The Highest Man on Earth

Dave Mauro’s successful summits

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dave Mauro is a regular guy.

He’s a financial advisor in Bellingham. He performs improv at the Upfront Theatre. Oh, and he’s just finished climbing the Seven Summits—the highest points on each continent—with an ascent of Mt. Everest, Earth’s highest mountain.

It all began in 1993 when he was talked into climbing Mt. Baker. He had never climbed a mountain before and the experience was not great. The mountain was socked in, and he was sweaty and tired. After climbing down from the summit, he considered his mountain climbing career to be over.

But in 2006 he got a phone call from his brother-in-law Ty Hardt, an Anchorage, Alaska climber/TV anchorman and filmmaker. Hardt was planning a climb of Denali, North America’s highest peak. His intention was to film a high-definition documentary of the climb and he wanted someone to play the role of a novice climber to add dramatic appeal. He wanted Dave.

At the time, Mauro was going through some tough times and, although he didn’t expect to make it to the top, in his words, “I doubted failing would bother me much.”

To everyone’s surprise, he found himself on the summit of Denali on June 13, 2007. It got him thinking. And climbing. It changed his life. By this spring, he had reached the high point of every continent except one: Mt. Everest, the highest point in Asia—and the world.

To accomplish this, he braved the bitterly cold winds of Antarctica to climb Vinson Massif, endured a literally hair-raising experience in an electrical storm atop South America’s Aconcagua, managed a politically challenging visit to Mt. Elbrus in Eastern Europe, suffered whiteout conditions on Africa’s Kilimanjaro, and overcame the threats of tribal warfare, leech-infested swamps and yes, cannibalism in New Guinea while ascending the Carstensz Pyramid.

Saving the best for last, at 3:42am May 20, Mauro stood on Everest’s summit, the highest man on Earth. In so doing he became only the 65th American to climb all of the seven summits.

Now he’s back in Bellingham, where he has been coming to terms with a return to “normal” life—a life lived within the confines of comfort and routine, lacking the by-now-familiar extremes of his adventures.

But, as Mauro is quick to point out, sharing the experiences of adventure is a satisfying endeavor in its own right. He will be giving a multimedia presentation about his experience on Everest, “Reaching the Sky: Bellingham to Everest on Mt. Everest” at 7:30pm Tues., September 10 at 7 at Backcountry Essentials in Bellingham. Come early, stay late and share in his glory.

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