FLORIDA 7TH GRADERS LEARN ABOUT MOUNTAIN CLIMBING FROM TENURED RMI GUIDES
At their teacher’s request, the 7th grade class in Crystal River, FL, Skyped with RMI guides JJ Justman and Joe Horiskey for 60 minutes yesterday. We discussed mountain climbing in general, and fielded questions about Mt Everest in particular.
The class was doing a novel study of the book “Peak” by northwest author Roland Smith, which centers on a 14-year-old boy climbing Mt Everest. Their teacher, Sarah, had inquired by email whether RMI would be willing to Skype with her class. Of course the answer was a resounding “Yes!”
The students, obviously well-versed in their subject, asked pertinent questions on topics such as: the effects of altitude on the human body, requisites of food and gear for climbing Mt Everest, necessary climbing experience, and surviving for an extended period of time in potentially hostile terrain.
Being familiar with the tragedies which had befallen the mountain the past two consecutive years, the class was riveted to hear JJ’s first-hand account of actually being at Camp l last April 25 when the earthquake struck. He also presented video of his evacuation by helicopter to Base Camp.
One student asked how climbers deal with being separated from loved ones, friends and family, for extended periods of time. Another inquired about our “scariest moments” as mountain guides. But throughout, our message to the class emphasized safety, and while mountain climbing does involve accepting a certain amount of risk that is the case for many activities in life (sports, driving, etc).
Sarah noted at the conclusion of our presentation the kids’ favorite photo was of the abbreviated ‘runway’ in Lukla (at Tenzing-Hillary Airport)! JJ and I really enjoyed talking with Sarah’s class and look forward to similar presentations with hers and others in the future!
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