Letter: Teacher and Students Climb Along Philip Summers - Portland, Oregon Thu, April 26, 2001 11:15AM
Hi folks, climbers and support staff,
There has been a lot of attention spent on the ethics of looking for and finding Sir George and Sandy Irvine, but there is so much more to be found. I am an educator in Portland, Oregon. Every year I "lead" a cyberclimb up MT. Everest. Each year it has grown. The first year I did this in 1998 I had only 12 "climbers"-this year my "expedition" consists of 10 high school young men and women who are "guiding" 128 4th graders. As each day of the real climbs unfold, as real climbers move up the mountain, my students visualize being there alongside them as they learn about climbing, high altitude physiology, and other numerous lessons an endeavor to the summit of MT. Everest can afford. So much is learned and the world opens up to these kids in new and amazing ways.
None of this magic would be possible if it weren't for you.
Without the Internet connection, the commitment of the real climbing teams, the love you all have for climbing, my kids would not be able to find the adventure and excitement they find on their cyberclimb. Eric said he'd be proud of this expedition even if they found nothing... be proud of the fact that you have already helped so many to understand the passion of pushing mentally and physically toward a worthy goal.
Some of my favorite things in life involve climbing: the still and serenity of glacier travel, the focus of each step yet being able to appreciate the vastness of my surroundings, the camaraderie that evolves on climbs. I can try to describe these things to my students but your dispatches do it so much better than words. While it is too dangerous to take my students on a climb, you can. Someday I want to stand in the North Col, because of you all that goal seems a little closer to me.
From Eric's dispatch letter for MountainZone in 1998 entitled "What it's Really Like" to his IMG dispatch "Taking the Heat" the kids I teach have been treated like confidants, friends upon which respect and trust has been extended because they listen and learn. Thanks Eric...thanks to all of you.
I sometimes wish that I could run into some of you on a glacier some day by happenstance, perhaps on Rainier or elsewhere in the North Cascades... When I really think about it I feel like I already have. Whether or not a mystery of M&I is solved what is happening on Qomolangma right now is touching us here in the shadows of the Cascades. Your expedition is a success because ours is.
Philip Summers, Teacher, Tigard-Tualatin School District, Portland Oregon