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 Autumn Everest 2001

"This isn't about (me),'' Hommer told the Duluth News Tribune in March. "This is about the capabilities of the human spirit and what any of us can accomplish.''
Ed Hommer

Members of the American/Canadian Mt. Everest Expedition depart Thursday, August 9, for their 10-week journey to the summit of the world's highest mountain. What makes this expedition unique is expedition organizer Ed Hommer, a double amputee from Duluth, Minn. Hommer would be the first double amputee to summit the more than 29,000-foot Mt. Everest.

Ed and expedition members Kelly Raymond of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada; Scott Anderson of Two Harbors, Minn.: and Tom Halvorson, Cloquet, Minn., depart on Northwest Airlines flight #295 at 11:20 a.m. on Thursday, August 9, from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Five other expedition members will join them in Los Angeles for the trip to Kathmandu, Nepal.

If you ask Ed, who is a commercial airline pilot as well as a mountaineer, what drives him to attempt a summit of the northern face of Mt. Everest, he’ll wax philosophically.

“When you’re involved in a big climb, you’re totally focused for so long that soon nothing matters but the mountain and the remote wilderness around you. Although you suffer – both mentally and physically – you leave the mountain feeling purified.”

He’s quick to add, “It also convinces my kids that their old man is a bit nuts.”

That’s typical of Ed’s attitude toward life: a sincere appreciation of the opportunities offered, coupled with a wry sense of humor about the challenges faced. 

It was Ed’s positive attitude that enabled him to survive a harrowing plane crash on Mt. McKinley in December 1981, in which rescuers weren’t able to reach him for five days. By the time help arrived, Ed’s feet were so badly frozen they had to be amputated. That same determination carried Ed through 15 months of intensive rehabilitation and made possible a return to flying and mountain climbing.

Ed will be the only climber with a disability in the group leaving for Mt. Everest, but he isn’t concerned about his ability to keep up. In 1999, Hommer became the first double amputee to summit North America's highest peak, the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley. And he’s already conquered towering heights in the Himalayas.

The rest of the team is made up of mountaineers and professionals from across North America. They include:

  • Scott Anderson, Two Harbors, Minnesota
  • Daniel Bronstein, Basalt, Colorado
  • Tom Halvorson, Cloquet, Minnesota (Ed's prosthetist as well as a climber)
  • Brian McCullough, Talkeetna, Alaska
  • Kelly Raymond, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • Karl Swanson, Talkeetna, Alaska
  • Jim Sturgis, Keller, Texas
  • Jim Wickwire, Seattle, Washington (Expedition Leader)

They plan to arrive at base camp by August 20. The summit attempt will be made from the Great Couloir route on Everest in early October.

This will be a featured Expedition on EverestNews.com.

Yes, note Jim Wickwire returns !!!

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