Andrew Hughes reached the summit of Mount Everest on the morning of May 23rd, 2021, at 10:10 a.m. Standing on top of the highest mountain in the world at 29,032 feet he reached into an inner pocket, pulled out a small orange flag, and dropped to his knees as he unfurled the flag which upon it read, “Lauren will you marry me?”
A new record for the highest known wedding proposal by any American ever and only the second known proposal from the summit of Everest, Hughes would await his question to find an answer in person when he returned home safely to Seattle, Washington, weeks later. And so the summit proposal remained a secret held alone by those on the summit.
Back in Seattle on July 3rd, while boating across Lake Washington in the late afternoon sun, Andrew presented Lauren Beard a small box. Inside held a photo of the question posed wrapped in the very proposal flag carried to the summit of Everest. As Lauren this time unfurled the flag, the question posed on a summit a world away found its loving answer at last at sea level, a long-awaited “yes”.
At points during the two-month expedition, Hughes overcame a lung infection, cold injuries and over 20lbs of the weight of muscle loss. With his team, he endured extreme conditions from cyclone weather systems to icefall collapses while continually navigating the risks of climbing during a time of COVID – all to arrive in that moment of realizing a climbing dream of completing the Seven Summits and a much bigger dream of declaring to Lauren that her love was his world while atop the world, then and always.
When you arrive in such summit moments in life, you also arrive at a realization that no summit is arrived at absent the love and support of all of those in one’s life, says Hughes. And that while summits are meaningful, it is those you love in your life which truly matter.
Making Lauren and their shared love forever part of Andrew’s summit moment through proposing on the world’s highest peak was the most important part of reaching the summit of Everest and beginning the two’s happily ‘Everest’ after.