Friday, July 1, 2005

Neil Jing has big cahones!

At Intel, we get a sabbatical every seven years, where you get a couple months off. Adding your vacation to it and you can get about 3 months in total. I recently finished mine, returning in time for E3.

On our intranet site at work, they often have stories of people that have done interesting things on sabbatical. One couple went and did humanitarian work in Africa, one guy got his license to drive big rigs and spent sabbatical driving big rig trucks back and forth across the US.

Today there was an awesome story about Neal Jing. At the age of 40, with the cutoff date for sabbatical being 8 months away, and never having climbed a mountain, Neal decided he'd like to climb Everest.

People said he was nuts, that you need to train for years, etc. He decided to do it anyway.

He started training by running 8 miles a day every day but Sunday. Sundays he'd climb a local 1200 foot mountain - twice - wearing a 50lb backpack.

Then, within the next six months, he climbed Mt Rainier in Washington (14k ft), Haba mountain in China (18k ft), and mt Aconcagua in Argentina (23k ft).

Then he summitted Everest this past May.

Some people feel that Everest has gotten easier because you hear about all the "for hire" expeditions that are doing it. The following quote reminded me of how dangerous it really is:

“On the day of the summit, I felt strong and was pushing the Sherpas to move faster,” says Jing. “I had to step over frozen dead people from previous years, some in sitting positions, and some in crawling positions. The only thing in my mind was to reach the summit ASAP.”

Holy crap. That's so hardcore.

Kudos to Neil for reminding us that 40 is anything but over the hill, and that we all could do with pushing our limits some!

More detailed articles here, and here.

(BTW, I also spent part of my sabbatical on a mountain, but not nearly as extreme :-)