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Published on December 13, 2007

Author: Willi

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The Balsiger / Mountain Link Expedition, comprised of a world-class team of American high-altitude climbers including six professionals and one amateur supported by the world’s best Sherpas, will go for a summit of Mt. Everest this spring. A successful summit will enable three team members including Chris Balsiger, an accomplished amateur climber, also to reach their ultimate goal of Seven Summits – reaching the highest peaks on seven continents. The first leg of the Expedition, which will include 15 to 20 amateur trekkers, will be a 9-day trek through the scenic, culture-rich Himalayas to Everest base camp.:  The Balsiger / Mountain Link Expedition, comprised of a world-class team of American high-altitude climbers including six professionals and one amateur supported by the world’s best Sherpas, will go for a summit of Mt. Everest this spring. A successful summit will enable three team members including Chris Balsiger, an accomplished amateur climber, also to reach their ultimate goal of Seven Summits – reaching the highest peaks on seven continents. The first leg of the Expedition, which will include 15 to 20 amateur trekkers, will be a 9-day trek through the scenic, culture-rich Himalayas to Everest base camp. The Expedition Destination: Summit of Mt. Everest:  Destination: Summit of Mt. Everest Slide4:  The Final Peak of 3 Team Members’ Quest for the Seven Summits This Expedition is a Story of . . .:  This Expedition is a Story of . . . Dreams Adventure Friendship Courage Family Persistence Commitment Sport Danger In May of 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to summit Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak. Hillary’s expedition began on March 26th of that year – only days before the birth of Chris Balsiger that year, and Hillary’s summit came in May, a few days after the birthday of Chris’s father. As a child, Chris listened to his father, an avid outdoorsman, retell the story of Hillary’s timely conquest and dreamed of climbing Mount Everest. The fact that Hillary’s original summit coincided with the Balsiger birthdays was viewed as a good omen by both father and son. In the 1990’s, Chris scaled heights in the world of business, building a large privately owned international company and developing real estate. His desire to climb Everest never diminished, but instead grew into a dream to reach the “Seven Summits” – the highest peak on each of the seven continents. In December of 2001, after extensive research to identify the best expedition leader, Chris met with Robert Link, founder of Mountain Link. Together they devised a four-year plan to achieve each summit with several practice climbs/summits along the way. Consistent with the Balsiger lifestyle and values, it was a family affair with plans to include family members on as many climbs as possible. This journey of nearly four years began with a first-ever practice climb of Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, in which a summit was not achieved. On their first climb of Mt. Rainier in Washington state in June of 2003, the family came face to face with the perils of climbing. :  In May of 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man to summit Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak. Hillary’s expedition began on March 26th of that year – only days before the birth of Chris Balsiger that year, and Hillary’s summit came in May, a few days after the birthday of Chris’s father. As a child, Chris listened to his father, an avid outdoorsman, retell the story of Hillary’s timely conquest and dreamed of climbing Mount Everest. The fact that Hillary’s original summit coincided with the Balsiger birthdays was viewed as a good omen by both father and son. In the 1990’s, Chris scaled heights in the world of business, building a large privately owned international company and developing real estate. His desire to climb Everest never diminished, but instead grew into a dream to reach the “Seven Summits” – the highest peak on each of the seven continents. In December of 2001, after extensive research to identify the best expedition leader, Chris met with Robert Link, founder of Mountain Link. Together they devised a four-year plan to achieve each summit with several practice climbs/summits along the way. Consistent with the Balsiger lifestyle and values, it was a family affair with plans to include family members on as many climbs as possible. This journey of nearly four years began