Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I googled 8000 this morning to see what interesting factoids I might find to share with you, and these are my favorites:

* 8000 is the cube of 20

* 8000 is also the sum of four consecutive integers cubed, 113 + 123 + 133 + 143.

* the fourteen tallest mountains on Earth, which exceed 8000 meters in height, are sometimes referred to as eight-thousanders.

I had never heard of the eight-thousanders, and now I'm fascinated. here is some more information about them:

"The eight-thousanders are the fourteen independent mountains on Earth that are more than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) above sea level. They are all located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia.

The first attempt on an eight-thousander took place on the expedition by Albert Mummery and J. Norman Collie to Nanga Parbat in 1895; this ended in failure, when Mummery and two Ghurkas, Ragobir and Goman Singh, were killed by an avalanche.

The first successful ascent of an eight-thousander was by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, who reached the summit of Annapurna on June 3, 1950.

The first person to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders was Reinhold Messner. He completed this task on October 16, 1986. A year later, in 1987, Jerzy Kukuczka became the second climber to accomplish this feat. As of 2007, a total of fourteen people have followed through. This is an extremely hazardous feat; at least four people have died while in pursuit of this goal." (Himalman.wordpress.com)

this following list, however, I find absolutely astonishing:

The climbers that have reached the Summit of all 14 8000 Meter Peaks.

Reinhold Messner (ITA) in 16 years 1970/86, at age 42.

Jerzy Kukuczka (POL) in 8 years 1979/87 at age 41.

Erhard Loretan (SUI) in 13 years 1982/95 at age 36.

Carlos Carsolio (MEX) in 11 years 1985/96 at age 33.

Krzysztof Wielicki (POL) in 17 years 1980/96 at age 46.

Juan Oiarzabal (Spain) in 14 years 1985/99 at age 43.

Sergio Martini (ITA) in 24 years 1976/2000 at age 49.

Park Yound Seok (Korean)

Hong-Gil Um (Korean)

Alberto Inurrategui in 10 years 7 months and 16 days to achieve this feat. All the peaks were climbed without bottled oxygen.

Mr. Han Want Yong (1966), Ilsan-Gu Kyungi-Do, Korea

Ed Viesturs (American)

Alan Hinkes (British)

Silvio Mondinelli

It is, of course, the ages and years it took to achieve this goal that captures my imagination. The names mean little to me, but the years of planning and training and climbing boggle my mind. I can only imagine the commitment, determination, tenacity . . . all of those traits that I thought I possessed. to what degree these men must have clung to those abilities, I can only begin to imagine.

and this is the joy and wonder of "googling." it opens up new worlds, exposing me to concepts, facts, and ideas that would never ordinarily cross my mind. it broadens my experience and helps me pinpoint my own little tiny place within the whole of the human world.

for I googled 8000 this morning because today my odometer hit and surpassed that number. I have ridden over 8000 miles in the last year and a half. (please remember to deduct those months where snow and cold blanket our little patch of the planet.) WOO HOO !!!
a month ago I wasn't sure I would hit this number before the cold took over, but we have been blessed with some incredibly gorgeous cycling weather.
I hit my milestone this morning in the dark, but I've known since sunday that it would happen this morning, and I knew about where I would be. bill rode with me this morning, and he made me stop at that point, and I shined my headlight on the odometer to confirm the occasion, yes, a big, beautiful 8 with three following zeros . . . he fumbled in his pocket for a few seconds, and then handed me a little plastic something that turned out to be a noisemaker, one of those things you blow into and a long tube unfurls while this horn-sound comes out (okay, YOU try to describe one of those things!)
anyway, we made noise, clipped back into our pedals, and continued to the summit.
which was not one of the 14 highest summits in the world, but a summit, a high, a peak, an occasion, nonetheless.

now, do you think I'll be able to hit 9000 before may 1?
a girl's gotta have a goal . . .

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