Vail couple attempts to be youngest to reach Mount Everest, climb Seven Summits
November 11, 2009 —
The experienced mountain climber is not intimidated by a mountain - he is inspired by it. The persistent winner is not discouraged by a problem - he is challenged by it. Adversities are designed to be defeated; problems are sent to be solved. It is better to master one mountain than a thousand foothills.
William Arthur Ward - Journalist
A Vail Valley couple is attempting to become the youngest American married couple to summit Everest as part of their larger effort to climb the Seven Summits. Inspired by the William Arthur Ward quote above, the duo is seeking to accomplish the extraordinary, overcome the many difficulties and obstacles of a monumental endeavor, and to do it together.
The following is their description of their campaign:
Mount Everest, located on the border of Nepal and China, is the highest mountain in the world at 8,850m (29,035ft) above sea level. It is the most difficult of the Seven Summits to climb with its extreme cold, high altitude, duration of climb, glacier and icefall travel, expense, and logistics.
Although Everest has become commercialized over the past two decades, it remains a revered mountain in our eyes and a great mountaineering feat. We aim to climb Everest unguided via the South Col Route, the same route originally climbed by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
When we began climbing together, five years ago, it became the basis of our friendship. We were recently married on October 3, 2009 and our relationship has grown far beyond that of climbing partners.
However, the level of trust and understanding of one another gained through climbing together is at the core of our relationship. So often it seems a passion for climbing can draw people away from their loved ones, but in our case it has brought us together. Climbing Mt. Everest has been a lifelong aspiration for us; if we are able to summit we will become the youngest American husband and wife to do so. Having already summited two of the Seven Summits together, Mt. McKinley in Alaska and Mt. Elbrus in Russia, we would like to continue on and become the youngest married couple to complete the Seven Summits together.
Departing in late March 2010, we will be climbing the mountain from the southern (Nepalese) side via the South Col Route. While our main goal is to summit Everest in our quest to summit the highest peak on each continent, we also hope to experience Nepalese culture and give back to the local community. Our secondary goal is to set an example of a strong work ethic and respect for the mountain and mountain communities. Much of the publicity surrounding Everest highlights tragic stories of summit lust and high paying inexperienced climbers. We have worked hard to gain the experience and knowledge to prepare for Everest. We hope to show that, through hard work and fundraising, we can achieve our goal of climbing unguided. After our climb we will be volunteering for Taksindu Social Welfare (TSW), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing Himalayan communities without compromising social harmony.
Kristine Chalk – Fifth grade teacher in Vail, Colorado, Kristine first discovered a love of climbing upon moving to Colorado in 2001. Since then, Kristine has climbed Mt. Rainier twice, Mt. Baker, the Grand Teton, over 40 of Colorado’s 54 14,000’ peaks, Denali, Mt. Elbrus, & Mont Blanc. She shares her passion for the mountains with her class and knows that this extraordinary expedition will be an unforgettable lesson for herself and her students.
Brandon Chalk – Mechanical engineer in Vail, Colorado, Brandon has always had a passion for climbing since his family vacationed in the Tetons in the early 1990s. Brandon has climbed Mt. Rainier twice, several of the Tetons including the Grand Teton twice, Mt. Hood, Mt. Baker, Mt. Adams, all of Colorado’s 54 14,000’ peaks, El Pico de Orizaba, Aconcagua, Denali, Mt. Elbrus, & Mont Blanc.
Dr. Rob Casserley – Family practitioner in Bathe, England, Rob has had a passion for climbing since his climb of Mt. Kenya in 1995 while on a 3 month tour of duty in Kenya with the British Army. Since then, Rob’s passion for high altitude climbing, medical knowledge, and skills with the camera have taken him to great heights. He has climbed Denali twice, Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus, Cho Oyu twice, Ama Dablam, Manasalu, and has summited Everest five times with a double summit of Everest in 2007.
Jason Weingast – Jason is vice president of Active Energies, a solar PV/energy consulting business, in Vail, Colorado. Jason’s passion for climbing began when he moved to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997. Since then, Jason has climbed Mt. Rainier, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, the Grand Teton, over 40 of Colorado’s 54 14,000’ peaks, Kilimanjaro, & Denali.
Approximate 2 month Itinerary:
March 28: Depart U.S. for Kathmandu
March 29 - April 1: Preparation in Kathmandu, travel to Lukla to begin trek
April 2 - April 7: Trek into Everest base camp
April 8 - Middle of May: Climb of Mt. Everest
End of May: Trek from Everest base camp back to Lukla and fly back to Kathmandu
Beginning of June: Volunteer work for Taksindu Social Welfare
Middle of June: Fly back to the U.S.
Expense per Person:
Airfare -------------------------------- $2,000
Sherpa Support --------------------- $4,500
Food & Fuel ------------------------- $3,500
Oxygen -------------------------------- $2,500
Permit --------------------------------- $10,000
Kathmandu & travel to Lukla ---- $1,500
Basecamp support* ----------------- $4,000
Miscellaneous ----------------------- $500
Contribution to TSW --------------- $1,500
Price per person --------------------- $30,000
Total Expedition Expense --------- $60,000
*Basecamp support provided by Henry Todd Outfitters and includes tent sites, emergency helicopter services, medical services, weather forecasts, satellite phone access, and miscellaneous other safety and logistical support services.
Support - We will be using Henry Todd Outfitters to arrange some of the bureaucratic and logistical responsibilities needed to launch our Everest expedition. Henry Todd Outfitters is an international outfitting service that provides logistical support for climbers. Of utmost importance to us was to go with an outfitter for experienced climbers, and not a guide service. This logistical support includes obtaining permits, organizing porters, providing bottled oxygen, food, & fuel, and basecamp support. This support will allow us to focus on setting our own itinerary, making our own decisions, and do what we do best – climb.
Equipment – We will be using all of our own equipment, clothing, and climbing gear.
Documentation – We will be posting updates on our website during the climb in addition to photo documentation of the expedition. Upon request, we will be presenting a slideshow and talk of our expedition upon returning to the U.S. We are currently seeking publications that would be interested in our story.
Community Outreach – We will be volunteering with Taksindu Social Welfare (www.tswnepal.org) after our climb. TSW is a non-profit organization devoted to developing and improving a quality of life for the Nepalese communities of the Khumbu Valley. Projects range from rebuilding/renovating schools to professional development and training for teachers. This will be an extraordinary opportunity for us to give back to the community in Nepal from whom we will have been given so much help and support during our expedition to climb Everest. A portion of our money raised will be donated to TSW.
To contribute or learn more visit: www.brandonandkristine.org
2 Comments on "Vail couple attempts to be youngest to reach Mount Everest, climb Seven Summits"