Alumni Christopher Ummer has been climbing to new heights in both his professional and personal life since graduating from Castleton University in 1985 with degrees in Physical Education and Athletic Training. Currently serving as the Director of Athletics at Lyndon State College, Ummer recently returned from a 17-day trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal with four other American travelers.
“Our top elevation was 17,200ft,” said Ummer. “Once you're above 10,000ft in elevation you really notice the decreased percentage of oxygen.”
In addition to his recent climb, Ummer regularly hosts guided trips up Mount Washington each winter. Having stepped up his training to prepare for his Everest adventure, he was able to face the demanding journey to the base camp of the highest mountain in the world with confidence.
“I’m always in pretty good climbing and hiking condition, and I’ve done quite a bit of mountaineering,” said Ummer, adding that in the past he has trekked Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,341ft and Mount Orizaba at 18,491ft, among others. “I hike the Presidential Range in New Hampshire year round, as well as the northern Vermont peaks two to three days each week.”
With plans to climb Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas at 22,841ft, this winter, Ummer plans to take many of his Everest climbing experiences and knowledge with him.
“The culture and people are amazing. I honestly loved every aspect of the trip including the flight into Lukla, the world’s most dangerous airport, and standing at the base of the biggest mountain in the world was surreal,” he explained. “It’s a beautiful country, rich in culture with welcoming people and it calls you back. I know I’ll be back, not to trek but to climb something big.”