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Author Topic: Meagan McGrath starts climbing Mount Everest, the last of her 7 summits  (Read 2564 times)

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McGrath begins her historic ascent; Sudburian will spend the next month climbing Mount Everest, the last of her seven-summit quest

Thursday, April 05, 2007
Show and Tell was Meagan McGrath's favourite subject in her early days at Algonquin Elementary School in Sudbury. That's when she could haul out of her school bag the gems she found while wondering around on the hills on the west side of town.

Well, gems to her, anyway. Now the students at Algonquin have been digging into their school bags to send Meagan scampering over the biggest hill there is.

McGrath departed for her climb up Mount Everest on Friday and started her ascent Wednesday. If she makes it to the top, she'll be the youngest woman in Canada and the first member of the Canadian Forces to have climbed the historic seven summits.

The seven summits are the tallest mountains on each of the Earth's seven continents.

Students at Algonquin, plus students at her alma mater Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, are among the many financial and moral supporters helping McGrath reach the summit. And they can track her daily progress up the 29,035-foot-high mountain by visiting Sudbury's Science North.


The science centre on Ramsey Lake is McGrath's principal sponsor and she is reporting in to the centre each day by satellite phone and with photos.

McGrath, 29, honed her love of science while attending summer camps at Science North. Today, she is an aerospace engineer at the Air Force Experimentation Centre in Ottawa - when she's not conquering the world's tallest mountains.

Early in her seven-summit quest, she tackled one of the toughest of the climbs on the list. Mount McKinley in Alaska at 20,320 feet is one of the hardest climbs on Earth and is the highest mountain in North America.

She topped that one in June 2003.

She has also conquered Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Russia's Mount Elbrus (Europe), Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (South America) and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (Africa).

What it takes for a body to climb Mount Everest is explained in detail on the fourth floor of Science North during Meagan's climb. There's an elevator to the fourth floor, or you can challenge the centre's spiral sidewalk, which twists its way to the peak through a glass atrium. The curving ramp wraps around a four-storey-high skeleton of a fin whale in the atrium. McGrath knows what it takes to reach the top.

She expects to lose 20 pounds on her one-month climb by burning 8,000 calories a day. In preparation, she has been bulking up and left Canada on March 30 with 142 pounds on her 5-foot-2 frame. Although she is a solo climber, McGrath said she expects to be heading up in a small group of independent climbers, each responsible for their own support, route, schedule, etc. It will costs about $45,000 for McGrath to touch the top of Everest. Her gloves alone cost US $225.

"The weather will be the biggest factor on how long it takes to reach the summit," said McGrath. "But it's the journey on the mountain, not reaching the peak, that is most important."

She said she joined the Canadian Air Force "looking for adventure." If you don't talk with McGrath while she's on the mountain during a visit to Science North, you can talk to her in person at 7:30 p.m. on June 19 when she'll be the special guest during a welcome home reception in the Inco Cavern at Science North.

editorial@thesudburystar.com

FOLLOW MEAGAN ONLINE

If you want to follow Meagan McGrath's climb, go to:

http://sciencenorth.on.ca/cool-science/meagan-everest/meagan-tran script-4.html and click on "Meagan's Travelogue."

Monday: She was in Katmandu, Nepal, for briefings and logistics.

Tuesday: arrived in Phakding, where she saw Everest for first time. Wednesday: arrived in Namche Bazaar, where climbing begins in earnest.

(as seen on this news website
"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
 

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