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Everest 2003: Charlie Wittmack Dispatch Two

A new group of Iowa Mountaineers...

I'm 25 years old, which means that my "lifelong dream" spans a little more than a decade.  My childhood heroes were Bonnington, Habeler, Messner, Boardman and Tasker.  I memorized Unsworth in high school and his bibliography became my reading list.  When my friends were reading Sports Illustrated I was reading the American Alpine Journal and the only sports stats I know to this day are from the book Accidents in North American Mountaineering.

Growing up in Iowa, most people found this a bit unusual.  I always tell people that the benefit of being an Iowa climber is that we get to travel.  The Iowa Mountaineers paved that route over sixty years ago as one of the largest climbing clubs in the world and pioneers of new routes from Devil's Tower to the Andes.  Iowans are a passionate group and that passion tends to be contagious. 

Several of my friends from Iowa are on the mountain this year, and I'll be bringing you their greetings and news from time to time.  Iowa City physician, Chuck Huss, is returning to the mountain for the third time this spring with an expedition led by Bob Hoffman.  Don Briggs is an outdoor educator for the University of Northern Iowa and will be there with Chuck, acting as the Base camp manager for the expedition.  Ben Caskey, the climbing manager for the Fin and Feather store in Iowa City, plans to lead a trek to the Base camp before setting off for some of the smaller peaks in the area.  Brooks Reynolds will also be joining us at Base camp in May to handle communications and dispatches during the summit bids.  While we had originally all planned to climb together, the economics of the climb made that difficult.  We will be spending a great deal of time together in Base camp and sending out news and dispatches from our Iowa communications tent.

Over the weeks and months ahead, I'll be bringing you photos, interviews, and articles about our adventures, both on the mountain and off.  If you have questions about a specific topic, please don't hesitate to email.

Email Charlie

(Photo:  Native Iowan and climbing buddy, John Richard, heads up the fixed line on the West Face of Leaning Tower.  Photo credit: Charlie Wittmack)

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