnage? Turns out, it’s because none of the climbers bothered to purchase all season tires. This past April, a college age bro named Chad Smith stopped by his local all season tire dealer, and slapped a set of four on his 2019 Ford Explorer. After a three day journey, he reached the peak.
So, who is Chad Smith? We sat down with the 22 year old Alpha Sigma brother and asked what motivated him to set this world record. After chugging a luke-warm Budweiser, he explained that his father owns a tire business, and that the family was collectively sick of being second guessed about the importance of all-season tires. Chad was in his “reading phase” and had pummeled through Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. Upon getting halfway through the book, Chad declared he would be the first to drive a car all the way up the mountain. Chad would take his ‘19 Ford Explorer, after outfitting it with the right wheels for the job. After sharing his plan with us, he crushed the beer can on his head and said, “Climbing on foot is for nerds!”
Chad packed the essentials: cold-weather clothes, snacks, and a sick Spotify playlist. He flew himself, and his Ford Explorer, over to Nepal. The car had only 25,000 miles and fresh, all season tires straight from his father’s shop. Chad arrived alongside an on-foot expedition of twenty climbers. He dolled out well-wishes and high-fives. Next, Chad hired a local Sherpa to ride shotgun. The Sherpa had accompanied many climbers over the years, but this would be his first ascent in a car. They set off early in the morning, traveling at an average of 20 mph.
While most climbers take weeks to acclimate to the altitude, Chad found himself speeding up the timeline by simply keeping the windows closed on the Ford. He looked upon the campers with judgment, reiterating that everyone can travel by car with the right tires. Every time Chad thought the change in altitude was getting to him, he pulled over and sat quietly for a moment, reflecting on some of his favorite Tony Robbins quotes. The threat of altitude sickness simply would not stop his mission to shine a spotlight on the importance of his father’s tire shop.
After driving for roughly 70 hours, Chad could see the top. His Explorer had traveled over ice, crevasses, and deep pockets of snow. His Sherpa was surprised, but mostly relieved. Together, they reached the infamous peak of Mt. Everest. Chad victoriously stuck a flagpole in the ground, displaying the logo and name of his father’s tire shop. They sipped some hot chocolate, took in the view, then climbed back into the Explorer for the journey down the mountain. It would take three additional days, without any hitches.
Chad came home a hero. His fraternity brothers threw a party to celebrate, and it was widely attended by friends, family, and media. When asked what helped him along the way, Chad enthusiastically exclaimed, “It’s all in the tires, man! Couldn’t have done it with summer or sport tires. Check out my dad’s tire shop to score some for yourself. You never know what will be the thing that will make your dreams come true.”