Singer-songwriter Mike Posner, a former Detroiter, and his expedition team reach the top of Mount Everest.
Singer-songwriter Mike Posner, a former Detroiter, and his expedition team reach the top of Mount Everest. (Courtesy of Mike Posner)

A graduate of Birmingham Groves High School, as well as Duke University in North Carolina, Mike Posner is an in-demand, alternative/indie composer and recording artist.

Acclaimed musician Mike Posner chose climbing Mount Everest in Nepal this year for his next physical challenge after touring part of the U.S. on foot two years ago.

After months of preparation, the former Southfield resident and his crew reached the summit of Everest on June 1. “It was humbling to be there,” said Posner of Eagle County, Colo.

A graduate of Birmingham Groves High School, as well as Duke University in North Carolina, Posner is an in-demand, alternative/indie composer and recording artist. His first hit in 2009 was “Cooler Than Me.”

Mike Posner
Mike Posner Colin McAndrews

Taking a break from music in 2019 to “Walk Across America,” as he called his journey, gave the now 33-year-old an opportunity “to find out who I was when I wasn’t Mike Posner, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter.” (“I Took a Pill in Ibiza” earned him a 2017 Grammy nomination.) He also walked in tribute to his late father, 40-year civil rights attorney Jon Posner. His widowed mother is pharmacist Roberta Henrion of Detroit, and his married sister, attorney Emily Posner, lives in New Orleans.

This time around, because Posner wanted his quest “to be about others,” he set a goal of $250,000 for donations to a nonprofit law firm, Detroit Justice Center (gofundme.com/Everest). The DJC mission is to work “alongside communities to create economic opportunities, transform the justice system and promote equitable and just cities.”

Though naturally athletic, Posner knew he’d require an expert to conquer the world’s highest mountain. Climbers need weeks to acclimatize and develop an efficient use of oxygen in the thinner air (lower in oxygen and pressure) found at high altitudes. Posner put his trust in Dr. Jon Kedrowski, a Coloradan author, ski-mountaineer and geographer, who’d led four previous Mount Everest expeditions. 

“Mike said, ‘I want to make sure I deserve to be there,’” Kedrowski said. “He passed everything I set up for him.”

40-Day Journey

Posner’s training started in Colorado. Assisting in Nepal were Dawa Chirring and Dawa Dorje, ethnic Sherpas native to the Himalayan mountain region. It typically takes 40 days for the round-trip trek from Mount Everest Base Camp at 17,500 feet above sea level to the mountain’s summit at 29,032 feet.

“Climbing Mount Everest was harder than I expected. It pushed me to all my limits,” Posner said. Two cyclones coming off the Bay of Bengal tested everyone’s patience.

“It can be an emotional rollercoaster going one day from ‘We’re going to climb today,’ to ‘No, you cannot’ — then you have to wait,” said Posner.

Reaching the Mount Everest summit, around 4:30 a.m., “the moment was beyond words, and I was overwhelmed with tears,” he said. 

After 25 minutes on top, watching an “incredible” sunrise, they started descending. Later, in Katmandu, an exhausted Posner said he slept “36 out of those first 48 hours.”

“It was a phenomenal journey, and a testament to all the hard work Mike put in,” said Kedrowski.

Processing his climb, Posner said, “I feel blessed and grateful that my team helped me get to the summit and having that experience.”

His future will include music, “always the deepest and most beautiful part of my life.” 

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