Neil Hershman at the summit of Mount Everest at 29,028 feet.

“At 6:32am on 5/24/2021, I stood on top of Mt. Everest as the highest (and probably coldest) person in the world,” Neil Hershman, the owner of 16 Handles in Times Square, announced on Instagram today after safely returning to Basecamp. “The mountain was extreme — it tried to kill us — but we survived and thrived.”

Neil Hershman (right) celebrates with expedition teammate, Marius Purice back at Camp 2.

When we last caught up with businessman Neil last month, he had just opened a new 16 Handles franchise in Times Square, adding to his existing portfolio of four downtown locations. He set up his staff in the new storefront on 7th Avenue between W48/49th Street, then temporarily swapped frozen yogurt for a very different kind of freezing experience: scaling Earth’s tallest mountain. 

Neil (center) with Sherpas Jyamchange and Pasang (his summit group) at Camp 4 in oxygen masks

Neil’s summit group, including Sherpas Jyamchang and Pasang, used oxygen from South Col, Camp 4, to reach the summit. He described the weather as “brutal”.

YouTube video
Neil on a rappel between Camp 3 and 4.

As far as keeping up with his NYC stores, this is what the avid mountain climber told us: “I have a sat phone. I’ve left pretty much every year for a climb to somewhere — I really don’t take vacation otherwise. We built a really good tech stack. Everything’s electronic, everything’s super simplified. My entire staff is young. Almost everyone does everything on their phone. We run payroll from our phone and we do the schedules from our phone. I have great managers. I train the heck out of them —  and then I think everything’s good to go.”

Everest completed — Neil celebrates back at Base Camp.

Hershman sure knows how to stay busy, and his love for frozen dessert is expanding in NYC. In April he also opened the city’s first Dippin’ Dots store, off Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District.

Neil Hershman at one of this New York City stores.

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