Usually a climber’s first trip across the Khumbu Icefall takes about seven hours. Eric’s first trip took thirteen. The other climbers in the team saw how much trouble Eric was having crossing the icefall. They told him he could rest in the camp. He didn’t have to make any more trips. But Eric said, No. He wanted to be a full member of the team, just like all the others. In the end, Eric crossed the Khumbu ten times. His last trip took him five hours.

On the higher parts of Mount Everest, above the icefall, things were easier for Eric. But on the last part of the climb the climbers were stopped by a bad storm. There was a strong wind, blowing snow, and thunder and lightning. The team had to wait until the weather improved.

In the morning, Giemma told Francis he didn’t want to kill him because he was doing a good job of taking care of his animals. But he also told him that if he tried to run away again, he would kill him. Francis decided to wait three more years before he tried again. He knew he had to be bigger and stronger and smarter first.

On the last steep climb, just below the top Eric felt that, because he was blind, climbing was easier for him than for the others. It was dark, so no one could see very well, and he was used to finding his way with his hands.

-information from: TIME Magazine, 2001, (Karl Taro Greenfeld); USA Today, 01.06.07, (Jeff Zillgitt); www.everestnews.com/ewkos802.htm; www.provethemwrong.com/weihenmayer.htm; www.homileticsonline.com/subscriber/interviews/weihenmayer.asp; “The Connection,” National Public Radio (US), 03.10

wrestling:
a sport where two people fight by taking hold of each other’s bodies and trying to pull each other to the ground

icefall:
a river of ice like a ‘glacier’ but steeper and moving more quickly