An Iowan who’s gone where no other Iowan has gone before — or since — is speaking this weekend about his view from the top of the world. In 2003, Charlie Wittmack became the first and only Iowan to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the planet’s tallest and most brutal peak.
Wittmack says his talk at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines will focus on how he realized the dream. “Obviously, there’s a lot of educational components that go into that — altitude, physiology, glaciology, weather patterns — but the bigger message for these young kids is helping them find an ‘Everest dream’ of their own.” Wittmack says “It seems like a crazy idea that some kid from Iowa would grow up to be an Everest climber and the dreams that they come up with may seem crazy right now too, but over time, with a lot of hard work and dedication, we can help them get from where they are to where the want to be.”
Wittmack is bringing many of his tools and souvenirs from the adventure to the Science Center for show-and-tell. There’ll be equipment from his 2003 expedition including a hole-riddled tent that survived a horrible storm on Everest as well as the various mountain climbing suits from several elevations, including the one he wore to the summit while carrying Iowa’s state flag. There’ll also be a mini-Everest climbing wall.
The 29-year-old Wittmack is focused on his own new dream. He graduated from law school in May, took the bar this summer, and this month, started his career as an associate attorney for a Des Moines law firm. For more on his Saturday talk, surf to “www.sciowa.org”.