This article appeared in the May 21, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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When climbing Everest is more than a metaphor

Niranjan Shrestha/AP/FILE
Nepalese veteran Sherpa guide, Kami Rita, 48, waves as he arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Sherpa mountaineer extended his record for successful climbs of Mount Everest with his 24th ascent of the world's highest peak on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Here’s an item from ABC News: “A Nepalese mountain guide reached the peak of Mount Everest for the 24th time, breaking his own world record for most summits – that he set less than one week earlier.”

And here’s a confession: I’ve never understood mountain climbers. If I had to work that hard to travel, I’d head for someplace warm rather than cold. And with restaurants that serve something other than dehydrated food that’s spent a week jostling in a backpack next to climbing socks.

Yet here I am, reading in awe. Yes, he really did climb Everest twice in the same week.

Kami Rita says he was doing his job. “I did not climb for world records, I was just working. I did not even know you could set records,” he told the Hindustan Times.

OK, it’s a job – an especially dangerous one. What about the people who do this for, well, fun?

Enter Alison Levine, a 5-foot-4-inch mountaineer who was team captain of the first U.S. women’s Everest expedition and has completed the Explorers Grand Slam, which means climbing the highest peak on each continent and skiing to both the North and South Poles. That’s a feat fewer than 100 people have accomplished. In her book, “On the Edge,” she writes:

“Never let failure discourage you. Every time you get to the base of a mountain (literal or metaphorical), you’re presented with a new opportunity to challenge yourself, to push your limits beyond what you thought possible.”

And now to our five stories of the day, which include a look at the fits and starts toward a new nuclear treaty, addressing global warming one tree at a time, and summer movies for people who don’t like summer movies.

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This article appeared in the May 21, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/21 edition