July 1999Volume Six, Number Seven
Highlights from July 1999
Here's a sample of the July 1999 issue of Expedition News. To subscribe to the complete version each month - either by postal or e-mail - see the subscription information below.
One unstoppable disabled climber is Ed Hommer, 43, of Duluth, Minn. Last month, he became the first double amputee to summit Mt. McKinley, a feat that landed him on the NBC-TV Today Show on June 28. Hommer now has his sights set on a first-time expedition to the Himalayas in 2000 to climb a trekking peak in Nepal's Annapurna sanctuary. The next year we wants to climb 26,906-ft. (8201 m) Cho Oyu, then Everest via the North col in 2002 - hopefully as the first double amputee to successfully summit.
Hommer and his climbing partner, French Canadian Kelly Raymond, 32, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, summited McKinley at 7 p.m. on June 3 after 15 days on the mountain, four days of which were spent tent-bound in storms. Seven p.m. may sound late by Everest standards, but at that altitude and latitude (20,320-ft. and 63 degrees N), it remains light until almost midnight. Summitting was an important feat for Hommer because it was on McKinley that he lost both legs below the knee to frostbite when he crashed his small plane at 11,000 feet in December 1981.
Hommer is used to hurtling obstacles. He is reportedly the only double amputee commercial airline pilot in North America, regularly flying 50-passenger EMB 145 turbojets out of Chicago O'Hare for American Eagle, an affiliate of American Airlines. While having a double amputee for a pilot doesn't necessarily allow passengers to peacefully sleep through a flight, Hommer says his two prosthetics are so good, "I hardly walk with a limp." What's more, he's checked out every six months like any other commercial airline pilot and American Eagle has been promoting Hommer in various publications.
"Climbing is not about being a double amputee," Hommer tells EN. "For me, a large part of it is to get a message out there to other physically challenged people. Learning about my story, they might be surprised about what they're still able to do with some assistance from others and their own personal drive."
Hommer has been grateful about the sponsorship support received from American Eagle and prosthetics manufacturer Nova Care. He's so grateful, in fact, that he wore the logos of both companies during his Today Show interview with Matt Lauer. Granite Gear, MSR, and Sierra Designs also provided support for the McKinley expedition. Moving forward, additional sponsorship is being sought as he sets his sights on standing tall in the Himalayas. (For more information: Edward L. Hommer, cell 847 867 2632).
Nepal Trains Women Climbers - Nimi Sherpa has a dream. In the next five years, Nepal's foremost woman climber would like to see an all-Nepali women's team on Everest. A climbing instructor and a tourism professional for more than a decade, she says, "In a Himalayan country known for its mountains and climbers, it's hard to come up with names of even a few women climbers or trekking guides. You can count them on five fingers."
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
What's So Funny About the Explorers Club? - Popular New York cartoonist Stan Mack thinks the Explorers Club is full of good material. He attended the Explorers Club annual dinner last March and created a two-page cartoon for the June 6 New York Times Magazine titled, "Overheard at the Explorer's (sic) Club." A member is quoted from the podium: "Americans have lost their sense of adventure. I asked a colleague about Magellan and he said the funds are overrated."
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