Valdosta Daily Times

Features

November 4, 2013

“Three Speakers from Nepal: VSU welcomes Apa Sherpa, Samrat Upadhyay, and Ubaraj Katawal”

(Continued)

VALDOSTA —

Before his last trip to the roof of the world in 2011, sponsored in part by the cardiology department of the University of Utah, Apa was outfitted with a ten thousand dollar MacGyver altimeter watch from Denmark.  The contraption had an attachment leading to his index finger that shot a tiny laser through his index finger to measure O2 level each step of the way.  Before leaving, Apa agreed to a request by local skiers and snowboarders to be electronically monitored on a treadmill challenge.  All of the youths and Apa wore fifty-five pound packs.  Over four hours later, only one man was still treadmilling.  The youths finally gave up. Just last year in 2012, Mr. Sherpa trekked to raise awareness for the need of better education in Nepal’s most remote villages (where he and members of his team saw the effects of climate change on local subsistence farming).  They completed the 1,700-kilometer Great Himalayan Trail twenty days under schedule.  “When the media asked me which was the hardest, climbing Mt. Everest, or this, I just smiled.  This by far was more trying, unreliable food and water sources, maybe four showers in sixty days.”  
When I asked Terrell Pool, owner of Salt Lake City’s Diamold Mold, friend and corporate sponsor of The Apa Sherpa Foundation what was the secret, was it all mere genetics, secret conditioning, Red Bull, what?  “He’s got an iron will,” Mr. Pool explained with a faint smile, his amber-brown eyes tinged with awe.  “They’d challenged him, so after the last snowboard athlete quit, he kept it up for a while. I think Apa finally got off the treadmill because he finally just got bored.”
Oh, yeah, that marathon in Tokyo? His climbing partner & friend— totally unprepared, zero prior marathon training— finished in the top one hundred and Apa Sherpa came in thirty-first.  

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