Shippensburg students plan Everest climb - abc27 WHTM

Shippensburg students plan Everest climb

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A group of near strangers met at the base of a trail inside Micheaux State Forest Tuesday afternoon.

They are in for quite the journey.

Former Cumberland County commissioner Rick Rovegno wanted a way to share his passion for climbing. Thanks to help from his alma mater, he's been granted permission to bring five Shippensburg University students on a mid-semester trip of a lifetime.

This hike is just practice.

"We plan on taking them 10,000 miles from where they have known and put them in the most formidable mountain range on the face of the planet," Rovegno said.

The destination is Everest; a goal that requires some help.

Rovegno met Tendi Sherpa on a previous expedition. The Nepal native made his first climb at the age of 13 in bare feet. Since then, the guide has reached the summit of Mount Everest 10 times, twice without oxygen. In October, he will guide the group part-way up.

He's now on his first trip to the United States to help the students prepare.

"You are walking up hill, you are walking downhill, it's similar to what its going to be like," he said of the trail the group walked Tuesday.

Tendi said central Pennsylvania has been the perfect place to train because of similar ups-and-downs with flat plains in between.

As for the weather conditions? The group will have to find that out when they get there.

"He said, 'Oh Rick, tomorrow it's going to be 30 degrees below zero. Good! Good!' And he has a smile on his face. And I said, 'Good for you, Tendi, but I'm going to be cold!" Rovegno said.

Once the lookout point was reached, Tendi told us that he lost 16 friends in an Everest avalanche earlier this year. He said safety is his top priority and the students will be hiking to only 20,000 feet.

He said he will keep oxygen on stand-by just in case.

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