Singapore adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow has carved his name in the record books as the first Southeast Asian man to summit Mount Everest three times. On his third attempt to scale the world’s highest peak, Khoo got a storage assist from Seagate.
Khoo, 47, brought along two 500 GB Seagate GoFlex Ultra-portable drives (now transitioned to Backup Plus), which he used to capture several high-resolution images and HD videos taken with a Canon 5D Mark II digital camera.
HP, Seagate and Canon were among the corporate sponsors of Khoo’s Altitude X adventure to scale eight of the world’s highest mountains. Everest was the first leg of that adventure, which Khoo conquered last May.
Rising 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level, Everest can be scaled from two sides—the northern ridge from Tibet and the southern ridge from Nepal. For his third try, Khoo chose the former and more challenging route.
Before summiting, climbers must spend time adjusting to the mountain’s extreme altitude, building up their strength and stamina. Khoo and his team spent several weeks at Advanced Base Camp, or ABC, situated at 6,400 meters (20,997 feet). The desolate camp is also where Seagate’s drives made their home.
During his stay at ABC, Khoo took hundreds of photos and several videos. In his past climbs, Khoo had only the camera’s memory card to store images. With Seagate’s spacious GoFlex Ultra-portable drives (now transitioned to Backup Plus), however, he didn’t have to worry about choosing which shots to keep or delete. Seagate’s drives also offered Khoo the benefits of speed and portability.
“At 6,400 meters, the air pressure and oxygen is very low,” Khoo said. “Every bit of energy you exert needs to have purpose behind it. Ease of use and simplicity with my equipment is very important. The Seagate drives were compact, high in capacity and quick. The FireWire 800 capability ensured large files were transferred with little effort.”
Khoo was equally impressed with the drives’ durability. Despite being exposed to high altitudes and chilling -25°C temperatures, Khoo said the drives worked without a hitch.
“I never had a single drive failure, which was incredible, considering where they were being stored,” he said.
While Seagate’s storage stood up to the rigors of Everest, the mountain took its toll on Khoo’s climbing partners. After three weeks at camp, three climbers from his party of five withdrew, leaving only Khoo, his sherpas and a partner. On May 21, the window for ideal summit conditions finally opened. Nature had another obstacle to throw at him, however.
After leaving camp at 8:30 a.m., Khoo found he was temporarily blinded due to constant exposure to the cold, dry wind. He stumbled for seven hours on the North Face as his vision slowly cleared.
With courage, resolve and help from his teammates, Khoo pushed on and reached the top of the world for a third time. And the images and videos stored on his Seagate drives ensure that Khoo’s adventure can be shared with audiences around the globe.
An in-demand motivational speaker, Khoo plans to “ignite the spirit of adventure and accomplishment in people of all ages.”
“Scaling the mountain is one thing,” he said, “but being able to retell the story and bring the adventure to life is another. Thanks to Seagate’s drives, I have a visual record of my expedition and can share it easily.”
- By Nari Yoon