Peaks and Poles Challenge: Mt. Kilimanjaro Behind Him, Will Cross Takes On The
Ultimate Trial - Mt. Everest
First person with diabetes to
reach the North and South Poles and will Climb the Seven Highest Peaks in the
Will Cross, who last year
became the first person with diabetes to reach the South Pole, is poised to
begin his ascent on April 1, 2004, to the highest point on earth, the summit
of Mt. Everest.
Just as type 1 diabetes
didn’t keep him from trekking across 680 miles of frigid Antarctic wilderness
to the South Pole and didn’t keep him from climbing Mt. Vinson, the highest
peak on the continent at the bottom of the world, and didn’t stop his ascent
of Tanzania’s 19,339 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African
continent – he vows it won’t keep him from the summit of Mt. Everest.
The 36-year-old high-school
principal now has only three climbs left to complete the NovoLog® Peaks and
Poles Challenge, a walk to both the North and South Poles, and climbs of the
seven highest peaks on each continent. Having already reached both Poles and
having climbed to the summits of the highest mountains in North and South
America, Antarctica, and Africa, Will’s next challenge is the climb of climbs,
the ultimate challenge for any mountaineer - 29,035 foot-high Mt. Everest.
And to make this April’s 26.9
mile uphill Everest expedition even more special, Will has arranged to have
his wife, Amy, meet him at the 17,000-foot base camp upon his return from the
top of the world.
“Everest will be the most
difficult leg of the NovoLog® Peaks and Poles Challenge,” says Will Cross. “I
want to show the millions of people worldwide with diabetes that they don’t
have to be defined by their disease; that we can accomplish anything.”
In addition to having to cope
with the extreme heat of tropical rain forests at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro
and the freezing temperatures, howling winds, and lack of oxygen at the top of
Mt. Everest, Will Cross will have the added challenge of controlling his blood
sugar levels and dealing with the additional health issues associated with
diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin, a hormone needed
to transport glucose from the bloodstream into body tissues, where it is used
for energy. To prevent blood glucose levels from becoming too high or too
low, either of which can be life-threatening, people with the condition must
monitor their blood glucose levels and inject themselves with prescribed doses
of insulin multiple times a day. While on Everest, he will need about four
insulin shots a day of NovoLog®, and long-acting Novolin®. “But I’ll need
about 60 percent less insulin each day than I normally do because I’ll be
burning so many calories climbing I won’t need as much,” says Will.
Will chose a route to the top
of Kilimanjaro that allowed him three or four days at between 18,000 and
19,000 feet so he could have as much time as possible at high altitudes. “For
the last several years most of my challenges have been horizontal, not
vertical, so I needed to really get in shape for Mt. Everest,” he explained.
While on Mt. Vinson in Antarctica in late 2003, Will made some major
adjustments in his diet. “Instead of focusing on complex carbohydrates, such
as energy bars, I asked myself what the world’s most experienced climbers, the
Swiss and Austrians eat, and they eat meats and cheeses. So I tried that and
it was terrific; I ate meat stews for breakfast and dinner, and ate cheeses,
salami and nuts throughout the day, and I kept my blood sugar more even than
it had been, with fewer highs and lows.”
While on Everest, he will be
drinking four to six liters of water each day, about a liter more than someone
with a normal metabolism would need. And rather than use the full-face oxygen
mask that most climbers use, Cross will be using a newer British-developed
system with a nasal canula, a small tube that crosses his face with a small
prong in each nostril and a sensor in his nose “that recognizes when I’m
inhaling. Each time I inhale, it will release a little oxygen, and that way I
can carry less, because I’ll waste less.”
After Will Cross completes
the Everest expedition, he will climb Russia’s 18,841 foot-high Mt. Elbrus,
and finish up by conquering the 16,023 foot Carstenz Pyramid, in Indonesia to
complete the NovoLog® Peaks and Poles Challenge.
Will is a member of
Mountain Guides team for 2004...
veteran expedition leader, Everest Summiter, author and motivational
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