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 Autumn Everest 2001: The American-Canadian Expedition

The Team
Name: Ed Hommer
Birthdate: November 19, 1955
Birthplace: Manistee, Michigan 
Residence: Duluth, Minnesota
Family: Three children: Carmen, Mitch and Garrison
Education: U.S. Army 1974-1978; Paratrooper Flight School, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Northern Warfare Training Center, Alaska
Occupation: MD-80 First Officer for American Airlines, May 2000-present
Work history: Pilot, American Eagle, 1985-2000; Bush Pilot, Alaska, 1980-81
Personal Hero: Mother Theresa. Look at what one “frail” little lady did for the world.
Accomplishments: First double amputee to summit Mt. McKinley in 1999; Founder of High Exposure Inc. -- a foundation that provides amputees with prosthetics that return them to their original level of activity, trains Nepalese doctors in prosthetics fitting and supplies devices to clinics in Kathmandu; Author of The Hill, publication date Fall 2001
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
25 years
How I became
part of this expedition:
I was drawn to the high adventure and lured by the remote regions of the world, unknown to man.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
To organize the expedition. Put together a team with complementary skills, organize the logistics and raise funds for the expedition.
Goals for the expedition: To be the first double amputee to summit Mount Everest
What the expedition
means to me:
To make a bold statement about the possibilities and capabilities of physically challenged people. To make a "handicap" something that only golfers talk about.
Childhood memory: Fishing with my father on the
Manistee River
Hobbies: Hiking, downhill and cross country skiing, bicycling, ice climbing
Interesting fact
about myself:
I'll get back to you on that one!
Favorite Author: James Michener
Favorite Food: BBQ ribs (I make GREAT BBQ ribs)
Favorite TV Show: History Channel or National Geographic Explorer
Favorite Music: Bob Dylan (a Minnesota guy)
Favorite Movie: “Jeremiah Johnson”
 
Name: Scott W. Anderson
Birthdate: December 4, 1968
Birthplace: New Ulm, Minnesota 
Residence: Two Harbors, Minnesota
Family: Parents Cliff and Jean. Older brother Steve, sister-in-law Denise, niece Brianna. Older sister Sue, brother-in-law Peter, nieces Sojna and Kari.
Education: New Ulm High School; National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS); Life
Occupation: Product Development at Granite Gear
Work history: Granite Gear since June 1991
Personal Hero: Ed Hommer
Accomplishments: My biggest accomplishment so far is climbing Mt. Tharpa Chuli in Nepal with Ed Hommer and the rest of the team. I also consider myself to be a good friend and a decent human being.
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
I've been recreational rock climbing for approximately 11 years. My first big hike/climb was Long's Peak in Colorado in 1987. My first major climb was last year when I climbed Mt. Tharpa Chuli.
How I became interested in mountain climbing: I really enjoy the hard work of mountain climbing. It is a sport that forces you to totally depend on others for your safety. Because of this there is an amazing camaraderie among climbers. I also love the views and dealing with the unexpected.
How I became
part of this expedition:
Sheer Luck. I worked on filming with Ed in the Alaska Range last year on the south face of the Mooses Tooth.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
Building and carrying packs, planning the food for the entire expedition, hauling loads up and down the mountain. I will do my part to be a good representative of the United States and all of our sponsors. And most importantly, I will help keep a good, positive attitude throughout the expedition.
Goals for the expedition: My number one goal is to see that Ed is the first double amputee to climb Mt. Everest. To stay in good health and get as high as I can. To learn as much as possible about mountaineering from the best.
What the expedition
means to me:
To encourage people with amputations to get out and resume their active lifestyle; stop hating the world and make it your playground. It may not be climbing mountains, but walking down the street or playing catch with your child. The whole expedition is about showing people the possibilities of life without limitations. This is a lesson that can benefit anyone, not just those who are physically challenged.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
I met Ed in 1999 when he was preparing to climb Mt. McKinley. He came to Granite Gear to try on some packs and to look at other products for his climb.
Childhood memory: I was afraid of Mickey Mouse when we went to Disneyland. I cried for hours.
Hobbies: Telemark skiing, ice climbing, sea kayaking/surfing, canoeing whitewater, backpacking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, napping in the sun.
Interesting fact
about myself:
I snore very well.
Favorite Book: The Monkey Wrench Gang by Ed Abby
Favorite Food: Shore lunch with fresh walleye on an island in the Quetico
Favorite TV Show: NOVA
Favorite Music: Neil Young
Favorite Movie: “Jeremiah Johnson”

