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Author Topic: 67 year old climber conquers peaks one continent at a time  (Read 4079 times)


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Joan Ransberry, Staff Writer
12/09/04 00:00:00

A 67-year old Whitchurch-Stouffville man will spend Christmas at the foot of a mountain in the Antarctic. Werner Berger of Vivian Road became hooked on mountain climbing while backpacking with his son in Nepal in the Himalayas in 1992.
Mr. Berger expects the expedition to climb Vinson Masiff in the Antarctic will take two-and-a half weeks. Leaving home Dec. 16, he plans to be at the base of the mountain on Christmas Day.


The trip will mark the fifth of the seven summits Mr. Berger hopes to conquer --the highest point on the seven continents.
During the past four years, Mr. Berger has climbed Mt. McKinley in North America, Aconcagua in South America, Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mt. Elbrus in Europe. Next year, he adds Mt. Cook in New Zealand to his list. He intends try and conquer Nepal's Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, in March 2006.

On the Antarctic expedition, Mr. Berger is part of a 12-member group including three guides. Members of the group, most of whom have never met, are from around the world.
"We'll form teams once we get there," Mr. Berger said.

The biggest challenge will be weather conditions. "It will average about minus 40 degrees," Mr. Berger said. The wind chill could be about minus 100 degrees. You never know when the wind is going to shift."

Physical conditioning, researching and obtaining the right equipment and mental preparation are all part of his journey. Mr. Berger trains near his home in Vivian Forest. "I backpack in the forest," he said. "I also make use of the area's gravel pits. I practise by climbing the slopes of the gravel pits."

Mountain climbing dem-ands staying focused.
"When I'm on the mountain, life is for the moment," Mr. Berger said. "I have no worries about yesterday. I have no worries about tomorrow. All I am thinking about is the next thing that has to be done. It's wonderful."

The climb begins well before you get to the mountain, Mr. Berger said. "It starts with the idea of the climb, followed by the intense desire to experience the ultimate, to accomplish the impossible and, finally, the decision to go for it."

Mr. Berger is part of a new initiative known as Meet You at the Top. Through the program, he will soon be inviting 100 seniors in 100 cities to join in a health and fitness revolution designed to improve the quality of life on this continent.


"We inspire and urge each senior to go forth and motivate 100 family members, friends and colleagues to join the cause," Mr. Berger said. "We are committed to having one million people say 'enough is enough. I want to be healthier and feel better.'"

While preparing for the Antarctic, Mr. Berger is lending some thought to Mt. Everest.

"I will be 68 years old when I aim for the summit of Mr. Everest," Mr. Berger said. "If I can do that, there is isn't anything stopping us from climbing higher on the health and fitness scale."

(from Yorkregion.com)
"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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