Langlois: Everest Summitter 2001
is his Q&A, but first a little more about him:
(Part Two is at the end).
Langlois: Francois is the youngest of 5 boys, grew up
in Montreal Canada, and has a Bachelors degree in
Mechanical Engineering. He has built a successful
business as a Financial Advisor, working with Merrill
Lynch for the last 7 years. Sports and physical
activities have always been an integral part of
Francois' life. Some of his activities include: Rock
climbing, mountain climbing and ice climbing
had an affinity for the outdoors from a very young
age, going on several camping and fishing trips with
his father and brothers. He would often spend his
summers in the north of Quebec and has worked as a
tree planter during the summer holidays. He started
taking an interest in rock climbing while in
University, but became more active in the sport after
graduation. His interest quickly spilled over into ice
climbing and mountaineering as well. Some of his
climbing expeditions include:
Rainier, Washington (14 400 ft)
--Liberty Bell, Washington, Rock climbing (8 000 ft)
--Rock climbing in Squamish B.C.
--Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, Ice climbing (6 000
--Eco-Challenge Training Camp, Whistler B.C., (a 60
hour long, non-stop event)
his words, "To attempt a summit on Everest has
been a profound dream of mine for a very long time. It
represents so much more to me than merely climbing a
difficult and high mountain. I could express many
reasons for my decision: passion, challenge,
commitment, accomplishment, and so on. But none
of these reasons measure up to the ultimate one:
experience. Every Everest climb is unique and can't be
duplicated. No one can predict the outcome
because of the numerous factors involved: weather,
physiological reactions, timing, altitude, etc. And
although the summit is not guaranteed, the experience
is sure to be one worth sharing. Making it to the top
of the world is certainly my goal, but it is the
journey that will bring an invaluable dimension to my
life. Sharing that journey along the way is my
May 24th 2001, Francois Langlois stood on top of the
Q&A, some questions from our readers and others from
the staff of EverestNews.com [all marked
Tell us of your adventure. How was it to climb with
Jason Edwards and his team?
I could probably write pages and pages about
everything we experienced in these last few months,
and the two years that we spent in preparation. To me, it
was and is the Complete Adventure. I got to see so
many things, experience so many feelings and emotions,
learn more about myself and the people around me, and
accomplish my goal! When you have a group of people
that share a common dream, come together and spend a
few months working as a team, becoming close friends,
and would even risk there lives on the mountain for
you, if needed; this is what life is all about. It has
made me a better person.
for Jason Edwards; he has put together an absolute
TEXT BOOK EXPEDITION ! I have had the opportunity to
meet quite a few guides in my travels and I can say
without a doubt that Jason is the Best around! He
cares deeply about his clients and his profession. His
attention to detail and preparations is unmatched.
This is what made us the strongest team on the
mountain this year. And most importantly, he never
looses focus on the primary rule of our climb:
SAFETY FIRST! I don't know if Jason will ever guide
another expedition on Everest, but if he does, and it
is in your dreams, then grab the opportunity and go
with no one else.
What are your plans for the future?
I don't know if I will climb any other 8,000 meters
peaks in the future because I'm not sure it would
bring to me much more than I have already experienced
on Everest. I might complete the Seven Summits though,
we will see. Right now, I am back on the water,
rowing with my team in the 8 man Olympic boats. I was
rowing with my team before leaving for Everest. And
this August, we will be competing in the World Masters
Rowing competition held in Montreal. I'm very much
looking forward to it. After that, I will begin
training to qualify and compete in the world IronMan Triathlon in Hawaii. This also is another of my
dreams. Going to Everest has given me more confidence
to go after my goals and aspirations!
This is a bit of a dark question [From a reader!], but
how do you feel when you walk past the bodies of
climbers who have gone before and paid the price of
passage with their lives?
I have thought of that quite a bit recently.
Especially that I assisted with two of my team mates when
we helped remove Babu Chiri Sherpa from the
crevasse after the accident. This might sound like a
bit of a dark answer, but back home, Babu's death
would have affected me physically and emotionally
much more than on the Mountain. You would hardly have
noticed that I was grieving, looking at me. Just like
the Sherpas belief, when someone dies, the body you
see is only now a shell because the Soul has
reincarnated into a new life. You tend to accept
death more easily on the Mountain, because
you are constantly surrounded by danger. So we must
keep focused in what we do and always respect the
How far does the danger of what you're doing reach
into your psyche?
Not so far! I take a very pragmatic view in the
activities I do; I look at the mountain like many
things in my life. It's a question of calculated risk.
I identify all the potential risks in a situation,
find the best and safest routes to minimize them, and
remain very focused and disciplined throughout the
Hi Francois. Congratulations to all on your
accomplishment. Are any of you doing
presentations in Canada? or writing a book?