 

Name: Dan Bronstein
Birthdate: April 19, 1956
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  
Residence: Basalt, Colorado
Family: Wife Dyan, son Donovan, cat Mickey
Education: Juris Doctor, 1990, University of Denver College of Law
Occupation: Restaurant Manager
Work history: Restaurant manager; attorney; climbing guide
Personal Hero: Any of the early polar adventurers: Amundsen, Scott, Perry, Byrd
Accomplishments: Married better than I deserved. I have a beautiful, healthy son.
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
30 years
How I became interested in mountain climbing: I started hiking/camping/climbing with my father and enjoyed the mountains and scenery. I also enjoy the individual challenge.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
Photographs, film and interviews for the expedition and NBC/Discovery Channel
Goals for the expedition: A safe and healthy climb for all, great photography and film and to support Ed on his trip to the summit.
What the expedition
means to me:
We all have disabilities that we have to overcome. Ed is showing us all how far we can go to overcome them.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
I was put in touch with Ed by Greg Howard of Polaris Pools (one of the expedition’s sponsors). I first met Ed when he came to Denver for a speaking engagement and slide show.
Hobbies: Golf, biking, swimming
Interesting fact
about myself:
I got arrested in Tanzania at the airport for tearing up some extra currency before leaving the country.
Favorite Books: Mystery and drama
Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite TV Shows: Comedies
Favorite Music: Country Music
Favorite Movie: Any animated movie

 

Name: Tom Halverson
Birthdate: April 8, 1957
Birthplace: Duluth, Minnesota 
Residence: Cloquet, Minnesota
Family: Three children: Robert, Jacob and Miranda
Education: Board Eligible Prosthetist, 1999; Registered Orthetic, 1978; Registered Prosthesis Technician, 1977; Century College, 1975-1977; Cloquet High School, 1975
Occupation: Prosthetic and Orthotic Practitioner
Work history: Hanger Prosthetic and Orthotic, 1991 to present; Northwest Art Limb and Brace, 1978-1991
Accomplishments: Helped provide the prosthesis that made it possible for Ed Hommer to summit Mt. McKinley in 1999.
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
I’m not a mountain climber. I’ve done some ice climbing but nothing extreme.
How I became
part of this expedition:
Because of my involvement with his prosthesis, and our friendship, Ed asked me if I would go along in case he has problems with his prosthesis on the lower elevations of the mountain.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
My main responsibility is ensure that Ed receives a set of comfortable prosthesis capable of withstanding the cold and abuse that he will give them on a high altitude expedition. I also worked with and coordinated the efforts by Seattle Orthopedic Group, Inc., the company fabricating the custom heated inserts; and Spring Lite, the company fabricating Ed’s custom climbing feet. I am also coordinating the efforts of Hanger Prosthetic and Orthotic -- including the staff of our Duluth and Hibbing offices who not only help in organization but in the fabrication of the prosthesis.
Goals for the expedition: My main goal is to help make it possible for Ed to stand on the summit of Everest and then return safely. My personal goal is to climb as high as advanced base camp, which is approximately 20,000 feet.
What the expedition
means to me:
To help bring prosthetic componentry to a third world country to help the people and the children. This is what it’s all about; and also helping Ed send the message that people with disabilities can control their own limitations.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
In 1983 or 1984 Ed walked into the office where I worked to see me for a prosthetic evaluation. He was using crutches and was walking very poorly. We made him a new set of prosthesis that worked very well for him. After a period of time we became friends.
Childhood memory: Going to the cabin on Cole Lake with my family.
Hobbies: I love to hunt, fish, canoe, four wheel and build things.
Interesting fact
about myself:
I’m really not too thrilled about heights.
Favorite Food: Pappilon Strawberry Angel Food Cake
Favorite TV Show: MASH
Favorite Music: County & Western
Favorite Movie: “Die Hard”

 

