Francys Arsentiev, an American climber known as the “Sleeping Beauty of Mount Everest,” was born on January 18, 1958, in Wisconsin, USA. She came from a family that loved climbing and began her own mountaineering adventures in her twenties, quickly conquering some of the world’s highest peaks. She went to school in different places, even Switzerland, and got a master’s degree.

She worked as an accountant in Colorado after finishing her studies. She got married when she was a teenager but later got divorced. She loved climbing mountains from a very young age and felt a special excitement when she did it. As an adult, she climbed many famous mountains in the United States, but she wanted to do even bigger things, like reaching the top of Mount Everest.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, and it’s very challenging to climb because of the tough weather and high risks. Francy’s really wanted to conquer it. She met her husband, Sergei Arsentiev while climbing in 1991, and they got married in 1992. Together, they climbed many mountains, including Denali and Elbrus.

In 1998, Francys and Sergei reached the top of Mount Everest together. She wanted to be the first American woman to do it without extra oxygen. She always loved pushing herself and being adventurous. Sadly, she didn’t make it back down the mountain.

Francys and Sergei’s son, Paul, lives in Colorado now. Sergei was also a famous climber, known for his incredible achievements in mountaineering, including climbing tough mountains without extra oxygen. He was a pioneer in the world of climbing.

Reason Behind the name ‘Mount Everest Sleeping Beauty’

Bodies on Mount Everest don’t rot quickly because it’s very cold there. So, when people found Francys’s body after many years she had frostbite, which made her skin hard and white instead of red and blotchy. It looked like she was sleeping, even though she had passed away. 

That’s why some people called her the “Mount Everest Sleeping Beauty,” like in the Sleeping Beauty story where the princess sleeps for a long time. It’s because she looked peaceful, just like someone sleeping. Also, her story was in the headlines everywhere with this name as well.

Creating History Together by Sergei and Arsentiev

Sergei and Francys Arsentiev were a famous climbing team. Sergei, known as the ‘Snow Leopard,’ was already famous for climbing five tall mountains in his home country. He inspired Francys to love mountains too. They climbed together and faced challenges. Francys even became the first American woman to ski down Elbrus, a big mountain in Russia.

Then, they decided to climb Mount Everest without extra oxygen, which was a big goal. They made a plan based on their experiences on another mountain called Denali. They wanted Francys to be the first American woman to reach the top of Everest without using extra oxygen, even though people thought it was impossible.

Arsentiev’s Journey to Mount Everest

Francys Arsentiev’s story on Mount Everest touched the hearts of many people around the world. It’s a tale of bravery, love for the mountains, and the harsh reality of climbing the highest peak on Earth.

Francys and Sergei were not just ordinary climbers; they were a team, partners in life and adventure. Sergei, known as the “snow leopard,” had already achieved fame in the climbing world by conquering many tall mountains in the former Soviet Union. Francys was equally passionate about climbing, and her love for the mountains grew stronger as she explored more peaks.  Their journey to Mount Everest was fueled by their shared dream of reaching the summit without the aid of supplemental oxygen, a remarkable feat that very few climbers had ever achieved. They embarked on this daring adventure together, facing challenges, harsh weather, and the unforgiving environment of the mountain.

One of the most heartbreaking moments in this story is the dream that their young son Paul had before their ascent. In his nightmare, he saw climbers in trouble on a snowy mountain, including his parents. He begged his mother not to go, but she reassured him, not knowing the tragedy that awaited her.As they made their way up Everest, Francys and Sergei encountered difficulties, like losing their headlamps and heavy snowfall. But they persevered, and Francys reached the summit, fulfilling her dream of becoming the first American woman to do so without extra oxygen.

However, the joy of this achievement was short-lived. As they descended, Francys started feeling the effects of extreme altitude, a condition known as hypoxia, which can be life-threatening. She became too weak to continue, and Sergei, carrying an oxygen cylinder, also faced challenges.The story takes a tragic turn as other climbers encountered the couple but were unable to provide the help that Francys desperately needs. She was left tied to a rope, semi-conscious, and in a perilous situation.

