Summiting Mount Everest just once\u2014all 29,035 feet of it\u2014is a phenomenal accomplishment. For professional alpinist Adrian Ballinger, however, doing that six times isn't quite enough.\u00a0\n"Those experiences were incredibly powerful," he says over a recent satellite phone call, "but I always recognized that I was using a huge crutch." No, not trekking poles\u2014he's talking about oxygen. \nAir contains less oxygen at high altitudes (the difference is noticeable around 8,000 feet)\u00a0and for Ballinger, who at the time of this interview was acclimation training at 23,000 feet en route to Everest's summit, the true measure of his climbing prowess lies in his ability to top the world's highest mountain without supplemental O.\nAt the beginning of April, Ballinger, along with climber and photographer Cory Richards, National Geographic's 2012 Adventurer of the Year, set out to climb Everest without oxygen tanks. They're not the first to attempt this feat, but they are the first to document the entire journey in real time using\u00a0Snapchat. (Editor's note: on May 24, the partners\u00a0reached their goal and summited Everest.)\n\nTheir expedition is dubbed #EverestNoFilter and is just that: a raw, unedited glimpse at all the preparation, training, equipment, food (or lack thereof), and sheer manpower that goes into reaching the top of the world. We caught up with the climbers to discuss exactly what they need to survive\u2014and Snap on social media\u2014miles and miles above sea level.\n\n\nSeniorhelpline: How's the climb going so far? What are you doing to get acclimated?\nCory Richards: We started in Kathmandu, Nepal. The border into Tibet was closed for a bit longer this year, so we took about eight days to go into the Khumbu Valley. We're doing rotations to promote red blood cell production in our bodies; there are some lower peaks we climbed to get our lungs acclimated to higher altitudes. We started by sleeping two nights on at about 5,900 meters, or just over 19,000 feet. When the border opened, we started our trek to base camp at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier, and spent four nights there getting acclimated. \nFrom here\u2014North Col, which is 23,000 feet up\u2014we're going to climb as high as we feel our bodies can go. Hopefully we'll get up to 26,000 feet. After this rotation, we'll do one or two more, then descend down to base camp at 17,000 feet, where we'll sink deep into some muscle regeneration and blood cell production. Hopefully after all this, we'll have enough reserves in us for summit day\u2014the summit is at 29,035 feet.\n\nPM: How much equipment do you have to bring with you? How big is your crew?\nAdrian Ballinger: Altogether, we're about 50 people (including support and cook staff) and have about 9,000 pounds of gear with us. That weight includes equipment to set up comfortable base camps, where our bodies can recover. Our backpacks weigh in the range of 25-40 pounds: We're sleeping in an eight-pound tent, cooking on a small propane stove, and eating Soylent. Everything becomes much lighter and simpler up here.\n\n\n\nPM: Gear-wise, what exactly does it take to Snap from Everest?\nBallinger: The mere fact that Cory and I were able to use Snapchat to tell our story wouldn't have been possible even three years ago, especially in terms of satellite technology. We have satellite dishes that weigh about four pounds. They're charged by solar-powered Goal Zero batteries. The setup that keeps our phones charged and allows us to send signals weighs in the vicinity of 15 pounds. Five years ago, that same system would've weighed 60 pounds\u2014if it was even possible in terms of bandwidth. It's\u00a0not cheap, but we're lucky to have sponsors that help support us.\n\nPM: Cory, what sort of camera equipment\u00a0do you need at 29,000 feet?\nRichards: I'm a lot more laissez-faire about my equipment than I used to be\u2014the cameras I'm using are built to take some abuse. I don't do anything particularly special, I just put it in a Pelican case or whatever I have and hope for the best. \nIn terms of what I'm using, my go-to camera right now is a Sony A7RII with a Zeiss 24-70mm lens. I also brought a medium format camera for portraits, and for intimate situations, I use a Leica M. I tend to refer to cameras as "hammers"\u2014you have to use the best tool for the job. But honestly, we're creating a lot of media on our phones\u2014it's a changing world.\n\nPM:\u00a0How do you keep your hands warm enough to use those phones though?\nBallinger: Electric socks and hand warmers have become a huge part of the system\u2014they add to our safety system. I also use heated insoles\u2014because I've had frostbite on two toes before and I'm trying not to lose them. I really like wearing flip-flops in the summer.\n\nPM:\u00a0How are other everyday, simple tasks like using the bathroom complicated by living on the mountain?\nBallinger: As climbing Everest gets more popular, human waste has become a big issue. We use CleanWaste bags, which are basically zip-lock bags with a N.A.S.A.-designed powder inside. The powder sucks moisture out of our excrement so that it won't smell. We carry the bags back down the mountain, where there's bacteria to break down human waste\u2014there isn't much bacteria above 20,000 feet. I'd say only 15-20% of teams are doing this, but we need everyone to participate in order to keep the mountain clean.\n\nPM: What do you think the implications of\u00a0documenting this trip\u2014the good, bad, and ugly\u2014via social media are\u00a0for the future of climbing Mount Everest, or climbing in general?\nRichards: In the small scheme, a trip like this doesn't change much. But\u00a0I think utilizing social media like Snapchat gives people a much more educated idea of what climbing Mount Everest without oxygen entails. I think that will inspire people to engage with the natural world\u2014and when people start engaging with it, they have a reason to care about it.\u00a0\nWe understand that making this trip takes a huge amount of resources. But the world also needs more people to engage with the environment. I do it because I love it\u2014but also\u00a0by doing it, there is an end result.\n\n\n\nKeep up with Ballinger and Richards\u00a0on Snapchat @EverestNoFilter, or follow their expedition\u00a0on Instagram or\u00a0YouTube.