Name: Brian McCullough
Birthdate: December 7, 1959
Birthplace: Livermoore, California
Residence: Talkeetna, Alaska
Family: Two children: Tenaya (16) is a student at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design and runs Denali expeditions, and Natalie (15) who lives in Seattle.
Occupation: Custom home builder; fireplace builder; stone mason; heavy equipment company owner.
Work history: Mountaineering, guiding
Personal Hero: My dad
Accomplishments: I build great houses like the home I live in now, which includes an oak spiral staircase and a 35 foot tall Rumford fireplace with up to 800 pounds of rock. I am a good dad -- my daughter was president of her junior class and an all-state cheerleader. I was very involved in the development of the Dateline NBC piece featuring Ed Hommer; I contributed 19 photographs. I rescued a climber on Denali, one year before he lost both feet to frostbite on Mt. Everest.
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
Since 1974
How I became interested in mountain climbing: My dad was from Alaska and was very interested in mountaineering. We went out climbing every weekend.
How I became
part of this expedition:
Sheer Luck. I worked on filming with Ed in the Alaska Range last year on the south face of the Mooses Tooth.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
Take photographs, break trail, carry load, lead the route.
Goals for the expedition: For the team to come home safely. To get Ed as high as possible.
What the expedition
means to me:
Getting together with friends; adventure; over twenty year history with climbing; celebrating the grand circle of life.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
I was one of the rescuers who located Ed when his plane crashed on Mt. McKinley in 1981.
Childhood memory: Family vacation to Mexico
Hobbies: Photography
Interesting fact
about myself:
I am the strongest guy wherever I go; I’ve never lost in arm wrestling.
Favorite Authors: James Michener and Tom Clancey
Favorite Food: Mexican
Favorite TV Show: I don’t watch TV.
Favorite Music: Natalie Merchant
Favorite Movie: “Eiger Sanction” starring Clint Eastwood as an assassin during a mountain climbing trip

 

Name: Kelly Raymond
Birthdate: November 30, 1966
Birthplace: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 
Residence: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Family: Wife Heather, daughter Jessica.
Education: OAC, pre-university program in Canada
Occupation: Restaurant manager; ice climbing guide
Personal Hero: Alex Lowe
Accomplishments: Partnered with Ed Hommer on a successful summit of Mt. McKinley, 1999
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
11 years
How I became interested in mountain climbing: As a youngster, my mom would take me to local crags and I would scramble on them.
How I became
part of this expedition:
I have been involved in this expedition since the very beginning.
Goals for the expedition: A safe summit for everyone; a safe return home; have some fun.
What the expedition
means to me:
Overcoming lifeÍs obstacles.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
Ed is my main climbing partner.
Childhood memory: Long walks in the forest with my mom and my brother.
Hobbies: Cross country skiing, mountain biking and swimming
Favorite Book: The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Favorite Food: Cheesburgers
Favorite TV Show: MASH
Favorite Music: Sammy Haggar
Favorite Movie: “Beau Geste” and “The Man Who Would Be King”

 

Jim Sturgis
Name: Jim Sturgis
Birthdate: September 25, 1959
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
Residence: Keller, Texas
Family: Wife Kimberly, son Cameron, daughter Melanie
Education: A year and a half at Michigan State
Occupation: Principal and founder: CAVOK International, Inc., an air carrier consulting firm; Nuance Advertising, LLC, an advertising firm; and Sirius IT, LLC, an internet technology training and consulting firm.
Work history: Wide area networking technology consultant; air carrier management; airline pilot and instructor; backpack and wilderness guide; computer programmer; sous-chef; pizza maker
Personal Hero: Ed Hommer
How I became
part of this expedition:
I asked how I could help support the effort.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
Procurement of shipping support (United Parcel Service) and related coordination, assisting with initial base camp establishment and assisting Karl Swanson with communication and power.
Goals for the expedition: A safe and successful venture for all.
What the
expedition means
to me:
The guys climbing this mountain display an amazing amount of courage, discipline and intestinal fortitude that should serve as an inspiration to all, particularly those with mobility impairments or other obstacles that tend to be a part of this great ride called life.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
Ed and I worked together at a little airline called Simmons Airlines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the late 1980s. We became good friends, did some fishing and camping together and even have had a beer or two together.
Childhood memory: Sir Edmond Hillary spoke at my middle school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was mesmerizing and left a profound impression on me as a little kid.
Hobbies: Cooking, flying, fishing, camping, golf, computer/networking systems and technologies.
Interesting fact
about myself:
I'll get back to you on that one!
Favorite Book: The Hunt for Red October
Favorite Food: Yes, in large quantities and well prepared; particularly salmon.

