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Observations placeholder

Jeremy Windsor met Jimmy while climbing Mount Everest, but then he disappeared



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 41


A description of the experience

Business Insider - Kevin Loria
Jan. 9, 2018, 10:41 AM
Mountain climbers experience mysterious hallucinations that doctors are calling a new condition

Strange things happen on top of the mountains.

Jeremy Windsor met Jimmy while climbing Mount Everest. Jimmy said hello to Windsor and encouraged him to keep going: "Come on, change your [oxygen] cylinder and get moving," Windsor recalled Jimmy saying.

Windsor first saw Jimmy on "the Balcony" of Everest, a place Windsor described as a "cold windswept snow shelf high up on the southeast ridge" of the mountain. The Balcony is 8,200 meters (more than 26,900 feet) up, well into the death zone — above 8,000 meters, there's not enough oxygen for people to breathe. That high up, most people rely on supplemental oxygen to survive.

Windsor and Jimmy climbed together for the next 10 hours. Windsor remembers hearing Jimmy's crampons scraping along the ice, hearing oxygen flow into his facemask, and feeling his weight tug the safety line they shared. They talked as they took rests to gather energy for the next push.

When they reached the Hillary Step, the now-collapsed final ridge to climb before the summit, Jimmy said "cheerio" and was gone.

Jimmy wasn't real.

"I was warmed by the thought of human company and too breathless to question what seemed so real," Windsor later wrote.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Climbing high mountains



Hermann Brugger, head of the Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine at Eurac Research was the author of the study, that recorded this episode.  Researchers analyzed records from 83 climbers.

  • 18 climbers (22%) had 'psychotic episodes' on the mountain along with signs of mountain sickness.
  • another 23 climbers (28%) had episodes of 'psychosis' in isolation — they occurred at high altitudes but without any other symptoms of mountain-related illness.

Other researchers have found that when looking at groups of climbers, 32% of those who have gone higher than 7,500 meters had hallucinations. In this study, the mean altitude for hallucinations was 7,280 meters.

Peter Habeler, was one of the first two people to climb Everest without supplemental oxygen. Habeler wrote in his 1979 book "Everest: Impossible Victory,"

"There is a saying that whoever is killed up on the mountain wanders forever after his death and guides the living mountaineers during their last meters to the summit."