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 Autumn Everest 2001: The American-Canadian Expedition

"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


August 9, 2001   Depart from Minneapolis, Minnesota

August 11        Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal

August 12-14     Preparations in Kathmandu (loading of supplies, visas, etc.)

August 15        Drive to Zhangmu, Tibet (elevation 7,700 feet)

August 16        Drive to Nyalam, Tibet (elevation 12,300 feet)

August 17        Rest and acclimatizing in Nyalam; some mountain hiking 

August 18        Drive to Xegar, Tibet (elevation 14,000 feet)

August 19        Rest and acclimatizing in Xegar

August 20        Arrive at Everest base camp (elevation 5,200 meters) (date is tentative due to unknown road conditions)

August 21-23     Rest at base camp; begin setting up camp, sorting supplies, preparing for transport up the mountain

August 24        Interim camp (elevation 19,700 feet)

August 25        Yaks take food and equipment to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) 21,300 feet. Expedition members will accompany the yaks, but return immediately to base camp as they will need further acclimatization there before they will be able to move back up to ABC to stay and begin climbing the route above.

August 30        Return to ABC to begin climb.

September 5      Establish North Col Camp (elevation 23,000 feet).

September 15     Establish camp at base of Great Couloir (elevation 25,000 feet).

September 25     Establish the highest camp at 26,500 feet.

October 1        Make first attempt to reach summit

October 10       Turnaround date

October 14       Depart base camp for Kathmandu

October 17       Return to United States

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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