The climbers who came across her gave her some oxygen but were unable to do more. Francys’ condition deteriorated, and she tragically succumbed to the harsh conditions of Mount Everest. Sergei, too, faced a grim fate during his attempt to save his wife. For years, Francys Arsentiev’s body remained on the mountain, becoming a somber landmark for climbers passing by. Her son Paul had to live with the haunting images of his mother on the internet, frozen in time on the unforgiving slopes of Everest.

Finally, in 2007, Ian Woodall organized a mission to bring Francys down from the mountain. They wrapped her in the American flag as a mark of respect and lowered her from the peak, allowing her to rest peacefully at last.

What were Francys Arsentiev’s last words?

Mount Everest Sleeping Beauty

As they reached high on the mountain, they came across Francys, and to their surprise, she could only repeat the same three phrases: “Don’t leave me,” “Why are you doing this to me,” and “I’m an American.” It was as if her words were stuck on a loop, like a broken record that wouldn’t play anything else.

The climbers quickly realized that she was in serious trouble, and her ability to communicate was severely limited. It was a distressing scene on the harsh slopes of Mount Everest, where every moment counted. Despite their best efforts to help her, she could only express her fear and confusion in those repetitive phrases. It was a stark reminder of how challenging and unforgiving the conditions on Everest could be, where even basic communication could become a struggle for survival.

Why is it necessary to bring an additional cylinder when climbing Mount Everest?

When people climb Mount Everest, they need to be careful about the air because it has less oxygen as they go higher. Oxygen is important for our bodies to work well. So, most climbers take extra oxygen with them to breathe when they climb high.

Some experienced climbers, like the Sherpa people, can go up without extra oxygen because their bodies are used to it. But it’s still risky, and many climbers have died while trying to climb Everest without extra oxygen. At the top of Everest, the air has much less oxygen, which makes it hard to breathe. Some climbers who reached the top without extra oxygen set records, but it’s not safe for everyone.

Climbing Everest is very tough, and the weather can be extremely cold. Francys Arsentiev, known as the Everest Sleeping Beauty, is a famous example. She got into trouble because of the cold and lack of oxygen and sadly didn’t make it back down.Climbers have to be really careful on Everest because even small mistakes can be very dangerous due to the tough conditions and low oxygen levels.


1. Why is Francys Arsentiev called Sleeping Beauty?

Ans: Francys Arsentiev got the nickname “Sleeping Beauty” because when climbers found her frozen body on Mount Everest, she looked like she was peacefully sleeping. The press started calling her “Sleeping Beauty on Everest” because of this.

2. Has Sleeping Beauty been removed from Everest?

Ans: Yes, in 2007, Ian Woodall, a climber who had helped Francys during her climb, found her lifeless body. He performed a special ceremony and moved her body to a lower place on the mountain. This meant that climbers couldn’t see her anymore, so the nickname “Sleeping Beauty on Everest” wasn’t used after that.

3. What happened to Francys Arsentiev?

Ans: Francys Arsentiev was the first American woman to reach the top of Mount Everest without using extra oxygen on May 22, 1998. But sadly, during her descent from the mountain, she faced problems, and her life ended tragically on May 24, 1998.

4. Who was Francys Arsentiev Husband?

Ans:Francys Arsentiev’s husband was Sergei Arsentiev. He was a Russian professional climber and mountaineer. The two of them shared a passion for climbing and embarked on various mountaineering adventures together, including their fateful expedition to Mount Everest in 1998.

5. What leads to the Death of Francys Arsentiev?

Ans: The reason Francys Arsentiev, also known as the Mount Everest Sleeping Beauty, passed away on Mount Everest in 1998 was because of the very tough weather at the top. Her climbing team couldn’t come down from the summit, so they had to stay there for a long time. This caused her to get very cold and get frostbite. 

She didn’t have enough oxygen in the high-altitude area, which made her lose her ability to think properly. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it back down to the base camp of Mount Everest, and that’s why she passed away.

 6. Is Sleeping Beauty still on Mount Everest?

Ans: No, Sleeping Beauty, aka Francys Arsentiev, is no longer on Mount Everest. In 2007, a climbing team led by Ian Woodall successfully retrieved her body from the mountain and moved it to a lower location. This action was taken to remove her remains from the view of climbers and provide a more dignified resting place. So, she is not on Mount Everest anymore.