29,035 feet at 65

By Casey Farrar

Sentinel Staff

Published Aug. 29, 2010

The day Donall B. Healy reached the summit of Mount Everest, he had climbed 11 straight hours.

Most of it was in a blinding snowstorm.

Wrapped in a puffy orange climbing suit, his face covered by an oxygen mask and large, dark glasses to cut the glare, Healy perched to rest near a pole draped with colorful prayer flags.

He felt numb.

The 29,035-foot elevation at the top made each step feel like a monumental task, and even hooked to an oxygen tank, his senses were dulled in the thin air.

A teammate grabbed his camera and snapped a few shots of the 65-year-old mountaineer, who lives in New York City and Stoddard, before a guide insisted the group head down to avoid worsening weather.

The nearest camp was a four-hour slog down the mountain, and as the group of six climbers, their guides and sherpas descended, the weather broke.

Although the 10 minutes or so he spent at the top that day in May was a blur, the story of his arrival there had been a winding road that started long before he’d set off for Kathmandu, Nepal, with his wife, Joyce, in March. Continue reading