View Full Version : Maine man summits Everest !!

05-18-2006, 09:13 PM
My daughter had this guy as a prof at UMF......great accomplisment !

State man reaches summit of Everest

By Jerry Harkavy
Associated Press

Complete Maine News Index

PORTLAND, Maine - A university professor from Maine conquered Mount Everest, reaching the summit on his 36th birthday.

John Bagnulo of New Vineyard made it to the 29,035-foot peak, but his climbing partner, Bill Yeo, 40, of Durham, did not.

"We know they’re safe and they’re well and that John made it to the top yesterday on his birthday," Yeo’s wife, Julie, said Thursday.

It was not immediately clear why Yeo did not complete the climb.

"We heard from climbers on the mountain that both guys were very strong and both were doing good," said George Martin, manager of the Web site everestnews.com, which tracks ascents of the world’s highest mountain.

Yeo, an employee of L.L. Bean, and Bagnulo, a nutrition professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, were back at advanced base camp and out of danger, Martin said.

The weather on the mountain was excellent as the two Mainers made their final push to the summit, Martin said.

"We’re told by veterans that this is the best weather they’ve seen in eight or nine years," he said.

Bagnulo and Yeo spent the last couple of weeks acclimating to the thin air at a base camp at an elevation of 17,500 feet.

Late Wednesday (Thursday morning on Mt. Everest), Bagnulo’s wife, Joanna, and his mother, Janet, received calls by satellite phone from Bagnulo atop the summit.

"When I picked up the phone, he said, ‘Mom. I did it,"’ Janet Bagnulo recalled. "I’m just so thrilled and proud of him. It’s been a dream of his for so long."

She acknowledged that she was becoming "very apprehensive" as the two Maine climbers were nearing the summit until her son’s call put her fears to rest.

John Bagnulo described to his mother the conditions on the highest point on Earth. "It’s real sunny, there’s a wind and it’s cold. But it’s beautiful."

Janet Bagnulo said she felt bad that Yeo did not make it to the top but had no details about why he turned back.

Climbing without a Sherpa guide, the men carried their own water, food and first aid kits along with the satellite phone and climbing equipment. They also toted oxygen that they hoped not to use, but in the end they changed their minds, Martin said.

Their North Face approach on the Chinese side of Everest called for the climbers to make their way from the base camp to an advanced base camp, then to four successively higher mountain camps before the final push for the summit.

The two Mainers planned to do some field work during the climb.

Yeo was collecting soil samples that were to be tested at the University of Southern Maine for metal deposits from industrial smokestacks in China; Bagnulo was studying the use of natural supplements for high-altitude climbers.

Martin said he anticipates a busy climbing season on Everest with more than 300 people, including Sherpas, reaching the top. "It’s going to be mass numbers," he said. Four climbing deaths have already been recorded this year.

Bagnulo and Yeo, both accomplished mountaineers, each began thinking of an Everest assault years ago. Both have climbed Mount McKinley, at 20,320 feet, North America’s highest.

They’ve also climbed high peaks in the Andes of South America as well as in Africa. Bagnulo climbed Aconcagua, the 22,831-foot Andes peak that is the Western Hemisphere’s highest. In 2001 he attempted but halted an ascent of Lhotse, a 27,890 Himalayan mountain not far from Everest.