 

Name: Karl Swanson
Birthdate: March 11, 1959
Birthplace: Suburb of Chicago 
Residence: My ranch, 14 miles out of Talkeetna, Alaska
Family: Girlfriend Heike Merkel, whitewater raft guide and civil engineer. Two brothers, one geologist, one lighting tech for traveling broadway shows. Two traveling parents; I believe they are in Uzbeckistan now.
Education: University of Alaska Anchorage, Bachelors in Business Administration
Occupation: Self-employed mountain guide, accountant and logger
Work history: Community health center manager; auditor; outdoor equipment sales; carpenter; migrant laborer
Personal Hero: Ed Hommer
Accomplishments: Ten expeditions on Denali (Mt. McKinley). Climbed three of the seven summits.
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
Since high school
How I became interested in mountain climbing: I grew up hiking in the mountains with my family.
How I became
part of this expedition:
Sheer Luck. I worked on filming with Ed in the Alaska Range last year on the south face of the Mooses Tooth.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
Communications and solar power
Goals for the expedition: Come home. Help Ed achieve his goals.
What the expedition
means to me:
We all have disabilities that we have to overcome. Ed is showing us all how far we can go to overcome them.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
I'm a friend and climbing partner of Brian McCullough.
Childhood memory: Family vacations for me were always wilderness Alaskan adventures. Usually just the family would spend a week or two canoeing down some river in Alaska without seeing another person.
Hobbies: Skiing, orienteering
Favorite Book: The White Spider
Favorite Food: Fresh grouse cooked in red wine
Favorite TV Show: None
Favorite Music: World Music
Favorite Movie: “The Man Who Would Be King”

 

Name: Jim Wickwire
Birthdate: June 8, 1940
Birthplace: Wenatchee, Washington
Residence: Seattle, Washington
Family: Wife of 39 years, Mary Lou. Five children: Anne, Cathy, Susan, Bob, David. Twin granddaughters: Ana, Emma
Education: Gonzaga University, BA; Gonzaga University, JD
Occupation: Part-time lawyer in solo practice
Work history: Private law practice in Seattle since 1968. Most recently with the firm of Wickwire, Greene, Crosby, Brewer & Seward, which disbanded Nov. 2000; Legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson, Washington, D.C., 1967-1968
Personal Hero: Naomi Uemura, the great Japanese climber-adventurer who disappeared near the summit of Mt. McKinley in February 1984 after making the first winter solo ascent of the mountain.
Accomplishments: One of the first two Americans to climb K2, the world’s second highest mountain, 1978
How long I’ve
been a mountain climber:
Since 1960, encompassing over 20 expeditions
How I became interested in mountain climbing: As a teenager reading about mountaineering expeditions to Everest, K2 and Annapurna
How I became
part of this expedition:
After Ed and I got to know each other, he asked me to become the leader of the expedition based on my prior Everest experience in 1982, 1984 and 1993.
Responsibilities on
the expedition:
Leader
Goals for the expedition: To do everything possible to see that Ed realizes his dream to climb Everest. First and foremost is for everyone to have a great experience on the mountain and to return home safe and sound.
What the expedition
means to me:
A chance to be on an expedition with some very good people; to return to Everest and to see Tibet and its people again.
How I know
Ed Hommer:
I read about Ed’s 1998 attempt to summit Mt. McKinley. I contacted him because I had a similar tragic experience on Mt. McKinleys’ Peters Glacier in May 1981. My companion and I fell into a crevasse and he perished. That was the same year as Ed’s crash on Kahiltna Pass.
Childhood memory: How clumsy I was growing up and trying to become a passable athlete.
Hobbies: Avid baseball fan (Seattle Mariners), book collector
Favorite Book: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Favorite Music: Classical Music
Favorite Movie: “Blade Runner”

 

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