You might consider Charlie Wittmack’s undertaking and rightfully ask, “Is this guy crazy?”
A Des Moines attorney and the only Iowan to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, last year Wittmack sold his house, gave up his job and embarked on his World Triathlon, an 8,000+-mile effort to swim the English Channel, bike the mountains and deserts in Europe, Asia and Nepal, and then again reach the top of the world’s tallest peak. He worked with Save the Children and Des Moines University to use the trip to raise awareness of ways to reduce the infant mortality rate in Nepal. The route – across 11 countries from the town of Cricklade in England to the summit of Everest – was fraught with risk and real danger, including his collision with a car while on his bike in Kazakhstan to cerebral and pulmonary edema to wild dogs at his door on the Tibetan Plateau. Onward he slogged, thinking of his wife, Cate, and young son James at home.
Charlie succeeded, becoming the first American to complete the “Peak & Pond,” a rare sports-double composed of swimming the English Channel and climbing Mount Everest. He’s also the first American to have swum the length of the River Thames in England.
Charlie’s story is fascinating, frightening and inspiring. Check out ESPN’s great coverage of this amazing world adventurer!