Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An 83-year-old mountain climber? You bet!

3,581 meters never felt so good. Doesn't sound like much in terms of the biggest peaks in the world, and indeed, climbing 11,749-foot Mt. Timpanogos -- one of the tallest peaks in the Wasatch range, and a mountain in whose shadow I grew up -- never seemed like a big deal to me. But last summer changed that.

That's because my long-awaited return to this glorious mountain last summer came in the companionship of my 83-year old dad and one of my brothers.

My dad, Stormin' Norman Wright had the wisdom of an old soul even when he was young, and the irony of his nickname is that he's always been a mild-mannered computer science professor -- but nevertheless a quiet and towering presence of inspiration and motivation in my life. Long before I was born, he was spending more time than I can imagine on mountains and in wildernesses with my older brothers as an outdoorsman, an adventurer, as a teacher and scoutmaster, and an avid backpacker.

He's my inspiration, my hero, my mentor... and what he did on old Timp at age 83 was an equally towering accomplishment. He's climbed the mountain many times in his life, but by taking up its challeng once more, he aimed to honor the same accomplishment of his grandfather, who did the same climb of the same mountain on HIS 83rd birthday.

Knowing ol' Norm, he'll probably be kicking around in the mountains for another decade or two (and hopefully many of those years I will get to share those trips with him), but his achievement is now something I'm really looking forward to duplicating when I reach that age.

And if you've never been there, Timpanogos is an AWESOMELY beautiful mountain.


  1. Hi, this is a really great story! And congrats to your dad.
    We came back a couple of weeks ago from our winter attempt on McKinley, the first woman attempt as a matter of fact. Go on our Facebook page Winter McKinley Feb 2010. Since you will be there in May, the video clips (about 5 short ones) that we posted might make you smile... btw, the one called "one day in the blizzard" shows a winter storm that you will (gladly) not experience in May. Have fun on Denali, awesome mountain. Christine

  2. Hey Christine! I'm headed back to AK this May to climb Foraker and Crosson... maybe I'll get one of those juicy AK storms after all! :-) LOVED the vids :-)