‘Mr. Everest’ comes to Glenwood Springs
Having made 16 expeditions to Mount Everest and summitting the world’s tallest peak on seven of those treks, Pete Athans has reached the top more than anyone of non-Sherpa ethnicity.He’s worked with National Geographic, made countless contributions to science and now travels around the U.S. and Europe to share his thrilling tales about the mountain.On Thursday, Athans, also known as Mr. Everest, will be in Glenwood Springs to present a slide show and speak 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 said 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 has spent a lot of time in Nepal, during and between his climbs. Athans even considers it to be his second home and has come to develop a special connection with the Sherpas.”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, for his first of seven summits. 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,” Athans said of his description of summitting.In many of his expeditions, Athans has worked with National Geographic Television and Film, ABC and NBC Sports and contributed to “Seven Years in Tibet.” Other films include “Everest: Into the Death Zone,” “Everest: The Mountain at the Millennium,” “Explorer on Ice,” “The High Route to Tibet” and “Surviving Everest: 50 year of Exploration.” Athans said that adding the film factor to the climbs is challenging.”It isn’t great to record the images that accurately portray what we do up there and communicate the beauty and severity of the natural world. It is a lot of work with a great deal of heavy lifting,” he said. “(But it is important to get it on camera) to communicate the beauty and fragility of the environment as well as the climbing experience.”
Outside of all his Everest experiences, Athans has climbed quite a bit in Colorado, as he lived here for 26 years. He moved from New York to Boulder after high school and besides Boulder, lived in Silverton, Ouray and Leadville. During that time, he’s climbed all over the state.”I was an instructor for the Colorado Outward Bound School and have climbed extensively in the Collegiate, Holy Cross, Gore, San Juan, Sangre De Christos and, of course, the front Range’s Rocky Mountain National Park,” Athans said.On Thursday, though, Athans will be focusing on his Mount Everest expeditions and trying to give people a glimpse of what it is like to be on top of the world.
• From: New York.• Age: 50. • Lived in Colorado: For 26 years (Boulder, Silverton, Ouray and Leadville).• Other climbs: Annapurna South, Pumari, Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Makalu, K2 and Mount Hunter to name a few.
• Films: Athans has worked with National Geographic on several films and even contributed to the film “Seven Years in Tibet.”• Motivational speaker: Athans has traveled around the U.S. and Europe for almost nine years to tell tales of his adventures.• Tough guy: Athans was recently named as No. 9 on “Men’s Journal” list of 10 Tough Bastards.• The worst thing he’s ever eaten during an Everest climb?: Pringles, Snickers, Ding Dongs and Ho-Hos.• Coming to Glenwood: Will be presenting a slide show of his expeditions to Mount Everest at Summit Canyon Mountaineering on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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