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Summit push: Jean Pavillard and Supermom Monica Kalozdi
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Jun 3, 2005 12: 03 EST
Jean Pavillard is a mountain guide in Chamonix, France. He is also a fateful expedition leader to "Supermom" - Monica Kalozdi. Only this past fall, the climbers summited Cho Oyu together.

I started by a bet, from Monica's husband Jeno; Could she climb Matterhorn? She has hardly been home since. Peak after peak eventually landed her on Everest. Between running a company, keeping a house, and taking care of a family, Monica has found the time to climb, and even a place to train between expeditions in the flat wetlands of her home town of New Orleans: She has been climbing the stairs of a 28 story building 3 hours each day.

Checking her kids’ homework over satellite phone

The wife and mother of three manages a manufacturing company. Yet for Monica, being away from her husband and children is the hardest thing about being a passionate mountaineer. Even while climbing, she tends to her familial and work duties: From working on the job through the lap-top to checking her kids’ homework over satellite phone in BC. So how have they been doing? "The youngest one told me: She did 'super duper well' on last week’s spelling test," reported Monica from BC a few weeks back.

“I really, really miss my family on the mountain,” she told us. “After Everest, I will be happy to limit my mountains to shorter ones that require less time.”

So why do it at all?

“The mountains offer me a wonderful physical and above all a mental challenge,” she says. “I find it as mainly a mental game to overcome the fear, the pain and so forth. I really believe the mountains are climbed with the mind above all. I love that challenge. And even more importantly, the mountains bring everything back into focus. Not only do you know what you are made out of when you are on the mountain, but you also know what is really important in life. On the mountain you must go back to basics. What you have on, how you look, or even how much money you have in the pocketbook has absolutely no importance. My little, daily problems at my business become insignificant.

"Nowadays I need to be on the mountain once a year to clean out my soul, keep my values in line, and know what is important in life. I love my business and the challenges it presents me as well, but thanks to the mountain climbing, I can handle it with ease.”

Husband no regrets

While Monica is out there, her husband takes care of the house and the kids. So does he regret the bet he made her a few years back?

"I met my husband Jeno in New Orleans 26 years ago. We have been married 23 years. From the very beginning Jeno has been my best friend, my business partner, and now my biggest supporter and fan. He is the spirit on my expeditions. He works out all the logistics, finds me all the books and videos I need to study for a climb, and supports and encourages my training schedules. Without him I could not do this," she told ExWeb.

"The best way of learning is by living it"

Monica wants to inspire troubled teenagers and all kids, including her own by her climb:

"My taking climbing to the next degree, high altitude expeditions, I believe has helped my kids to see that discipline and dedication are needed for any goal. The best way of learning is by living it, seeing it around you. I believe the outdoor adventures that we started as a family 10 years ago, have made us a stronger, tighter family unit. I have dedicated my climb to TEEN LIFE COUNTS, a very important project in New Orleans, where volunteers go to the schools to talk to teenagers, helping them to find help if they are depressed."

Prevent teenage suicide

"The end goal is to help prevent teenage suicide, which unfortunately, is not that uncommon. This is a topic most adults do not want to confront. Through my climb, I am hoping to raise awareness of this cause, and raise money to open up another office of what we call THE NORTH SHORE. Being a mom of teenagers myself, my heart goes out to these troubled kids."

"I don’t expect my kids to follow in my footsteps. They need to find their own goals and challenges. But I do believe that thanks to my climbing they have learned to set goals for themselves. They have learned that one must fight very hard to achieve them. One must work hard, and focus intensely on it. But, they have also learned that you CAN achieve your goals. No matter what you do in life the same principals apply. As a woman, I believe I have been able to show my daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to. And to my boys I believe I have taught them to see women as equals."

Jean Pavillard is a mountain guide in Chamonix, France. In 2003, he helped heart transplant survivor Kelly Perkins and her husband Craig to reach the top of Matterhorn 4,478 m (14,693 ft), dubbed by early climbers "the awful mountain". With them were Tim and Michael Brown of Serac films; Michael filmed Kelly and Craig's ascent. Needless to say, Jean knows his knots and rope techniques. A page on his website is dedicated to just that - "techniques and tricks".

Monica Kalodzi summited Cho Oyu last fall, as part of the Himalayan Experience team, along with friend and mountain guide Jean Pavilliard. She has also summited Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali, Aconcagua and Mt, Vinson.

Live images over Contact 3.0 of Jean and Monica on Everest, courtesy of Jean Pavillard.

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