with a first-ever practice climb of Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, in which a summit was not achieved. On their first climb of Mt. Rainier in Washington state in June of 2003, the family came face to face with the perils of climbing. The Story Behind this Expedition Chris, his wife and two children survived a devastating “ice fall,” which resulted in numerous injuries and immediate evacuation. Chris bounced back, however, and captured his summit of Rainier two months later. Two summit attempts in 2004 again required that Chris dig deep and reconfirm his commitment to high altitude climbing and the quest for the Seven Summits. An attempt to summit Aconcagua in Argentina was stopped short at 21,000 feet, when Chris experienced severe altitude sickness. Extreme weather on Mt. McKinley in Alaska forced the team to return without a summit in May of 2004, after 21 days on the mountain, including 11 days at “ABC camp” (14,500 ft.). Second attempts at both Aconcagua and Mt. McKinley in 2005 resulted in successful summits. The 2006 Everest Expedition will be the culmination of a four-year journey shared by the Balsiger family (family climbing highlights attached) – a path which has included a number of obstacles and challenges that required strong character, persistence, patience and continually tested Chris’s commitment to the goal of achieving Seven Summits. The Balsiger / Mountain Link Everest Expedition will officially launch from Katmandu on March 31 – Chris’s 53rd birthday as well as the 53rd anniversary of Hillary’s original summit.:  Chris, his wife and two children survived a devastating “ice fall,” which resulted in numerous injuries and immediate evacuation. Chris bounced back, however, and captured his summit of Rainier two months later. Two summit attempts in 2004 again required that Chris dig deep and reconfirm his commitment to high altitude climbing and the quest for the Seven Summits. An attempt to summit Aconcagua in Argentina was stopped short at 21,000 feet, when Chris experienced severe altitude sickness. Extreme weather on Mt. McKinley in Alaska forced the team to return without a summit in May of 2004, after 21 days on the mountain, including 11 days at “ABC camp” (14,500 ft.). Second attempts at both Aconcagua and Mt. McKinley in 2005 resulted in successful summits. The 2006 Everest Expedition will be the culmination of a four-year journey shared by the Balsiger family (family climbing highlights attached) – a path which has included a number of obstacles and challenges that required strong character, persistence, patience and continually tested Chris’s commitment to the goal of achieving Seven Summits. The Balsiger / Mountain Link Everest Expedition will officially launch from Katmandu on March 31 – Chris’s 53rd birthday as well as the 53rd anniversary of Hillary’s original summit. The Story (cont’d.) A World-Class Summit Team:  A World-Class Summit Team The World-Class American Team:  The World-Class American Team Chris Balsiger – Expedition Financier & Climber An accomplished amateur with 15 summits including 6 of the Seven Summits Robert Link – Expedition Leader & Climber Internationally renowned expedition leader and climber with extensive Everest experience, including a summit Tap Richards – Climb Leader & Climber Highly experienced guide and member of the 1999 and 2001 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition; reached 28,700 feet before sacrificing a summit for a rescue, for which he received Alpine Award. Holds 6 of the Seven Summits Heidi Richards – Trek Leader & Climber One of world’s leading woman athletes and climbers with 6 of Seven Summits. Jeff “JJ” Justman – Climber World-class climber with an Everest Summit Michael Lindaas – Climber World-class climber with global experience Garrett Madison – Climber World-class climber with global experience Detailed climbing resumes and photos at back of book. The World’s #1 Sherpa Summit Team:  The World’s #1 Sherpa Summit Team Lhawang Dhondup – Sirdar & Climber Co-founder or Nomad Expeditions based in Katmandu. More than 25 Himalayan expeditions with multiple summits of Everest, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and other peaks around the globe. Lhakpa Nhuru Sherpa 5 Summits of Everest Dawa Sherpa 6 Summits of Everest Tendee Sherpa 7 Everest Expeditions Detailed climbing resumes at back of book. Other Team Members:  Other Team Members A World-Class Summit Team:  A World-Class Summit Team Robert Link Expedition Leader, Climber:  Robert Link Expedition Leader, Climber The term "seasoned mountain guide" often conjures up an image