I want to tell you about our cute employee Janet Parker and the experience she is having this month. Janet’s husband climbs mountains – not only the local variety, but the highest peaks in the world. He is working on his goal to climb the “Seven Summits.” The Seven Summits are the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Summiting all of them puts a person in somewhat of an elite group, as there are only about 200 people in the world who have done it. The Seven Summits are Kilimanjaro in Africa, Denali – more commonly known as Mt. McKinley in North America (Alaska), Elbrus in Europe (Russia), Aconcagua in South America (Chile), Kosciuszko in Australia, Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, and Everest on the Asian continent.
Bruce has climbed six of the seven, with only Everest left to do. Janet actually went to Australia and climbed Kosciuszko with him because, although it’s the highest peak on that continent, it was a relatively easy climb that even she could do. She is a recreational hiker, NOT a serious mountain climber.
2008 is the year Bruce was supposed to climb Mt. Everest, and he had the expedition planned for this past spring. But, because of the Olympics and political conflicts with Tibet, the Chinese government closed access to the North Face of Everest, allowing only their climbers who took the Olympic Torch to the top. Bruce has rescheduled his Everest climb for 2009.
In the meantime, he decided to climb another mountain – a mountain in the same range and nearly as high, which is located in Nepal. It is called Manaslu, and at 26,758 feet, it is only about 2,300 hundred feet shorter than Everest. This climb will hopefully give him the experience at high altitude that he needs to be even better prepared to climb Everest next spring. He left in August and will be home around October 8. Janet sends us emails of his progress. He, his guide, and the other eight climbers are currently at Camp One, 2,500 feet above base camp, getting acclimated and waiting for snowy weather to clear so they can climb to a higher camp. Janet gets to talk to him every few days on his satellite phone, which helps her be amazingly calm considering what her husband is doing. We’re anxious along with Janet as we hear about Bruce climbing across crevasses on ladders and hearing avalanches on the next mountain. We’ll keep you posted as we hear about his progress. Hang in there Janet!