Thank You very much. Yes, I'm planning to do
presentations in Canada and elsewhere. Another of my
goals is to take my Everest experience, share it with
others, and raise funds to give to charity in the
process. It's a personal promise I made. [We will ask
him to let us know where those presentations are and
post that news.]
What was the strangest part of climbing Everest?
With all our preparations, we actually ran out of
toilet paper! All kidding aside; Not!
the strangest or funniest thing I witnessed was
looking at the Sherpas as they were watching DVD
movies on my computer in Base Camp. I don't think
most of them had ever seen a movie before,
especially at Everest. They were absolutely glued to
the monitor! I was worried about showing them the
movies at first, since they are a non-violent nation
and most of our western movies have some sort of
violence in them, that's not the image I wanted to
share. But it is Sherpas that would keep
coming to me saying they wanted to watch Bang! Bang!
How did it feel to be on top ?
Can't really describe it! like I wrote in my website (WWW.CLIMBIT2001.COM
) "IT IS PURE EMOTION"
the summit day dispatch of May 24th, it should give
you a good idea !
What it is like on Everest when you hear someone has
died on the mountain?
This is a similar question to an earlier one, so I
would answer it the same. I have thought of that quite
a bit recently. Especially that I assisted with two of
my team mates when we helped remove Babu
Chiri Sherpa from the crevasse after the accident.
This might sound like a bit of a dark answer, but back
home, Babu's death would have affected me physically
and emotionally much more than on the Mountain. You
would hardly have noticed that I was grieving, looking
at me. Just like the Sherpas belief, when someone
dies, the body you see is only now a shell
because the Soul has reincarnated into a new life. You tend
to accept death more easily on the Mountain, because
you are constantly surrounded by danger. So we must
keep focused in what we do and always respect the
Did the Sherpas freak when Babu died?
The Sherpas do not react the way we Westerners do when
faced with death. Being Buddhist's, they believe in
reincarnation and that their loved ones have gone to a
better place to live again.
Q&A Part two, ALL questions from our readers [all marked
When climbers are asked what it's like on the summit
they usually and understandably describe their
emotions. But I've often wondered what their
sense inventory would be like. What do you see?
After you've had a few moments to settle down from all
the input and emotional overload you getting, then it
hits you; I sat down and stared out to the horizon for
the longest time, from our elevation, I could see the
curvature of the earth. It was truly spectacular!
I could hear the wind blowing but not any loud roar or
anything like that. More like a constant hum, almost
like music... I didn't really pay attention to it, but
I knew it was there!
Can you feel wind against you?
Definitely; but again, it didn't feel cold, it was
just there, pressing on your clothes and skin like a
constant pressure. I was really a beautiful morning,
we were very fortunate!
Exactly what does the top of the mountain look like
under your feet? Does it feel like a misstep could tip
you off it?
It's not very wide at the top of Everest, about the
size of a living room! But your not as concerned
of falling compared to what we had to cross/climb to
get to the top (namely the knife ridge and the Hillary
step). It's more a concern of: If you trip and fall,
can you stop yourself from sliding off the steeper
Is there any comparable group of sensations that might
be experienced by non-climbers? (Like Chicago in
January, -20 and the wind coming off Lake Michigan?)
Or is there too much emotion percolating through you
to notice these things?
I believe that I have experience many similar
sensations in the past, during other climbs. It's just
that on Everest you are expecting to go through some
very difficult conditions, and for long periods of
time. You prepare yourself so much mentally and
physically that the cold and windy conditions seem
more tolerable. Many times, I would hardly even notice
that it was freezing cold, because I was concentrating
so much on the climb! But you are also right, the
huge rush of emotions at the top help dampen the hard
Did you ever think you might die while on the climb ?
No, not really. I mean; I was really aware of all the
dangers that surrounded me, the fear is always
present, but It's how you deal with that fear that
lets you move forward ( or up in this case!). The only
place that I can remember that worried me more
than usual was going through the Khumbu ice fall; this
is a danger that you just have no way of controlling. You
minimized as best you can the dangers but if a serac
were to break loose while you are underneath, there is
very little you can do!
What are your plans next ?
For the immediate future; I am training with a team of
rowers and this fall, we will compete in the World
Master Rowing regatta that will be held in my home
city: Montreal. We are rowing the Olympic class 8 man
boats. Next year, I plan to fulfill another one of my
dreams: to go compete in the World IronMan Triathlon
held in Hawaii. And over the next 5 to 10 years, I
plan to complete the remaining Seven Summits of the
Experience Everest Expedition was a featured
expedition on EverestNews.com during Spring 2001. Check
out all of their dispatches.