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Author Topic: Youths take on Everest: Two camps bid for youngest at mountain summit  (Read 3379 times)


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Gannett News Service
Neither war nor competition to become the youngest American to climb Mount Everest is keeping Fort Collins, Colo., climber Ben Clark from preparing for his journey to the world's tallest peak.
The 23-year-old Clark leaves Friday from Denver International Airport for his quest to beat by one year the record as the youngest to summit the 29,028-foot Everest on the border between Nepal and Tibet. He admitted the war with Iraq has cut into his Everest plans -- namely the time he would have spent in Tibet, which is under Chinese control -- but he said he's ready for takeoff.

"It will be different than what I had anticipated, but it's still going to be an adventure," Clark said last Thursday at his home near the Colorado State University campus where he was surrounded by an array of equipment that that will allow him to send live images through his Web site. "It's better to get to the safe place of base camp on Everest, which might be an oxymoron, than be in Tibet. I wish to take no more risks than I have to."

Also at risk is Clark's goal of becoming the youngest American to summit Everest. The Web site www.everestnews.com has reported that 20-year-old Jess Roskelley of Spokane, Wash., will attempt the summit via the South Col Route. Roskelley will be climbing with his father, John Roskelley, an experienced climber who was the 12th person to climb Everest, and Dick Bass, the first person to climb the original Seven Summits and who, at 73, will try to become the oldest person to climb Everest. That record was set last year when a 65-year-old Japanese climber summitted Everest.

Clark has taken a vastly different route to the summit than Jess Roskelley. While Roskelley grew up in a climbing-crazy family, Clark comes from a long line of architects. And while Roskelley is taking the popular South Col Route up Everest, Clark is attempting the seldom-climbed North-Northeast Ridge Route. Both will attempt the summit in May.

So is Clark upset that Roskelley might steal his thunder? Not a chance. In fact, on Thursday, Clark was much more concerned that a Bgan broadband satellite modem had arrived from CNN's London office than about Roskelley's attempt.

"That's part of it all," said Clark, who was making sure the modem, which is the same modem used by CNN correspondents covering the war in Iraq, worked. "I think it's great he's doing it. I can't think of a better person at 20 to attempt it. There is no greater gift a father who has groomed his son to climb can give or greater responsibility to have than to take him to Everest. I think he would be a great record-holder. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get to climb with him."

From Mansfields News Journal Originally published Wednesday, April 2, 2003
"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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