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Mt. Everest Expedition: Sara McGahan on Climbing and her Studies

Hi, my name is Sara for those of you that are reading this that don’t know me, I am 16 years old, and a sophomore at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. I started climbing when I was 12 years old, and since then I have climbed Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Rainier, Denali (Mt. McKinley), and a bunch of other mountains.

I like climbing for a number of reasons.  I like training for climbing because I know that when I am doing it its with a goal in mind. I love the people I meet when I am climbing, and hearing all their stories and experiences. I have also been able to travel to a lot of different places like Tanzania, Argentina, Russia, Australia, Nepal, and the states of Washington, Alaska, and Colorado. Its really interesting and fun to go to all these places, and to see different people and cultures.

While on this climb I am working on two different projects for classes at my school:

1.  For science, I am measuring heart rate and blood oxygen levels at different altitudes of 4 people (including myself) to study the effects of high altitude.  I am taking readings using a small finger device and doing it twice a day.  As we move up to higher and higher altitudes its interesting to see how peoples bodies react to the altitude, and how they change as the body starts to acclimatize.

2.  Right now I am in the Northern part of Nepal and Tibet is just over the border in China. The Dali Lama is openly held in very high regard here in Nepal, but pictures of the Dali Lama are forbidden in Tibet.  For English I will be talking to people about the current situation of the Dali Lama in Tibet, their views on this situation, and any impact its had on climbing near this border and on the villages close to the border.

As I write this I am sitting in an internet cafe in Namche, Nepal.  Namche is the center for trekking and climbing in Sagarmatha National Park.  Today we took a hike from Namche, which is at about 11,200 feet, up to the villages of Khumjung, Khunde, and Syangbouche. The views from these villages are truly breath taking. Some of the men in the villages work as porters and sherpas (guides for climbers and trekkers), and the rest of the people are farmers.  Our group stopped half way at the Everest Hotel to have a coke, and we sat on the terrace with clear views of Everest, Lotse, Ama Dablam, and lots of other huge mountains.  Really, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Sara McGahan


Comments (16)

I have a 5th grade student that is very interested in Everest. His goal is to climb Everest. I would like to have someone that has climbed Everest to come to talk to my class about their experience. Please contact me at 828-507-0899 or baynes1@fultonschools.org. My school is located off Holcombe Bridge Road in Roswell.

Teresa Bayne

Posted by: Teresa Bayne on

Good Luck Sara!!!!
Our Thoughts and Prayers are with you.
You go girl!!!!!!
Tripp, Mary Zack, Karen and Peter H’Doubler

Posted by: The H'Doubler's on

Watch out for the Yeti.

Posted by: Bob Kojack on

So proud of you Sara!  We’re all thinking about you at Westminster.

Posted by: Kamille Harless on

Sara, I am so proud of you and your team! The pictures are beautiful! Thanks! I am enjoying reading your blog and thinking of you! Thanks for sharing the news!

Posted by: Coach Eubanks on

Good luck and have fun Sara! Everyone here at Westminster wishes you the best!

Posted by: Matthew Shackelford on

I can’t wait to see more pictures of you! WE MISS YOU SARA!! Don’t worry about school too much ;) Stay safe and brave Say. LOVE YOU

Posted by: Ansley Walker on

You go Sara! You make us all so proud to be Wildcats.

Posted by: Richard Hendrix on

Sara, loved your post and excited that you and your Dad are spending so much time together.  Have fun and be careful

Posted by: Mac Bridges on

Hi Sara,  We loved reading your post.  Just hearing the interesting names of all of these places and mountains sounds amazing.  Kyle is going to Tanzania this summer to volunteer with Safe Water Now.  You’ll have to tell him all about it.  We are praying for you to have a fun, safe trip.  Tell your dad hello too!

Posted by: The Dhillon's on

Sara, you’re amazing-I loved reading the update…

James and I think and pray for you every day.

And, Bill too

Posted by: Angela on

I still can’t believe you are sixteen and climbing everest. you are incredible. I received an email from your mom giving me the link to this blog and I’m so excited to follow you and your dad!! So awesome!

Posted by: Hannah Woodward on

Hi Sara,
I enjoyed your post and look forward to many more.  I, too, am an Atlanta based climber, although considerably older than you.  I train for all of my climbs by running or carrying weight aup and down Kennesaw Mountain.  I think it’s great that you and your Dad are doing something this significant together…clearly you have a special relationship that should be cherished.  I have had the satisfaction of climbing with my kids and have done some fabulous climbs with my 22 and 18 year-old sons, as well as my 15 year-old daughter.  She and I will climb the Grand Teton next summer if my knees hold up.  Oh and by the way, I climbed Rainier with your guide Dave way back in 1995.  Drink lots of water, breath correctly, keep putting one foot in front of the other and be safe in everything you do!!

Posted by: Tom from Marietta on

Really enjoying your pictures and what you wrote today, particularly.  Keep it up.  Our hearts are with you, and as Mr. Dimon says, Go Cats!
Mr. Justice

Posted by: Jim Justice on

Once when I was 16, for English class I had to read an ENTIRE book - I mean, like 147 pages!  It was crazy!  It also took me about as long as it will take you to do your trip!  So be brave - you come from hearty stock!  I am proud of you!

Posted by: Uncle Martin on

What a great description, Sara! What you wrote is so meaningful. And aside from climbing the highest mountain in the world, you’re doing work for school too. You are a true Renaissance woman. I love you and am so proud of you.

Posted by: Grandma on

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