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Everest 2005: Team Honda - Samurai's soul
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May 18, 2005 16: 26 EST
Previously published Mar 30, 2005 10: 53 EST

The Japanese four-member team Honda is attempting Everest this spring through the South Col route. Leader is Michiro Honda, 66 years old!

Michiro is living proof that no one is too old to follow a dream. In a personal letter, he writes what moved him, not so long ago, to look up to the Himalayan giants and take on their challenge:

The visitor

“As recently as five years ago, I had nothing to do with mountain climbing. In early 1999, I suffered a compound thighbone fracture while I was skiing. While I was in the hospital, Mr. Yuichiro Miura, the world-famous skier and climber, kindly visited me a few times. On one such occasion, he unexpectedly asked me, "How about climbing Everest with us?" "Why me of all people!" was my frank reaction to the suggestion.”

“Yet, before realizing what I had gotten myself into, I somehow managed to trek in the Himalayas with Mr. Miura and his party: Gokyo Peak (5,360 m) in late 1999, Mera Peak (6,654 m) in April 2001, Island Peak (6,160 m) in October 2001, and Cho Oyu (up to 7,000 m of the 8,201-m peak) in March-May 2002. Gokyo Peak was particularly hard for me because it was immediately after I had recovered from the fracture, but it marked the start of my trekking adventures. Regrettably, I could not join the Miura party's Everest venture in 2003. However, I am indeed grateful to Mr. Miura because thanks to his encouragement I found a new objective and dream in my life. The formation of Team Honda Everest 2005 is the first step towards the realization of the dream.”

“…As long as you have a dream”

“Your life becomes worthwhile when you try to accomplish the seemingly impossible. You can overcome any difficulty as long as you have a dream. Had I not been introduced to Everest trekking by Mr. Miura, I would still be leading just an ordinary life in the same manner as before today. It was four and a half years ago that I resolved that I would not face the twilight of my life doing nothing and started to think seriously about trying Mt. Everest. I believe that what counts is not how long you live, but the manner how you live. What is important is the quality of one's life. Live as free a life as you wish, but be prepared to take responsibility for the outcome. This is my idea of a happy life.”

Michiro Honda will climb with Shigeki Imoto, Takeshi Kodama, and Na Temba (or Gnatemba, depending on the source) Sherpa – who has summited Everest ten times, according to the expedition’s website! Shigeki Imoto (40) was part of the Everest NE ridge summit team in 1995.

The team counts on a strong high altitude Sherpa support, and will be setting a fifth camp on their way up, just as Miura did on his successful attempt in May 2003, when he became the oldest person to summit Everest at 70 years old.

If he succeeds, Mr. Honda will become one of the oldest Everest summiteers in History. But age is not so important where there is a brave young soul inside.

Image of Michiro Honda, courtesy of the Honda team’s website.
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