FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
His Sights on New Achievement for Amputees
San Rafael,California -- December 9, 2005
Inspiring amputees and others around the world by scaling one 8,000 meter peak is not enough for American Alpine Club member and Nepali citizen Nawang Sherpa. He and his Friendship Beyond Borders team now plan to scale another one this spring—the world’s 6th-highest peak, Cho Oyu (8,201m; 26,906ft). The 2006 Friendship Beyond Borders team will include Colorado Springs mountaineer Pete Lardy, who in 2003 climbed Mustagh Ata (7546m; 24,750ft) in western China with Tom McMillan to prepare for his Everest climb. Also on the team will be their friend Nima Gombu Sherpa, a 10 times Everest summiter and Cho Oyu veteran, and Nawang’s younger brother, Ang Dawa Sherpa helping as Climbing Guide.
Nawang’s lifelong goal to climb Mount Everest, despite a see-saw chain of great opportunities and terrible tragedies, was achieved thanks to his Friendship Beyond Borders team, supporters, and sponsors. Nawang Sherpa’s left leg was crushed six years ago in a motorcycle accident in Nepal. A year later, a group of his American friends drew together a network of people willing to provide him with donations of high-quality prosthetic care and equipment from clinics in California and Minnesota.
A chance to climb Mount Everest in 2003 with the legendary American mountaineer and double amputee Ed Hommer was dashed when Ed was tragically killed by rockfall on a training climb of Mount Rainier. Later that year, Tom McMillan received the opportunity to climb Mount Everest, and invited Nawang to climb it with him. They gained the summit of Everest on their first attempt, despite the fact that Nawang had decided not to train for the climb and risk injuring his leg or prosthesis.
Climbing Cho Oyu will make Nawang the first amputee to climb two of the world’s fourteen 8,000m peaks. Nawang points out that in today’s world of armed conflicts and disasters "There are so many disabled people in the world! I would love to give encouragement to all of them by climbing these high peaks with the help of my international friends and sponsors."
Expedition leader Tom McMillan highlights just how important and effective this type of encouragement can be. Not knowing quite what to do for Nawang a few months after his motorcycle accident, Tom sent him a copy of the book “Second Ascent“, showing the struggles and remarkable accomplishments of climber-amputee Hugh Herr. The effect was life-changing:
"When he saw that Hugh had overcome his severe injuries and regained his ability to enjoy climbing at a high level, Nawang realized he too might be able to do that. Hugh’s story enabled Nawang to envision a better future for himself. His American friends then came together to find any way possible to turn that vision into a reality. Like Hugh, Nawang is an inspiration to everyone who meets him and learns of his extraordinary achievements. In five years he overcame terrible tragedy, suffering and hardships to become one of the world's top disabled athletes, and is now focused on helping other amputees, just as Hugh helped him. He deserves the respect and support of all of us."
One of the team’s supporters this year is Erik Weihenmayer, who has suggested that the team visit the energetic and courageous blind Tibetan teens from the Braille Without Borders school in Lhasa who climbed with him to 21,000ft on the north side of Everest in 2004. We are also inviting the Chinese Mountaineering Association and other alpine clubs in the region to have amputees from their countries trek to our Cho Oyu base camp to meet Nawang and his team.
Our CHO OYU Spring 2006: Friendship Beyond Borders Expedition is intended to focus public attention on the huge economic and social value of helping amputees find ways to succeed in life. In particular, it will show what amputees and others can achieve when given the opportunities of friendships, beyond the borders of nationalities, cultures, and physical abilities. And it will certainly challenge all of us to reconsider what might be preventing success in our own lives.
Linda McMillan, who will serve as the team’s Base Camp Manager, explains the team’s motivation and the choice of their Cho Oyu objective this way:
“Amputees, especially those in the developing countries of the world, struggle to overcome a huge ‘mountain’ of personal, financial, and social obstacles every day. The Friendship Beyond Borders team, sponsors, and supporters recognize this, and honor amputees’ efforts to keep going despite the constant challenges they face in their lives. By climbing in China this year, we hope to highlight the important accomplishments and aspirations of amputees there, as the country prepares to host the Olympics and serve as an important leader in the world economy.”
The team plans to begin its expedition to China in early April, stopping first in San Francisco’s sister city, Shanghai. They will be welcomed at an event held at the new offices of San Francisco-based AMB Property Corporation, which helped to sponsor the team’s 2004 expedition. From there they will fly to Lhasa where they will rest, acclimatize to that altitude, and rendezvous with their Sherpa teammates. They will then travel to the mountain trailhead by truck, trek to the Cho Oyu Advance Base Camp (18,700ft; 5,700m), and begin their acclimatization regime. They expect to reach the almost 27,000ft summit via the Normal route some time in late April or May, depending on when the optimal “weather window” on the mountain presents itself.
Our expedition is again sponsored by The American Club, which confers tax deductible benefits to your donations. We welcome all monetary and in-kind donations, and have arranged a way this year to make donating fast and easy with a link on our website to the AAC’s “Blacktie-Colorado” donation system:
Further information, news, images, and updates on the expedition can be found at the Friendship Beyond Borders website (http:///FriendshipBeyondBorders.com).
For additional information, contact:
Linda McMillan, MBA
CHO OYU Spring 2006: Friendship Beyond Borders Expedition
c/o McMillan Associates
721 Appleberry Road
San Rafael, CA 94903
McMillan Associates, located in Marin County just north of San Francisco, is a business consulting firm focused on creating innovative solutions and sustainable economic success for businesses and communities. We also believe that strong businesses and communities result when their people contribute in many ways to overall economic, environmental, and social success. Not only do we encourage this in others, we make it an important part of what we do. For further information, please visit our website at: www.lindamcmillan.com.
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