of a tough and temperamental veteran of altitude who has seen it all and lived to tell about it. But anyone who has ever been a client of Robert Link knows that there exists another kind of guide who, besides an unyielding concern for safety, is generous with encouragement and whose interests go much further than simply how many clients have reached the summit this year or that. Soft-spoken and genuine to a fault, Robert is known for his dedication to helping clients achieve their goals. Central to his philosophy is the idea that a guide can be much more than just a guide; he or she can also be a teacher and a friend. Robert began his climbing career at age seven when he climbed Mount Adams with his father. In 1989, he was part of the first American team ascent of the North Face of Kanchenjunga. He summitted the North Col Route on Everest in 1990 with climbers from China and Russia as part of the International Peace Climb. He needs just one peak to achieve success reaching the highest summits on each of the seven continents. Robert is known for his skills as a professional guide, combining a knack for teaching mountaineering techniques with a thorough, logical approach to safe guiding. People who have climbed with him have remarked on his calmness under pressure, his love for cultural history, his ability to forge group solidarity and his genuine enthusiasm for seeing his clients realize their goals. Robert likes nothing better than to put his experience and knowledge at the service of those who share his passion for the mountains. Robert and his wife Cari live in Bend, Oregon, with their son, Dalton. His certifications include Alpine Guide by the American Mountain Guides Association, Wilderness First Responder, U.S. Avalanche Level II, and Leave No Trace Trainer. Robert Link Expedition and Climbing Career Highlights:  Robert Link Expedition and Climbing Career Highlights 13 climbs of Cotopaxi (19,348') 12 climbs of Chimborazo (20,701') Guided 6 climbs of Popcateptl, Mexico (17,800') Guided 18 climbs of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico (18,700’) Guided 8 climbs of Ixtaccihuatl, Mexico (17,342') Guided 5 climbs of Illimani, Bolivia (21,003') Guided 5 climbs of Huayna Potosi, Bolivia (19,975') Westface of Jahntugan, Russia (14,728); First American ascent with Ed Viesturs. Guided 2 climbs of Mt. Elbrus, Russia (18,501') Italian side of the Matterhorn 295 summits of Mount Rainier (14,410') 17 expeditions on Mount McKinley (20,320') 1 expedition on Mount Hunter (14,235') 4 expeditions to Everest (29,035') (Summit on the most successful Everest Expedition in History) Kanchenjunga (28,208') Cho Oyu (27,766') Lead guide for successful expedition via the Tibet side Dhaulagiri (26,795'); Group reached 25,300' 4 successful guided climbs of Kilimanjaro, Africa 12 expeditions on Aconcagua, Argentina (22,835') Chris Balsiger Expedition Financier, Climber :  Chris Balsiger Expedition Financier, Climber Summit Highlights 2 Summits on Kilimanjaro, Africa (19,340') Mt. Elbrus, Russia (18,501') Kosciuszko, Australia (7,310’) Aconcagua, Argentina (22,835') Mt. McKinley, Alaska (20,320') Mt. Vinson, Antarctica (16,067') Mt. Rainier (14,410') Pico de Orizaba, Mexico (18,700’) Ixtaccihuatl, Mexico (17,342') Chris has also climbed and summitted various mountains throughout the Himalayas, Ecuador, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado and Utah. A Successful Summit of Everest will Complete Chris’s Quest for the Seven Summits Chris Balsiger was born in Indiana and at a very young age, moved to Memphis where during high school he met his future wife, Christy Balsiger, a native Memphian. After both graduated from Memphis State University, Chris and Christy moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where Chris received his MBA in Finance from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Subsequently, they moved several times throughout the Midwest as Chris learned the world of corporate America. In 1980, they moved to El Paso, Texas, and four children later, the whole family had fallen in love with the Southwestern culture and adopted it as their own. Chris is a Founder/CEO of IOS, a global outsourcing services company with revenues of more than $200 million, as well as a real estate developer. Chris maintains a love of the outdoors, as he is an avid golfer, tennis player, mountain climber, and an enthusiastic skier. The Balsiger family travels abroad extensively to support Chris’s passion for high-altitude mountaineering and his pursuit of the “Seven Summits” – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Tap Richards