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Nawang Sherpa to carry Hommer's torch to Everest summit
11:19 a.m. EST Feb 18, 2004
A motorcycle wreck in summer 2000 left Nawang Sherpa, a high-altitude guide in Nepal, an amputee.

He received a new prosthetic thanks to High Exposure, a nonprofit launched by Ed Hommer, a Duluth pilot who became the first double-amputee to climb Mount McKinley in Alaska. High Exposure helps amputees who need high-level prosthetics to maintain active and athletic lives, Hommer said. In March, 2002 Nawang got an advanced, strong limb and foot that serve him well in frigid climates and on rocky terrain. Guiding for Peak Promotions, he climbed to C2 on Mount Everest in 2003.

Now Ed and Nawang made plans to climb Everest together. But Ed's Everest dream ended in tragedy a few months later. After losing both his legs to frostbite after an airplane crash on Mount McKinley in 1981, Ed Hommer came back to scale the mountain in 1999. Next he attempted Everest in the fall of 2001. After two weeks of winter storms and high winds Ed and the others decided on Oct 7 to head for home, Ed still bearing the dream of becoming the first double amputee to scale Everest. He was practicing on Mount Rainier for an Everest comeback when a rock struck and killed him Sep 23, 2003.

Sarah Cron, a High Exposure director, told Startribune: "The foundation languished after Hommer's death."

But now, Tom McMillan, a California climber, offered to pick up Ed's torch and make Nawangs lifelong dream to scale Mount Everest a reality.

"Ed's number one goal was to spread the message of hope,'' Sarah Cron told Star Tribune. "Ed could run. Ed could ride a bike. Ed climbed mountains. Ed lost both his legs. And Nawang meant so much to Ed."

Sarah closes her inteview: "McMillan's and Nawang's expedition has 'reinvigorated' High Exposure's board of directors. It's a pretty big deal.''

Image of Everest glowing in setting sun, ExplorersWeb files.

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