Hogus and Paul Descend Island Peak

Hogus and Paul Descend Island Peak

Summiting was more relief than jubilation. Summiting is the goal, but getting down safely is all that really matters. We were on the summit after 10 hours of climbing. We had planned 9 hours to summit AND descend, so we were behind schedule. But we would not increase our risks by hurrying. We would descend at a safe pace and arrive at base camp safely.

We carefully descended the summit ridge with ropes, uncomfortably aware that a fall on either side would be an unpleasant (but not life-threatening) recovery. Those small dots on the bottom-left of the picture are climbers. It’s a long way down through the ice. It’s even further down to the valley where our sleeping bags at base camp are waiting for us.

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Hogus & Paul Summit Island Peak

Everyone has their own ‘mountains to climb’

Climbing Island Peak Mountain was
a long term commitment
a formidable challenge
a test of fortitude

We woke near midnight, to a magnificent black sky and brilliant stars. The snowy mountains shone with an iridescent glow. We ate a hot soup breakfast, filled our 1-Liter bottles with boiling water, and started the approach to Island Peak. Today, groups totaling 39 climbers would attempt to summit Island Peak.

We picked our steps carefully, lit only by our Petzl headlamps. Apparently, climbing in the darkness was a blessing to some. As daylight broke and they could see beyond their headlamps, the Japanese team was horrified with their surroundings – a very steep and sharp rocky ridge with fall-to-death edges on both sides. The entire Japanese team turned back at this point.

Many climbers will say that high-altitude-climbing is the most strenouous and demanding performance they have ever done. Maybe for them. Yes, it is severe. But for those of us who have walked within days of Ostomy and Resection Surgery (or other major surgeries), there are life-challanges that are equally formidable.

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Nepal 2012 Toughest Per Pound

Nepal 2012 Toughest Per Pound

Bir Badur is an amazingly strong man. Pound for pound he is the strongest man I have ever known.
Bir doesn’t know his weight because he doesn’t have a bathroom scale, because Bir doesn’t have a bathroom in his house.Nepal 2012 Toughest Per Pound

Paul is 150 pounds (70 kgs) and is 5’6″ (167.5 cm) tall.
Two nurses on our team both agree that Bir probably weights 90 pounds (40 kgs) and is about 4’10” (147 cm) tall.

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