Climb Leader, Climber :  Tap Richards Climb Leader, Climber Resume 3 Mt. Everest expeditions; reached 28,700' (member of the ‘99 and ‘01 Mallory & Irvine Research Expeditions) Holds 6 of the Seven Summits 131 summits on Mt. Rainier via 8 different routes 10 Mt. McKinley expeditions including summits Also Summitted and/or Guided on: Cho Oyu Ama Dablam Aconcagua Kilimanjaro Mt. Blanc (ski descent) Mt. Elbrus, Russia Mt. Vinson, Antarctica Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia Mt. Whitney Ascents in Colorado, New Mexico, Tetons, and French Alps Contributions to books Ghosts of Everest and Detectives on Everest A native of Taos, New Mexico, Tapley Richards has been a professional mountain guide since 1992.  Tap grew up skiing and climbing the mountains around northern New Mexico and Aspen, Colorado, which created in him, a thirst for the outdoors and adventure that has defined his life ever since. Tap is motivated by the rich life experiences that come with stepping away from less conventional environments where challenges are regular and comforts are few.  Tap’s ability to compose the necessary skills and techniques in challenging situations, while creating a quality experience for each team member, is an engaging combination. He was a member of the 1999 and 2001 Mallory & Irvine Research Expeditions.  Tap was the 2001 award winner of the David A. Sowles Award from the American Alpine Club, for his part in the second highest life saving rescue, from over 28,000 feet, on Mt. Everest. When not guiding, Tap lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife Heidi, who is also on this expedition. His certifications include Outdoor Emergency Care and U.S. Avalanche Level III. Heidi Richards Trek Leader, Climber:  Heidi Richards Trek Leader, Climber Heidi Richards is one of the premier woman climbers in the world. She is an experienced climber, yoga teacher, massage therapist and a great adventurer. In 1999 Heidi led trekkers to Everest Advanced Base Camp in Tibet for the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition. In 2001 she was a part of research team that reached 25,000 feet on the north side of Everest. Her certifications include Outdoor Emergency Care and U.S. Avalanche Level III. Resume Holds 6 of the Seven Summits Summitted and/or Guided on: Mt. Rainer (107 summits) Mt. McKinley Aconcagua Cho Oyu Kilimanjaro Mt. Vinson, Antarctica Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia Mt. Hunter (southwest ridge), Alaska Also, climbed and/or summitted in the Huayna Potosi and Illimani in Bolivia and Mt. Huascaran in Peru Michael Lindaas Climber:  Michael Lindaas Climber Mike started climbing with his family when he was very young. He spent his summers in the Washington Cascades learning mountaineering from his father. It was here that his love of the outdoors and his pursuit of mountaintops first began. Mike is now a full-time guide on both domestic and international peaks. His certifications include Wilderness First Responder, U.S. Avalanche Level II, and Leave No Trace Trainer. Resume Summitted and/or Guided on: Mt. Rainier (96 summits) Mt. McKinley (including 1 summit via the Cassin) Mt. Hunter Dhaulagiri, Nepal Kilimanjaro, Africa Aconcagua, Argentina Huayna Potosi, Bolivia Mt. Elbrus, Russia Huascaron, Peru Dolomites, Italy 20+ expeditions to Ecuador and Mexico Numerous ascents of Cascade Volcanoes, including Little Tahoma, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Olympus, Mount Adams, Mt. Shuksan, Glacier Peak, El Dorado, Mt. Baker, Mt. Hood) Jeff “JJ” Justman Climber :  Jeff “JJ” Justman Climber A former collegiate Nordic ski racer, Jeff Justman (JJ) gave up his competitive side to pursue a life of adventure. JJ has climbed and guided extensively in North and South America. With certifications in Outdoor Emergency Care, Leave No Trace and Level 2 Avalanche Awareness, JJ places an emphasis on safety and fun.  In addition, with a Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, Jeff provides educational and inspirational speaking programs to organizations around the country. Resume  Summitted and/or Guided on: Mt. Everest (1 summit) Mt. Rainier (120 summits) Mt. McKinley (3 summits) Dhaulagiri Manaslu Aconcagua Ecuador, Cotapaxi and Cayambe Chimborazo Bolivia, Huayna Potosi and Illiamani Illiniza Sur and Illiniza Norte Mt. Elbrus, Russia Mt. Whitney, CA A Mountain Hardwear Sponsored Athlete Garrett Madison Climber :  Garrett Madison Climber Resume Summitted and/or Guided on: Mt. Rainier (92 summits) Mt. McKinley  Aconcagua, Argentina  Mexico's Volcanoes  Cordillera Blanca (Chopiqualqui & Pisco), Peru Mont Blanc, France Cho Oyu, Tibet Ama Dablam, Nepal  Grand Teton  Ecuador (Cotopaxi & Cayambe) 1 US Army Ranger mountaineering exercise Garrett grew up on Bainbridge Island and has been climbing for 15 years. An athlete of many disciplines, Garrett views climbing 8000 meter peaks as the ultimate physical challenge, and he climbs regularly both domestically and internationally. Recently Garrett trained a group of US Army Rangers in mountaineering techniques. In addition to mountaineering Garrett enjoys adventure racing, his team Necky Kayaks took 18th place last year in the Subaru Primal Quest. His certifications include Wilderness First Responder and U.S. Avalanche Level II. Lhawang Dhondup Sirdar, Climber :  Lhawang Dhondup Sirdar, Climber Resume 25+ Himalayan expeditions Summit of Cho Oyu Summit of Shishapangma Summit of Everest 90+ summits of Mt. Rainier 3 expeditions to Mt. McKinley Summit of Aconcagua, Argentina With family in both Tibet and Nepal, Lhawang brings a unique homeland perspective to the Expedition. He began his professional climbing career at the age of 18 in the Himalayas. Since then he has been on more than 25 Himalayan expeditions with summits of Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and Everest. He was instrumental in providing logistical support for his friend and climbing partner, Babu Chiri, in his record-breaking speed ascent and later longest stay on the top of Mt. Everest. Lhawang is a student of Buddhist Philosophy and Asian History, which he studied for nine years at the Varanasi University in India. When he is not climbing Lhawang deals in antique textiles and rugs from his homeland. He resides in Berkeley, California when he is not traveling. Sherpa Summit Team :  Sherpa Summit Team Lhakpa Nhuru Sherpa 5 Everest Summits Lhotse (27,940') 4th highest in the world Makalu (27,766') 5th highest in the world 2 Dhaulagiri (26,781') 7th highest in the world Manaslu (26,781') 8th highest in the world 2 Ama Dablam The expedition will be supported by the most successful Sherpa team in mountaineering — Nomad Expeditions. Babu Chiri Sherpa and Lhawang Dhondup created Nomad Expeditions, a trekking agency based out of Katmandu, to help organize the logistics of Himalayan climbing. Babu Chiri, who died in April of 2001, is most renowned for his two Everest records — time (21 hrs.) at the summit without the use of supplemental oxygen and the speed record for climbing from base camp to the summit in only 16 hours and 56 minutes without supplemental oxygen. Nomad Expeditions is widely considered to be the “Super Bowl Champions” of Himalayan guiding and high-altitude climbing. Maintaining Babu’s standard, only the strongest, hardest-working, and most successful Sherpas work with Nomad Expeditions. Dawa Sherpa 6 Everest summits Makalu (27,766') 5th highest in the world Cho Oyu (26,906') 6th highest 2 Dhaulagiri (26,781') 7th highest Manaslu (26,781') 8th highest Shisha Pangma (26,291') 14th highest 15 Ama Dablam Tendee Sherpa 7 Everest Expeditions 1 Dhaulagiri (26,781') 7th highest in the world 1 Manaslu (26,781') 8th highest in the world 1 Kangchenjunga (28,169') 3rd highest in the world Balsiger Family Climbing Highlights (Those in Blue will Trek to Everest Base Camp):  Balsiger Family Climbing Highlights (Those in Blue will Trek to Everest Base Camp) Christy Balsiger – Wife – Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, Aconcagua, McKinley, Cotopaxi, Pico de Orizaba, Ixtaccihuatl, Mount Rainier as well as various mountains throughout Ecuador, Colorado, and New Mexico Angela Kahn – Daughter – Kilimanjaro, as well as various mountains throughout Ecuador, California, and Colorado Aaron Kahn – Son-in-law – Kilimanjaro, as well as various mountains throughout Ecuador, California, and Colorado Joe Balsiger – Son – Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, Ixtaccihuatl, Mount Rainier as well as various mountains throughout Ecuador, Colorado, and New Mexico Heather Balsiger – Daughter-in-law – Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, as well as various mountains throughout Ecuador, Colorado, and New Mexico Andrew Balsiger – Grandson (age 2) – Summited Mt. Kosciuszko Camille Balsiger – Daughter – Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, Aconcagua, Cotopaxi, as well as various mountains throughout Ecuador, Colorado, and New Mexico Avery Balsiger – Daughter – Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, Aconcagua, McKinley, Cotopaxi, Mount Rainier as well as various mountains throughout Ecuador, Colorado, and New Mexico

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