Climbing - Arrampicare - Grimper

Il diabete non una barriera per l'arrampicata
Argomento: Articoli Data: 26/4/2005

Un articolo in lingua EN che spiega come il diabete non sia di nessun intralcio alla pratica dell'alpinismo e per analogia dell'arrampicata sportiva. Protagonista Will Cross (37 anni) che ha gi salito alcune vette fra le pi alte del mondo, il quale ci racconta la salita dell'Everest. La spedizione  sponsorizzata da una ditta farmaceutica che fabbrica Insulina.

Diabetes no bar to climbing
Going to the top around the globe
By Roy Wood
Post staff reporter

Diabetes was the least of Will Cross' worries last May as he clung to the side of Mount Everest.

If he fell asleep, he would freeze to death.

There was a problem with his oxygen tank, and his climbing partner's retinas were hemorrhaging.

If he didn't get back down the mountain, his partner would go blind.

Cross, 37, who has type 1 diabetes and has climbed some of the world's highest mountains, was in Cincinnati Thursday to preach against the misperception that diabetes is a death sentence.

"Certainly your life is changed (by diabetes). You can't deny that," Cross told a group of pediatric diabetes educators at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"But as diseases go, diabetes is pretty reasonable," he said. "If you make the right choices, you can do pretty much what you want to do with your life."

Cross, a former high school principal from Pittsburgh, is now working to complete the NovoLog Peaks and Poles Challenge, a two-year quest to reach both poles and the highest mountain peak on each continent.

Drug maker NovoLog, which makes insulin, is sponsoring his adventure.

So far, Cross has trekked to the North and South poles and has climbed Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, Mount McKinley in Alaska, Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Kosciusko in Australia.

He attempted Mount Everest, in Nepal, last year.

If he completes the climbs, he will become the first American and first person with diabetes to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and trek to both the North and South pole, he said.

"Everest is obviously the biggest and the baddest. It's the highest mountain in the world.

"It takes two weeks just to get to Everest. You go up the Khumbu Valley where there are no roads, no nothing. Everything that goes up and down that valley goes by foot.

"You see the people carrying their loads up and down these mountains. The Buddhist culture is very peaceful. It's a beautiful place to be."

The base camp, at 17,500 feet, is the same altitude as the highest camp on Mount McKinley.

The higher he climbed on Everest, the worse he felt, he said.

At first he felt as if he had mild flu. Then the symptoms worsened.

Eating and drinking was difficult. And he had to constantly recalibrate his diet and insulin intake as the altitude and his emotions changed.

Exuberance or fear could throw off his blood sugars. And at one point, his blood sugars were going up when he had expected them to be going down.

There were many similarities in the climb and his battle against diabetes, he said

For example, Cross said, ladders are laid across crevasses, then crossed one, slow, careful step at a time.

Similarly, he breaks his health care into "just one blood test, not a series of finger pricks -- just one result, not a series of bad results."

"Every day I can make a decision to live well with diabetes," said Cross, who was diagnosed at age 9.

Climbers have to time their ascent to the last two weeks of May, when there are no jet streams at the top of the mountain, he said.

The ropes. The food. The fuel. The tents.

"Everything has to be in place, so during that final two weeks, when that jet stream leaves, you can make your summit attempt."

Cross and his climbing partner, Brad Clement of St. Louis, who does not have diabetes, were within hours of Everest's peak when things started going badly last May.

The climbers looked each other over. When Clement took off his goggles, "his whole eye is bloodshot -- His retinas have hemorrhaged as a result of the altitude," Cross said.

"So we turn around, and I decide to come home and see my wife," he said. "Even climbing Mount Everest became secondary to getting home in one piece."

Clement's sight came back, but he wasn't able to get a sponsor for a trip up Everest this year.

Cross is leaving for Nepal again in about three weeks.

He hopes to assault Mount Elbrus in Russia this summer.


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