Climb to top of Everest will complete historic triple trek for Grand Marais man
Two down, one to go.
Polar explorer Eric Larsen of Grand Marais and Boulder, Colo., will attempt to summit Mount Everest in late October. If he does, he will achieve his goal of becoming the first person to reach the South Pole, North Pole and the top of Mount Everest in one year's time.
Larsen plans to leave the United States on Saturday and arrive at Everest Base Camp in mid-September. He will climb with five Sherpas, hoping to summit the third or fourth week of October, he said.
Most climbers attempt Everest in April and May, when many teams are on the mountain simultaneously. The mountain is much quieter in fall.
"There is one other guy, from what I understand, on the mountain, from Japan," Larsen said in an interview with the News Tribune. "He did not want to share the permit, and he has his own support team. The thing about the fall is that no one else is there, and there is no infrastructure."
In January, Larsen and his team successfully completed a 750-mile, 48-day ski traverse to the South Pole. Larsen and a separate team reached the North Pole on April 22 after a 51-day, 500-mile push that included snowshoeing and skiing across shifting sea ice.
Larsen says he thinks the Everest climb will be the most challenging of his three expeditions. He has focused on mountaineering for the past three years, climbing in Colorado, Argentina, Washington and Alaska, summiting Denali last summer.
Still, he says he's nervous about Everest.
"I feel I'm medium prepared in terms of personal fitness and general mountaineering experience," he said in a telephone interview from Boulder. "But I'm not at all prepared for being on an 8,000-meter peak."
The Everest portion of his expeditions will cost $90,000, he said, which he has raised from many sponsors.
"Constant begging," Larsen calls his fundraising efforts.
He is attempting the three-pronged expedition, called "Save the Poles," to call attention to environmental issues that affect those regions.
"I have been to the 'front lines' of global warming during my journeys to the North and South Poles," Larsen said in a prepared statement. "We can save the poles and our planet if we act now."
A member of the Explorer's Club, Larsen isn't new to the world of polar exploration. He and Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais completed the first summer expedition to the North Pole in 2006, pulling and paddling modified canoes nearly 600 miles.