‘Mr. Everest’ to speak in Glenwood
November 8, 2007
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Stepping atop the summit of Mount Everest is an experience like no other, accordiing to mountaineer Pete Athans.
He should know. Athens has 16 expeditions to Mount Everest under his belt, and he has summitted the world’s highest peak seven times ” more than anyone but the Himalaya’s native Sherpas.
He has worked with National Geographic, made countless contributions to science and now travels around the United States and Europe to share his tales about the mountain.
On Thursday, Athans, also known as “Mr. Everest,” will be in Glenwood Springs to present a slide show and speak. The program takes place at Summit Canyon Mountaineering, at 7 p.m.
“I will speak about my Everest years and how they quite logically morphed into doing development and philanthropic work with the Himalayan Cataract Project of providing sight-restoring surgery to the indigent blind of Nepal,” Athans explained in an e-mail. “I will close by showing a short trailer film about exploration in Nepal’s Kingdom of Mustang.”
The 50-year-old Colorado resident has spent a lot of time in Nepal, during and between his climbs. Athans considers it to be his second home and has come to develop a special connection with the Sherpas.
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“The Sherpas opened their doors and homes to me with their generosity, hospitality and charm,” he said. “Their culture is emblematic of the Everest experience, and they understand the mountain better than anyone. Climbing and living amongst them is revealing and surprising.”
Athans first took on Mount Everest in 1985 and successfully summitted for the first time in 1990, four climbs later. He says the feeling of making it to the top is like no other.
“Elation, relief, satisfaction at a job done well and safely and, in a manner of speaking, purified,” is how Athans describes the summit experience.
In many of his expeditions, Athans has worked with National Geographic Television and Film, ABC and NBC Sports, and contributed to the film “Seven Years in Tibet,” among others.
Adding the film factor to the climbs is challenging, he admitted.
“It is a lot of work with a great deal of heavy lifting,” he said. But, Athans added, it’s important to get the images on camera ” “to communicate the beauty and fragility of the environment as well as the climbing experience.”
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