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Column for 5.22.2013
Many Boonville Herald readers are following Dr. Manoj Vora’s attempt to climb Mount Everest, the highest a man or woman can climb - at least in this world.
Those following the good doctor have good reason to do so. It is not everyday that someone climbs this world’s highest mountain. Even less seldom does someone from our area climb Everest. In fact, never has someone from around here done it.
If Dr. Vora succeeds we will know right away. Thanks to technology and social media word spreads faster than it did when Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Mount Everest this month in 1953, the first to do so, along with his sherpa Tenzing Norgay.
This is Dr. Vora’s second attempt at Everest. His first try, which came up short, was chronicled by the Boonville Herald’s Judy Routson. This was before she retired. Dr. Vora’s second attempt was enough to bring Judy out of retirement - at least for the series she is writing about his second attempt to reach the top of the world.
She is following Dr. Vora’s climb on social media and by staying in contact with his family and friends. Readers can sense Judy’s excitement.
Dr. Vora came close to reaching the Mount Everest summit on his first attempt. Alas, close doesn’t count when you are a mountain climber. You either get to the top or you don’t.
As this is being written, Dr. Vora is at Camp 4 on Mount Everest. Camp 4 is at 26,300 feet above sea level. The summit is at 29,029 feet. Maybe.
Judy, a few minutes ago on her facebook page, pointed out a discrepancy: “So excited as he nears the summit; however, he still has some very dangerous areas to go through, and because of the lack of oxygen at that height, it’s hard for climbers to think, move, and react quickly. And, of course, it’s sometimes very difficult to descend from the summit. Continued prayers are needed. (Also, I note this map shows the summit at 29,029 feet - latest surveys show the peak is actually 29,035 feet above sea level.)
People don’t usually speak of climbing mountains and prize fighting in the same breath, but there is something that reminds me about Dr. Vora’s attempt to climb Mount Everest with Muhammad Ali’s attempt to win a fight many years ago.
Ali was knocked to the canvas. He could have stayed down on one knee and taken an eight count, which fighters typically do. This gives them a few seconds to gather themselves.
Ali didn’t do that, though. He got right up and started boxing. He eventually won the fight.
Interviewed afterwards, a reporter asked a great question. “Why didn’t you stay down and rest before getting to your feet?” Or words to that effect.
Ali’s answer: “Champions don’t stay down.”
And mountain climbers - at least in Dr. Vora’s case - don’t stay down, either. He refused to stay down. He is giving this second attempt everything he has.
Two other Ali quotes about boxing which very much pertain to mountain climbing and what Dr. Vora is trying to do at this very moment:
1. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it - then I can achieve it.”
2. “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”
As this is being typed, Dr. Vora is within either 2,729 or 2,735 feet away from the summit, depending which map we believe. Whatever, he is so close. But then he got close the first time, too.
Will Dr. Vora’s second attempt at reaching the summit of Mount Everest be successful?
Fingers are crossed. Prayers are being said.